A new Reallusion video “Hand Animation Solution from the Puppet Actor Toolkit pack for Cartoon Animator”. Control animations with your hand. Requires extra kit (rather than working from a HD webcam) and is obviously a bit difficult to control in real-time. Nor can you emulate a traditional “glove-puppet” experience, it seems. But it’s amazing it can be done at all, and as always Reallusion has pre-rigged templates for Cartoon Animator.
Wow, the official Decimator for DAZ Studio plugin is now priced at $100 on the store!
I’m glad I got it free from DAZ some years ago, which I think was when they were moving from DAZ 3 to DAZ 4.
After boggling my eyes at the current price, I looked at the re-download of my freebie. Had it updated? Yes, it’s now “DS4 Decimator 188.8.131.52” for 64-bit DAZ Studio. So if you were still running an old install of DAZ Studio alongside the latest version — just for the Decimator you’d plugged into it — then freebie owners might usefully switch to a later DAZ version to run the Decimator.
What does it do? It’s DAZ’s only native polygon-reduction tool, which usefully offers per-item reduction of polygons. e.g. in the hair, the eyelashes, the dress, the body etc. This is done very easily and quickly, by sliders. Decimator is also useful when used simply as a tool to check what item, usually hair, might be causing your scene’s memory-consumption to become critical.
There’s a bit more specific news on Poser 12, and an official announcement of a release-window in the first week of November. So they’ve only slipped by a week, from the expected 31st October, which is pretty good for a big software package and a small team.
“The Windows version of [Poser 12] will be available to Early Access customers in the first week of November. The Mac version of Poser 12 will be released in early December.”
“Early Access” presumably being (this is just my guess) some sort of download sign-up gate for existing users, that may warn with something like… “I am an experienced Poser user and understand that this is a .0 release barely out of beta, and some features may be incomplete or missing, and old scripts may not work, and I promise not to moan and rant in the forums…” etc.
My further guess would be that an ‘all-comers’ public Windows version would be out and ready a week before Black Friday, which in 2020 is 27th November. It looks to me like the sensible in-depth reviewer should hold off until January or even February 2021, and ideally wait on the first patch.
Now there’s a fairly firm release-window, even if a bit staggered, I’d imagine that we should have the complete feature-list announced by next week?
On the public marketing, I do hope they have decent demo pictures/video for the Comic Book Mode this time. Smith Micro used to choose the most awful possible figure choices, such as the rather naff Barney with black hair and a grungy plaid shirt, or the horribly grungy Creature from the Black Lagoon. Show the public the free-with-Poser SAK Robo-kitty figure being tooned in relatively flat lighting, would be my suggestion, or the old Poser Star! figure might be an attractive toon choice, or some of the Nursoda figures. The free-with-Poser Maisie can also toon up surprisingly well and pleasingly, with a bit of work, once you abandon the photoreal in which she looks so ugly. She’s obviously not meant for photoreal.
What about the Python scripting language, which is vital to many scripts? The new post focuses on this and we get a version number: Python 3.7.9 is what will be in Poser 12, which will update from the old PoserPython 2.7 version. We also learn that the important EZSkin is being fixed for Poser 12 by the author, and that…
The dev team is working on a way to easily download, install and protect Python scripts that are purchased from the Renderosity Marketplace. We are also looking for vendor partners to create new scripts for Poser 12.
Interesting. You can already create a .PRC encrypted Python script, or at least you could in the previous version of Python and Poser. That’s not ideal, though, as it makes fixing old un-maintained scripts impossible.
So it sounds to me like Poser 12.1.x may have a built-in secure script ‘encrypter/decrypter’ module. I can see how that could encourage commercial $20 script-makers and thus boost the Renderosity Marketplace. It would also enable easy ‘unlocking’ by the owner of Poser, if the family of a deceased coder wished to give away the scripts for free, or sell them on to another developer.
