The development of the $10 FlowScape landscape-creation software is back on track, now that Australia is recovering from lockdown and the kids are back in the schools again. There’s a preview video of the next version of this real-time tool. Lots of new stuff for makers of isometric dungeons (think all those Diablo-like dungeon-crawler videogames) which though fun is presumably mostly for RPG makers. But also, later in the video, we see ‘flocking’ fish shoals underwater, fast auto-growing grass and ground-cover plants that automatically follow the terrain without any ‘painting’ being needed, while auto-culling happens on terrain slopes and hollows. Plus there’ll be a configurable “stick it where you want it” user interface.
Ah, so the $15 Japanese DAZtoBlender8 plugin is the new official DAZ Blender plugin.
It’s been taken off sale at Gumroad, and the maker states there that… “DazToBlender is now available for free in DAZ 3D.” He also reports that there’s been a slight change due to the swop-over and name-change, and… “Props from Renderotica cannot be [used with] the version published on the DAZ 3D site.” The trade-off is that in DAZ’s hands the plugin appears to have been quickly extended to supporting transfer of Genesis 3 as well as 8.
The last non-DAZ developer version was 2020-07-01 | Version 18.104.22.168, then newly supporting Blender 2.83.
Another interesting item to note is that, now this is with DAZ… “This project is open source.” That’s from the DAZ Store page.
DAZ now has a new open-source DAZ to Cinema 4D Bridge, and it’s free. It transfers “Genesis 8 and 3 content” from DAZ 4.10 onwards, into seemingly any version of Cinema 4D from R15 onwards. It will also “Transfer Figures/Props/Environments”, but judging by the description it sounds like the poses don’t get sent. Facial morphs do, though. With the Poser equivalent, the whole scene is sent to C4D, poses and all.
Scrolling down the page a bit reveals a family of such plugins, also free. Maya, Blender, 3DS Max.
The Blender one is interesting, potentially making a DAZ figure real-time in Eevee? Yes, it seems so…
“Supported Blender Render Engines: Eevee …”
There’s no manual download of these new Bridge plugins, and the install has to be done through the DAZ Install Manager. Once installed they’re then found under: Scripts > Bridges. YouTube has new tutorials on their use.
Decimation of a model is done as follows: Top Menu / Filter / Remeshing > Simplification: Quadric Edge Collapse decimation. Set target poly count, tick ‘Preserve Normal’. Save.
Reallusion has a generous 50% off “all Software Store Packages” until 30th June 2020. The coupon code is either: “COVID19STAYSAFE” or COVID19STAYSAFE — it’s one or the other.
Theoretically this should drop the price on the excellent Cartoon Animator 4.2 to $49.50 for the standard (‘Pro’) version. However the real Pro version is the ‘Pipeline’ — it can load .SWF files by drag-and-drop, and has round-trip .PSD editing of props and characters. Which means Photoshop but also Krita, Clip Studio, and presumably Rebelle and much else that can open/save .PSD files. Assuming the checkout code ‘takes’ I’d be looking at around $89 for Pipeline, with a site member discount.
Looking at the Marketplace after a while away, I like Anton Bakhmat‘s latest scenes for Cartoon Animator.
3D users may also be interested in 3DXchange with a 50% discount, which can wrangle a 3D Warehouse .SKP model to a clean OBJ.
TurboVNC, “high-speed, 3D-friendly, TightVNC-compatible remote desktop software”, including mouse and keyboard control of the remote PC. Free, open-source, mature but also in active development. “3D friendly” here means things like Poser, Cinema 4D, Vue etc, not videogames.
Those who’ve used the business-friendly Team Viewer will be familiar with the basic principle of the ‘Remote Desktop’, aka ‘Virtual Desktop’. You install some software on both PCs, then with the aid of a ‘crossover’ Ethernet cable and a Local Network set up in Windows, you can seamlessly view and operate a remote PC from the comfort of your main PC. A use-case might be that you want to run Vue 2016 directly on your 12-core dual-Xeon render-farm ‘beast’ PC, rather than just sending its rendering work to that PC. But you don’t want to have to swop seats, cables etc to do so. Windows also has a similar feature built-in, which may be enough for those not doing advanced modelling with real-time rendering.
