Apple today announced Shake 3, the next generation of its industry-leading compositing and visual effects software. Shake 3 includes new Mac OS X only features such as the Shake Qmaster network render management software and unlimited network rendering licenses which allow visual effects artists to easily distribute rendering tasks across a cluster of Apple’s Xserve 1U rack servers or desktop Power Mac G4 computers for maximum performance and efficiency. Shake 3 also includes new visual effects features available to Mac OS X, Linux and IRIX customers including motion-tracking and real-time broadcast preview.
Shake is the industry’s most advanced compositing software designed for large format productions by major motion picture studios and leading visual effects houses. Shake features the fastest resolution independent software rendering engine on the market, a production proven visual effects toolset and a compositing architecture that supports multiple bit depths within a single project. Shake has been used in the production of over a hundred motion pictures including all three films in the Academy Award winning Lord of the Rings trilogy.
“With Shake 3, we’re making the visual effects software used in Oscar winning films more powerful and more accessible to a broader audience,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing in the press release. “Shake 3 delivers advanced new features for our existing Shake customers as well as innovative new network rendering features exclusive to our Mac OS X customers.”
New Shake Qmaster network render management software included with Shake for Mac OS X uses Apple’s Rendezvous networking technology to automatically identify available render nodes and clusters on a network while load balancing optimizes usage across each machine in the workflow. If one Xserve or Power Mac G4 goes offline, built-in fault tolerance allows Shake Qmaster to re-route tasks to other render nodes in the cluster, so the project gets done on time. As Shake Qmaster is based on an open architecture, it can also provide distributed rendering support for many leading third-party applications, such as Alias/Wavefront’s Maya.
Shake 3 delivers powerful new visual effects tools to streamline the creative process and give artists more creative control. Artists can now apply tracking data to rotoshapes and paint strokes in order to automate time consuming rotoscoping tasks. New audio support allows artists to view audio
waveforms against animation curves making it easier to synchronize visual effects with audio. A film grain filter accurately simulates a variety of film stock grain. Shake’s animation curve editor is dramatically improved for maintaining specific animation behaviors like slopes and values over a range of frames.
New features for commercial post-production professionals in Shake make it easier for editors, motion graphic designers and other professionals to create Oscar-caliber visual effects. Broadcast monitor support on Mac OS X enables artists to playback composites on a video monitor in real time accurate previews. Shake 3 users can also import Photoshop layers with blend modes.
Shake 3 for Mac OS X is optimized for Apple’s new Xserve configuration tailored for computational clusters and distributed applications. Featuring dual 1.33 GHz PowerPC G4 processors, Velocity Engine vector processing and up to 2GB of 333 MHz Double Data Rate memory, this cluster-optimized Xserve configuration delivers up to 19.5 gigaflops of computational power in a
1U form-factor at a low price of $2,799 (US).
Shake 3 is expected to be available in June for Mac OS X, Linux and IRIX through Apple Authorized Pro Film Resellers. Shake 3 will be available for Mac OS X with unlimited render licenses for a suggested retail price of $4,950 (US), and for Linux and IRIX for a suggested retail price of $9,900 (US) with annual maintenance of $1,485 (US). Existing Shake for Linux, IRIX and Windows customers will continue to be given the option to double the number of their existing Shake licenses at no additional cost by migrating them to Shake on Mac OS X. A full list of Shake 3 system requirements can be found here.