Also, it’s now known there will be a “free trial up to 21 days”, as before with Poser 11. And… “We do not plan to invalidate Poser 11 licenses that are used to upgrade to Poser 12.” It sounds like you should be able to run both on the same PC, meaning you can try a trial version of 12 alongside an existing install of 11. That said, you should probably back up vital presets before installing 12.
Vue Solutions Community Workshop, as a group webinar for users of the E-on Vue software. Sunday 1st November 2020 and booking now.
Still a great bit of software and able to load full textured Poser scenes (not just T-posed figures) with extreme ease, especially if you have the ‘last good’ non-subscription version at 2016 R5. As I wrote here earlier…
A small bug introduced in R4 meant that Poser 11.2 scene saves may not open correctly in Vue 2016 R4, but this bug was fixed in R5
Reallusion’s Cartoon Animator 4.3 Pipeline recent enabled sending of scenes via a script to Adobe After Affects (CC 2020, CC 2019, CC 2018, CS5, CS6). Perhaps as a follow-on, the latest After Effects has introduced a new “3D Design Space in After Effects”…
This looks very like the intuitive angled-layers view in Cartoon Animator, which should make the Animator 4.3 -> AE transition easier. Amazingly, it seems that After Effects couldn’t do this before now.
Smith Micro are obviously continuing to wind down, with their products-blog the most recent casualty. The only really ‘long-term important’ bit of the blog, the Dave Gibbons interview, has been saved.
The page for their unique MotionArtist HTML5 motion-comic making software now states…
As of August 2020, MotionArtist has reached its End of Life. All MotionArtist users should download and install this final available version for MotionArtist here (active license required):
MotionArtist 1.3 for MAC (153 MB) | MotionArtist 1.3 for WINDOWS (149 MB)
The software should continue to function on the supported Operating Systems and Hardware as indicated by the System Requirements.
Right, so that’s very good of them, if they couldn’t find a buyer who wanted to develop it further. Just as well I purchased it when I did, by finding and bagging a cheap £10 DVD on eBay. I just checked inside the downloaded new .ZIP file, and the “NoAct” bit must indicate that no online activation is required for this final version…
So it looks like those with a valid 1.3 install should stash their 1.3 licence and this final-final .ZIP version that (I assume) doesn’t phone-home after install, in case they need to reinstall on a new PC at some point. In which case the software should now last as long as Windows can support it, and as long as the Web can play what it produces. That’s very good.
Presumably a cheap eBay DVD with a serial in it will still be useful, in combination with this .ZIP?
Note also that their Moho Debut 13 and the main Moho (formerly Anime Studio) are both at a 40% discount for the next two days.
Their digital watercolour painting software Rebelle would be highly desirable if on a 50% discount, but it seems that was just licenced by Smith Micro from Escape Motions, which is where the Smith Micro Web link now goes to. Escape Motions never drop it below the usual $90, and it looks to me like they have a region-lock on the currency too, so I’m willing to bet that I’d be charged an extra 20% sales tax in the UK. It’s one of those bits of software, like AKVIS Decorator, that are unique and so never drop their price even on Black Friday / Cyber Monday.
It’s always good to hear about a new semi-automated AI assistant feature for the free Unity engine, to remove some of the drudge-work. The ArtEngine apparently automates seamlessly tiling of materials, and also…
“up-resing, de-blur, un-warping, color matching”
Drawbacks: appears to need an NVIDIA graphics card, and costs a ridiculous $1,140. Still, it’s likely to be a herald of things to come in Semi-automated Assistant AIs.
We probably need a short name for those in creative production, actually. How about SAMAI or SAMAAI, to be pronounced in conversation using the friendly non-scary name “Sammy”. A Fully Automated Routine AI would be a FARAI, pronounced “Fairy”. Or just said as “Sam-eye” and “Far-eye”.
A new version of the budget Photoshop Elements 2021 is out today. The most interesting new semi-automation is “Adjust Face Tilt”. It seems this may have uses for final-adjustment of pictures inside comics frames, where the picture is still hi-res and the face-tilt or look-angle is ‘not quite right’. So far as I can tell there’s no third-party plugin that will easily do the same in the main Photoshop.
