Alias MotionBuilder 7 Tackles High-Volume, Demanding Animation

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Real-time, character-centric animation tools make MotionBuilder a powerful addition to any existing 3D production pipeline

Last Updated: August 1, 2005 6:48 pm GMT
(Los Angeles, California - SIGGRAPH® -Booth #1312) Alias® MotionBuilder® 7 software - with its newly extendedcharacter animation capabilities, improved interoperability with popular 3D packages and productivity enhancements - is the 3D character animation software of choice for artists needing to rapidly produce high-volumes of quality animated content.


Powerful new product features and the expanded benefits of Alias MotionBuilder Pro Platinum Membership, including extended hotline access and improved response times, enable artists to generate professional-level character performance animation.


The new features of Alias MotionBuilder 7 complement the software's core technologies, including a unique, real-time architecture; non-linear, non-destructive animation layering; and Story Timeline performance environment. "MotionBuilder 7 provides animators with the bestcharacter performance toolsand motion editing functionality - bar none,"says Shai Hinitz, senior product manager for Alias MotionBuilder, mental ray® and Maya®. "With this release, we've continued our commitment toinnovations in productivity and connectivity with the most popular 3D applications. MotionBuilder customers who also integrate our middleware solution - Alias HumanIK - into their pipeline, have the unique advantage of being able to create animation performances that are precisely matched in-game."


New and Enhanced Character Animation Functionality
New character extensions and visual feedback on rigs give animators greater control over their character setups. Character extensions allow artists to augment their character's control rig when objects such as tails, wings and props are required. Animators are now able to simultaneously pose or key a character as well as all attached extensions seamlessly. Visual feedback on the control rig offers cues that highlight keying, manipulation modes and rig selection, allowing animators to focus on the character in the viewer rather than checking controls on the side. In addition, there are a number of new character manipulation enhancements that ensure synchronization between characters and their controls, streamlining the animation workflow and shortening the learning curve for new users.


"With character extensions and a host of other features, MotionBuilder 7 not only answers the call, but adds solutions to issues I didn't know I would have,"says Gavan Knowlton, lead animator at GlyphX Games. "Our industry thrives on innovation, it's nice to have Alias lead the way."


Productivity-Enhancing Tools
Alias MotionBuilder 7 offers many new productivity-enhancing features, in addition to existing optimized solving, blending, sequencing and retargeting tools for editing captured performances and simulated character animation. The new save and load character animation features let animators rapidly transfer, repurpose and reuse animation clips with any character. Improved workflow and UI features, such as save reminder and incremental versioning streamline the animation process and minimize user downtime.


Improved Pipeline Interoperability
MotionBuilder's native file format, Alias FBX®, allows for unparalleled interoperability between 3D content creation applications, making it a complementary solution that can enhance any existing 3D production pipeline. Alias MotionBuilder 7 contains new functionality that improves its ability to interact with other 3D applications. New constraints, for example, allow users to easily transfer animated character setups between Alias MotionBuilder and Maya.


Alias MotionBuilder Pro
Alias MotionBuilder Pro contains advanced productivity capabilities, including Live Device Support* for multi-stream motion capture devices, data mapping and asset management integration. Additional extensibility and customization tools include a real-time animation trigger system, Python® scripting capabilities and the Alias Open Reality® SDK - allowing the creation of pipeline automation and workflow tools that streamline repetitive, time-consuming tasks.
*Availability on Mac OS® X is pending platform specific third party vendor drivers.
"MotionBuilder and Maya have become important tools in our animation pipeline,"said Stephen White, co-president of Naughty Dog. "We are very excited to see continued investment in MotionBuilder and look forward to even greater compatibility between these two excellent products."


Alias MotionBuilder Pro Platinum Members Get the Most out of MotionBuilder
The features and services of the Alias MotionBuilder Pro Platinum Membership program help maximize an investment in MotionBuilder. Members will experience minimal downtime with the improved delivery of hotline support. Resources have now been dedicated solely to tracking hotline cases and ensuring quick response times. Through the months of September and October 2005, Platinum members can take advantage of an interactive Web-based MotionBuilder 7 training call. This is in addition to receiving early access to the MotionBuilder 7 upgrade - a distinctive competitive advantage.


Pricing and Availability
Alias MotionBuilder 7 is scheduled for release in August 2005 and pricing remains unchanged from MotionBuilder 6 - Alias MotionBuilder Pro 7 (node-locked) is US $4195* and Alias MotionBuilder Pro 7 (floating) is US $4795*. For new Alias MotionBuilder Pro customers, the cost includes a one-year Platinum Membership subscription. Alias MotionBuilder Pro is available in node-lock and floating configurations for the Windows® and Mac OS® X platforms.
* International pricing may vary.


About Alias
As the world's leading innovator of 3D graphics technology, Alias develops software for the film and video, games, web, interactive media, industrial design, automotive, architecture and visualization markets. Alias has headquarters in Toronto and a custom development center in Santa Barbara with offices worldwide. Please visit the Alias web site at www.alias.com or call 1-800-447-2542 in North America. International contact numbers include: Northern Europe, Middle East and Africa, +44 (0) 1494 441273; Germany, East & Southeast Europe, 0049 89 31 70 20; France, Spain and Portugal, +33 1 44 92 81 60; Italy, 39 039 6340011; Japan and other parts of Asia Pacific, 81 3 5797 3500 and Latin America, 770 393 1881.

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