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MacEdition Pro News : April 10, 2003

Partnerships and other proposals

by MacEdition Staff (feedback)

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Letraset goes on line

Type foundry Letraset Ltd. has inked a deal with MyFonts.com to vend 400 of their typefaces through the online retailer.

“MyFonts.com is delighted to offer 400 typefaces from such a well respected graphic design company,” explained John Collins, vice president and CTO of MyFonts.com. “From its inception, MyFonts.com has focused on making fonts easily accessible to everyone, not just graphic designers. With the addition of 400 typefaces from Letraset, we further our mission of making it easy for everyone to find, try and buy fonts online.”

MyFonts offers over 27,000 fonts from more than 100 font foundries and is a subsidiary of Bitstream Inc.

Load up on tunes

In a world where online art and fonts abound it was only a matter of time before somebody came up with the idea to offer soundtrack recordings that video editors could use. That’s what SmartSound is doing with their release of Sonicfire Pro 3.0, which employes a new feature to allow people to preview and purchase a selection from the SmartSound library while scoring a video.

“This changes everything from a media creator’s point of view,” states Kevin Klingler, President and CEO of SmartSound Software, Inc. “The Infinite Search Maestro is powered by a brand new search engine. Every aspect of the SmartSound Music Library has been cataloged so a user can instantly find an exact match for their scene. With an Internet connection, a user can download the soundtrack they need in minutes. Having this kind of instant access to thousands of musical possibilities speeds video scoring by orders of magnitude.”

The online offerings are intended as a complementary package to the prerecorded 44.1 kHz material that comes with the audio editing software. The key feature of the software is that it allows the user to preview selection of video with the audio package before exporting the soundtrack to the video editing software.

Sonicfire standard will come with two CDs of royalty free music and retail for US$299. The Pro Bundle Edition will retail for US$499 and ship with five CDs of soundtrack music.

A big scoop of the net

Inventive Inc. has just released iScooper, a little utility that will be a godsend to those who just can’t have enough photos in their hard drives.

iScooper enables users to automatically download and browse batches of pictures much faster and much more conveniently than they can with conventional web browsers. iScooper is designed to work with web pages that contain many links to pictures – for example, a celebrity web page that contains several links to photos of the celebrity. iScooper can take a web page like this and automatically download all the linked photos on it.

iScooper supports multiple downloads, deleting photos from within the slideshow and all photos can be resized to full screen for a more pleasurable viewing experience. The US$19.99 OS X program can be downloaded from Inventive’s product page.

Valentina joins the new revolution

Runtime Revolution and Paradigma Software have teamed up to incorporate the Valentina database into Runtime’s rapid application development environment.

Revolution now incorporates direct access to the Valentina XCMD component giving immediate access to the full power of Valentina databases. Valentina incorporates a unique SQL compatible database kernel, known for its ability to manage millions of records with both speed and reliability, limited only by available RAM.

Its modern core lets you build database solutions using any type of data, including BLOBs (binary large objects), making Valentina the choice for storing, sorting, and retrieving such materials as numbers, text, audio, video, and other media objects. Valentina XCMD solutions work with Windows, MacOS and MacOS X versions of Runtime Revolution.

Developers can purchase the XCMD component separately for US$199, or purchase it with a copy of Revolution.

Runtime also released a beta version of its second version of the multi-platform programming tool.

New features include:

  • XML library with full support for creating and parsing documents
  • SOAP support
  • Unicode text entry and manipulation
  • New user interface with enhanced Mac OS X Jaguar look and feel
  • Code Cookbook explaining a range of useful routines
  • Powerful and easy-to-use report generator
  • Improved database access on all platforms with PostgreSQL support, MySQL SSL connections, point-and-click setup, and more
  • Video capture, text-to-speech, and more multimedia enhancements
  • Spreadsheet/table text fields
  • Fully-featured, integrated debugger
  • Windows of any size and shape on all platforms
  • Perl-compatible regular expressions
  • New drag-and-drop architecture

Those interested in trying out the beta can follow the trail of links that start at Runtime’s download site.

Let’s get together

In what must be a rite of spring, (we seem to be announcing a lot of strategic partnerships this week) to more Mac developers are blending their wares in the hopes of offering a more complete package to the software purchasing public. Objectpark Development and Smile Software have updated their separate offerings to bring a letter writing and faxing package to Mac OS X users.

Objectpark’s LetterWorks was updated to provide a mail merge and fax merge feature allowing users to fax directly from the application through Smile’s Page Sender. Smile incorporated the code for the partnership in a recent update which also addressed a number of bugs with the program.

Both updates are free to registered users and each site is selling their individual offerings. LetterWorks can be picked up for US$29.99 and a Pro version of the software sells for $59.99. Page Sender sells for $29.99.

Maya turns 5.0

Alias/Wavefront is making a bid to have its flagship product Maya become all things to all artists.

The company recently announced a new version of Maya will be hitting the streets in May and with the new release will come the ability to speed up rendering times, generate Flash animations and import/export work from a myriad of 2D drawing programs.

Maya 5 now boasts four distinctive options for rendering – the Maya software renderer, Mental Ray for Maya, a new Vector Renderer and a breakthrough Hardware Renderer – allowing users to choose the image creation method according to the task at hand: whether it be a photorealistic design visualization or a toon-shaded Macromedia Flash Vector graphic for the web. As of Maya 5, all rendering options are unified through a consistent rendering user interface and workflow.

A standard feature of the Maya 5 package will be the Mental Ray rendering technology which recently helped the company net an Oscar from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The vector rendering engine comes from Electric Rain while the hardware accelerator is provided through a partnership with NVIDIA, utilizing that company’s Quatro FX graphics processor. The card is available through PNY Technologies.

With Maya 5 Hardware rendering, customers can produce broadcast quality images up to 20 times faster than ever before possible. The new Vector Renderer allows Maya artists to create content in popular graphics formats such as Macromedia Flash, Encapsulated PostScript, Adobe Illustrator and Scalable Vector Graphic. As a result, Maya is suddenly more applicable to 2D artists, web developers and even technical illustrators. Furthermore, mental ray is now a standard part of Maya, and Maya 5 brings the 3D industry its first introduction to the mental ray renderer, version 3.2.

Also supported in the import/export library are: OpenFlight, StudioTools, OBJ, IGES, DXF and DWG.

Maya 5 Complete will sell for US$1,999 with upgrade pricing pegged at US$899. The top-end Maya 5 Unlimited will be priced at US$6,999 with upgrades coming in at US$1,249.

Looking for old ProNews segments? Check out our index at http://old.macedition.com/news/. Do you have news releases or tidbits of interest to the Macintosh professional? Send them to pronewsnotes@macedition.com.

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