Agfa basics: Best known in terms of photography and more recently digital imaging, Agfa has produced a CD-ROM of five of its guides; covering colour separation and working at the pre-press interface – including digital colour, scanning and photo imaging. These are elementary texts but just the thing to hand discreetly to new staff – or a donation, in bulk, to your alma mater, should you have a spare 100 for each of the boxed set of CDs and five paperbacks. On second thoughts, that is quite a lot, as is just under 60 for the CD-ROM alone. Complain or otherwise to Agfa on

Electrifying? ElectricImage has been the Mac 3D and animation app, seemingly since the days of Charles Babbage. Users regularly complained to this column about the high price of using their software, but recent developments in Mac 3D software and PC apps, such as 3D Studio, have pushed ElectricImage to one side. Now the company is fighting back with a new version called ElectricImage Broadcast. It is designed for special video effects and costs 2000. Or you could buy the full Animation System version 2.7 for a crumb less than 6000. Distributed by Gomark on 0171-731 7930.

Go Web with Specular: Specular has a new Web page design and layout package called 3D Web Workshop. It includes Texturescape, LogoMotion, PageMill and the new Web Hands. The price is an attractive 262 and Gomark is, again, the distributor.

Product prototyping on the desk: DeskProto is the name of a new CAM package for desktop CNC milling machines, from Delft Spline Systems. Import an STL file from your 3D CAD app, such as AutoCad, and DeskProto reads it and draws the geometry, calculates the toolpaths and so on – and, of course, drives the milling machine. Price is around 2200 and desktop NC milling machines are available from British distributor Leewood Developments, from around 4450 upwards. Call Tony Robinson at Leewood on 01480 890860.

Apple fights back: Beleaguered Apple is fighting back with some quite interesting stuff. The next version of Quicktime VR – version 2.0 – will, they say, ship in August. Major enhancements include a programmer’s API for controlling playback and functionality of panoramas and objects; compositing of still images, movies and 3D sprites; support for sound, Internet url hot spots; and improved support for Windows 95 and NT playback. OpenDoc release 5 is available, as is yet another proprietary Net browser called Cyberdog, whose main virtue seems to be that it doesn’t have an intercapital, and it’s free. It’s not really a browser as it seems to only be available to Apple customers.

Tomorrow the world: Adobe has been plugging away at Acrobat for a couple of years now, and with version 3.0 claims to have the world of Net in its palm. The complete 160 package enables you to create Web-read documents. We won’t, however, be seeing it – or the free Acrobat Reader – until September. The company will also be releasing version 4.0 of Adobe Type Manager Delux, which for the first time adds support for Type 1 and TrueType font management. Details from Adobe’s Nancy Wilson on 0181-606 4000.

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