updated 08:05 pm EDT, Tue October 21, 2008
Craft Director Tools
Craft Animations has released its Craft Director Tools animation plug-in suite for users of Autodesk Maya on the Mac platform. Three primary sets of plug-ins are offered, including Craft Camera Tools, Craft Vehicles, and Craft Accessories. A variety of camera functions are available, including controls for automatic zoom, camera movements, simulated human interaction, and real time camera perspective and angle adjustments. Other tools include a stabilizer for cameras attached to animated objects, spherical path utility, spline speed controller, and a zero gravity environment replicator.
The vehicle animation packages offer a range of animated objects that can be controlled by the user with a joystick or steering wheel. Options include motorcycles, racing bikes, mopeds, bicycles, cars, trucks, airplanes, multi-wheeled crawlers, and helicopters. The company claims that the acceleration, braking, wheel-ground interaction, and suspension are all replicated correctly on the four wheel vehicles, with appropriate subtleties simulated for the other vehicles as well.
The accessories set of tools includes several plug-ins that don't quite fit into the other categories, including a crawler track generator and direct input rigging utility. A firepower tool animates any size or shape of bullet, various rates of fire, and adds recoil to guns and cannons. A missile simulator creates a variety of projectiles including fireworks, space shuttles, or military weapons.
Craft Director Tools requires Mac OS X 10.4 or higher and Autodesk Maya. Each tool is priced independently, with a range from $130 to $1200.