nVidia has released Gelato 2.1, an upgrade to the GPU-accelerated rendering software. The software gains support for Joe Alter’s Shave and a Haircut software for computer-generated hair and fur effects –– plus support for Autodesk's Maya 8.5 and 3ds Max 9.0 software, improved stereo rendering, fog lights, and significant performance improvements.

"Gelato is extremely powerful rendering software capable of delivering amazing results," said Joe Alter, CEO of his epnoymous company. "Now, with support for Shave and a Haircut, Maya users can easily add Gelato to their rendering pipelines to achieve extremely realistic hair and fur -- Gelato is a potent rendering solution for Maya/Shave users."

Gelato 2.1 is available as a free download from the nVidia Web site. Gelato Pro 2.1, which is priced at $1500 (around £780), offers advanced rendering features and greater scalability for professional production pipelines.

Gelato is final-frame rendering software for the creation of high-quality computer-generated images that is accelerated by the nVidia's Quadro FX and GeForce graphics hardware. Originally developed to render film and broadcast visual effects and animation, nVidia says that Gelato is well-suited for any 3D software application that requires high-quality rendering such as animation, game development, CAD, industrial design, and architecture. Gelato ships with plug-ins for Autodesk Maya and Autodesk 3ds Max.