Briefs

Ray dream light and heavy: No, it’s actually called Ray Dream 3D and it’s effectively a lite version of Ray Dream Studio and it’s for Mac and Windows. Priced at a lot less than 100, it has modelling and scene wizards which help the inexperienced to produce scenes and 3D objects. However, the real thing is also newly available this month as version 5 for Mac and Windows. Its new features include Mesh Form Modeller, a Sphere of Influence tool for deforming surfaces, Boolean operations, volumetric and particle primitives and an integrated ThinkFish renderer. The price of Ray Dream Studio 5 is 300. Both are now owned by MetaCreations Corp and local distributor is Principal on 01756-704 000.

Infinite power: More heavy duty than the above is a major new version of Infini-D 4.0 for the Power PC from MetaCreations. This is claimed to be the largest revision in the 3D app’s six-year history. This version has been devised with the idea of tight broadcast quality integration. It has a new video real-time preview, simple audio synchronisation and improved field rendering, non-square pixels, and full PAL colour correction. There are new dynamic special effects, collision detection, control over particle life, volumetric lighting effects plus some deformation tools for morphing. Upgrade from any version is 160 plus and the price is 600 plus VAT.

Post whatsit: Adobe’s After Effects is current flavour of the month and its creator has just brought out two free plug-ins. One is an animated GIF plug-in which streamlines the process of adding motion to Web pages. The other is called Path Text Effect and both are available to registered users at www.adobe/prodindex/aftereffects. If you haven’t registered you have to do so on-line before you can get the new tit bits.

Weaving dreams: Dreamweaver is the nicely sword-n-sorcery name for Macromedia’s new Web authoring tool. It works back and forth with any HTML editor, should you want to work that way, and can, they say, generate crossbrowser Dynamic HTML for both Netscape and Microsoft browsers. The new app comes bundled with a text editor. Download the beta from www.macromedia.com/software/dreamweaver and be prepared to pay an introductory-deal of 200 for the shrink-wrapped version.

Music to your eyes: This strangely ethereal object is the Crystal Mu, a transparent LCD computer display system. You look through the transparent LCD screen at the chosen three-dimensional object which sits on a spot-lit table behind. It actually contains the computer gubbins. The museum or shop or whoever puts a message or even movie plus sound on the screen and that’s it. It’s designed by NEC Design and Andy Davey of London-based TKO Product Design. NEC Design, you’ll remember, is the consultancy which commissioned the White Box project, a series of nicely alternative designs for computer boxes. Like these the Crystal Mu probably won’t be on sale in the near future, but nice innit?

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