Bing: “It’s all pron.”
Google: “Nah, we know nurthing…. ‘cus it’s all pron…”
Just a ‘heads up’ for a 25th Anniversary, for those inclined to plan a year ahead (museum curators, magazine editors, software developers, etc). Poser 3.0 appears to have shipped May 1998, which makes summer 2023 the 25th Anniversary of the Poser software that we know and use today. By the end of the year the street price was around $120, and the mass-market 3D figure revolution was underway.
Poser 3 shrink-wrapped retail store box.
Back of the Poser 3 retail box.
Sad to see that Reallusion are abandoning sales / development / support on CrazyTalk, which used to be their flagship budget-priced software. They are now suggesting people use the less kid-friendly Cartoon Animator 4 instead…
from January 10th, 2022 we will no longer be providing CrazyTalk 8, upgrades, nor support.
No mention of if they will still respond to licence activation pings for old archived / DVD based versions, or if previous purchasers will at least be able to download from their purchases library. I can’t quite recall how the software was activated now, but I assume an online ping was required.
As some recompense, there’s 50% off Cartoon Animator 4 with the coupon-code THANKSCT8 — if used before 31st January 2022.
The DAZ Store Freebies page has updated.
This time around, a useful generic set of future-wear, Ashe for Genesis (Genesis 1). Perhaps a better look for a future agricultural-tech worker than a gritty city, though. Also free are Ashe Textures for the same outfit. Ashe has Poser CF conform files for DSON.
A Colonel Chaos outfit for Genesis 1, with Poser CF conform files for DSON. Again, usefully generic.
Also Nikkou Hair and the Hiro 5 Starter Bundle (Genesis 1), which I seem the recall has been offered before as a freebie. Some martial arts poses for Hiro 5, too.
For M4 and Poser, the male Malachi for M4, which I did not already have.
Vue expert Vladimir Chopine will lead 12 weeks of training, offering a… “deep and comprehensive coaching for a small group of students (up to 15 only), starting on Saturday the 8th of January 2022.” Apply now.
It’s getting toward the end of the month, so… it’s survey time for new Poser and DAZ content. As usual freebies are only noted if they are also commercial use, or are such obvious fan-art that no-one would think of using them commercially.
Also, no ‘HD’ items are covered here since they adjust your render settings without asking (and in ways that are difficult for newbies to reverse), and are only useful for a few people with incredibly powerful PCs.
At risk of sounding like a moaner, I have to say that the DAZ Store is still very slow to browse for me, despite the new smaller thumbnail previews. Even scrolling down the Wishlist too far now stalls loading for 20 seconds or so. This is the only such site that has these problems for me. I try to bypass this problem by bookmarking into my Wish List, but may still have missed a few at the DAZ Store.
A useful free tech Display Band for DAZ and with wearable presets for G8. It also seems fairly easy to add your own wording.
A cool super-villain Helmet 048 for G3. Not fan-art, so far as I know.
Dubrock for G8M. Not fan-art, so far as I know. Though it looks a bit Guardians of the Galaxy.
A free Steampunk Mask for G8.
Add Blimp, a middle-distance cyber-city blimp that could be fairly easily adapted for steampunk. Just replace the advert-hoarding with hydrogen-tanks.
A free set of toony String Lights (Christmas Lights) for DAZ.
Christmas Pixie for La Femme for Poser.
Disco Stomp Trainers for G8F. Requires the base Stomp Trainers.
The free Holiday Antlers for G8F.
3DU Toon Mouse Fur Long, a Look At My Hair preset.
Songbird ReMix Hummingbirds v3 for Poser and DAZ.
Love Kitty, 28 3D cat props of various types (bowl, toy mice, dangler, etc).
A free Wooden Cross for DAZ and also in .OBJ, ‘Boot Hill’ style and with Wild West style bootlaces.
A free Hang-Glider for DAZ and G8.
Let’s hope your hang-glider pilot doesn’t land in the Stinging Nettles for DAZ. Definitely not a British stinging-nettle, and so perhaps an American variety? Quality and also in .OBJ, so likely to interest Vue users.
Primitive Norse Structures 2 including two ramshackle windmills.
The useful and adaptable free medieval Headscarf Outfit for G8F. Not dForce but has some control morphs. Previews suggest it’s capable of turning into a sort of short cape, so may also be of interest to makers of super-heroine comics.
L’HommeHat 2, a sort of German / Austrian / Swiss / Italian hat of the type that might be seen on an Alpine summer guide in the 1920s and 30s. Also L’HommeHat 1 which is more of a classic British workman’s flat-cap.
