The excellent free 3D mesh conversion and poly-reduction tool MeshLab has had a long-awaited update to MeshLab 2016 (Win 64-bit and Mac).
Here’s my personal survey of what I think are the most notable items released in mid and late 2016 for the DAZ and Poser content ecosystem. The survey has been made by trawling as far back as I can go on with the store “what’s new” pages, and my wishlists and my runtime. It’s been about ten months since my last such survey.
It’s been another good year for content, but also a year of change at several stores. One of the most notable changes was of course the denuding (and now effective closure) of Runtime DNA. Some content vendors have gone to HiveWire, some to the DAZ Store, a few to their own stores or even into retirement. Buyers may thus see apparently “new things” on stores that are actually older content from RuntimeDNA being transferred and uploaded. Thankfully I was familiar enough with the old RuntimeDNA range to know which items are really new, and which not.
New content vendor Herschel Hoffmeyer makes a splash with a big Tyrannosaurus Rex as his first release. Dinoraul has dinosaurs pretty much covered, though, so you have to wonder what other niche Hoffmeyer’s obvious talents will make their mark in. Sci-fi “future-hybrid” creatures, perhaps?
Also making a big splash is The HumpBack Whale, a new highly detailed model with plenty of skins and poses.
The whale might be combined with Sea Beast.
In that context note also Stonemason’s new Jungle Construction Kit, Abandoned Temple, Mayan Ruins and Fern Lake Bundle. Also the pose set Gladiator for Victoria 7 and Michael 7 where the poses are keyed to fighting a big cat (a DAZ Big Cat 2, rather than the HiveWire ones) hand-to-claw.
Talking of nature, it seems that the Poser 11-friendly versions of Vue, such as VUE Studio 2016, have recently been released. Certainly there are viable order pages for them now. Previously it was only the top-of-the-line Vue 2016 that had been released.
In nature there has been a surprising lack of quality small lizards until recently, but now Poser nature expert Ken Gilliland has produced a fine set of Nature’s Wonders: Lizards of the World which now has four packs. As always with Ken’s careful work, they’re accurate for real species and could be used for illustrations on nature-reserve information boards and booklets. I’d love to see him do a “Lizards of the British Isles” pack sometime, though I guess we’re behind hotter countries that have brighter prettier lizards.
I seem to remember that perhaps half of Ken’s Birds of Prey series for Poser, addons for Songbird Remix, were also newly released in 2016.
Environments and interiors:
Medieval Scriptorium. There is a lot of medieval stuff around, and it’s easy to get tired of it. But I don’t think I’ve seen a scriptorium around before, and certainly not one this good…
BB3D Environments: Medieval Study could possibly be used as an external corridor with the scriptorium.
Beyond the Clock, an unusual “inside the clocktower” interior.
Restricted Zone is usefully generic, lending itself to “Area 52-style” UFO tales or spy/thriller situations.
Faery, wood spirits and similar:
Sticks the Wood Spirit. The fingertips seem a little under-detailed, but most of the time they’re going to be hidden in grass anyway.
I can imagine a storybook where Sticks the Wood Spirit may come out of the woods and live in The Gardeners Potting Shed for a while. Old Garden – Structures could provide additional environment for the Shed. A Typical British Farmyard might also be a setting.
The Forest King for Genesis 3 Male might also play a part in such a story.
Your heroine in such a story might wear the Melidae Crown for Genesis 3 Female.
Dominator is an all-purpose “destroy the planet!” do-hickey, which can also double up as an invasion fleet.
SciFi Medusa is a future VR helmet with cyber-tentacles!
2075 Feral Assassin X for Genesis 3 Female is an unusual “human kitty”.
The BnB Cephalotus would make fun ‘alien planet’ plants. What if they arrived on earth? I can imagine a storybook or comic that paired these with the Songbird ReMix Kiwis to comedic effect. The Cephalotus can speak, sing, with lip-sync in Poser.
Flora Imaginarum offers more ‘alien planet’ plants.
As America prepares to get back to work in January, Construction Worker Outfit for Genesis 2 and Genesis 3 looks like a timely addition to the runtime.
Too late now for Christmas but Mr and Mrs Klaus is very professionally designed and detailed.
Elven Weapon Bundle, worth seeing just for the preview renders alone.
For a similar but grittier look try Rough Rider for Genesis 3 Male.