I also looked at the similarly free TigerVNC, also 3D-friendly, but TurboVNC seems the best choice for such things as it has high throughput and also ‘visual glitch’ error correction designed for 3D software work. Though it has a User’s Guide that only a techie could love, and badly needs a focused and user-friendly 6-minute YouTube video offering a quickstart on its setup and use.
Still, making a .BAT file should relive you of the need to type in a half dozen tedious commands, which are needed before you start up the Viewer component…
Note that, to download TurboVNC you may also want to know how to get direct downloads from SourceForge, if the EU’s cookies-crap stops your download from starting.
Need snow in your Poser scene for Christmas? Snarlygribbly’s free Snow Machine 2.3 works in Firefly and Preview. Also in Sketch, though it tends to get rather ‘lost in the shuffle’. The snow is really easy to apply, just choose your settings (depth, colour, reflectivity etc) and watch the snow appear on your prop or even all across your scene…
The new P3DO Pro 2.7 was released a few days ago. One of several third-party indexers and content-managers for for Poser, P3DO Pro now has a DUF parser, for a partial indexing of the newer type of DAZ Studio files. P3DO Pro costs $25 for a two-year licence.
Update: The licence is a little confusing, but the maker clarifies it in a comment to this blog…
“P3DO keys don’t expire. Once you have acquired a key you will be able to use that version without duration limit. It is the ability to upgrade to a newer version which is not possible after a given time. Those two years you are referring to is the minimal time with free upgrades [to the user].”
P3DO Pro’s main rival PzDB 1.3 had partial DAZ indexing some years ago, along with iClone and Vue items. The PzDB licence never expires and 1.3 is currently on a discount at $56. However, if you only need a vast Poser runtime indexing then I’d suggest 1.2 is the better and perfectly good option, and it’s also significantly cheaper at $32.
If you can’t afford either, take a look at the free Everything.
Google has released the free BodyPix 2.0. This offers automatic identification of people against a relatively noisy background, and then spots and tracks each person’s twenty-four body parts. It then segments, ID’s and colours each body-part. It can do this even while being fed around 20-25 frames per second, on fairly standard hardware such as an iPhone.
Version 2.0 adds “multi-person support and improved accuracy”.
They also offer the sister-software PoseNet, enabling a basic emulation of what a Kinect does but via standard Webcams…
both BodyPix and PoseNet can be used without installation and just a few lines of code. You don’t need any specialized lenses to use these models — they work with any basic webcam or mobile camera. And finally users can access these applications by just opening a url. Since all computing is done on device, the data stays private. For all these reasons, we think BodyPix is easily accessible as a tool for artists, creative coders, and those new to programming.
So… how to plug this stuff into a nice little DAZ/Poser-friendly Webcam utility? One that, at the flick of a drop-down menu, will happily real-time puppet and animate any stock figure from an Aiko 3 up to a G8 or La Femme?
If you run the latest Poser 11.2.x., there are a couple of third-party Poser scripts that won’t work because… “unexpected version of Poser”, or gnomic error-messages to that effect.
All my existing scripts worked fine after the 11.2.x. update, so I didn’t need to investigate a fix. But then last week I purchased Dimension3D’s $9 XA – Toolbar, aka eXtended Access. I found it was one of the affected script utilities.
But I’m pleased to find that it’s now fixed. Poser wizard SnarlyGribbly has kindly created a small AVFix script. It’s available free at the Dutch PoserLounge site, and works fine. (That page and .zip are now also archived to Archive.org, for safekeeping).
The installation instructions for AVFix are clear and straightforward. To help jog my memory in future, I installed the fix to a folder named “Snarlygribbly – fix Poser 112 errors” rather than simply “Snarlygribbly” as suggested. The fix script still worked fine.
Once installed I… 1) run the AVFix once, then 2) start my new ‘XA – Toolbar’. I find the fix will also enable the launch of the ‘XA – Content Library’ in the same way, though I use PzDB these days. Dimension3D’s Extended Shader Manager does not need the fix. The fix is also said to cure the Reality plugin launch problem, and will presumably do until the new open-source Reality version arrives which supports Poser 11.2.x or higher.
