A couple of webinars coming up.
1. Reallusion have a free “Importing & Animating DAZ Genesis 8 Characters in iClone” webinar on 11th September 2019. Update: YouTube link.
2. Carrara and Vue webinars from DAL, on 21st and 28th September 2019.
Excellent news from Silvio Grosso, who linked to a job advert in July (now sadly expired)…
the French G’MIC team has hired a developer who will make G’MIC with Photoshop. Starting work 1st October 2019 and with the post sponsored for a year.
G’MIC is the excellent filter set in GIMP, and (as a Krita-specific fork) in Krita.
CompoScene is a render plugin, to efficiently export a bundle of multipass renders from SketchUp to Photoshop. Meant for comics makers. Originally $64, now just $16.50. Last updated December 2018.
Shipping now is HitFilm 13.0, the budget $299 video editing, compositing and effects software. It’s basically a cut-down After Effects for VFX-heavy film makers on a tight budget. Lots of camera matching upgrades, plus new colour-grading tools, and an interesting “Remove Stock Background – for compositing stock video footage without manual keying”.
Neobarok. The alpha for 2.0 was previewed a year ago. 2.0 is now being trailed on the site.
Totally free open source software, from one developer. Intuitive modelling and sculpting, with easy boolean and also paint.
It has good video reviews, and it looks quite promising for 2.0. There’s .OBJ export, but so far as I can tell there’s no in-software rendering of what you see to a big 3000px .PNG file. The best you can get there is switch to hi-res, go fullscreen, and take a PrintScreen screenshot.
The most vital first-step in using it is quite tricky, until you get the hang of it. To rotate:
1. First press down and HOLD the RIGHT mouse button.
2. Then do the same with LEFT mouse button, so that both buttons are held down.
3. Then move the mouse to rotate the view.
Do not just press both buttons simultaneously, as that won’t work.
It’s not insanely complicated like some software, although the basic camera and move controls are not initially very intuitive or standard. Let’s hope 2.0 has a camera widget like Poser.
Some release notes of interest, re: recent releases in budget/free software and/or comics and non-photoreal rendering.
* The latest version of PD Howler is available, as Howler 2020 (Windows only) at $77 before discounts. The big changes seem to be a revamp of the legacy brush engine, new paper textures, and rationalised de-cluttered media presets.
* The free Krita 4.2.3 (17th July) is only a minor update, but makes the 4.2 (May 2019) brushes even slicker.
* Just released, a new version of Cinema 4D 21, although I can see nothing on the feature list to interest Poser users or users of C4D’s Sketch & Toon module. However, it’s important to note that there’s now no more confusion between Prime / Visualize / Broadcast / Studio / BodyPaint editions of C4D — they’re all gone. Everything is now in the one edition. Apparently Internet access and online log-in is now required with each launch, with this edition.
* The Release Candidate for Blender 2.8 is now available, as Blender continues to grind its interminable way to the final final really-final-we-mean-it-now honest-it’s-here-at-last 2.8 release.
All the buttons in Flowscape 1.3, covered, for the first time in a detailed 43-minute walkthrough of the software, aimed at beginners. Free on YouTube.
Just released, an interesting new “tint transfer” engine for Photoshop called MagicTints 1.0. I especially like the apparently semi-generative ability to…
“iterate through moods, matte color spaces and ideas”
It needs a later CC 2014+ versions of Photoshop and it works as a Panel. There’s a 15-day demo.
I’d just suggest that someone wanting to save $39 could probably wait six months on this. To find that something very similar has been added to G’MIC, and thus to Krita, for free. G’MIC already has 2D style-transfer, auto-colour of line-art, and automatic greyscale-to-colour (see below)… and thus instant-and-acceptable tint-transfer between 2D pictures can’t be far behind.
Whatever you may think about ‘the ultimate price-tag’ on Reallusion’s software, or the radical UI makeover and new render-engines in iClone, as a company they do provide excellent support and tutorials. And the new Cartoon Animator 4 is fine software which is also useful for comics makers of a certain type. Today Reallusion uploaded an hour of detailed new tutorials on the vital skill of how to set up a “360 head” in their new Cartoon Animator 4 software…
There’s also a new 20 minutes video that dives into the details of all the Face Key Editor Enhancements in CTA4, which offers the user detailed creative control over the resulting frame-by-frame animation.
