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Silhouette Roto SA
Silhouette FX last week released a stand-alone version of Silhouette Roto, its rotoscoping application for manually extracting, isolating or affecting a portion of an image. "Battle tested at large high profile effects facilities, the standalone version makes the ubiquitous task of roto more efficient and easier to integrate into production workflow." It also adds motion-stabilized roto, High Dynamic Range support (e.g., DPX, Cineon and OpenEXR), and Shake export to its feature set, according to the company. The plugin is available now for $400, while the standalone version is $500. Both can be purchased in a bundle for $600.
VueScan gains OCR
Hamrick Software has released VueScan 8.2.03, an update to its program that enables users to easily produce better looking digital images from color snapshots, microfiche and microfilm, negatives, slides, and paper documents. VueScan 8.2.03 adds integrated Optical Character Recognition (OCR) capability that enables users to scan and process text as well as scan graphics within one application. VueScan can now produce text files, which can be edited with any word processor--from more than 400 scanners and 157 digital camera raw files. In addition, VueScan's OCR offers a Color/Invert option for OCR of white text on a black background. OCR is included in both the Standard ($50) and Professional ($90) editions.
New Sony Walkman
In brief: Consumers, not legislators need to call the DRM fight, says silicon.com.... Apple has published a developer note for the Mac mini.... Analysts at First Albany maintain their "buy" rating on Apple, while raising their estimates for the company (price target is $49).... Sony has unveiled its Network Walkman NW-HD5 (20GB, $320) designed to compete with Apple's market-dominant iPod.
Digital Film Tools 55mm
Digital Film Tools has released 55mm 5.0, a comprehensive set of Digital Optical Filters for Adobe After Effects and After Effects compatible programs, Apple's Final Cut Pro and Motion, Avid Editing Systems, Adobe Photoshop and Discreet Flint, Flame and Inferno systems. 55mm is a set of digital optical filters meant to simulate popular glass camera filters, specialized lenses, optical lab processes, lighting gels, film grain, exacting color correction as well as natural light and photographic effects--all in a controlled digital environment with either 8 or 16 bits per channel processing. Black & White, Black Mist, Bleach Bypass, Center Spot, Color Compensating, Color Conversion, Color Correct, Color Grad, Color Temperature, Cross Processing, Day for Night, Defocus, Diffusion, Dual Tint, Enhancing, Fast Blur, Faux Film, Fluorescent, Fog, F-Stop, GamColor Gels, Gels, Glow, Gold Reflector, Grain, Halo, Infrared, Lens Distortion and much more.
Edit Like A Pro
Like A Pro today announced the availability of "Edit Like A Pro with Final Cut Pro 4 HD, " a two DVD set offering nearly five hours of in-depth training for Apple's popular video editing software. Edit Like A Pro with Final Cut Pro 4 HD lets beginner and intermediate users of Final Cut Pro software -- or Advanced users who are migrating to the Final Cut Product family -- acquire the skills necessary to start editing on FCP software simply by following the project based, full-motion video tutorials. "The key ingredient to Edit Like A Pro with Final Cut Pro 4 HD's effectiveness is the project-based training and kinesthetic leaning techniques used as a basis for instruction."
Vertical Eye today released Document Palette, an application that allows a user to create new documents directly in open folders. It holds document types that a user frequently uses and allows them to create documents without launching an editor and without fumbling around in awkward save panels. Creating documents with Document Palette is simple and straight forward. All the user must do is press Control-Option-Command-N while in an open folder and the palette will appear. The user then selects the document type they wish to create and it will be instantly created in the open folder. The palette is completely customizable, any type of file can be added to the palette. Palette is $8.
Jivjiv Stores is a Web-based storefront from which content creators and providers can create and sell ringtones and graphics directly to consumers. It gives artists, musicians a unique opportunity to market original content directly to the increasing population of cell phone users. In 2003, ringtones alone exceeded over $100 million in sales. Last year that amount more than doubled to $245 million. In 2005, sales are projected to reach $500 million. "Our friendly storefront introduces previously unaffordable marketing and sales opportunities to artists and businesses that create or produce music, photography, and other forms of arts and entertainment." The entire Jivjiv site and software was developed completely on Macs. A recent Financial Times report said mobile phones could "replace TV as prime ad medium."