I’ve updated my Python scripts for Poser 11 page, with a link to the fix.
News of U-Render for C4D started me wondering about making a possible move from my current OpenGL 4.2 to OpenGL 4.5. This led me to finally wrangle with upgrading my GPU’s native display drivers. I succeeded.
My obvious initial choice was to upgrade via the Windows Device Manager, but as usual it “knows nurthing…” about new driver updates. Better safe than sued.
But I found that AMD itself provides a handy auto-detection and drivers-download utility. This offered me a clean uninstall and an updated driver. A grindingly slow uninstall, download and update eventually took me from 2013 drivers, to much newer drivers from summer 2019.
Which all means that my GPU now runs OpenGL 4.5 (292 ext). Great.
I then tested the OpenGL Preview anti-aliasing and rendering in Poser 11.2, and it still runs fine under the updated version of OpenGL. As a side-effect I can now launch Blender 2.8, which I couldn’t before.
Apple Mac users are apparently forever stuck with OpenGL 4.1, since Apple is no longer supporting or updating it, and will abandon it altogether when they launch their new OS in Autumn/Fall 2020.
It’s time for another pick of the month’s new 3D content releases, with a focus on DAZ Studio, Poser and Vue content. As usual I’m not featuring freebies that don’t offer commercial use. The CG Trader store timed out on me yet again, so they don’t feature here. No great loss, as they seem to be loosing the race with the new ArtStation store.
Urban Future 7 by Stonemason. A big quality scene with a great many camera opportunities, as usual from Stonemason. Shown here without textures, so you can see the mesh detailing.
Reptiloid Deepspace Hunter as an .OBJ only.
Rule them all with the Hover Throne for Poser. There’s also a new 17th century Royal Throne canopy that might be adapted to make it a futuristic match. Gotta keep the rain off your billion-dollar Hover Throne!
Blunderbuss flintlocks for Poser and DAZ with high detail.
Vintage Weather Predictors (fluid barometers) for Poser and DAZ Studio.
Cape and skirt in Marvelous Designer, a merchant resource source-file for just $2. The same seller also has trousers in a similar style. I’m assuming this is not too close to being fan-art from some Japanese anime.
A free lamp, with a valvepunk look. Would also suit a stylish mad-scientist lab.
Clothing and wardrobes:
Related, and possibly an annexe room for the Vestiaire, is the new Mirror Rooms.
A free morphing Hat prop for La Femme, the flagship Poser female character.
dForce Halter Mini Dress for Genesis 8 Female has a top part that could be matched with suitable dark trousers (pants) for a more business-office look, with the high neck of the top offsetting the mundane ‘office look’.
Characters and poses:
New at CGBytes, the unusual Moody, Sulky and Depressed for G3 and G8, in DAZ Studio.
See also the new Z Utility Simply Bored Poses and Expressions for Genesis 3 and 8.
Liven up your spoiled and sulky kids with the free Rotting Zombie for Poser, based on a combo of legacy free-bundle characters such as Jessi.
Hog and Barrel Pub Exterior, which of course resembles a hobbit house. Unfortunately it’s too smart and would take quite a bit of work on the door to get it looking like a more rustic hobbit-hole, but you’ve got the basics here. Maybe someone will make a less ‘glam’ makeover for it, with the door surround gone, a finer and rougher wattle-and-daub crack texture on the outer wall, and a less square chimney. Perhaps also hedges instead of dry-stone walls.
BBarbs continues her free series of realistic free child poses for G8F. Including useful storybook poses such as “I found a tiny beetle” and “I’m flying”…
dForce CB Fantasy Suit for Genesis 8 Female, for DAZ Studio, which with a longer skirt might suit your ‘Good Fairy’ needs in a fairytale storybook.
Ali Baba dForce Clothing and Hair for Genesis 8 Male. The character showing it seems to be the new Jeremy for Genesis 8 Male?
