It took me a while, but all the old runtimedna.com Web links on this blog have now been fixed. There were several hundred of them. About 70% of the old links have be re-routed to where the content is now located. About 20% of the linked content appears to have been withdrawn from sale, or had a short generic name that made it impossible to re-find. In that case I’ve deleted the link but kept the picture, adding an Update: line alongside. The remaining 10% of links were found to be on time-sensitive posts (store sales etc) and those posts have been deleted.
I finally found some time to watch the latest Series 10 of the British sci-fi fave TV show Doctor Who. It made a good impression with the first two episodes (“The Pilot”, “Smile”). But as usual the series then sagged heavily in the middle, with standalone episodes such as “Oxygen” re-hashing creaky old ideas and shoe-horning in even creakier political jibes. The audience ratings apparently went into freefall with the sluggish three-part “Monks” trilogy. Overall the whole series felt like the ideas team had run out of ideas, and were stitching together bits of old well-worn plots, monsters and moments. Even the humorous banter often felt like it was lifted from old scripts.
As usual the series picked back up for the final episodes, with an enjoyable historical 2nd century AD romp “The Eaters of Light”. This led into the paired finale episodes “World Enough and Time” and “The Doctor Falls”. So I felt Series 10 had five episodes worth a viewer’s time, though only if they were already a Who lover. But it wasn’t enough. Judging by the audience ratings for the two finale episodes, compared to Series 9, Doctor Who had lost around 1.8m ‘previously regular’ viewers by the end of Series 10. That’s not to knock the star Peter Capaldi and his excellent co-stars. After a patchy start his incarnation of the Doctor has certainly had some fine moments, mostly in the previous Series 9, but even that was lumbered with one too many poorly written episodes and a cruelly wasted running sub-plot involving the awesome new character Ashildr.
All of which means the show is going to have to work very hard to pick up those lost viewers, and bring them back. If some 1.8m previous viewers can’t even turn up to see ‘genesis of the Cybermen + The Master’ finale episodes, will they bother to return for the start of Series 11? But a newly regenerated Doctor is due at Christmas 2017, and perhaps a new star will give the series a chance at a much-needed boost. There’s also rumored to be a joined-up week-to-week plotline, rather than a disjointed ‘monster of the week’ approach which swamps the subtler sub-plots. Though even if both of those things somehow work wonderfully, there seems faint hope the series can be brought up to standards of the great David Tennant years (2005–2010, series 2, 3, 4, specials + the Tenth Doctor Adventures in audio). The first three episodes of Series 11 look like they’ll be ‘make or break’ for the audience, with a ratings failure risking Doctor Who being forced into taking a three or even five-year break for a re-think. In that context it’s not encouraging to hear that the BBC has just shuttered its UK visitor attraction The Doctor Who Experience.
The new Content Paradise store is here.
It’s a simple and clean look, akin to the Hivewire 3D store. The thumbnail previews are larger, but store index/selection pages load just as quickly. The font size on the individual product description page might also be a size larger, and I’d prefer if it all the panels on each product page were opened up by default. Sign-in is as easy as before. The change doesn’t appear to have broken link URLs to specific content pages.
On the downside, it’s a tablet-tastic scroll-down layout. On a desktop PC this means that big wide spaces are wasted on each side of the main content. The header graphic is probably a step backwards, and perhaps they should run a competition for new ones. You still have to hunt for the tiny plain “My account” link, in order to reach your Wishlist from the front page. Personally I would have put a big Wishlist button/panel on the front page. No big sale, or newly rendered product renders, to accompany the makeover and encourage new sign-ups. Though Poser 11 itself does get a discount, as you can see in the above picture.
Overall, though, generally a welcome improvement.
An interesting demo of the forthcoming Eevee real-time viewport in Blender, albeit using a powerful $800 GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics card.
Is it an iClone-killer? No, not yet. iClone runs on a lot less horsepower and it still has an easier user interface than Blender (even after the horrible/sluggish user interface introduced in iClone 6). On the other hand, Blender is free, and liable to optimise and speed up popular features reasonably rapidly.
The Future: Blender 2.8 (current is 2.79) suggests Eevee is based on OpenGL and should be here in stable form in 2018….
