Tao Presentations 1.13 has just been released. And if you ever wanted a remarkably powerful, yet free 3D presentation software, 1.13 is you lucky number.
Release 1.13 delivers a number of very useful enhancements. First, the free Discovery version is now much more usable for actual presentations. Then, we have completely rewritten the way we load pictures in the GPU, making it much more efficient. We added a new module featuring regular expressions for efficient text parsing. And there are a number of other enhancements, making Tao Presentations better than ever.
We listened, we made Discovery even more free
Tao Presentations Discovery is the free edition of Tao Presentations. We kept receiving the same feedback that its limitations were annoying enough to prevent you from investing your time in the software. How could you discover how powerful it is if after a few minutes, you need to restart it? That was obvious, but for some reason we missed it.
We listened. The major news with release 1.13 is that Tao Presentations Discovery is now fully functional and fully usable for your own presentations. No restrictions, no functional limitations. And still no strings attached: share liberally with your friends.
You can use Tao Presentations Discovery to showcase your great 3D models, create an interactive presentation of the universe, show off your 3D skills on your 3D TV, and more.
So what's the difference with the Creativity and Impress versions? Tao Presentations Discovery will show a small Taodyne logo in the corner of the screen, and it will gently remind you that you can buy it when you quit. That's it. If you are a poor starving student on a budget to get the best 3D presentation software, feel free to use Tao Presentations Discovery forever.
Oh, and there's another benefit to this approach: all editions of Tao Presentations now use the exact same binary. You now longer need to download the software again and reinstall when you purchase it. Simply add the right license file, and voilà, you get a Creativity or Impress edition.
Loading thousand of pictures
Another big news in this release is that it can easily deal with literally thousands of pictures. See, you never see a Powerpoint presentation with hundreds of pictures, so we did not realize there was a need.
Until we met these photographers who takes thousands of high-resolution pictures of the same object from every angle. About 14 gigabytes of uncompressed picture data for a single shot. Uh oh, that doesn't fit in the video memory of most graphic cards cards today.
So we improved the way we deal with pictures. You can now not just load thousands of pictures, but also compress them so that they use less memory on the card. And Tao Presentations will manage the video memory transparently for you.
Here is an example animation that shows more than 5000 pictures to create a virtual turntable showing a Giacometti head:
While we were at it, we also added a feature to detect if a picture file changes on disk, so now you can change images on the disk while Tao Presentations is running and see the effect immediately, for even greater productivity.
Oh, and one more thing. You can now use URLs directly for pictures like you could for movies:
image 0, 0, 1, 1, "http://www.taodyne.com/shop/img/logo.jpg"
Another interesting addition in Tao Presentations 1.13 is a new module for regular expressions. Regular expressions are a very powerful tool for analyzing or parsing text, for example information that you gather from a web site.
For example, say that you want to isolate items and titles from a web RSS feed, you can do it using the following code:
import RegExp import NetworkAccess // Show a simple page of news page "News", text_box 0, 0, window_width * 0.8, window_height * 0.8, align 0 vertical_align 0.3 font "Arial", 24 process_feed get_url_text "http://news.google.com/news?ned=us&q=science&output=rss" // Process a news feed process_feed T:text -> // Refresh every second until we get news feed, then every minute if T = "" then refresh 1 else refresh 60 // Parse the whole news feed regexp_parse_all T, // Deal with 'title' tags inside 'item' tags -"<item.*<title>(.*)</title>" -> line_break color "white" text translate_html regexp_captured 1 // Deal with copyright notice -"<copyright>(.*)</copyright>" -> color "red", 0.7 text translate_html regexp_captured 1 // Translate most common HTML forms translate_html T:text -> // Return a text built by concatenating all HTML elements extracted regexp_parse_text T, "[^&]+" -> regexp_captured 0 """ -> """" "'" -> "'" "&copy;" -> "(C)" "&amp;" -> "&" "&(.*);" -> "&" & regexp_captured 1 & ";"
Here is the kind of output that you get from that very simple code:
And here is what you can get with just a little more work (114 lines of code to be precise):
This module is very powerful, and deserves its own article. Stay tuned.
And a lot more...
There's a lot more to this release. In particular:
- Video playback is faster sometimes by 40%.
- Buttons and widgets are easier to use.
- On Linux, we improved the display of text, although we still strongly recomment disabling things like Compiz that severely degrade antialiasing on most Linux systems.
- We fixed the look of cylinders with lighting.
- The on_click primitive can now react to right-button clicks.
- We made a few fixes to the C++ Software Development Kit.
- We improved the performance of file attribute scanning over network devices.
- And you can no longer assign false to the boolean true (which was a pretty embarassing goof up)...
In short, it's really time to upgrade!