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Autodesk releases Toxik

In the wake of Autodesk renaming Discreet as Autodesk Media and Entertainment [Hub News, March 24th 2005] the parent company has released the long-awaited Toxik under the parent name, sans any reference to Discreet.

Toxik is a new way of creating visual effects for film using a modular software platform that features integrated enterprise collaboration. Toxik will not be for everyone – in fact few Apple Pro Apps users will come across this competitor to Apple Shake, with collaborative tools added. Toxik is important because it is a new generation of collaborative working tool and points the way to what might be the future if Apple adds in some similar features to it’s professional video application.

Toxik, at a recommended price of just US$9000 a seat is surprisingly inexpensive for a Discreet/Autodesk product and will give Shake some serious challenge in the collaborative environments at the high end, unless Apple counters with some collaborative workflow tools.

At the heart of Toxik’s multi-user collaboration is an Oracle relational database to synchronize between all systems. Versions of images and compositions are tracked automatically. Compositions can be created on multiple systems while simultaneously linked together for centralized review and rendering. Artists, visual effect supervisors can open and review compositions while other artists or supervisors are working on them.

Beyond multi-user collaboration, Toxik’s key features are:

  • High Dynamic Range 32 bit 3D environment (HDRI) ;
  • High resolution interaction – real time interaction with 2K, 4K, 6K or 21K images;
  • Gestural interface Autodesk is calling Touch UI;
  • Reaction 3D – full 3D environment 3D positioning and compositing (a.k.a. 2.5D), includes Suave a 32 bit float and 16 bit half-float HDRI-capable software renderer for Reaction
  • High Dynamic Range Color Correction;
  • Real-time playback from disk or RAM depending on system configuration;
  • Based on open standards – non-proprietary Python scripting, XML data structures, Oracle database technology and an open Toxik API for extending the application and for more customized integration.

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