“Blender 2.8 brings the minimum OpenGL version to 3.3, with even newer features for compatible hardware. The main use of this technology is Blender’s new real-time render engine: Eevee.”
Apparently those with less-than-uber PCs might benefit from tweaking settings. Go to: the top menu | File | User Preferences | System -> openGL depth picking checked, and set this to use openGL Occlusion Queries.
I was able to get a real-time view with Emiliano Colantoni’s Wasp Bot demo, and a pleasingly large one. Though it took about 40 seconds for the lighting highlights to kick in on top of the partly lit model.
However the output render was not WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get). I had expected that an OpenGL render would get you a speedy render of the scene exactly as seen in real-time, just like iClone. But no.
1) Viewport, lit. Size on screen something like 1200px.
2. OpenGL render from the same active viewport. About 40 seconds for 2000px.
Ugh. Not the same. Nor did switching back to the default OpenGL settings help matters, or ticking various boxes in the OpenGL render dialogue. Oh well, maybe Eevee will become WYSIWYG by the time of the final Blender 2.8. But at present it seems to be just another nice-to-have big preview window, and not an actual real-time render production tool like iClone.
Looks like the DAZ Store may have a big September sale slowly getting underway? A chunk of the tooning/overpainting-suitable Poser stuff on my wishlist is suddenly at 40% or 66% discount.
There also news about a revamp of the Content Paradise website, home to a zillion bits of Poser content. The revamp should launch around the middle of September. You might want to get a screenshot and/or refresh your WishList there, just in case of glitches in the swop-over. Hopefully there will also be a sale to accompany the re-launch, but that’s just a guess. Certainly vendors who have content there might consider taking advantage of the impending traffic by offering 50% to 70% discounts.
Sad to hear that the firm behind real-time 3D toon software Muvizu has entered administration…
“Digimania, the Glasgow-based animation software company, went into administration on April 18th 2017, making 14 people redundant.”
It had rather dropped of my radar, but it’s good to hear that the users have set up a Anizu as an alternative hub. They host the free trial. Apparently there’s no way to activate to the full latest version software after a fresh install, and old users moving computers need to make sure they copy over the old…
“file called playplus.lic found in C:\Program Files\Muvizu Play\MuvizuGame\Licence “
Anizu also has a copy of the last of the 2013 version free-trial in 64-bit, before a lot of features were locked down. I’m fairly sure that version was not time-limited, just slightly crippled. So that’s a good option for making short YouTube videos, until the new owner gets up and running and restores license sales for the latest version.
Apparently there was a purchase by a Chinese company “2017-09-10” and…
“According to Neil, a former Muvizu developer, the new owners plan to use the existing licensing system and hope to restore all existing Muvizu:Play+ licences.”
The latest PC World magazine (September 2017) takes the new $1000 AMD Ryzen Threadripper CPU (1950X Zen) and slaps it on the lab bench. Including a stress test with Blender…
“Half the time to render the image”. They also tested POV-ray, and Corona running under 3DS Max, finding a 21% speed advantage when rendering…
Nice, though possibly many hobbyists will be using affordable pay-as-you-go online render farms fairly soon, where you don’t mind if your 5000px precious takes a few days to come back to you — just so long as the rendering isn’t burning up your CPU for a week. Although I guess we’ll always have to factor in those who, for privacy reasons, don’t want their mega-boobies ‘Wonder Woman vs. Cucumber Man’ renders to pass through a render farm.
However, for smaller studios doing “must have it yesterday” client work Threadripper’s affordable under-the-desk speed is going to be very tempting. Especially to add to a network setup.
Note that it only scores such amazing performance when software uses more than a single thread. Thus not much use in speeding up image editors. But beefy multi-threaded software should see big performance gains…
“Threadripper 1950X outpaced all comers by significant margins. It simply destroys any 8-core CPU and makes you question how the 10-core Core i9-7900X can dare to be priced the same as the Threadripper 1950X. [Why buy it at $1,000? Not really for gaming.] You buy a 16-core CPU for work. Real work. Real work means modelling, encoding, and doing five things simultaneously, because it’s work. For that, Threadripper 1950X is an incredible breakthrough in performance and cost. Just four years ago, consumers paid $1,000 to get a 6-core CPU. Today, the same $1,000 gets you 16 cores. That’s something to be applauded loudly by anyone who cares about performance.”
