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Apple Acquires Nothing Real

Technologies to appear in future Apple products By Dave Nagel
Apple's done it again: They've acquired a significant player in the creative content market. This time around, the object of the acquisition is Nothing Real, the developer of several high-end visual effects programs for Irix and Windows NT, including Shake and Tremor. News of the acquisition was confirmed by Apple to us and several other news outlets. The company said that the technologies from Nothing Real would appear in future Apple products.

A year ago at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco the company first announced a Mac OS X port of the compositing application Shake, which it was actually demonstrating at the time in early pre-release form. A final Mac OS X version of the product never materialized, despite promises of a quick development cycle.


There's no word yet on how the acquisition will affect current users of Nothing Real's products. When Apple acquired Spruce Technologies, a developer of DVD authoring software for Windows, back in July, Apple promised a migration path for current users to "preserve their investment in Spruce software." No such word with the Nothing Real deal.

As far as Shake goes, features include:

Color Correction and Channel manipulation

  • Concatenation of adjacent color-corrections into one lookup table,;
  • Curve-based color correction;
  • Lookup table color correction;
  • RGB, matte, Z-depth or HSV-based color correction tools;
  • Logarithmic/Linear color space conversion with per-channel roll-off controls;
  • Support for multiple color spaces, including RGB, HSV, HLS, CMY and YUV;
  • Video-legal color correction;
  • Expression-based color correction.

Transformations

  • Infinite Workspace (elements are never cropped when moved out of frame);
  • Adaptive filtering;
  • Concatenation of adjacent transformations into a single move;
  • 3D Move, Scroll, Rotate, Scale, Shear and CornerPin with Motion Blur;
  • Per-transformation or Global control of Motion Blur parameters;
  • Motion blur with camera duration, shutter start and quality control;
  • Motion blur can occur on first frame without previous motion;
  • Control over transformation order;
  • Inverse transformations;
  • Onscreen controls for transformations;
  • In context direct manipulation controls.

Filters

  • Gaussian blurs;
  • User-definable Convolves;
  • Grain, Median, Sharpening, Embossing, Edge Detection and Radial Blur;
  • Optical Defocus;
  • Dilation/Erosion;
  • Image-driven Blurring, Sharpening or Dilation;
  • Depth-based Blurring.

Warps

  • Randomization and Turbulence;
  • Image-driven warping;
  • Expression-based warping for an infinite variety of warps;
  • Twirl and Pincushion.

Compositing

  • Unlimited number of layers;
  • Unlimited resolution;
  • Multiple image resolutions within same composition;
  • Boolean and Image Math layer operations;
  • Keyframable shape-based masks;
  • Expression-based layer operations;
  • Channel swapping and copying, including Z channel;
  • Constraint of any operation to channel, field, tolerance, or region;
  • Screen and Z-based compositing;
  • External masking capabilities for every operator;
  • Drop-shadows.

Keying

  • Chroma, Luma, Difference or Depth keying;
  • Bundled Primatte plugin;
  • Spill-suppression.

Interface

  • On screen manipulators for image transformations;
  • Multiple viewers at variable resolution or channel display;
  • Launch RAM flipbook to view any point in a compositing tree;
  • Playback of flipbook while rendering;
  • View any node while modifying any other node;
  • Viewer-specific lookup tables;
  • Curve editing with multiple spline types and auto-keyframing.

Engine Features

  • Hybrid scan-line/tile-based renderer;
  • Unlimited nodes in an editing tree;
  • Linking of any parameter to any other parameter;
  • Animation of virtually every parameter, including toggle switches;
  • Place an expression on any parameter;
  • True per-node control of bit-depth, at 8, 16, or 32 (float) bits per channel;
  • Proxies or low- and high-resolution image substitution;
  • Anamorphic image support;
  • Macro creation for frequently used operations;
  • Automatic persistent node caching;
  • C-like scripting language can make a call to any programming library on your system;
  • Built-in runtime compiler;
  • Built-in software-based GL-like renderer;
  • SDK for deeper software extension;
  • Command-line or scripting access to all Shake commands;
  • Batch rendering;
  • Completely software-based;
  • All major image formats supported;
  • Antialiased text generation using TrueType and Adobe Type 1 fonts.

Shake has to date sold for $9,900. A network render license ran $3,900. At the moment, Nothing Real's Web site is down, but check back for more information at http://www.nothingreal.com.


Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of several World Wide User Groups, including Synthetik Studio Artist, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion, Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; and executive producer of the Digital Media Net family of publications. You can reach him at dnagel@digitalmedianet.com.

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