Apple Computer will take the wraps off the latest version of its industry-standard compositing and effects solution for film and HD during the annual NAB conference next month, reliable sources told AppleInsider.
Shake 3.5, as the company plans to call it, will boast new Warper and Morpher nodes along with improvements to playback caching, shape drawing, QuickTime integration and more, sources said.
New Warper and Morpher Nodes
Shake 3.5's new Warper and Morpher nodes will allow film editors to easily create specific warping effects using tools very similar to those used by the RotoShape node. By using shapes, editors can deform parts of an image to conform to shapes drawn in the Viewer, sources said.
The Warper node will be useful for creating targeted deformations to alter the shape of a subject in an image, while the Morpher node blends two images together to create the effect of one subject changing shape to turn into another.
Playback Caching and Playback Limiting
Shake 3.5 will sport a more predictable and improved caching logic, which will improve playback subject to the speed of the users computer and the amount of RAM available. However, Viewer playback in the new version will be limited to the frame rate specified by the user in the 'timecodeMode' parameter of the application's Globals tab.
Improved Shape Drawing
Improving on features added to Shake version 3.0.1, Shake 3.5 will also add several new commands and controls to aid editors in shape drawing and manipulation.
For more precision, each shape's transform control now affects only that shape, even if control points on multiple shapes are selected. Likewise, holding down the Shift key while manipulating one or more selected points with the transform control will modify only the selected points instead of the entire shape. Holding the Command or Control key while dragging the center of a transform control will now move it in relation to the shape it's associated with.
With Shake 3.5, each shape in a RotoShape, Warper, or Morpher node will be labeled in the Viewer with a number ID based on the order in which it was created. By right-clicking any shape in the Viewer, users can display a shortcut menu with commands to hide that shape, hide other shapes, or show all shapes, sources said. Meanwhile, right-clicking anywhere in the Shake Viewer will display a shortcut menu that will allow users show or hide any shape in that node by its label.
User's will also be able to copy entire shapes--or shape fragments--between RotoShape, Warper, and Morpher nodes. When copying a shape from a RotoShape node to a Warper or Morpher node, users will have the option to assign it as a source, target, or boundary shape. In addition, several parameters in the 'guiSettings' section of the application's Globals tab will allow users to customize shape-drawing behaviors and shape transform controls in the Viewer.
Improved QuickTime Support
Shake’s handling of QuickTime clips greater than 8-bits has been greatly improved in Shake 3.5, sources said. It will also bring improved support for importing and exporting QuickTime clips using the Apple Uncompressed 8- and 10-bit 4:2:2 codecs.
Handling of DPX Files
Apple will also improve support for reading and writing of DPX images, offering improved for better compatibility with more film recorders, sources report. An additional parameter will allow users to specify the orientation of the output image as either 'Top to Bottom' or 'Bottom to Top' when rendering a DPX file with a FileOut node.
Custom File Header Metadata
For facilities using special file translators, Shake 3.5 will deliver internal support for blind data, which will allow for the preservation of metadata from custom file formats. When designing a file translator that places a file’s header metadata into Shake’s blind data container, the new version will now pass it down through the node tree.
Customized FlipBook and Additional Support for Qmaster
Finally, via the use of plugs, Shake 3.5 will deliver additional support Shake Qmaster and allow users to specify an external flipbook to come up as the default, sources said.
Shakes Industry Dominance
For the past three years WETA Digital, New Zealand’s foremost visual effects facility, has used Shake software as the primary film compositing system to handle the enormous visual effects requirements for New Line Cinema’s and Peter Jackson’s adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.
This year's Annual Academy Awards presentation marked the seventh consecutive year Apple’s Shake compositing software has played a crucial role in a film winning the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. The 2004 winners in this category from Weta Digital credited Shake as a key element in the creation of “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.”
Apple is expected to debut Shake 3.5 during its invite-only "Moving Pictures. Moving Sound. Moving the Industry" event on April 18th at the NAB conference. The application is said to be just one of several announcements to be made by the company during the expo.