Briefs

After all that: Adobe’s After Effects (see main text) is now available as version 3.1 for Windows 95 and NT and the much-hyped Intel MMX technology. It shares the same interface and functionality as the Mac version and is tightly integrated with the Windows version of Photoshop, Illustrator and Premiere. It will support symmetric multi-processing under NT and zaps along smartly when used with MMX Pentium chips. Third party plug-in developers include Accom, Artel, Cognicon, DigiEffects and Ultimate. There are two versions: standard and production bundle, the latter having more goodies.

Shedding new light: Adobe Illustrator 7.0 is just about out. One of its improvements is a tight integration with PostScript 3. Any good? Of course, but to see just how good we will have to wait until our lads with the ultra short haircuts and Macromedia T shirts deign to work with it.

MetaThisAndThat: Just to let you know that Fractal and MetaTools have finally merged and are now known as MetaCreations. Two cheers. Three cheers it would have been had they left out the intercapital.

Seven plus: Macromedia has launched a set of Xtras (plug-ins to the rest of us) for FreeHand 7. Available as free downloads from the company’s site, they expand the application’s web functionality and improve support for Photoshop and Acrobat PDFs. www.macromedia.com.

Attention megalomaniacs: Fractal, of the Ray Dream applications, has announced a new cross-platform plug-in package called Four Elements and designed by RAYfleet of Paris. The plug-ins allow you to create images and animations featuring realistic landscapes, water environments (including ripples), atmospheres, and fire: the power to raise mountains and change the weather, says RAYfleet’s boss. Price is an even 100 including VAT.

Consolidation: As you all know, Quark Inc owns Quark and Macromedia owns Director. In our trade, Quark is used universally for print, Director for multimedia. You might have thought Macromedia had thought about acquiring Quark. Probably no more – Quark is now acquiring the assets of mFactory, owner of would-be Director-killer mTropolis. A word here about pronunciation. The company is apparently pronounced em-factory, the application me-tropolis. So if you’ve been calling it em-tropolis you’ve been sounding wanky for nothing. By the time you read this the much delayed Director 6 will have shipped to our reviewers – and the latest version of mTropolis, version 2, which we thought would be delayed for rebadging may have. We’ll be letting you know which is best.

ViewSonic biggies: ViewSonic has brought out a range of rather affordable monitors: 17in PT775 at 560, 20in G800 at 722, 21in P and 815 the latter at 1150, the former 100 cheaper, all prices plus VAT. Contact ViewSonic product manager Bharat Kumar on 01293 643900.

Annus 2000: Complacent about the year 2000? If you like waiting for paint to dry, check out Microsoft’s information: www.microsoft.com/CIO/ARTICLES/YEAR2000FAQ.HTM.

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