One of the most interesting corporate moves in recent months was Apple buying Nothing Real. At NAB, FXguide, and many others treked to the Apple Booth to see the new Apple OSX Shake, and find out just what was the story? How much will it be ? And just when can we get a copy for our Ti Powerbooks ?

Given Apple’s purchase of Nothing Real, all eyes were on them to see what direction they intend to take the product. Apple was certainly enjoying its new found Feature Film connections with impressive talks on Shake’s key role in the production of Lord of the Rings.

Surprisingly, even with half a dozen Apple Mac Shakes running at the show, Apple still refuse to outline their plans. Unlike some rumour web site “spy’photos in recent weeks, Shake on Apple looks remarkably like Shake on NT, but with a few Aqua GUI tricks. Much like Maya on Mac, Apple seems keen to not redesign and move these professional versions away from the user base by pushing radically different user interfaces. The beta show copies we tested seemed stable and complete.

The R&D team from Nothing Real has now increased in size, with a serious injection of resources and support from Apple. At the moment Nothing Real is still in the same building in Venice, but while at one stage they had only the middle floor, over time they have grown to fill the whole building. Ironiclly, Discreet’s Combustion team were on the third floor, before the project was relocated, rumour has it that some of those Discreet employees who did not move with the project to Canada, are now parking back in their old spots, but for a new employer. We hear via the rumour mill that while Apple is very supportive, they are hands off and allowing the ex Nothing Real team room to grow.

No pricing or delivery information was disclosed, (of course all bets are now on a MacWorld launch), but we did learn that the Nothing Real Web site will soon fold into Apple’s main web site, and all NT and Linux customers will be fully supported, but no news on if new non-Mac versions will ever be released.

As far as selling Shake, it is also rumoured that the software will be sold via a new ‘professional’ creditation dealer network, providing more support and more backup to the professional user.

There are also many rumours floating about Shakes possible integration with Final Cut Pro, but the show copy of Shake seemed to point to a stand alone application. On the Apple gossip web sites there is also rumours of a dual graphics card /dual CPU /Tower G4/G5 that will have enormous processing and compositing bandwidth. Such a machine would be an ideal patform for the Shake developers to show off the new product. graphic performance has been an issue with the current Macs.

In the end all the ex Nothing Real employees looked very happy and comfortable in their Apple corporate uniforms. No doubt with direct Operating System support the team can continue with their outstanding work, and build on their current systems. The question still remains however, just how will exisiting post companies react if all their NT render farms and Shake systems all have to mirgate to the Mac to continue with the product ?

UPDATE:
We have learned that no Microsoft operating system support will be provided in future releases. Current customers can get point releases if they already own licences, but not the next major version. And all new licences to new users will be OSX only, however some large customers will be able to buy additional NT licences of their current software release.

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