A free Antique Harbour Telescope in .OBJ format.
A Royal Opera Stage from the early/mid 19th century, with side boxes.
British vintage 3D railway expert Dryjack has a new Sopwith Pup biplane, a classic British plane.
dForce Aran Sweater Outfit for G8M, of the sort a Scottish crofter or early pilot might have worn.
A somewhat 1960s K-Roller petrol-scooter, free. Also note the helmet which could be used in other types of retro scenes. I guess it may actually be a modern electric scooter, with a retro design?
The Corinna La Femme character/skin makeover. Appears to need La Femme Pro, rather than the free La Femme which ships with Poser?
A more basic but free alternative look for Poser’s flagship La Femme, to nudge her away from the Princess Di look, is the new Helena for La Femme.
Still prefer V4? A free SuperFly Skin shader for V4, so V4 can render in SuperFly, and with a bit of automatic ‘sweat gloss’ too.
Genesis Clones. Genesis 8 Male and Female Clones for Genesis 1, so you can fit G8 clothes and items to the original Genesis figure. Shows in the fitting list for G1 as ‘Vyusur…’.
Straightforward Catwalk Animations for Clothes Presentation for G8F. It seems this is not the same as last month’s “Runway Animation” pack from the same maker.
Free 1950s ‘The Fonz’ style strand based hair for G8M. With front cow-lick.
Free SBHBeards for G8M. Strand-based hair and eyebrows and moustaches. Looks useful.
A simple free Genesis 1 skull cap. Shows up in the Library under My Library | People | Genesis | Hair | Willq, not under People | Genesis as you might expect.
DUF Pose Converter for Poser 12. Convert your DAZ .DUF poses to Poser 12 and apply them “to any figure you may have on stage”, apparently. Not tested by me.
FlockIt for DAZ Studio. Looks similar to ‘Send in the Clones’ and the various Scatter scripts for Poser.
ArchangelFirewolf’s free Pose Control Converter for G3 and G8. Seems to add a set of sliders that allow tweaking for fine adjustment of poses.
Installing PIP in Poser 11. PIP is a package manager for installing further Python packages that have components needed for scripts to run. So… if you had a need for some specialist Python module that doesn’t already ship with Poser, this might get it installed.
A three-part in-depth Comic Book Creation Kit Bundle of tutorials and guidance, which seems to be aimed at photoreal comics makers using DAZ.
For Blender, Grease Pencil From Mesh, with an edge-sharpener.
3D maker Sixus1, also a fine digital painter, has a new Platinum Brush Pack for Photoshop and PaintStorm. It appears to be his current working brushes set, honed and weeded over many years.
Ok, that’s it for December 2021 and for 2021. Onward to 2022!
Some highlights from 2021.
Poser 12 Early Access added many improvements and ended the year with its new Manual completed. Now available not only in HTML, but also in a free PDF. Ghostship shipped his Poser 12 Materials, which those who used them on Poser 11 will know are a key enhancement for Poser SuperFly users. Various useful scripts, including those by Snarlygribbly continued to be updated for Poser 12. Also, Poser 12 can now be snail-mailed to you if you live out in the wilds.
NeoWin Deals continued with their great offer of Poser Pro 11 for $80, and this can co-exist alongside Poser 12. Mac Poser users now have an equivalent of the must-have ‘Snap To’ mover script, working on both Poser 11 and 12. There were many other new Poser 11 scripts, including an automated Blender to Poser conversion script for free Blender assets.
DAZ ended the year by announcing a new integrated iRay render-farm service in the Cloud, Infinite-Compute’s “Boost for DAZ”.
Of course the year saw lots of great new Poser/DAZ content and freebies released, with the picks being covered here in my monthly round-ups. 300 game-ready DAZ figure conversions were officially added by Tafi to the Unity Store.
Redeye Cat retired in May and kindly gave away her stuff for free — now safely archived as a 500Mb mega-bundle archive on Archive.org. Cage’s Loop and Chain-making Poser scripts were likewise saved. Wootha also retired and kindly gave away his brushes, concept art etc as public domain (he’s not to be confused with the Wolthera who works on Krita).
Another year of free magazines from Digital Art Live, and the Digital Art Live STUDIO forum is also working well.
Renderosity finally made it possible to paste nicely formatted and coloured code in the Python Scripting forums, though only from proper editors such as the free Microsoft Visual Studio Code and PyCharm.
The ArtStation Marketplace grew and thrived, and though very crowded becomes a useful place once you start to build a judicious wishlist.
