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Apple Launches Shake for Mac OS X

Surprise: Windows, Irix, Linux users get a respite--for a price By Dave Nagel
Well, the wondering is over, at least for now. Apple has officially announced its plans for Shake, including a version 2.5 release for Mac OS X scheduled for August. And, to everybody's surprise, Apple will also release version 2.5 for Windows, Irix and Linux, though these versions will cost twice as much as the Mac version.

Apple acquired Shake when it bought out Nothing Real back in February. Nothing Real had been in the process of porting Shake to Mac OS X when Apple made the acquisition, with versions already available for Irix, Linux and Windows. With most of Apple's acquisitions, the company has cut off Windows versions, including Windows versions of Logic Audio from its latest acquisition, Emagic. But in this case, Windows, Irix and Linux users get a bit of a respite, but for a price.

The new version of Shake, 2.5, will ship in August for Mac OS X for $4,950 with an annual maintenance of $1,199. (It originally sold for $9,900.) For Windows, Irix and Linux, the upfront fee will be $9,900 with an annual maintenance of $1,485. Those who wish to switch from these platforms to Mac will be given the option of doubling their existing licenses at no extra cost by migrating to Mac OS X.

For those who don't know, Shake is a high-end compositing system designed in part for large-format productions. It has an extremely fast rendering engine and heavy compositing tools with support for multiple simultaneous bit depths. According to Apple, version 2.5 adds improved image input, a disk-based proxy system and the ability to limit rendering to a portion of an image. Features that were already present in Shake 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


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


  • 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.


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


  • 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.

For the Mac, system requirements include Mac OS X 10.2 (Jaguar) and a G4 PowerBook, Power Mac or Xserve system. Other system requirements are available on Apple's Web site. Shake 2.5 for Windows is available only for Shake 2.46 customers. Preorders are available now. For more information, visit

Contact the author: 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 [email protected].

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