I see that the real-time 3D software iClone 7 has shipped. On an upgrade from iClone 5.5 Pro the store is currently offering me a price of $219, inc. the vital 3DXchange 7 Pro.
7.0 is running on DirectX 11 and requires a “Graphics Card: NVidia Geforce GTX 600 Series/ AMD Radeon HD 7000 Series or higher” compatible with Pixel Shader 3.
There’s a fixed Toon Effect, apparently. Looks like the 7.0 cel shading is now basically ‘what you see is what you get’, whereas before in 6.0 it got a bit washed out on export and lost definition on the inking outlines…
Kind of glad I didn’t spend on a 6.0 upgrade, if that feature was broken and has only just been fixed with 7.0.
Here are the nicely-formatted specs on what’s new in 7.0…
The leading ‘natural media’ painting software Corel Painter 2018 has just been released. New in the 2018 version is:
* Thick paint… “voluminous media to pile up, push around, carve into, scrape, and blend … “work with Palette Knives to achieve unbelievably organic brushstrokes”. Also… “2.5D texture brushes that lift paint off the canvas” for a semi-3D effect on textures. For instance, this robot’s paintwork…
* “Capture and synthesize an area of a texture and reproduce it on a larger scale”, and the Paint Bucket can now “instantly fill your canvas with dramatic texture.” Also “Create clone sources”…
* Painter can also now “slightly rotate the grain in each individual stroke” of the brush, for a touch more more realism up-close or when printing your results at large size.
Arki has another Live training webinar with Digital Art Live, coming soon. It’s in three parts, on the making of Complex Accessories. Booking now for an end-July starter event, and then the in-depth series should be underway in August.
DAZ’s new flagship female, Victoria 8 for Genesis 8 Female, is available now for DAZ Studio. She’s making her appearance two years after the release of Victoria 7 for Genesis Female 3.
How to get V8? You first need “Genesis 8 Starter Essentials”, which is “included free with Daz Studio”. In 2015 the easiest way of installing V7 was to 1) get the very latest beta of DAZ Studio, then 2) find the relevant icons in the Content Library, then 3) click the ‘Download & Install’ button there. Looks like it’s the same process for the new V8, which…
“…requires installation of either Genesis 8 Starter Essentials through Daz Connect, or both Genesis 8 Female Starter Essentials and Genesis 8 Female PowerPose Templates through Daz Install Manager, Product Library, DIM or Daz Connect.”
After you have the free Genesis 8 up and running in DAZ Studio, you can then load up your newly-purchased Victoria 8 base figure. Here are the new store content pages for Victoria 8:
V8 has: slightly improved joint bending; the fingers and toes are more realistic; she has better shoe fitting and foot posing; and the skin shader has skin improvements (which are apparently being fully enabled for all Genesis characters via the next full version of DAZ Studio). There’s basic backwards compatibility for content, via a set of clones, which includes male -to- female clones. Nice to have, but it seems V8 may still need some workarounds to take older content. For instance, I see that someone has already felt the need to release a ‘V8 pose fix’ script for fixing old poses which don’t work properly on V8. I expect we’ll see more such ‘fix’ and ‘convert’ scripts for older Genesis content, in the coming weeks. Apparently there are also some types of older Genesis clothes which may break, specifically the sort that expect to ‘hook onto’ certain bones which are no longer present in the new V8. For instance, a bone has been removed from the foot, to enable better-looking bending of the foot when wearing high heels.
Apparently V8’s muscle groups automatically flex a little, according to the pose you apply to the body. Sounds good. Presumably the Body Morphs also work with this new default body behavior?
* There are Victoria 8 Expressions.
They look rather realistic, I must say, and are apparently “sculpted”. I haven’t had time to look into what that means, but they do look good. Apparently there are a whole lot of new bones in the V8 face, and I’m wondering if the V8 face also has the new feature where ‘muscle groups automatically flex a little’ according to the pose?
There’s also a Pro Bundle which is V8 plus a big starter range of dedicated poses and clothes.
The G8 Female Base is reported to transfer fine into Poser 11, using the existing and well-documented (if rather fiddly) workflow for importing G3 characters to Poser.
The new Victoria 8 is also being named in shorthand as “G8F/V8”. But that’s a bit of a handful on the keyboard, and so I’ll probably be typing either “G8F” or “V8” in future.
I expect we’ll also be getting a new Micheal 8 flagship male character soon. Back in 2015, Mike was set for a November release after the June release of Victoria.
The skipping of the Genesis generation numbers also suggests that the long-awaited ‘DAZ Studio 5’ may turn out to be named ‘DAZ Studio 8’, probably complete with a swishy new Moebius-strip ‘8’ logo. Just my guess.
The new version of the digital sculpting tool ZBrush, ZBrush 4R8 is out…
“ZBrush 4R8 is the final iteration within the ZBrush 4 series before we move to ZBrush 5.0.”
It adds major new features such as Vector Displacement Meshes and Real-time Booleans, as seen in this demo/promo video…
The full list of new features is here.
In the past I’ve spent some days with the ZBrush demo and tutorials, but was rather held back by the lack of a pen monitor which would allow me to draw and sculpt directly onto the screen. My recently re-learning of Vue (in its latest 2016 R2 incarnation) has made me weary/wary of learning yet another huge complex chunk of software, and navigating through all of its inevitable and frustrating roadblocks. But these new feature additions, plus my new pen monitor, have definitely moved ZBrush up my “must learn, soon-ish” list.
It’s sad to hear confirmed that Poser scripter and store vendor Ralf Sessler (Dimension3D aka D3D) has recently passed away. His fine and robust Python scripts, such as ‘XS – eXtended Shader Manager’, came up many times during my recent intensive perusal of the Python scripts which work with Poser 11. On the Renderosity forums, I see that ‘renapd’ reports that materials and information have been requested from Ralf’s family, in order for the community to — in due course — make a fitting memorial for him and his work.