The new G’MIC 3.0 for Photoshop version added AI-powered de-noising. This does not need NVIDIA, and can even be done on CPUs.
XP-Pen produced and shipped even better budget ‘draw on the screen’ pen-monitors.
On the DAZ Store all the old Poser .ZIPs have been re-labelled as “DAZ Studio”. But it’s pretty easy to tell the difference, once you know how. Just download all the .ZIPs, and if there’s a ‘data’ folder inside then it’s for DAZ.
The Poser-friendly Hivewire store closed down. But on the bright side, they eventually moved most items to Renderosity. The lively and friendly Hivewire forums remain.
We lost the excellent third-party Poser library PzDB (still working, but can no longer be purchased); Topaz Clean (but I showed how to use G’MIC as a very close if slower replacement); and the tooning plugin pwToon for DAZ Studio (no longer for sale).
The enforced removal of the Flash Player from PCs caused a bit of confusion, as ancient Poser Library systems stopped working for a few. But people found workarounds.
Several big VR painting tools were killed off.
The venerable free audio-editor Audacity was bjorked. Audacity 2.4 became ‘the last good version’, but there is now a safer fork called Audacium 1.0.
Adobe completely killed 3D in Photoshop, for rather murky reasons.
The graphics-card drought / price-gouging continued, and though availability of cards eased a little bit the prices did not. There were also other tech shortages.
The latest OS upgrades and patches became a very dangerous game of Russian Roulette for both Mac and Windows, likely to cause the sudden death of much-loved and mission-critical software. Some people sensibly told the OS makers to stuff it, and went back to good old Windows 7.
NFTs. Evil incarnate.
PD Howler 2020 was given away free in the summer then heavily-discounted at the end of the year, and as a consequence was positively reviewed in Digital Art Live. I worked out how to remove white (white to transparency) in PD Howler. Since that’s not a thing it can do ‘one click’, like you can in Rebelle or Clip Studio or Photoshop (with an Action).
In other painting software, someone invented a great free Lasso colour-autofill script for Photoshop (like Clip Studio has) but sadly no-one noticed. The free Krita 5 went through five betas and is due for final release in a few days. The excellent $20 Realistic Paint Studio had a new version 2.0, and the free Paint.NET also had a substantial release. Escape Motions released Rebelle 5, but effectively put the price up. Corel Painter 2022 was apparently (according to Boro) an outstanding move forward for the venerable software.
The free G’MIC for Photoshop plugin added useful support for recording G’MIC in Photoshop Actions, among other new features.
In 3D painting software we had the excellent 3DCoat 2021, and the budget 3DCoatTextura. The budget-priced ArmorPaint 0.8 appeared, and has made good progress as a Substance Designer competitor.
Blender 3.0 stable landed in December, with many Freestyle and Grease Pencil improvements. BEER for Blender is due in final in early 2022, offering even better NPR and lineart. Blender also now has a basic Assets Browser, at long last. Blender’s main Cycles renderer had big speed boosts, which should filter through to Poser 12 in due course (Poser’s SuperFly renderer is a slightly tweaked Cycles).
Software we nearly lost included DAZ on a Mac, totally bjorked by the OS Big Sur update for many months… until it was fixed by a huge effort in September. Vue was also fixed for Big Sur. Scatter for Poser 11 was lost for a while in the Hivewire-Renderosity transfer. But it’s also back now. The free abandonware Microsoft ICE 2.0 seemed to vanish, but popped up again on Archive.org.
Software we ‘might have lost, but kept’ included Moho (aka Smith Micro’s Anime Studio), now back with its original developers and with new features in a new release (20% off for Xmas and New Year, with code: HOLIDAYS). The subscription VUE R6 (not to be confused with the old Vue 2016 R6) has so far kept easy import of Poser scenes, thus offering a way to port Poser to big-beast 3D software like Maya, Lightwave etc. Effectively Vue now replaces the PoserFusion plugins for studio pipeline work, although of course it is not free like the plugins were.
Various bits of software updated as usual, including KeyShot 10.2 which apparently fixed the ‘butterfly-wing eyelashes’ problem on DAZ figure imports. In unusual or niche software VRoid Studio 1.0 came out of beta; Clavicula superseded Neobarok; and Movmi pointed the way to AI-powered mo-cap from video clips.
The bleeding edge:
A slick Metahuman demo caused a moment’s “DAZ is doooommed!” panic in April, then everyone forgot about it.
Worthy AI designers Deep AI are training their new Zendo AI to locate and mask the edges of multiple objects in images. Auto-masking that works perfectly and precisely every time would certainly be something worth having. I mean here the accurate object-aware segmentation of an entire complex picture with lost-edges, not just ‘mask that easy-to-isolate shape there’.
