The venerable PC Pro magazine makes its pick of the pre-built desktop PCs for UK buyers, this month, in a big test-survey. Joint top was a 6-core Ryzen 5 5600X with workstation levels of supporting components + a compact GTX 1660 Super card. But that’s sold out. Yet I see the same Specialist Studio Supreme PC can be had in an even-better config, with an 8-core Ryzen 5 5600X CPU + a RTX 2060 card, for £1,116 inc. UK sales tax. If only I could afford one…
The Blender 2021 Roadmap is out. What’s important for those interested in real-time? And what might (at a guess) eventually be ported over to Poser 12?
* The next-generation OpenGL initiative ‘Vulkan’ is to be integrated into Blender’s real-time Eevee viewport, said to currently run as OpenGL + PBR materials. It’s difficult to discover what specific on-screen whizz-bangs Vulkan might enable, but under-the-hood it should offer “direct control over the GPU and less CPU usage”, compared to standard OpenGL.
* Nishita Sky, ported as a native feature to the real-time Eevee viewport. This is said to be a … “system that allows you to procedurally adjust the sky and atmosphere” with fine controls. At present you do this with plugins.
* For the main render-engine Cycles, a focus on… “improving performance, especially in scenes brimming with meshes, hair and volume objects”. Sounds like a nice speed-boost, and I’d assume it could then be ported to Poser 12 in 2022? In Poser, Blender’s Cycles is tweaked a bit and branded as SuperFly.
* And a Content Library… “The long-awaited Asset Browser is a new editor window in Blender, allowing you to create and save asset libraries.” With preview thumbnails.
I’m just leaving this here for my future reference, as the HiveWire closing sale finishes in a few days. It’s the last items remaining on my HiveWire Wishlist.
Beautiful work that it would be ‘nice to have’, but these were ‘$38 too far’ and will now have to wait for another day. I assume Ken G. will be moving his packs to Renderosity.
* Ken G’s Nature’s Wonders Turtles, with the vol. 1 expansion which gets tortoises.
* Both volumes of Nature’s Wonders Dragonflies & Damselflies.
Smith Micro has very recently effectively deleted their Poser webinars and tutorial videos on YouTube by making them all private and inaccessible. For now, their Moho / Anime Studio ones remain. Accordingly, curators should check their YouTube playlists for tube-rot.
What’s been lost, for Poser? Two Brian Haberlin webinars, in which he generously gave good tips on making digital comics with Poser, and which were not also available on his own channel. These being…
* “Poser Webinar: Poser Pro Game Dev Essentials with Artist and Innovator Brian Haberlin”. One hour. November 2014.
* “Poser Webinar: Using Poser 3D Software to Create the Ground-Breaking Graphic Novel Anomaly” with Brian Haberlin. One hour. Late 2016?
Three others were done with Digital Art Live — and thus probably remain available that way. “How to Import and Render Genesis 3 into Poser 11”, “Master the Rigging Process”, presented by Teyon Alexander, and “How to Create Graphic novels and Anime Art in Poser”, presented by Tasos Anastasiades on Poser comics. There are a number of other Tasos/Poser webinars at the DAL store.
Here’s a list of other non-comics webinars that still appear relevant in 2020 and which, until recently, Smith Micro listed on their main Poser site. These are now lost, it seems…
* “Discovering Poser Python Tools and Wardrobe Wizard”, with Phil Cooke. 2012. (I’m guessing Phil may have a copy?)
* “How to Get the Best Results from Poser’s SuperFly Render Engine”, presented by Stefan Werner. (On which I wrote “this video is a highly technical look at the innards of SuperFly, and is not ‘pretty pictures of space babes and a half-dozen hot rendering tips'”).
* “Rigging and Vertex Weight Mapping: A Primer”, presented by Larry Weinberg. (Poser Pro 2012. “Larry will demonstrate the tools and techniques he uses to create and fine tune character rigs and vertex weight maps. This is a great opportunity to learn more about rigging from Poser’s creator”).
* “More Little Known Secrets of Poser”, presented by Jason Cozy. (“Save time by creating groupings within Poser, by using the pre-sets in the Sketch Designer, and use simple Morph Tool fixes and Dependent Parameters”).
* “Rendering Tips and Tricks”, presented by Stefan Werner. (Using Poser Pro 2012, looking at “depth of field, indirect light, and ambient occlusion, and SSS”).
As for any shorter tutorials that might have been on the official Smith Micro channel, it’s not a great loss. Most of the best Poser tutorials were on other YouTube channels, such as Renderosity, Preta3D (Reality plugin), O’Reilly training videos, DAZ, Clip Studio, etc. I see no such short-video losses from any of my playlists.