Retro Skirt for Genesis 3 Female. The title is a bit confusing, as it seems the jacket is also included. Has a nice sort of “1840s” feel about it, which could make your 1890s steampunk feel a bit fresher.
Wise Sensei for Genesis 3 Male and an Asian River fishing hamlet scene for him. With a bit of tweaking and runtime-bashing he could also pass as a Bronze Age trader in Europe, of the sort found frozen in the ice a few years ago.
MightyMite has continued to churn out pack after pack of comic book hero poses, and I’m told they’re good useful stuff. Anyone making superhero comics with Poser no longer needs a ‘pose scrapbook’ or similar, or to scrabble around in other pose sets.
Ironman13 (i13) has produced a much-needed wide range of quality poses and expressions for the DAZ Genesis 3 characters, often with mix-and-matching eye position and hand presets. For instance, i13 All Life’s Pleasures
Pompadour Hair for G3M and M7 is a very fashionable style that seems to be worn by all the cool boys these days. Also look at Rodi Clean Cut Hair Style for Genesis 3 Male. Could go well with sci-fi, given a few white/silver shades.
320 x Quality SuperFly Shader Materials for Poser 11 SuperFly renders. Ignore the scary manual — you can just drag-and-drop these onto your model or character, and you don’t need to get into node editing or understanding the mind-bending theory of how such shaders actually work.
Digital Art Live now has some of their training webinar recordings on the DAZ Store, such as Daz Studio Content Creation Mastery: Rendering Top Promos & Preparing Products for Sale.
There’s now a Stonemason Indie Game Developer License for many of the Stonemason environments.
HandBrake 1.0 has been released to the public, after years in beta. It can do things like: take the huge raw video files from your camera, and turn them into something that’s much easier and smoother for your video editing software to use. The new v.1.0. is free and…
“brings tons of new presets and support for more devices and file types”
HitFilm Pro 2017 (version 5) has been released. It’s an affordable video editor and VFX/greenscreen compositor combo, packed with presets for easily applying raygun blasts and suchlike. It’s less costly and somewhat easier to learn-and-use than After Effects + (shudder) Adobe Premiere, and generally seems to be aimed at makers of fan-films, indie films and creatives in small production studios.
Among the new features I spotted in v.5:
* “Go Pro and 360° video support”. So I’m guessing you can seamlessly add their large library of VFX to your 360° VR, and not have them look distorted when seen in the headset viewer?
* “Autodesk FBX format support”.
* “Queue up a number of high quality tasks to export”. So there’s now some form of a Render Queue, so users can do things like render out their footage overnight.
£308 in the UK and (turns on VPN proxy and pretends to be in the USA…) $349 in the USA. Which at current exchange-rates should be £281 in the UK. So presumably they’re adding VAT sales tax, to get the UK price up to that £308 figure. As with most forms of video editing, you’re also going to need a powerful PC and masses of empty hard-disk space.
Bedroom Producers Blog has an excellent short review of what’s new in HitFilm 2017, and concludes with useful tips on how to to use HandBrake to convert your humongous source camera-footage to something that HitFilm’s timeline will work more smoothly with.
Santa delivered my Christmas present early! Yes, I wished that the great 3D Poser modeller 1971s did science fiction and sold it on the Renderosity store. And the wish came true! Even better his latest sci-fi scene is currently on a discount sale, along with more of his superb new fantasy scenes. I picked up all three scenes plus a steampunk airship for a mere $14, with a little store-credit applied…
This is new, to me… 320 x Quality SuperFly Shader Materials for Poser 11 SuperFly renders. Apparently the pack(s) came out in the dog-days of August, when I wasn’t paying attention to such things.
Sadly the manual assumes you know how to use node-based shaders and it falls into the usual category of “cool stuff I made, look at the pretty pictures, here’s some technical descriptions, have fun”, rather than “editing node-based shaders is not fun for normal people — here is a very clear step-by-step tutorial guide which will allow a newbie to actually operate and tweak the stuff they paid for”. Content stores really should enforce proper tutorials from vendors, in some of their more advanced content packs.
Actually, for those who are scared shitless of nodes after reading the manual for this pack, I’m told that these shaders are really just drag-and-drop simple to apply. Though you wouldn’t know it from reading the manual or the store description.
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 or game 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.