There’s a new Vue Environment Competition 2017. Over $30,000 of prizes, top judges, deadline 30th September 2017.
fClone is a new facial motion-capture software that works via a webcam, and can output to Poser’s .pz2 format for use in Poser and DAZ Studio. It’s a little fresh in terms of its versioning, but it’s now in a 1.05 bugfix version.
There’s a free trial available, then it’s $199 for the Standard version, or $50 if you just want to ‘rent’ it for a month of gurning and grinning production work. I’m guessing that $199 price is probably about on a par with iClone’s more mature desktop mo-cap offerings, though I haven’t looked at those or their pricing for a while.
As far as I can tell, the software has nothing to do with iClone or Reallusion, despite the similar name.
Google Images is such a pile of manure for picture research these days, even when you know how to search and can knock out all the search-pollution coming from Pinterest and Wikipedia and YouTube. For many types of searches, DuckDuckGo’s Images Search is now far superior in terms of relevancy. The range of search modifiers is not yet perfect, but they’ve just added a new “Extra Large” to their search.
Want to create a high-precision 3D map of your own specific bit of the earth, for beautification in Vue or Terragen? There’s no need to hijack a passing NASA satellite — just launch your GPS-enabled drone, snap some HD photos and use PrecisionHawk‘s free software for drone mapping…
“Using GPS information embedded within the drone images, the software automatically stitches together a complete map, viewable in both 2D and 3D. Free users of PrecisionMapper can create up to 60 surveys a year without resolution or export limits.”
The precise types of 3D models that can be exported is left a little hazy by the publicity, but I presume they’re fairly standard types.
Possibly it’s easier just to sculpt the terrain with reference to a good large-scale map with contour-lines, of course. Or wrestle with some public geo-data sets. But if you happen to own a HD/GPS drone then it could be a nice project to use it to make an accurate and crisply Vue-beautified “bird’s eye view” version of your valley, local nature reserve, cycle-way, etc. Possibly even for VR fly-throughs.
Need fashion design inspiration from the past, for designing new digital outfits? Pinterest boards are great, of course, if you can find a great searcher/curator combo. But Europeana Fashion is open access and…
“brings together an incredible wealth of content including historical clothing and accessories, contemporary designs, catwalk photographs, drawings, sketches, catalogues and videos contributed by nearly 40 museums and fashion brand archives from 13 European countries.”
The excellent 2D animation software CrazyTalk Animator is now shipping the promised .PSD Photoshop templates with the $299 CrazyTalk Animator Pipeline version 3.1 (not to be confused with 3.01). This is from Reallusion, and so the new templates are very clearly documented.
This relatively-simple software also looks increasingly useful for re-posing 2D characters of the sort used in webcomics production, to save a whole lot of hand-drawing. So it might be considered by artists, even if you don’t want to plunge into all the pain and fiddly slogging that comes with making a full-blown animation with its backgrounds / video-editing / voice-acting / music / titles etc.
Also, I see Reallusion has iClone 7 on a pre-order with special discounts, for delivery in “June 2017”. Upgrading from iClone 5 Pro would cost $199, and that would include the vital companion software 3DXchange 6 Pro (required for working with the current incarnation of 3D Warehouse, older 3DXchange versions being no use now in that regard, because 3D Warehouse have junked all their old file versions).
I’ve looked at the new features but am not really tempted to get back into iClone, unless perhaps… if iClone 7 reveals a Comic Book inking mode that can do better than Poser 11 can. iClone 7 development looks to be pitched heavily toward meeting a slate of industry pre-vis feature requests, and competing with videogame engines such as Unreal and Unity (both free, but for now they’re stuck with nightmare interfaces intended for game developers).
There’s a new predictive industry report on 3D software, from Indian analysts Technavioforecast. They suggest that the “global animation design software market” to grow by 16%, to be at $4.288 billion by 2021. Keep in mind that this market report is focused on animation production and thus includes and will be skewed by the huge videogames industry. As such it presumably doesn’t consider the uses in comics and artwork production, event and theatre pre-production, and industrial uses such as architectural and store design rendering.
The report suggests some main drivers:
* increased use of animation design in movies and video games.
* use of animation design software for TV commercials [and presumably also for Web].
* a rise in demand from the Asia-Pacific region inc. Russia. With… “China, India, and Japan leading this growth”.
Fairly obvious stuff. Off the top of my head, I’d suggest that a few other factors will be:
* increasing automation and optimised workflows within the software.
* a large and growing number of able older people, retired and still adept with their hands and their PCs, with the time and money to learn the software as a hobby.
* faster rendering via the move to 8-core PCs and faster video cards. Also on the horizon are “render farms in a box” (44 cores in a cool quiet desktop BOXX, currently £3,800 but that sort of thing will fall in price in five years if the market sees competition).
* excellent tutorials, webinars and support, making the ‘on-ramp’ for the software vastly easier than the way things were 10 to 15 years ago.
* this ‘on-ramp’ is aided by the increasing use-ability of mature software (think Poser 11, Vue 2016 R2, CrazyTalk Animator 3 etc). The same can be said for the wider 2D ecosystem of support software (Photoshop, Clip Studio, SketchBook Pro etc) and their digitising methods. Judging by 3D World magazine, the same thing is happening over in the university-students-and-professionals market (3DS Max, Maya, Zbrush etc).
* there are new commercial content niches for paid content made with this type of software, in markets often uncontrolled by establishment media gatekeepers. Production and sales distribution are both aided by the ease of getting affordable no-hassle assistance from the likes of Fivver.