Apple in Fobes 2000
Apple now ranks 442nd on Forbes' list of the largest companies worldwide. The company moved up more than 300 positions from 2004, when it ranked 762nd on the list. Forbes lists Apple's sales at $9.76 billion, with profits of $510 million, and a market value of $36.66 billion. Apple now has over $9 billion in assets, and 11,695 employees. The highest ranked technology hardware company was IBM, which ranked 17th overall. HP trailed IBM with a distant 54th. Apple remains ahead of Sun, Nortel, Casio, and other hardware makers. Apple also ranked higher than Yahoo, Google and Adobe. Microsoft lead the Software category, but had fallen to 47th overall from 31st. The highest ranked company worldwide was financial firm Citigroup, with nearly 300,000 employees and assets of over $1.4 trillion.
Rochester Apple Store
In brief: Apple is set to open its first Rochester-area Apple Store this summer in a 3,600-square-foot space at Eastview Mall.... .Mac members can enjoy the T-Mobile HotSpot wireless broadband service free for 30 days.... The newly formed Rhode Island Final Cut Pro User Group is holding its inaugural meeting Monday, April 11th.... Digital-Tutors today announce the availability of the much-anticipated "Fundamentals of Maya: Mastering Render Nodes" training kit - the newest release in a library of industry training resources for emerging digital artists.
Peak Pro 5, XT 5
BIAS has announced Peak Pro 5, the fifth generation of its professional stereo recording, editing, mastering and delivery software. A number of new features have been added to Peak Pro 5, with significant improvements in the areas of mastering and professional CD preparation. BIAS also announced Peak Pro XT 5, an bundle that includes three popular plug-ins. Included are: SuperFreq 4-, 6-, 8- and 10-band paragraphic EQ, SoundSoap, and SoundSoap Pro. SuperFreq now offer an improved GUI, metering, and text entry. SoundSoap is a noise reduction and audio restoration tool. Peak Pro 5 will be available Q2 2005 for $600. Peak Pro XT 5 will be available for $1200.
Consumers considering Macs
"Because they are beautifully designed and so far haven't attracted viruses or spyware, Apple Computer's Macintosh models are getting more consideration than they have in years from Windows users," says Walter Mossberg writing for The Wall Street Journal. "You can now buy a full-fledged, decently equipped Mac, called the Mac Mini, for just $499 ... Apple's iMac G5 models, starting at $1,299, are an even better choice. They use a powerful processor called the G5, and they have a brilliant built-in flat-panel screen. The Mac does everything a typical user needs at least as well as a Windows computer, and it's about to get a major new upgrade of its operating system, which already bests Windows in some respects ... But switching to the Mac isn't right for every user, and it requires buyers to master new software, some of which must be bought separately. Plus, the cheapest Windows PCs still cost less."
Apple no-show at hearing
Apple failed to show up for a hearing in which the music industry fought a proposal by the U.S. Congress that would make all music files compatible. At the hearing, the music industry argued that it would be able to deal with the interoperability issues itself, and that the government should not get involved. Lamar Smith, who once sponsored a bill that would have let music companies jam the PCs of illegal downloaders, said: "Generally speaking, companies with 75 per cent market share of any business ... need to step up to the plate when it comes to testifying on policy issues that impact their industry." Napster CTO William Pence was present, stating: "It does not seem prudent for government to pick a winner in the continuing marketplace battle between Apple's Fairplay DRM and its competitors."
PowerBook, iBook review
U.K. consumer magazine Which? has published a report on the best laptops in three categories. Apple topped two of the three categories, providing the best desktop replacement and entry level machines. The PowerBook 15" was the best "desktop replacement," and it "tore through our tasks, burning a CD of MP3 files in just over four minutes." The 14" iBook was the highest ranked "entry level" laptop. "Unless you give it intensive tasks - burning a CD of MP3s took just under six minutes - you'll hardly notice a difference between it and the Apple PowerBook." In the "ultra portable" category, the Fujitsu Siemens P7010 Life Book took top honors. "It's smaller than a sheet of A4, weighs just 1.5kg and is powerful enough for most people's needs." However, the article notes the Apple PowerBook 12" is an option, but "we didn't test it."
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