Given the demos I’ve seen, though, it probably only really works well where the subject is facing the camera, which may rarely be the case in comics.
No progress on the iffy auto-colorize feature, it seems.
Official, free, booking now…
“Clip Studio Paint Demo: Drawing Digital Comics” will be hosted on 11th October 2020 from 7-8 p.m. EDT. …. will show tons of tips and tricks for translating traditional techniques into the digital environment. … including turning thumbnails and roughs into pencilled artwork, digital inking … [then] “Clip Studio Paint II” will take place on Sunday, 18th October 2020 from 7-8 p.m.”
Part of the “Month of Mice”.
Portrait Shadow Manipulation is an interesting new technology, hot from the Google labs.
It automatically lifts hard shadows in a head-and-shoulders portrait, these being the shadows of the sort commonly seen in pictures and videos casually made by amateurs in sunny places. Here’s the research video and a useful screenshot from it.
It also removes ‘sweat-shine’ highlights.
As you can see, if plugged into a graphics package, this technology might produce better base-portraits from which to then build comic-like art and line-art. Since what you want for your comics ‘colour flats’ layer, under the lineart, is a fairly ‘flat’ lit face or body. To which you add the shadow-render as a separate and adjustable third layer. Otherwise you’re never going to control the shadows so they display in a believable and uniform way, across the 120 panels of a 28-page comic.
What would be even more interesting would be to go the other way with the new technique, and to ‘auto-cast’ shadows onto fairly flat-lit faces, just by knowing where the eyes / mouth / shoulders are.
It’s the start of the month, and here’s my pick of what was new in September for DAZ Studio and Poser…
An Easy Snap Space Habitat for near-future space stations.
A Sci-fi Hospital for DAZ Studio.
The free Retro Sci-Fi Hover Car.
The Streets of Steampunk by Stonemason.
Some of the Weird West items on DAZ this month could work for steampunk.
Dhani for L’Homme, a character makeover for the L’Homme male figure that ships with Poser 11 and 12.
The free 4 Little Robots set.
The free Better Fur Bump Maps For Melody & Micah.
The free Headphones 2, semi-toon headphones.
Straw-hat-with Hair for DAZ Studio.
Just PreSchoolers Pose 04 for G3 and G8.
A free Toy sit-on plane in .3DS format.
A free classic American River Steamer paddleboat. There has been a host of very fine looking Wild West items on the DAZ Store this month.
A Celtic Crannog on Lough Ea, a fortified lake-town.
Egyptian Chariot Warfare for Daz Horse 2. There’s also been a host of Ancient Egypt items on the DAZ Store, including some mummies.
A grim communist city set for Blender, from LightArchitect.
The free Skull Cave & Expansion
Mountain Pathways kit by ShaaraMuse3D.
Corals 2 for Unity. The maker also has a nice line in other semi-toon asset packs.
Tetracovine Original Creature with Fur and Accessories for DAZ Studio, from Sixus1. Very nice.
Mouse by AM with LAMH presets, a Hollywood-quality photoreal mouse.
Scripts and utilities:
Face Mojo – Facial MoCap Retargeting for Genesis 3 and 8. Supports facial motion-capture from the iPhone X, iPhone 11, or iPad Pro series 3.
Automatic OBJ Exporter. A free streamlined way to get a posed and dressed figure in the Genesis range over to Poser for use with the Comic Book mode, with speedy poly-reduction along the way. Requires the $50 Atangeo Balancer.
Genesis 8 Clones for Genesis. Fit G8 stuff to the original Genesis figure.
Tutorials and learning:
That’s it for the picks, more next month!
Humble Software Bundle: Be a Creative Superhero. 18 days left. For £23.27 (about $28?), the worth-having non-subscription software includes:
PaintShop Pro 2020.
Corel Painter 2020.
Plus a whole lot of brush packs, and the CorelCAD 2019 engineering package that you’re unlikely to use (but which might perhaps have some 3D format conversion uses, at a guess).
Warning: has a horrible sea-sickness inducing ‘scroller’ effect on the main page.