ZaxWerks ( has updated ProAnimator, US$649 software for creating 3D animations, to version 5.0. It works with Adobe After Effects CS3 and CS 4.

ProAnimator works as both a standalone app and a plug-in for After Effects. If you’re on a Mac, it is not yet compatible with After Effects CS5; however, the standalone version will create movies that CS5 an use, so you’re not really out of the running. Highlights of version 5 include:

° Multiprocessing — ProAnimator will now use every core on your system to render much faster than before.

° And integrated drawing window — All 3D objects have to be modeled. As you draw, the 3D model is created for you, on the fly. As you edit the 2D paths the 3D objects are re-built in real time. If you draw one path inside of another path the program knows what to do. The Auto-

° Live text editing — You can edit the Bezier curves of text characters without having to convert them to paths.

° Warping — Warping has been built directly into the time line so you can bend, twist, fold, bulge, taper, wave and ripple your 3D objects as you work on the rest of your project.

° Workflow-based interface — A set of workspace buttons presents the tools and controls you need, when you need them. Panels can be arranged to fit your personal monitor size and your working style. Additionally, hundreds of enhanced Tool Tips explain what every button and control does and how to use it.

° Materials and mapping — ProAnimator 5 has added a powerful texture creation system that has over 30 different procedural noises and a gradient designer to let you create surface treatments.

° Text substitution — You can set up an animation once, then by linking the animation to a spreadsheet of data, get it to render all the variations automatically.

° Batch rendering — This lets you create many projects and render them all while you’re away from your desk, one after the other. You no longer have to wait until one rendering is done before you can start the next one. Just queue them up and hit the Render Projects button.