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Illuminate Labs unleashes Turtle 2 for Maya

Next generation of Turtle renderer shown at SIGGRAPH 2005 (July 28, 2005)

Illuminate Labs, developers of Turtle and its core technology LiquidLight, today announced the availability of the next generation of its renderer - Turtle 2. Focusing on the needs of studios with a Maya pipeline, Turtle users can open and render extremely large scenes with advanced lighting effects at a speed previously unseen.

Turtle is fully integrated in the Maya GUI and uses native Maya shading networks. ?You can take any native Maya scene and render it with natural ease in Turtle. It quickly produces the highest quality images with any kind of advanced modeling methods and global illumination effects, says Nils Wirell, Product Manager at Illuminate Labs. Turtle 2.0 will begin shipping worldwide in August of 2005.

"Turtle is experiencing a strong surge of interest, especially in the gaming industry. The push for stunning visual quality in next generation games relies on next generation tools such as Turtle. Illuminate Labs' close collaboration with customers in the gaming industry has been very rewarding. We now look forward to continue developing Turtle to be the natural first choice for all Maya users," comments Per Hulthén, CEO of Illuminate Labs.

Astounding Performance Improvements
Turtle 2 is based on the second generation of the LiquidLight technology platform, and has gained in all aspects of the rendering process. The features customers have loved in Turtle are even better in Turtle 2. What was fast in the first generation of Turtle is even faster in Turtle 2.

A major new architecture improvement is the Shading System, which is no longer based on Mayas API, but implemented from scratch in Turtle based on the native Maya shaders. The artist can use the familiar native Maya shaders for predictable results, but with much better performance in Turtle. New realistic materials and utility nodes have been added to complement the native Maya shaders. The performance gains from the new shading system architecture are dramatic. Scenes with complex shading can be rendered at more than twice the rendering speed than before with Turtle 2.

With the new Render Pass System users also get more control over the compositing of images. Component passes include Reflections, Refractions, Incandescence, Subsurface Scattering, Global Illumination and much more. In Turtle 2 it is possible to build custom passes from any shading network, such as motion vectors, reflection occlusion and normals. Any shader can be rendered as a separate pass.

The improvements to Global Illumination include a new final gathering shading method, IES-light profiles and global adjustment of intensity and saturation. Users can combine indirect illumination (transparency, incandescence) within the direct light from a photon map. Photon Shaders also separate the photon scattering properties from the surface shader.

Baking at the Next Level
Turtle has become popular for use in baking among game studios. Turtle 2 delivers several improvements that have been developed in collaboration with these customers.

Baking Improvements include super-sampling and filtering of the baked textures and the baking of surface properties from high-resolution surfaces to low-resolution surfaces. Turtle 2 allows the highest quality of vertex and texture baking of any shading or lighting, including ambient and reflection occlusion as well as global illumination. Batch baking of multiple objects and multiple frames is also supported for ease-of-use in large scale production.

With the Surface Transfer function it now becomes possible to transfer surface properties from high-resolution to low-resolution objects. Surface Transfer supports the output of normals, displacement and lighting/shading at levels of detail unseen in similar tools. This makes it possible for game studios to produce visually stunning models with minimum amount of polygons.

For a complete list of all new and improved features, please visit our website at

Involved Customers
Turtle is used by leading companies such as Sony, Nintendo, Electronic Arts and Lockheed Martin, as well as by educational institutions as the University of California. Leading customers have participated in the development of Turtle 2 and are enthusiastic to taking full advantage of it in production:

"We have been very pleased with the rendering speed and visual results of Turtle, and plan on putting Turtle into our lighting pipeline for our next Harry Potter game, says Michael Talarico, CG Supervisor for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Game at Electronic Arts.

Pricing and Availability
Turtle is available for Maya 6.0 and newer versions on Windows 2K/XP, Linux and Mac OS X platforms and can be purchased as a workstation license for $1199 or renderfarm license for $999. Volume discounts and educational licenses are available, as well as Upgrade and Support Contracts for purchased licenses. Turtle is supported by the following, optional, distributed network rendering packages: ButterflyNetRender, FXCluster, Muster, qube! Remote Control, Rush, Royal Renderer, and Smedge. For purchasing and evaluation requests, please visit our website at

Illuminate Labs and Turtle at SIGGRAPH 2005
If you are going to be at the show, please visit Illuminate Labs at Booth #963, and get a personal demo of Turtle 2. For more information about SIGGRAPH 2005 at Los Angeles Convention Centre, please visit

About Illuminate Labs
Illuminate Labs, based in Gothenborg/Sweden, develops and markets rendering technology for film, broadcast, games, architecture and design visualization. Turtle is the first product from Illuminate Labs - a radically faster rendering software for the Maya® animation software. Turtle has been used in production since 2003. Reference customers include Sony, Nintendo, Electronic Arts, Lockheed Martin and University of California. Illuminate Labs was founded to commercialize research breakthroughs in computer graphics at the Chalmers University of Technology. Illuminate Labs' new rendering technology platform, LiquidLight®, allows rendering of complex scenes with advanced lighting at previously unseen rendering speed. Turtle is the first product based on LiquidLight technology. In essence, the more complex the scene and the more advanced lighting used - the faster will the comparative speedup be compared to today's software rendering technology. LiquidLight technology, both in present and future generations, is available on a licensing basis for integration in computer graphics applications. Illuminate Labs has been awarded in several competitions such as Innovation Cup, Venture Cup and the European IST Prize awarded by the European Council in the field of Information Society Technologies. Illuminate Labs is an official Alias® Conductors partner. Additional partners include 3D Labs, Adobe, Apple, Angstrom, ATI, NVIDIA, Microsoft and Pixologic.

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Related Keywords:Illuminate Labs, Turtle 2, Maya, renderer, LiquidLight, shaders, compositing, IES, renderfarm,


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