Apple’s announcement of
at NAB 2003 this week was punctuated by the news that the compositing software — available for Mac OS X, Irix and Linux — will sport features exclusive to Mac OS X.
Apple’s Shake compositing software is aimed at large format productions done by major motion picture studios and visual effects houses. The software features resolution-independent software rendering capabilities and an architecture that supports multiple bit depths within a single project. The software has been used on projects including the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
While Shake will remain compatible with Linux and IRIX-based systems for its third major incarnation, the software now gains special capabilities for Mac OS X — Shake Qmaster network rendering management software, along with unlimited network rendering licenses. This enables Shake users to set up a rack of Apple Xserves or a cluster of Power Mac G4s as a render farm. Apple also noted that Shake 3 has been optimized for Apple’s new Xserve cluster configuration.
Shake Qmaster also supports Rendezvous, the zero-configuration networking technology first introduced with Jaguar’s 2002 release. Shake Qmaster handles fault tolerance if one node in the cluster goes offline, and features an open architecture that supports third-party applications like Alias|Wavefront’s industry-standard 3D rendering and animation software Maya.
Shake 3 sports new visual effects tools like automated rotoscoping functions, new audio support to simplify synchronizing visual and audio effects, a film grain filter that simulates film stock grain and an animation curve editor.
Post-production improvements include broadcast monitor support, support for importing Photoshop layers with blend modes and more.
Coming in June, Shake 3 will be sold through Apple Authorized Pro Film Resellers. If the new Shake Qmaster technology wasn’t enough enticement, Apple has offered another reason to get Shake users to migrate to Mac OS X, as well. The software costs US$4,950 for Mac OS X with unlimited render licenses. Linux and IRIX versions cost $9,900 with an annual maintenance of $1,485.
Apple will continue to offer Linux, IRIX and Windows customers the option to upgrade to the OS X version with twice the number of existing licenses at no additional cost, too. (Apple discontinued Windows support for Shake with the v2.5 release last year).