Excellent. Hopefully by the time of my circa 2020 next-PC mid-range purchase, one of these uber-beasts will be in the slot. Presumably by that time there will also have been improvements in memory, motherboards, onboard GPUs and suchlike as well.
Slightly late this month, my survey of the new August 2017 content produced for Poser and DAZ Studio.
Base figures and content:
The flagship Genesis 8 Male base (G8M) is out, and should be available for download from inside the Library of the latest DAZ Studio version. Key store add-ons are: Genesis 8 Male Body Morphs, Genesis 8 Male Expressions and Head Morphs. Of course, built on top of G8M there’s also the new Michael 8 base and a Michael 8 Pro Bundle.
Also in the ‘must have’ category is DA Rust and Grime Shaders, to easily lay grime and rust over the top of any existing materials.
Also fairly vital — for Look At My Hair users — is the new LAMH 2 Iray Catalyzer. Note that… “All Alessandro_AM’s animal libraries have been updated for iRay/Catalyzer compatability. Make sure to download the free updates!”
MDD Nymia for V4.2 for Poser, from quality character-maker Maddelirium.
VYK_Teyla for G8F for DAZ Studio.
Ghost, wireframe, and Cortana for Pauline, a set of free hologram MATs for the flagship female character which ships free with Poser 11.
Single Man Light Aircraft for DAZ Studio, from a new name to me, Sareth. Nice, lots of details and moving parts, quality texture sets. I hope we’ll get more sci-fi from him in future.
Man-Tank by Cybertenko for Poser. Which also integrates with his RetroBot character to create an unusual Tankbot.
Ragnarok Mask for Genesis 3 and Genesis 8 Female. Poser creatives have had this for many years, but now it comes to DAZ.
Need steampunk or similar tattoos in DAZ Studio? How to Create Outstanding Skin Art Tutorial.
Orkz: Triceratox for Poser, a sort of cross between a giant pig and an ox. Complete with war-gear.
Hordor HornsHelmet for V4 looks like fun.
A cute-but-robust small shield, though to get it you need the whole Dragon Guard Outfit for Genesis 8 Female.
Lernaean Hydra for DAZ Studio, with poses.
MortemVetus’s Dream Arborum figures. They appear to be static sculpts which were designed to showcase the TerraDome 2 plugin, but apparently they don’t require that. Another Runtime DNA carry-over, but new to me.
MS17 Tudor Room for DAZ Studio from London224.
Authentic G3M Minoan era Mycenaeans and Sea-people for DAZ Studio.
The famous Trojan Horse from London224, for DAZ Studio. It’s been available for Poser for a while now, but this version appears to be new for DAZ.
Slavecloth for G3M in DAZ Studio. A free outfit and chain.
Smoking paraphernalia for Poser.
Inhabited Island by 1971s, for Poser. Vue users may also be interested in this.
Autumn Lamp by 1971s, for Poser. A simple idea, but done well.
Town Crier for Genesis 3 Male for DAZ Studio.
Morphing Wide Brimmed Hat for G3F/G8F and 12 styles and presets. Usefully generic, and especially so for storybook illustration. Doubtless there’ll be a ‘cottage garden and Edwardian styles’ set of morphs and textures soon.
Boku No for Poser. Possibly of interest to those using flat lighting + the Comic Book mode in Poser 11, to make comics. Requires Anime Girl Sinon for Poser. She’s a standalone, so you may want check if she can take V4 or similar pose sets before investing.
CWRW Orange Tabby for the HiveWire House Cat for Poser and DAZ Studio. In DAZ Studio it works with the free House Cat LAMH plugin preset.
It’s interesting to see that Dinoraul, famed for his high-quality dinosaurs, is now doing OBJ terrain sets fit for giant dinosaurs to roam across.
ShaaraMuse3D’s Olive Grove, a high-quality scene for Poser which may also interest Vue users. 4k textures and subtle/believable tree design. Just add processional figures from classical times, and a dozen goats.
Flink’s Instant Lake for Poser and OBJ. Rather expensive, but I guess you’re also getting a lot of plants and materials in the bundle. Might be re-worked and given a materials makeover to become a shoreline rock-pool?
