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January 3, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:48pm

TGS CONSOLIDATES 3D COMPANIES; NEW TOOLS DUE

By CBR Staff Writer

Evans & Sutherland Computer Corp has realized it was never going to beat out rival Template Graphics Software Inc in the battle to win business around Silicon Graphics Inc’s OpenGL graphics libraries and Open Inventor tool kit and has sold the Portable Graphics Inc subsidiary it acquired in 1994 to the San Diego, California-based company for an undisclosed amount. TGS will combine the two businesses with that of a third, VRML Inc, and create a new holding company for it called Total Graphics Solutions NV, based in the Netherlands for tax purposes. TGS, which worked closely with SGI on the creation of the Virtual Reality Modeling Language specification, funded the creation of VRML Inc to develop VRML products in 1995 and bought the rest of the company it did not already own at the same time as acquiring PGI. E&S has taken a minority stake in Total Graphics Solutions for an undisclosed amount. The operations of VRML, also based in San Diego, will be merged with those of TGS, while a sales and marketing unit will be all that remains of PGI’s headquarters Austin, Texas. The consolidated company, a privately-held operation turning over less than $10m, will have 60 staff in total following the departure of some PGI employees. TGS says PGI’s OpenGL and Open Inventor 3D graphics tools are almost identical to its own and that it will move PGI customers over to its own products and phase PGI software out altogether. TGS has been working to integrate its implementation of SGI’s 3D tools with VRML Inc software and in January will introduce a series of products called 3D Master Suite. Some products for modeling data in three dimensions and viewing through VRML such as tables and graphs, will be targeted at technical graphics users who TGS expects to be the biggest users of VRML technologies. Other 3D software will be targeted at internet end users and webmasters for jazzing-up web sites as well as VRML plug-in-ware and translation and authoring software derived from VRML Inc. TGS doesn’t expect VRML to ever live up to all of the hype that’s been created around it and acknowledges there are still holes in some of the specs, but expects to build a healthy business out of the tools, projecting a growth rate of 30% a year. It’s definitely not out to make a business VRMLising retailers’ web sites, doing 3D internet storefront malls or bringing 3D to internet chat rooms.

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