Several interesting technical papers appeared on auto-inking, promising much for the future. Autocomplete for inking artists, i.e. ‘making several short curves to form a longer one’. And an AI that can autotrace your rough sketch in inks.
I discovered a basic de-grunging Matcap-like method for Poser 11 materials, useful for making comics flats. Also a new way to remove the speckles from Poser’s Firefly lineart renders (Vextractor 7.x). I realised in tests that the 25 year-old default bucket sizes, used when rendering, may now be out-of-date on many fast PCs. I discovered an interesting way to consistently get a partial silhouette in Poser. My on-off work on several Poser scripts continued, and I learned a good deal more about Python and automation on a PC.
My blog’s Poser/DAZ Technical Search engine is now exponentially more useful than when first launched. It now also covers Vue, motion capture, and a few other useful topics. I undertook the annual overhaul of the blog in the summer, doing things like checking and fixing all the sidebar links by hand.
Elsewhere, there was further taming of my YouTube and DeviantArt experiences by use of UserScripts and other addons. Both are now somewhat bearable. Likewise fixed are the Google Doodle and many other small annoyances scattered around the Web.
So, what are the best-sellers this year on Renderosity? Rendo provides a page where you can find such things out. The top four are pretty much as you might expect…
Followed by a superstore’s-worth of skimpies and silkies, page after page, and just a couple of other quality G8 female characters. You have to scroll a long way down to get to something like “STZ Cleaning accessories”. It takes a while to puzzle that one out, but then the penny drops: hardware accessories for the maid costumes.
Way way down after many pages you start to see occasional other things, like “Photo Props: Fire Effect Maker” and the “Poser 12 – Upgrade”. Eventually, after a very long time of scrolling the first male item appears. G8M realistic body-hair strips, and then after another few pages another in “Karl for Genesis 8 Male”. Hurrah for Karl, but… he has no other mates down there.
Eventually we start to get a couple of animals, with the HiveWire Horse, Songbird ReMix Corvus (crows). Also a few very scattered sci-fi sets. Even further down up pops La Femme Pro V.2, along with more Hivewive Big Cats, Hivewire Housecat. Also Poser 11 at the Renderosity price.
So basically it seems that if you want to sell to the masses, G3F and G8F is where it’s at. Specifically clothing and the slinkier and more enticing the better. However, it’s obviously a very crowded market. I’m guessing the ‘work to hit product’ ratio might be high, and you could have to produce and shout about twenty or more items of new clothing to get one breakthrough product that sells well. The rest are likely to be lost in the tidal waves of similar items, because back of these best-sellers must be thousands of others that didn’t get the traction.
Hair obviously has to be really really good to make it up the charts. I guess many people already have their favourite go-to hairs. Also, hair is a risky buy, so buyers may be averse.
There’s a surprisingly lack of scripts and add-ons, but I guess such things are beyond the ability of the mass market and so don’t sell a lot.
Of course, all this does not necessarily mean that the kind of stuff that sold twenty years ago is no longer selling. It probably is. It’s just that such things are being drowned out in the charts by the new mass market.
What of the DAZ Store? So far as I can tell the DAZ Store’s “sort by most popular” is not an all-time or yearly tally, and only seems to give you the most popular this week.
DAZ Studio users are set to get a new integrated iRay render-farm service in the Cloud. Infinite-Compute’s “Boost for DAZ” will presumably become available as a free plugin soon. Nothing there yet, I just looked. According to the press-release on the partnership the new service will offer the ability to first configure… “a custom NVIDIA iRay Server within minutes” by budget / time / complexity. Then once that has spun up, users quickly render the project on it and “only pay for what they use.” No need for expensive graphics cards, then, just a fast Internet uplink to get the file and any relevant folders uploaded.
Looks good, and it may be especially welcomed by those who are shut out of the NVIDIA ecosystem, either because of Apple or the simple lack of fast cards to buy at their supposed ‘budget’ prices.
Presumably you can also still run things like Scene Optimizer in DAZ first, and thus make the upload / cloud rendering faster and thus save cash? But that’s just my guess.
Said to be “affordable”, and judging by the current prices on the Infinite Compute site it is and is pay-as-you-go…
Top of the range is a professional studio NVIDIA Quadro RTX4000 aided by 8 CPUs. But you can also render iRay on 12 x CPUs alone if you want. Yes, iRay can run on CPUs alone, as it’s a myth that it needs an NVIDIA card. That’s what I’ve actually got under the desk: 12 CPUs / 24 render threads, and with a little help from Scene Optimizer and a couple of tweaks it can push the Viewport into something approaching real-time. A bit grainy for a few seconds when the camera moves, but perfectly acceptable in giving a ‘what you see is what you get’ view of the scene.