51 Panel Van for DAZ Studio. With junk/repair-yard poses for it.
A big set of free Explosion Effects for Poser, originally from Vanishing Point. Might be a bit old and blurry nowadays, but it would be something for digital overpainters to work with in big battle scenes.
A free Medieval River Quarry. In .OBJ and .FBX, with textures.
Bareback Barbarian Action poses, for charging prehistoric and ancient cavalry. Not something you see everyday, though I expect some older American Indian and horse sets will have similar poses.
Bacia shaving bowl helmet is a curious multi-use medieval freebie for your castle besieging soldiery.
A fine new Medieval Small Village Tower by Dante78 for Poser. Also in .OBJ format.
Christian Hecker (‘Tigaer’) is now on the thriving ArtStation store and has a new 8k Heightfield Terrain & Materials – The Ghost, “best used with Vue or Terragen”.
Halloween Lantern from 1971s, for Poser. The background Swamp Tree is not included.
High Mountain Portal with a slightly low-poly look and slightly stylised textures, that may make it especially useful for over-painters of 3D renders.
For a rather more humble kitty, free Poses for the original Poser Cat, which can be found in the legacy freebies .ZIPs for Poser 11.2. Many will already have this venerable old moggie, which has been around for many years now. Still, tooned or as a base for some Hair Room fur experiments this kitty can still work for some creative purposes.
A Sloth for $30. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a sloth in Poser or DAZ Studio. This is for 3DS Max, but you might be able to get it over to DAZ or Poser as a pose-able .FBX file? Not sure if the hair would port over with it, though.
3D Underwater Fauna: Flowing Jellyfish, with light emission.
Plugins, scripts and utilities:
Face Transfer Unlimited. “Create an authentic 3D version of yourself or others with accurate skin tone and shading, by simply uploading a photograph in DAZ Studio”. “The free version of Face Transfer is included” in the very latest DAZ Studio 4.12 for Windows, and this is the paid download version. I’ve no idea if it also adapts the character’s bone-structure to the photo automatically, or handles the fitting of the eyes well, but I assume so.
Free Superfly hair shaders for any dynamic hair made or grown with Poser’s Hair Room. Can also be used on animal / creature fur grown via the Hair Room.
Hide My Parts in Poser. A simple free script which pops up a panel to hide or show multiple body-parts.
Character Development for Visual Stories made with 3D.
That’s it. More picks next month!
I see that the PoserFusion plugins for Poser 11 are still available for me, via the old Smith Micro Download Manager — open the SM Manager with your special PoserFusion plugin serial number (not the regular serial number). There are four plugins which allow import of Poser scenes to Cinema 4D, Maya, 3DS Max, and Lightwave, but you’ll need to step back a few versions on these big-beast programmes. For instance, the PoserFusion plugin for Cinema 4D still works fine with C4D R17 (update: and R18 and 19, or so I’m told). Vue 2016 R4 didn’t need a plugin, with Vue able to natively import a Poser scene. The new subscription version of Vue can still handle easy import of Poser scenes.
I found that all four PoserFusion plugins were lurking on my hard-drive, downloaded some time ago, in my: C:\Users\USER_NAME\SmithMicroDLM\Downloads\release\Poser11\PSFU\win directory.
On cut and pasting these out to save them, and re-starting the Manager, I was still able to access them afresh via download…
So this could be your last chance to get them, as I imagine that the SM Manager will cease to recognise serial-numbers fairly soon. Apparently Renderosity are not going to maintain these plugins, but that might just be a forum rumour. There’s a certain amount of mis-information flying around at present and I’ve seen nothing official on it.
The PoserFusion plugin for Cinema 4D still works fine with C4D R17 (some Forum voices say R19), with both old saved Poser files and saved file from the new 11.2 version. Basic C4D workflow is…
1. Top menu in C4D. Plugins | Poser. Tell C4D where to find the Poser runtime, if needed.
2. Clicking this adds a ‘Poser Object’ to the panel showing the list of scene content and materials, so that C4D knows how to handle what it’s about to have loaded.
