by Alan Sheckter, Videomaker news editor

Targeting Mac users who work with video, multimedia and print graphics, dvGarage and Electric Image have teamed up to develop an integrated training system designed to teach 3D principles and techniques.

3D Toolkit will be available in July for $199.

The 3D Toolkit will include a DVD-based training hosted by Alex Lindsay, who created 3D for Star Wars: Episode 1 and other films with Industrial Light & Magic. The 3D Toolkit also includes a full version of Electric Image's 2.9 software, which originally sold for $2,295, and was used to make Star Wars and other major productions.

The 3D Toolkit is designed for a wide-range of artists who want to integrate 3D visual effects into their projects. 3D Toolkit proponents said that in the past, other such training kits have been too expensive, too complex or too simple for budding 3D artists to get into 3D and progress to the professional level. Rather than describing each button on the software's user interface, the 3D Toolkit will endeavor to teach essential building blocks of working in 3D though tutorials, instructional video and community projects. The 3D Toolkit will also offer high-end tips and tricks for established 3D artists who want to take their work to the next level, regardless of what 3D application they are using.

The 3D Toolkit includes an overview of modeling, animating and rendering, as well as both basic and advanced tutorials. It also includes a collection of texture maps, models, surface settings and more to help artists get started quickly. To further build on its integrated training platform, later this summer dvGarage will release six additional components to its 3D Toolkit system. They are camera mapping, texture mapping and animation for technique training and pre-visualization, broadcast and print for professional specialization.

ElectricImage Animation System 2.9 includes a powerful hybrid solids/surfaces modeler, comprehensive animation system with function curve editing, bones, IK, morphing, deformations, motion blur, a variety of plug-ins and more. It also includes Camera, which is the 'World's Fastest Rendering Engine' with superior anti-aliasing for motion-picture quality productions.

Customers of the 3D Toolkit will receive a discount on the purchase price of Electric Image's Universe 3.0, the company's newest version. For more information, visit www.electricimage.com.

Although the 3D Toolkit will retail for $199 MSRP, pre-orders for the dvGarage 3D Toolkit product can be placed through dvGarage's distribution partners, Electric Image and Toolfarm.com, Inc., for $99, respectively at www.electricimage.com and www.toolfarm.com/3dtoolkit

In addition, orders for the dvGarage 3D & Surface Toolkit bundle can be placed at www.toolfarm.com/3dtoolkit for $198.

More 3D Toolkit information, tutorials and samples can be found at www.dvgarage.com.

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