New Release of mental mill(R) Artist Edition Software Bundled with NVIDIA(R) FX Composer(TM) 2.5

SANTA CLARA, Calif. & BERLIN—(BUSINESS WIRE)—July 22, 2008— mental images®, a global leader in rendering software and visualization tools for animators, visual effects artists and professionals who create high quality imagery, and NVIDIA® (Nasdaq:NVDA) today announced that an updated beta version of mental mill® Artist Edition will be bundled with NVIDIAs FX Composer 2.5. This combination of advanced technologies, and the new NVIDIA Shader Debugger plug-in for FX Composer, facilitates the creation of shaders across all popular platforms.

The mental mill Artist Edition software is a shader creation tool for all levels of expertise. It has an intuitive graphical interface that enables artists, designers and shader developers to create, test and maintain shaders with real-time feedback without the need for programming skills that are usually required. With mental mill shaders become platform and environment agnostic, allowing future-proof shaders to be written once and used regardless of emerging technologies.

The response that we have received since the initial release of mental mill Artist Edition last year has been enormously positive. said Rolf Herken, CEO and CTO of mental images. Artists appreciate the new-found creative control that mental mill provides. The new features and enhancements included in this latest version of mental mill are the result of user feedback and our commitment to create solutions that integrate seamlessly into their existing design and entertainment content creation pipelines.

This latest release of mental mill Artist Edition includes a number of features and enhancements designed to make the graphical interface easier to navigate. In addition to these improvements and preview rendering enhancements, there are new shaders included in the toolbox. Customer export is a now available with new compiler options that the user can control. This includes shader export for FX Composer.

mental mill Artist Edition has redefined the way we at Blue Castle Games work with shaders and rendering tasks in general. mental mill empowers the artists to take control of the esthetics of rendering, and enabled rendering programmers to work more closely with the artists to deliver esthetically superlative results, said Izmeth Siddeek, Senior Visual Development Artist at Vancouver-based Blue Castle Games. It represents a real paradigm shift in how we work. We started using mental mill on a single project as a test case, and were so pleased with the cost and time savings, as well as the superior results, that Blue Castle is now integrating it into all of our projects in development.

Bundled with NVIDIAs FX Composer 2.5, an integrated development environment for fast creation of real-time visual effects, mental mill Artist Edition is an integral part of the shader development pipeline. Together mental mill and FX Composer 2.5 can be used to create shaders for HLSL, COLLADA FX Cg, and CgFX in DirectX and OpenGL. This latest release features:

  • DirectX 10 Support
  • ShaderPerf with GeForce 8 Series Support
  • Visual Models & Styles
  • Particle Systems
  • Improved User Interface

Additionally, developers can use NVIDIAs new Shader Debugger, released as a plug-in for FX Composer 2.5, which enables debugging capabilities for CgFX and HLSL shaders, and those exported by mental mill.

NVIDIAs bundling of mental mill Artist Edition with FX Composer 2.5 signals the companys adoption of MetaSL as a standard. MetaSL is the universal meta shader language developed by mental images. Using MetaSL, shaders are created once, independent of the target platforms, and compiled into highly efficient code for execution on general purpose CPUs, GPUs, and custom processors.

NIVIDIA supports mental images in their mission to provide the best technologies to our core customers while also making them accessible to non-technical design professionals and an increased range of industries," said Jeff Brown, general manager, Professional Solutions, NVIDIA. The combination of FX Composer 2.5 and mental mill provides a suite of powerful tools that make it easier to achieve high-end results in a more efficient way.

A standalone beta version of mental mill with additional features for debugging and shader programming is currently available at www.mentalimages.com.

NVIDIA FX Composer 2.5, which includes mental mill Artist Edition, is available for download at: www.fxcomposer.com. More information about the NVIDIA Shader Debugger is available at www.shaderdebugger.com.

Developers are encouraged to visit the NVIDIA developer web site ( http://developer.nvidia.com) and the NVIDIA Developer Tools forums ( http://developer.nvidia.com/forums ).

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