An interesting new UK startup, YellowDog. Harvest the PC processing power which is idling away at general businesses, and sell it to people who need 3D renders done quick.
It appears the some Black Friday / Cyber Monday store discounts have started early this year. So far, we have:
Cornucopia (Vue users): currently only Tony Meszaros has heavy discounts. Quality items though, very low ‘doorbuster’ prices and he even has time-limited freebies which were previously at $25.
Hivewire: Nothing in my WishList has been reduced yet. (They had a special Black Friday store page last year, with a small selection of 70% discounts).
DAZ Store: nearly all of my WishList is now discounted there, but… only four items are at less than $5. And they’re just old Hiro and Genesis stuff, and as such are not tempting me to blow $20 on picking them up.
Will the DAZ Store discounts go to 70% on ‘Black Friday to Cyber Monday’? Personally I’ll be waiting to see, rather than diving in now for a few 40%-ers.
Renderosity: On sorting my WishList by “On Sale items” and then by price, it’s still just 1971s items at the sub-$5 mark. Incidentally, 1971s is back on form again, and his two latest models are excellent…
I’m tempted not to wait to see if these two go down to 70%, next weekend.
What about software? Adobe already have 20% off the $50-a-month for Creative Cloud suite, until Friday. If you buy a Wacom Pro product from Amazon (UK only, time-limited) you reportedly get Creative Cloud free for three months via some kind of coupon code.
Corel Painter 2018 is already 15% off. I suspect that might go down further at the weekend, as last year Painter 2017 was much more heavily discounted.
No movement yet, but based on what happened last year we can probably also expect discounts on Friday for: Sketchbook Pro; Comic Life 3; Vue (was 50% off, last year); Poser Pro 11; Manga Studio (aka Clip Studio); and Poser plugins such as Reality.
Judging by the UK’s Overclockers Black Friday pages there are plenty of good savings on graphics cards, memory, 8-core Ryzen CPUs. Doubtless their USA and European equivalents have a similar set of discounts.
I’ve already blogged here about the Ugee pen monitor discounting on Amazon.
I doubt we’ll see items like the new Kindle Fire HD 10″ drop below £150 in the UK.
The VUE 2016 R4 update patch has just been released. A few of the selected highlights of the 480Mb patch…
* Stereoscopic rendering and VR180 Panoramic rendering.
* Better multi-pass masking, re: semi-transparency (“For instance, cloud passes or tree leaves masks won’t show the sky in the background”).
* You can now embed the alpha channel for each mask pass, when the output format supports it.
* Path Tracer Renderer improvements.
* VUE now supports CPUs with more than 64-cores on Windows. [Meaning that Xeon users will be happy]
* Added Cinema 4D R19 support.
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”.
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…
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 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 22.214.171.124 to run.
Poser 11’s service release patch is out, the eighth such. To get it, launch your Smith Micro Download Manager, switch to the Updates tab. There you’ll see 11.0.8…
There appears to be no accompanying Content update pack this time, as there has been in the past.
If you run a 64-bit instead of a 32-bit install of Poser, then you need to make sure to uncheck the 32-bit check-box when the installer runs. Otherwise it may look for both 64-bit and 32-bit installs of Poser, and may then get confused when it can’t find the 32-bit.
Changes with the new patch:
* Queue Manager Installer now works on Windows 32-bit.
* Sketch Render no longer crashes or hangs when using Make Movie.
* Master Control light burning issues were solved.
* Graph Editor opens with last window size. [meaning: the Graph Editor no longer opens at a tiny size].
* Area Render fixes.
* Direct Manipulation Tool is now being rendered as intended.
* PNGs with alpha are now supported. The alpha is discarded, and the PNG is looked as a 24 bit image. [Poser can already output alpha-masked PNGs, so presumably this has to do with input of PNGs].
Oooh, a Blade Runner 2049 mini-prequel, from the Cowboy Bebop director Shinichiro Watanabe. In plot terms, the 15 minute Blade Runner: Black Out 2022 sit between the original and the new Blade Runner. As do the follow-on shorts 2036: Nexus Dawn and 2048: Nowhere to Run. All are now on YouTube for free, courtesy of Warner Bros.