Not to be outdone by Adobe’s Project Felix, Microsoft are apparently gearing up to release an even simpler for-dummies 3D tool. Called MS Paint 3D. Yes, the dusty old MS Paint goes 3D. It sounds like some half-cocked April Fools Day joke, but apparently it’s real and is set to ship with the next Windows 10 update.
There’s an interesting new thing from Adobe, aimed at beefing up Photoshop’s presently mediocre 3D capabilities. Adobe is doing a simple for-dummies version of Keyshot, called ‘Project Felix’. It aims to make 3D more accessible for 2D artists to use in 2D pictures. Without having to learn the equivalent of the control interface of a nuclear submarine, as is the case with software such as Blender and many others.
Project Felix is still in “coming soon” mode, with a public beta set for “later in 2016” before eventually shipping with Adobe Creative Cloud sometime in 2017. It looks like it’s aimed at people who are so limited that they couldn’t even handle a half-day basic training session on Keyshot, which is just about the simplest 3D software to use.
Basically it seems to be Keyshot, plus the ability to seamlessly take the render into Photoshop as a layer. The V-ray render doesn’t look very impressive in the video, but it does look fast — so either it’s on an ultra-fast setting, or Adobe have added some special sauce to V-ray, or they’re expecting users to have a couple of ninja graphics cards available.
I wonder if the Keyshot guys will react to this move by Adobe, re: their pricing, ability to interface seamlessly with Photoshop, and maybe even a V-ray hookup? Their $1,000+ pricing, at least, will likely come down.
The other interesting thing will be to see if Adobe will support the transparency alphas in .FBX and .OBJ models exported from DAZ Studio and Poser? Will such exports have blocky square leaves and white ‘slab’ eyelashes, because Felix can’t juggle the transparency mapping correctly?
iClone 7 is coming soon. Here’s a just-released peek at the visual improvements. Interface or connections to 3D Coat, Substance Painter, Sketchfab, Marmoset. Emissive textures as light sources. Glow maps as light sources, and more…
A set of traditional English Morris dancers for Poser and DAZ. So far as I know there’s nothing out there that fits the description, but it’s an opportunity for a content maker. One could even develop a wider line in ‘Old English traditions’…
Art by Steve Shaw.
Another Black Friday/Cyber Monday discount spotted. The $30 Comic Life 3.5 is a Windows and Mac software tool to quickly make pages of comic-book frames, into which you then drop your pictures, and then add speech balloons and dialogue boxes on top. The graphics wizards can do this with Photoshop, of course, but it’s somewhat easier with Comic Life where everything is streamlined. It does have some very cheesy templates, to appeal to teachers and kiddies who want to make fun chuckle-comics about their pets. But look past that and it’s a useful bit of software for speeding up comics production. Version 3.5 introduces a way to quickly link the comic’s typed script and the speech balloons on the page, and adds other fixes and upgrades from earlier versions.
Use the checkout code: CYBER50 to get it for $15. Sadly they use a checkout system that adds country sales tax, so you do pay VAT in the UK on the final amount. That makes it £10.50 in the UK. It’s a one-time payment, not a subscription, and PayPal is accepted.
To celebrate the new release of CrazyTalk Animator 3, here are all the old Creative Commons freebies I converted for it. Containing:
* 340 backplates, scenic and interiors.
* 160 high-quality static props and animated props.
Almost all are under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license, so you must credit “Smiley Guy Studios” in your animation or comic-book credits.
Usage: Extract .zip files, and the stuff needs to go into the relevant subfolders (‘Background’, ‘Props’, ‘Project’ etc) under: C:\Users\Public\Documents\Reallusion\Custom\CrazyTalk Animator 3 Custom
server one (faster)
server two (slower, likely to stay up longer)
Ah, here we go. I knew it was likely… Autodesk Sketchbook Pro at half price.
* Subscribe to Autodesk’s SketchBook Pro for half-price if you buy a year’s subscription. $14.99 per year instead of from $29.99, although you won’t get that deal at the sketchbook.com site where it’s still $29.99. Nothing on Facebook either. The only detail is at the blog…
“this Black Friday 50% off offer will expire on Monday at midnight.”
It appears that you get the 15-day trial, sign up, then pay by Credit Card and find out then that it’s half-price?
* Wacom have also slightly reduced some of their Cintiq pen tablet prices.
* Get another 10% off the Corel Painter 2017 discount, by using the checkout code: 10CORELSAVE
More Black Friday discounts…
* Unity Asset Store “up to 50%” off selected Unity Store assets. Can be imported to DAZ and Poser, and should also be low-poly enough to use in Reallusion’s iClone. In sci-fi, the curvy toony Sci-Fi Scout Drone ($5.50) caught my eye…
I’d have expected to see more Syd Mead-style ground vehicles here, but there’s nothing of that sort there outside of a couple of blocky ultra-low-poly items.
* Blender users have a Blender Market. Who knew? It’s new to me. A look at the sci-fi section suggests some nice models, but almost all at high ‘movie studio / ad agency’ prices. The Hammershark looks great, though it’s not discounted…
* No discounts on Crossdresser licences other than for Cookie, over on Runtime DNA.
* The Cinema 4D software has some discounts on licences, but I see they’re for those in the U.S. and Canada only.
So, let’s tot up what Black Friday bargains I’ve had tonight and today. In total, taking into account coupons and some store credit, my PayPal is down by just $28.00. Not a bad haul, for the spend. And there’s still a chunk of PayPal balance left for software or a plugin, if a deal suddenly pops up via Facebook through Cyber Monday.
Stryke Angel for Star. Because… sci-fi! And it’ll soon be back up at an eye-watering $16 again. Can be converted for other characters via Crossdresser.
