Autodesk eyes stereoscopic 3-D

Developed new features with input from customers

Content creation software developer Autodesk Media & Entertainment introduced stereoscopic 3-D production capabilities Monday at Siggraph 2008, the international conference and exhibition on computer graphics and interactive techniques taking place this week at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

The announcement underscores continued interest in stereoscopic 3-D filmmaking, which is a big topic at the confab.

Autodesk previewed Maya 2009, the latest version of its 3-D computer animation software, and Toxik 2009, the new compositing system version. Both include stereoscopic tools.

Additionally, the company is presenting a technology demonstration of its Lustre color grading software with stereo capabilities.

Sebastian Sylwan, the company's senior film and television industry manager, said, "The key is the stereo tools are available at any point in your pipeline, perfectly integrated. The more stereo is not another toolset to be learned, but rather it is more integrated in the existing toolset than the more unencumbered the creative expression will be."

Some of the new features were developed closely with customers.

For example, Dreamworks Animation had a hand in the 3-D toolset.

"We developed tools (for use with Maya) in conjunction with Autodesk," said Phil McNally, global stereoscopic supervisor at DWA. "Initially the way it worked is we had a requirement for stereo moviemaking tools, such as a way to see 3-D while working in Maya. Now they are incorporating that in their software. There is a broader appeal as more people are producing 3-D movies."

Maya is in use at DWA on its 2009 release "Monsters vs. Aliens."

Autodesk's new software versions of Maya and Toxik are slated for availability in October.