I assume that what you won’t get from Infinite-Compute is some kind of hook into powering your DAZ Viewport, whereby their server also helps render your Viewport in iRay while you set up the scene and test angles, lighting etc. As such I expect Infinite-Compute will mostly be used for big 6k final ‘beauty’ renders and by animators. You’ll still need some kind of hefty local computing power to help with the scene setup.
Vital advice from Warlord at Renderosity, “Making Video Tutorials – Staying on Point”. I suspect I know the recent two-hour slog-a-thon which may have triggered his article, as I saw that one too.
“Practice”, yes, as he stresses. And I’d add that also from practice comes your timing. Don’t spend ages on introductions and ‘Computer Graphics classroom’ theory about isometroptical flange-widgets and how vertex pixel-wiggling happens (that no-one will remember or ever use). Only to run out of time to present the actual useful knowledge for the software in question (i.e. ‘find X here, set Y here, then press this, not that’) that people are waiting for. In such situations you then have to cram it all into four garbled minutes while skipping lots of the juicy stuff. Practice and timing helps you bypass such problems, because you know in advance if it will all fit in the time available.
Also vital advice from Warlord…
Show a clip at the beginning of the tutorial demonstrating the final result.
Good microphones and levels are also a ‘must have’.
I’d add that “can we keep questions to the end please” is also useful to prevent interruptions and sidetracking during a ‘live room’ presentation. A variant for webinars is “questions at the end of each segment, please” although such things can also be done in other ways.
So the news is that Cinema 4D (Maxon) has purchased ZBrush outright and is getting the main dev team along with it. Makes sense, as ZBrush has now been dangerously flanked. On one side by the one-time purchase 3DCoat 2021, offering quality sculpting to newcomers and studio bosses who want to avoid the mind-bending ‘thrown together by mad monkeys’ interface of ZBrush. And flanked on the other side by the free Blender 3.0 (and eventually a Blender 4.0 in a few years, possibly with a focus on sculpting). Of course Blender also has its own UI difficulties, but is far better than it was a few years back.
At SIGGRAPH 2021, a demo of an automated AI to ink vector lines over a loose lineart sketch…
A new version of the free MeshLab was released, just before Halloween.
Mostly used for poly-reduction of 3D meshes, for many. “Quadric Edge Decimation” is what you want there.
Bear in mind that the two new versions in 2021 have bjorked every Meshlab tutorial ever written on smoothing, as all the relevant filters are either removed or differently-named or put somewhere else. The solution is to go get Meshlab 2016 which is still available and is what the old tutorials were written for.
I did an experiment with speckle-removal in a Poser Firefly “toon lines only” render. One of the problems of that special kind of render is, the closer you go in with the camera, the more speckles. Until a character can look like they have the measles. Removing bump maps helps a bit, but not always.
Anyway: I rendered and took the render into a leading vectorizer, Vextractor 7.x. I had found that this has a useful and very easy ‘remove isolated spots’ filter, of the sort needed after scanning hand-drawn line-art. If a spot has x number of empty/white pixels around it, it’s removed.
This works on the above very subtle example. But the problem is that the lineart produced is then inferior to what you would get from the other non-vectorising method, which involves the free Paint.NET and two free plugins.
But it occurs to me now that, back in the day, Poser’s Firefly lineart speckles were not considered a problem — because it was thought that people would vectorise the lineart and thus be able to easily clean off the specks. If you’re doing animation, this may well still be viable. In a 30 FPS cartoon seen across a living-room, that vector line ugly-fication is going to be far less noticable. But it’s not much good for comics.
So the best method for comics is Paint.NET and it’s wholly free and should run on Windows back to XP. But… it’s Paint.NET and not Photoshop. So I took another look for such a ‘remove stray pixels’ filter in Photoshop, something that would be very useful for automation of the whole process. But nothing in that line has appeared since my last such search. There are zillions of photographer plugins for correcting grain and ‘hot pixels’ on the camera sensor, but nothing for this ‘scan artwork and clean’ task. The native ‘Median’ and ‘Dust and Scratches’ are useless because they nibble into or erode the fine lineart from Poser. What’s needed is a computational solution that says “that dot can be deleted, because it has only white all around it and its diameter is 2 pixels or less”. The free G’MIC might have the capability to build that, but I don’t see anything there at present.