It’s a merry Christmas for Les Garner, who many will know as the Poser/DAZ content maker Sixus1. The big printed trade-paperback edition of his Apocalypse Girl graphic novel is now in his hands…
You can currently buy the complete first story in six single-issues in ebook, and the nicely-printed trade paperback (which collects the run) should be reaching your local Amazon or comics store any day now. Definitely one for the Christmas-present book-token!
Poser 12 Early Access for Windows has moved forward another iteration. It had been at “Poser 12.0.322” for about a week, and as of yesterday moved forward to “12.0.340“.
Minor polishing, buffing of the Japanese version, and it has obviously been well-tested with the free Included Content because small fixes have been made there. But the most important fix for advanced users appears to be…
“Reduce Polygons has been added back to the Object menu”.
One software I had overlooked during all the Black Friday bliffle, because it’s so new…. Realistic Paint Studio 1.2. Still on offer for just $25 all-in, including the VIP brush set and with local sales tax not added. If you’re a digital painter — and even if you think you’d happy with Rebelle or Krita or Clip Studio or Photoshop — you’ll soon be kicking yourself that you didn’t get this unique one-time purchase software at this price. No fiddly labyrinthine menus, just a simple “real-world” UI with “real” tools you can pick up and use. Vibrant LAB-based colour and superb natural blending. Worth $25 for the “paint-along-with-me” built-in interactive tutorials, alone, I’d say.
Ignore the “NVIDIA” requirement in the specs, it runs fine for me on an AMD GPU.
Talking of bargains… it’s the last day of the 40% DAZ Studio sale today. Here’s a useful tip: make sure to always look down under a manual “Low Price” re-sorting of the Store, before you Checkout. There’s often a fleeting one-day high-value freebie to be found there these days, that doesn’t show on the main Freebies page. You’re welcome.
NVIDIA Omniverse has been released in open beta. In its current form it appears to be an extensible virtual production studio, giving teams the ability to… “simultaneously work together on projects with real-time photorealistic rendering” but also to “work concurrently between different software applications” via Omniverse Connectors which bridge into “leading” content creation software. Most interestingly, there is a promised Connector bridge to the free Blender in the near future. Naturally, your studio’s creatives all need to be brewing their wizardry on fast n’ shiny NVIDIA graphics cards and Windows.
The Omniverse platform is only in open beta at present, but already has several working modules within it. Including ‘Omniverse View’ for architects, and ‘Omniverse Create’ for designers and creators. It seems to use the Pixar USD format for universal ‘in-out porting’ of the 3D scenes and moving them around the various applications?
“Early next year” this virtual studio platform will see the release of…
“‘Omniverse Audio2Face’, AI-powered facial animation; and ‘Omniverse Machinima’ for GeForce RTX gamers”.
Machinima being the term for real-time WYSIWYG animation using a game-engine, and from the sound of it ‘Omniverse Machinima’ seems to be tilted toward Unreal Engine users and TV studios — rather than the hobbyist crowd that is currently using iClone.
The ‘Audio2Face’ module is more interesting and will aim to have an AI… “generate expressive facial animation from just an audio source” without any need for expensive and fiddly camera-based mo-cap. That makes a lot of sense. Train an AI to match millions of audio vocalisations with visual expressions, then have it generate expressions purely from audio. In fact I’m a bit surprised such a thing doesn’t already exist in software — beyond the existing ‘vocal audio to mouth phonemes’ lip-sync automation. But perhaps animating a full face and escaping from ‘the uncanny valley’ in real-time may need a Cloud connection and a zillion back-end NVIDIA GPUs to work? My guess is that you would need a second AI to weed out the “ugh, no… uncanny valley” results.
Anyway NVIDIA Omniverse looks good and may even be free(?), albeit after the entry-ticket price of a 30-series NVIDIA graphics card and (ugh) Windows 10. When it’s all polished up and hooked to a Blender bridge, that could make it very interesting for small indie animation studios. But what are the prospects for non-techie hobbyists? Well, DAZ is also an NVIDIA partner, so I guess if DAZ Studio implements a Pixar USD-format bridge then they could also enter the Omniverse?
Would you like the free G’MIC filters running in Photoshop, for Christmas? And in PhotoLine, Serif Affinity Photo and IrfanView too? Santa has visited early, on that one!
Yes, the latest G’MIC has been successfully ported to the old Photoshop .8bf plugin format. It’s been a year of work, in an official project, and is stable in 64-bit.