ShaaraMuse3D’s 3D Scenery: Oceanic Submersion, a big pack of quality Poser assets for shallow waters and rock-pool scenes. Not well served by its main promo picture, but it has hi-res textures and is also likely be of interest to aquatic Vue artists. Note also that “Some of the items also come in a down-scaled, lower resolution mesh (3-4k polys and 1k textures). These can be used to populate the scene with more detail.”
Luigi Marini has a new coral reef for Vue users.
That’s it. More picks next month!
How to stop Poser 11 from spending ages automatically searching the hard-drive for “missing textures”, while at the same time preventing you doing anything else in Poser. Most often this happens on trying to load older freebie content that was poorly-installed via an ‘un-zip and manually install’ process.
Go: Top menu bar | Edit | General Preferences | Library | File Search | set to Shallow (or None) | OK.
Shallow is probably best.
You want to to make this setting after your initial install of Poser, as ‘Deep’ is probably what the software will require for its ‘first pass’ at indexing your runtimes. Once that initial index is built, and only needs to be incremented thereafter, then it can be switched to ‘Shallow’.
Free LAMH Presets for the HiveWire House Cat for Look at My Hair.
If you wanted to make a rock-pool (aka tide-pool) in Vue (or Poser-for-Vue), and you don’t especially want to get into a “model it all yourself” situation, what store content might be useful?
DragonsNest DragonsKeep might give you a quick-start on a terrain mesh, if you were just doing a top-down still-life view into a circular tide-pool. Drop a sand-textured bowl to cover over the volcanic cracks.
500 years of rolling around in the ocean? That’s going to make a rock rather mellow and smooth. Photo Props: Sea Washed Beach Rocks are modern high-res 4k-texture props for Poser by ShaaraMuse3D.
There are also Photo Props: Weathered Rocks from the same content maker, again with 4k textures. These could be suitable for making the rock-pool edges, especially if your pool is prehistoric.
And a big 60-prop Oceanic Submersion set.
Also needed would be whole lot of fine half-buried grit and small shell-flakes, bits of tiny organic debris, but that’s possibly best layered in afterwards with Photoshop or done as a 2D texture.
On the Cornucopia store there’s a nice tiny seaweeds pack for the temperate zone, at an even nicer low price. They are also ecosystems for Vue.
There’s also a free starfish there, but it’s a bit simple and naff. There’s a more impressive paid-for one Starfish by Barry Marshall plus a very lovely small Sea Crab of exactly the sort you’d see in a temperate rock-pool.
If you wanted to do a prehistoric rock-pool, Cornucopia has a number of authentic small prehistoric sea creatures that are not 400-foot dino-monsters.
Sadly the best crab-meat type of crab, Noggin’s Poser Crab is no longer sold. But Terrors of the Deep: Jellyfish is, and might make for a more a interesting picture element, draped over some rocks, and would add colour.
Sea-shells are fairly easily had. But perhaps add a few pieces of Pirate Treasure, peeking out from the sand?
Fast3D has some free Beach Creatures for Poser which are low poly, but could be used as very small ‘micro’ elements in the scene. There’s also a teeny-weeny barnacle you could probably mix into a Vue ecosystem used at very small size. Perhaps it could be added to the Seaweeds ecosystem (see above) at low frequency, to add variety.
Water and sand:
You’ll be needing some suitable water and sand, of course, but that shouldn’t to difficult in Vue. Big 8k sand textures should also be fairly easy to find or make.
Renderosity has posted a new “How to become a vendor at Renderosity Marketplace – all the info you may need!” page.
“Snap shots of your cat or parking lot are unlikely to be accepted.”
Vue 2016 R3 has been released…
* Major performance/responsiveness/stability improvements.
* Up to 4x faster scene saving.
* Up to 2x smaller file size [on saved scene files].
And xStream now supports 3ds Max 2018.
Looks good, though sadly there’s nothing inside Vue’s native UI for me in terms of upgrades…
… and I’m still locked out of a manual download for the new patch because of their stupid website designers. Grrr.
Fave content artist 1971s currently has a big sale at Renderosity, with around 60% to 70% discount.