Lil Star Witch for Star!, not so much for the outfit itself but rather to give access to mix-and-matching bits of it with other Star! outfits, and to take advantage of freebies that may need the hat.
Dr Pitterbill Hobo outfit. Opens up new possibilities for Pitterbill in rural and gardening illustration and cartooning work.
HFS Environments: Ancient Tree. Trans-mapped leaves though, so it probably won’t play nicely with Poser’s Comic Book Mode. Note that Ostestes Trees (DAZ Store) do have polygon leaves though, so they work fine with the Comic Book Mode.
Steampunk Classics-Lamp. I see there’s also an animated rig for this on Runtime DNA.
Adventurer Set for the semi-toon SuzyQ 2. Useful for converting via Crossdresser. The boots will be especially useful for other characters, and good pith helmets are rare.
It’s now 9am on Friday in the UK, and past midnight in most of the USA. What’s new in the Black Friday sales?
* Renderosity now has a good many 30% sales, and also a “up to $10” off checkout coupon: BLACK2016P30B10 I see that Nursoda’s Muggie is 70% off, at just $3.50. Dr Pitterbill Hobo and Wizard outfits are both 30% off.
* Hivewire 3D: Now have an official Save up to 53% with Black Friday page. I also noticed some Poser script helper utilities are well discounted there, and there’s a gorilla-sized discount on Poser fur for the Hivewire Gorilla. The sci-fi Stryke Angel for Star (Poser) for less than $10, too, which persuaded me to log in and get it.
* I see that the Teknology 3D store also has a 70% off Black Friday sale, though there was nothing there I wanted.
Still no movement on discounting Autodesk Sketchbook Pro subscriptions. There’s a lackluster 20% off for Photoshop CC subscriptions, I see.
It’s 9pm Thursday evening UK time, and here are the Black Friday -to- Cyber Monday deals I’ve spotted so far:
The DAZ and Poser stores:
* The DAZ Store has a 30% off page. Some of the content creators also have heavy discounts. Nothing in my WishList is discounted though.
* Renderosity. No sign of any Black Friday content sale yet, though the Poser 11 software is discounted (see below).
* Content Paradise. No sign of any Black Friday sale yet.
* Hivewire 3D. No sign of any Black Friday sale yet.
* Cornucopia 3D (for Vue users). A nice range of What’s On Sale? items, but no specific Black Friday discounts yet.
* Runtime DNA has 60% off all content remaining in the store. Hmmm… login. Wishlist is still working? Oh yes, though it’s rather depleted these days. I see that a number of Crossdresser licenses are still available and discounted, including Cookie. Advanced Shaders Launcher script for Poser, get the complete set for $7. So I loaded up on various items at RuntimeDNA.
Then I unloaded — because for some really annoying reason, the RuntimeDNA site no longer accepts PayPal payments wholly in dollars. If you’re in the UK you now have to pay partly in dollars and partly in pounds, which makes the purchase a lot more expensive for someone who holds and wants to pay in U.S. dollars only. I took several items out of my cart, so as to reduce my exposure to the rip-off rates.
For those who have the semi-toon character SuzyQ 2 in their Runtime I spotted the above outfit at Runtime DNA, for just $3.80 (and with Crossdresser 4 it should convert for the original Star).
The Poser content manager database PzDB 1.3 is down from $52 to $36. Still one of the best ways to wrangle a vast runtime.
Reality 4 for Poser and Daz, at just $5.99.
Poser 11 Pro – 65% off.
Poser Pro 11 Upgrade – 25% off.
Corel has a big discount on Painter 2017, priced at $299 down from $429.
Vue? Autodesk Sketchbook? No sign of any movement from them yet.
Manga Studio Pro for $25? Yup. Although these days they call it Clip Studio Pro…
Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 128GB + keyboard and pen, is available in the UK for £599.99 from the Microsoft Store UK, a hefty £259 discount. They’re clearing them out before the Surface 5 arrives in the New Year.
Lots of graphics cards and other deals in the UK, at Overclockers.
CrazyTalk Animator 3 has been recently released. It’s a relatively easy and accessible 2D package for animators and also a drawing aid to cartoonists, and is one of Reallusion’s most appealing bits of software. There’s a range of short tutorials on version 3 in the Reallusion YouTube channel. But it’s really difficult to track down a “new features” overview in a ten minute video, and I don’t think there is an official one yet. There are videos for each new feature, though.
In terms of new content enabled by version 3 the cats and dogs are new packs. Breeds are extra purchases, but even the outlines look especially useful for budding animal cartoonists…
Reallusion does have a full online manual which has been updated for V.3 — just type “New for v3” into the search box to see the technical details on what’s new. One of the big changes is that a user can “put bones in anything”, and create “free bone” non-human characters. Animate a book, for instance.
I see that a coming patch for the $299 Pipeline version will allow the creation of 2D rigged characters from Photoshop layered .PSD files. Automated, I’m guessing, from a correctly named template .PSD? That would be interesting, especially as Sketchbook Pro can output .PSD files.
And apparently their real-time animation software iClone 7 is set to ship in December. If it has a Comic Book Mode as good as the one in Poser 11, I’ll be interested.
Software releases are coming thick and fast as we hurtle toward December. Today comes SketchUp 2017. There are some useful-looking advances for the CAD and architectural users, but for artists there are only three main improvements…
* Faster rendering.
* Semi-transparency “renders faster and at higher quality too”.
* Cleaner “snap to” functions when model making.
75%-off the Poser 11 Standard version, which is now just $50 (was $130). The 75%-off sale ends 13th November 2016.