Such a pity, Amazon has just announced its UK Black Friday deals list and already the Ugee HK1560 15.6 Inch pen monitor at a mere £297 is… gone, sold out, and the waitlist is full. Still, there is also a 24% discount available, on the regular price. Those in the USA might also watch out for similar Ugee pen monitor deals over the next week.
SketchUp Make, the free desktop version of SketchUp, has reportedly been canned in favour of “SketchUp Free, a free browser-based version” of SketchUp. Users get only “10MB of free storage”, so it looks they’re planning to monetise it via the “add extra storage” angle.
The lack of a free desktop version is going to be rather annoying to:
1) The nearly 40% of rural Americans who still lack access to fast broadband Internet. Many in Canada are also in the Internet boondocks. Australia likewise.
2) Kids whose Internet time is heavily metered and restricted by net-nanny software.
3) Anyone who, for whatever reason, does not have access to the Internet. Schools, prisons, the military, merchant ships etc, all usually with heavily locked-down or no personal Internet access.
4) The rest of the world, re: poor or no viable Internet access in many places in developing nations.
And so on. For the next few days (maybe weeks) you can however still download the free SketchBook Make which is the free desktop version for Windows and Mac. For the benefit of future searchers, sketchupmake-2017-2-2555-90782-en-x64.exe will be the Windows install file you’ll need to search the FTP sites for.
“How to Create Graphic Novels and Anime Style Art with Poser”, a live Digital Art Live training webinar. 25th November 2017, using Poser 11 Pro.
New type of comic book, albeit with a heavy dose of motion-sickness included…
“By layering the 2D art and animating each layer independently, a 3D effect is created. By itself, it’s a cool effect that brings the comic to life, but there’s more to it than that. The comic also responds to tilting your iOS device. You can tilt your iPhone or iPad to get a different perspective on the scene and peek at details that can’t be viewed from certain angles.”
Sounds like something the developers of CrazyTalk Animator might think about enabling output for.
New $100 Wacom pen, the “Pro Pen 3D”. This new pen’s… “third button provides additional control options for 3D programs and applications”.
For the benefit of Poser and DAZ content sellers, here’s some market insight into my thinking on making store purchases.
$3.95 or less:
If a very nice new (or a Wishlist) item is reduced to $3.95 or less, then it’s almost certain to go in my Checkout basket without much thought. But then I’ll go and see what else on the same store I can find for $2-3. Because if I’m going to do the hassle of Checkout and download, then I might as well do it for a couple of items.
You do have to wade through a lot of fluff at that low end of the price range (brushes, 2D backgrounds, and naff items), but there are some gems down there . Especially for people who over-paint renders, or who intend to make comics using Poser 11’s Comic Book mode. So long as the geometry is still OK, then muddy old textures can be replaced by newer ones.
Getting two quality items for less than $8 thus feels about right, and there’s always the chance of finding a couple of nice $2 items (such as the former RuntimeDNA content) and/or finding that the same vendor has more sale items available. Of course, this “two for $8-$9” impulse will be moderated if I’ve done the same in the past month. It’s certainly not a weekly thing, more like a six-weekly thing.
$4.95 – $6.95:
At $4.95 – $6.95 a desirable item is far more likely to go into my Wishlist, rather than the Checkout basket. The exception would be if that price is a result of a 70%-80% reduction, in which case it’s almost certain to be purchased (so long as I have a reasonable PayPal balance). Because the price is never going to get better than that. But even then I’ll think hard, harder than I would at $3.95 or less, about if I really am likely to use it at some point in the future.
Those who have less of a content collection may think differently, as I tend to think “I already have content X”, so the new content will fit well with “content X” in a future picture. That’s especially so of poses. If I have a creature that’s difficult to pose — a Bolladon for instance — then the Bolladon’s dedicated pose set is a no-brainer purchase even at a discounted $5.95. I also tend to have more of a future-sense than most people do, thinking years and years ahead to when I have far more time for digital painting in my retirement (and when the 3D content I’m considering buying may no longer even be available). In contrast many people will only be focused on “what’s my next picture, next weekend”.
$8.95 – $20:
Generally, I don’t like to spend more than $8.95 on any single item. Anything over that amount, no matter how nice, will almost certain go into my Wishlist long-term and just sit there. I’ll wait to see what happens in a big sale or the sale on Cyber Monday. In the hope of eventual big 65%-80% discounts. The exception might be certain types of software add-on, such as Netherwork’s Thumbnail Designer for Poser (currently stuck at $15) or the Scene Optimizer for having multi-character DAZ Studio iRay pictures render much faster (currently $25). In such cases even a 40%-50% discount might entice.
But having potential buyers add an expensive item to their Wishlist, and then leave it there long-term, poses a risk for the vendor. Because some months later the item may be reconsidered by the buyer and removed from their wishlist. Thus if the seller priced the item at $20 and stuck there, they might have sold it for $7.95 with a 60% sale discount, but then all of a sudden… they get nothing from that buyer. Because the buyer doesn’t want the item anymore. And there was no way the buyer was ever going to pay the full $20.