Be aware that if you have saved custom “Favorite” presets, some may no longer work after installing this. This is because this G’MIC is incomplete, and this incompleteness will affect presets on all your other G’MIC installs (Krita, Paint.NET etc). The solution is to tick the “Internet” check-box and run the “Update filters” inside G’MIC. This will give you the extra super-secret “Testing” folder of filters (and perhaps others in other folders) that you didn’t have before. G’MIC is now complete and all your custom “Favorite” presets will now work.
Reallusion has released a cool new Cartoon Animator 4.4, with the ability to tweak and adjust imported 3D motions. This feature is apparently not just a Pipeline edition thing, but is also in the cheaper version.
Don’t want to tweak? This is Reallusion, so you can of course also buy very expensive packs of pre-made 3D motions, well-suited and tested for the latest sophisticated G3 generation of Cartoon Animator figures.
What about importing freebies? At the end of the video, Reallusion’s 3DXchange utility is shown and third-party motions are being converted. Sadly 3DXchange (a sort of universal converter) is no long available as a standalone, and to get it in a useful version I’m pretty sure you need the expensive iClone Pipeline bundle. So don’t go rushing to pay for an upgrade to Cartoon Animator 4.4 in the hope of importing oodles of free .BVH motions, unless you also have the matching install of 3DXchange.
However, note that applying 3D human motions in Cartoon Animator (formerly CrazyTalk Animator) is not new. You can already do free BVH to Cartoon Animator conversion with an older copy of 3DXchange by saving them to iClone ‘non-standard figure’ motions. Many will have picked up a free copy of iClone 5 at some point and may well have the 3DXchange that came along with it.
Indeed, old-school iClone users may not even need to do that, as they likely already have a large library of 3D-figure iClone motion files on their PC. These are now (mostly) drag-and-drop onto Cartoon Animator figures. However they may not “take” on the latest shiniest G3 figures. So if you need to upgrade will partly depend on what figures you’re going to be using, G2 or G3.
Poser 12 Early Access has a new public download. The download had been at “Poser 12.0.306 – 2020-11-25” for a while, and has now jumped forward three iterations to “Poser 12.0.322 – 2020-12-08”.
The most important changes, for those considering downloading the latest version:
* ShaderNode equivalency behaviour in Poser 12 is now consistent with Poser 11.
* Additional support for Nvidia RTX 30 series graphics cards.
* Partial fix for seams showing in SSS, when traditional skinning [of figures] is used.
* Can export an image from the PostFx palette.
* Fixes to the Python Addons.
* Fixed exporting SuperFly renders to ‘Aux’ layers as .PSD and .PNG – the “Original” layer is no longer dark.
A new video on “Getting Started with BEER/Malt”, this being the new free NPR plugin for Blender. The video shows how to download, install and active the newly public Release v1-beta. Also how to apply a basic shader and line to a sphere.
The development work is done, but according to their YouTube channel they still need to hire a developer to add a nice UI and a layering system. You can donate here to help make that happen.
24 Days Of Christmas at Renderosity, a fun Advent Calendar that is now slowly filling with freebies. I’m not sure the bloody Guillotine Props Set is really suitable for Christmas, though it’s from RPublishing and thus it perhaps wryly symbolises the Poser 12 developer workload and its shipping-date deadlines.
Amazingly, I had somehow managed to miss getting Powerage’s Pacificator for Poser, over the years, but it’s an Advent Calendar freebie and I have it now…
There’s also a free Textures Pack for Pacificator if you want to make it look jazzier than my quick real-time Comic Book render shown here.
Also note the new free preset to Restore Default iRay Engine Render Settings for DAZ Studio 4. Very useful if something you loaded as an experiment (such as HD morphs) has messed with your settings, or you’ve been fiddling with the settings and things have not gone as planned.
For some reason, under any version of DAZ Studio and across different PCs, I have never ever been able to get anything at all to show up in the “Presets” render panel…
I can only assume it’s an un-fixable perma-bug. This freebie is exactly the same in this respect. Nothing shows up there after install.
The clunky workaround is then to drag-drop the “Restore Default iRay Engine Render Settings” .DUF file to the DAZ Studio Viewport. This will reset the iRay settings to their defaults, and also sets a 1600px render setting.
Did you get a shiny new 10″ Kindle on Black Friday? Need a comic to put on it? There’s a new graphic-novel, from well-known store vendor Sixus1 (Les Garner), and it’s now a complete story. I’ve just spotted that his final Apocalypse Girl #6 issue landed on the Amazon Kindle store at the very end of September, thus completing his graphic novel of Apocalypse Girl…
“Dogs of War”, the conclusion of the first Apocalypse Girl” graphic novel
Congratulations to Les for getting it completed and published!