Kaydara has released Motionbuilder 5.5 Professional, a significant update to the company's real-time 3D character animation software. The new release adds support for Python scripting and CgFX shaders, and is available on Mac OS X and Windows platforms.

Motionbuilder is aimed at game, film, TV and Web visual content creators and sports a story timeline interface, F-curve editor, editable dope sheet and much more. The software includes file support for MP3, AAC, QuickTime, MPEG, OBJ and other formats, including Kaydara's own FBX file interchange format -- supported by leading products from Discreet, Softimage and others.

This release gains support for the Python scripting language, which is helpful for integrating into production pipelines based around the technology. Python scripting support allows users to automate repetitive processes, according to Kaydara.

Also new in this release is support for CgFX shaders and Cg, a higher-level shading language developed by Nvidia. With CgFX support in place, artists can tweak shaders to create custom special effects, with control over bump depth, color and specularity.

Motionbuilder 5.5 Professional costs £2,885 plus VAT in the UK. The upgrade is free for existing 5.0 users, and is available on Mac OS X v10.2 or higher, Windows 2000 and Windows XP.