Clip Studio Paint (formerly much better known as Manga Studio) has just been released for the iPad.
Lumion 8 has just been released. Mostly intended for architects working with CAD models of buildings for construction clients. Which makes it very very costly, but as a result, also very fast and streamlined — if you have the ninja workstation needed to run it. In terms of the tools that readers of this blog are likely to have access to, it only interfaces nicely with SketchUp and (apparently) Cinema 4D. As such it’s probably not for most people who read this blog, but it’s interesting to at least see what the architects have at their disposal these days.
Here are all the new features in Lumion 8. I like the look of the “softening of hard edges” filter, which smooths some of the razor-sharp edges that 3D renders often have…
Can’t wait for the big sales on Black Friday (24th November) or Cyber Monday (27th November)? Vue artists can pick up Tony Meszaros (RealmsArt) content in his big 80% sale on Vue content at the Cornucopia store. It’s on now…
“Monster, Myths, and Legends” art contest, although only for entrants in Louisiana, USA. All places should tap into their similarly spooky local folklore at this time of year, bringing it together with local aspiring artists.
Movie trade magazine Deadline reports that…
“the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien is currently shopping around rights to a TV series based on The Lord of the Rings with a hefty sticker price. The Tolkien estate has put a price tag of $200-250 million dollars on the rights and is currently taking meetings with Netflix and Amazon”
Ugh. I do hope it’s not going to be “Games of Thrones-ified” and “global-reach”-ified once they get the rights. But it probably is. Because a $200-250m price, plus the $750m making-of costs, will demand as wide an audience as possible, with only a few scraps thrown to the fan-base for Tolkien’s writing. Jeff Bezos just sold $1.1 billion in Amazon stock, so they have that sort of cash.
There are more back-stories to be told in The Lord of the Rings, it’s true.
For instance, one could have an alternately charming / creepy Shire Stories series of self-contained episodes: Bilbo’s visit to the Michel Delving mathomhouse; Ted’s “cousin Hal” encounters the “walking trees” “beyond the North Moors” (last of the Ent-wives?); Gandalf’s arrangements with the dwarves for the making and delivery of the Party toys, his design and making of the Party fireworks; the building of The Hedge, the attack of the trees of the Old Forest, the burning of the bonfire glade; and Farmer Maggot’s encounters with Tom Bombadil. Etc.
There are also plenty of pre-Bilbo places for more epic back-stories, such as the life-story of Aragorn. I’d guess that may be what the Tolkien Estate is shopping. I expect the Estate might also be hoping for a worthy series of The Hobbit, after the messy “dog’s dinner” that the cinema trilogy made of the book.
But as Phil Dragash has so ably shown, full-cast / full-symphonic audio-only seems the best way forward. Which, interestingly, puts such back-story ventures well within the reach of fan-work makers, and for a lot less cost than $1bn. All you have to do is find someone who can write like Tolkien, and with the same pre-modern concerns. Which may, admittedly, be rather tricksy.
Update. Amazon got the TV rights to The Lord of the Rings…
“Set in Middle-Earth, the television adaptation [“a multi-season commitment”] will explore new storylines preceding J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring. The deal includes a potential additional spin-off series.” Telling… “previously unexplored stories based on J. R. R. Tolkien’s original writings”.
Interesting, so it’s a prequel series. Which opens the door to telling Aragorn’s life story, as I suggested here earlier. New Line Cinema are lined up.
The popular free audio-editor Audacity has just released version 2.2. Audacity is used by many creatives, from animators to podcasters. Now handles MIDI files, autosaves-on-crash when recording, and has lots of bugfixes. Also new UI themes, found at: Edit | Preferences | Interface. Such as this one…
The Blender Institute has started working on their 12th open movie, to be made as a showcase for Blender 2.8. The new one is to be called Spring, in which a mountain spirit and her wise little dog bring springtime to a mountain valley after a long and dark winter. Concept artist David Revoy is once again onboard, and the pre-production assets are being released under Creative Commons Attribution — though sadly it seems hi-res downloads are only for subscribers to the Blender Cloud.
Pre-production concept paintings by David Revoy for the Blender Institute.
DAZ Studio 4.10 is out. The eye-catching bits, in terms of what’s new…
* a new cloth physics engine called dForce, which does realistic dynamic cloth draping. The FAQ talks of… “dForce compliant clothing items, that customers will be able to purchase from the DAZ store, will be both rigged and dynamic at the same time”. Presumably those browsing the store in the near future will start to see clothing packs with “dForce enabled” swooshes on them.
* An NVIDIA iRay upgrade, which… “Increases hardware requirement to Fermi class or newer generation GPUs; recent driver recommended”.
* Better BVH animation import.
* Better FBX export.
* A YouTube 360 fix: “The stereo 360 horizontal shift has been fixed. Iray stereo 360 output now directly conforms to the YouTube 360 stereo format.”
I haven’t heard that any especially vital plugins need 4.10 to run, as was the case when Scene Optimiser required a version higher than 220.127.116.11 to run.