3. In the panel beneath, Find “Object Properties”. Click the “…” button and load your Poser file from there.
4. Then once the Poser scene has loaded in, it will lack materials. Click “Load Materials” to have C4D go get the Poser materials from your runtime and load them onto the scene.
You can’t send cameras across, so you can’t later composite 1:1 with a C4D render and a Poser render.
For those finding this post in the future: this relates to the handover of Poser 11 from Smith Micro to new owners Renderosity, which happened this weekend with the 11.2 update.
Amid the wave of new releases in recent weeks, good advice from Ricky (content editor at Renderosity) on “Focusing on the Tools at Hand”…
“I’m seeing a lot of animators jump from tool to tool as new ones are released. It’s no longer uncommon for there to be several tools that basically do the same thing installed on one’s system. … [creatives suffer from] informational overload when it comes to tools. Our inboxes are stuffed with announcements and there are getting to be so many vendors at the various conferences and expos that its difficult to see all them.”
Very true. I see a lot of CG news, though not being in the USA I don’t get to the trade expos to pound the floors and see the launches. But the wash of CG news gets filtered before it reaches this blog. The bits you read here are only those that make it through the filter of being somehow relevant to Poser / DAZ / digital landscapists, or to digital comics creation, or to fantasy/sci-fi artists. Thus when Lightwave gets sold, that’s of mild interest here because it interfaces nicely with Poser. Plus, the CG news often gets questioned, tested or investigated before it’s posted — it’s not just ‘link the press release’.
Luckily I’m also somewhat constrained, in that I now… i) avoid nearly all ‘animation’ (fun to watch, not fun to make) and am trying to build up to a set of skills in comics making instead (less work, quicker rendering, a bit more fun); and ii) not being able to afford the uber-PC and ninja £600 graphics-card to run everything new and shiny. Several recent bits of demo or review software have even refused to install (Substance and AI Gigipixel) because my PC was deemed under-par. Not even an install!
Ricky suggests in his article that we should stop and think if software we already have duplicates the features of the shiny new software. Again, good advice, but sometimes you also want to support software that’s more open. For instance I was enamoured of Sketchbook Pro for about 18 months, in my slow move toward finding time for 2D painting/overpainting. But now I want to support the similar but open-source Krita 4.x. That Sketchbook Pro has now slipped back from being supposedly ‘free’ to having a paid version, and within a year of Autodesk’s ‘free’ announcement, seems to partly vindicate my choice.
Anyway, for what it’s worth, prompted by Ricky here’s my list of currently frequently-used software on Windows:
Poser 11.x Pro. REVIEW COPY (no expiry).
DAZ Studio 4.x (with Scene Optimizer for iRay). FREE.
Carrara 8.5. PAID.
PzDB (for Poser/DAZ content management and selection). GIFT FROM THE MAKER (for helping with v.1.3).
3DXChange (3D file converter). WON IN A CONTEST, with iClone 7.
Meshlab 2016 (3D file wrangler). FREE.
Vue xStream 2016 R4. REVIEW COPY (no expiry).
Flowscape 1.2. PAID.
PTGui 8 (panorama stitcher). PAID.
Krita 4.x (2D digital paint). FREE.
Dynamic Auto-Painter 6.x (aka DAP 6). PAID.
Photoshop, mostly CS6 – plus a half dozen plugins, mostly tried and tested old-school ones. PAID/FREE.
IrfanView for quick image previewing and basic processing in Windows. FREE.
FastStone Capture for screenshots. FREE.
+ Ugee 1910b ‘draw on the screen’ pen monitor + main 24″ monitor. PAID, but both cheap Amazon ‘warehouse deals’.
You’ll notice iClone is missing. Many long-standing readers will know I used to be a big fan and user of it, but then they changed the UI wholesale and more. I did win a copy of iClone 7 recently in a contest, installed it and was glad because I gained the latest 3DXChange utility, but… I just don’t tend to use iClone itself any-more, these days. I’m far more fond of their fine CrazyTalk Animator and its potential for rapid comics production, these days.
Back to Ricky’s article. Perhaps we need a big ‘decision tree’ flow-chart, to help in choosing the right software for the task?