FlowScape 1.3 is out, and the most stable way for purchasers to get this $10 landscape tool is via the Itch downloader/loader.
* a basic ‘first draft’ implementation of a terrain-sculpting tool. The maker says “ideally you want to sculpt the terrain before you place anything” on it. “Also if you save and reload, it does weird things if you try and sculpt some more.”
* paint paths, which seems to mean that you can easily lay down footpaths and trackways with a paintbrush.
* 12 new skies.
* a collection of ships.
* six “snowy mountain pieces”, for backdrops.
* “lava and ice options”, as well as water.
* more save slots.
* the overlay grid opacity can be changed, which is useful for RPG map makers.
* water can be made more reflective in top-down-RPG views, so it shows up better.
* “pressing SHIFT will let you rotate”, and this seems to mean rotate a prop with the mouse wheel when placing it on the terrain.
Google has just open sourced its PoseNet 2.0 pose-detection magic. Which suggests we might get a simple affordable “video to Poser/DAZ pose preset” software, in due course. Without having to stick day-glo markers over clothing and faces. I don’t know of any such thing currently, that’s markerless and sub $50 and works without an enormously expensive iPhone or similar kit.
Apparently Disney also has markerless motion-capture for faces that focuses on the jaw. It detects skin deformations around the jaw, as a proxy of jaw bone position.
Just when you thought Smith Micro was getting out of creative software, with the sale of Poser… “Introducing Moho 13 Animation Software” (YouTube Playlist link). Yes, Smith Micro have just issued a new release of what was formerly Anime Studio, their 2D animation creation software. It’s been three years since the last update. Note that it is not to be confused with the similarly-named 3D modelling software Modo.
I was most interested in the new “Enhanced 3D object support”, though I discovered it to be a “Moho 13 Pro only” feature. Judging by the video for this feature, the user can import and light/shade a simple 3D object in .OBJ, such a soccer ball. But I saw no demo of any exciting real-time automatic application of believable ink lines along the edge line of the ball, akin to Poser’s Comic-book mode or SketchUp.
As such, Moho is mildly interesting. But a 2D animator should carefully evaluate the $400 Moho Pro 13 against Reallusion’s latest $199 Cartoon Animator 4 Pipeline (i.e.: Pro) version. The latter is much better supported by add-on content packs, including packs of pre-made motions and characters, albeit mostly costly ones. But Moho seems to have a more ‘pro’ feature set for animation, which may appeal more to trained animators who can make their own content and then make it all flow smoothly.
One wonders now what will happen with Smith Micro’s other creative software, given that the Poser press-release said they were re-focussing the business away from creative tools. For the moment they still have Rebelle (digital sketching/painting), MotionArtist (a motion comics maker), and Flame Painter (particle-system based painting brushes, with a Photoshop bridge).
While solid products, none are well-placed in the market. Rebelle is a competitor to Corel’s Painter Essentials, and also the increasingly excellent and wholly free Krita. Flame Painter is in a nice niche at a nice price, but is up against Corel’s heavyweight ParticleShop. And finally MotionArtist, a maker for a semi-animated comics format that had some media-buzz some years ago but that never really took off in the market. Partly due to the motion-sickness that such ‘motion comics’ can induce in many readers. Partly due to both the audience and the mainstream comics industry preferring the well-worn traditional approach to comics presentation. Still, I seem to recall it has solid HTML5 output for making open public webcomics that don’t have to go through content stores, which may make it appeal to those who could take it off Smith Micro’s hands. It would be great to see it go open source, if a crowdfunder could make that happen, and be developed into a full-featured comics production start-to-finish workflow tool akin to a mix of a storyboarder with Comic Life and Krita. And without the over-complexity and large cost of Clip Studio (Manga Studio).
So, with the final-final-really-final honest-it’s-true-at-last Blender 2.8 to launch over the release-horizon in July 2019, I decided to test the 2.8 near-final beta on Windows 8.1 64-bit.
I was looking forward to at least getting a glimpse of the new “complete 2D animation toolset” Grease Pencil module, with 3D interfacing and complete with a dedicated UI workspace template. I don’t care about the animation, but I was interested in comics stills production and how fiddly it might be compared with the ease-of-use with Poser. I was also curious about the Eevee matcap feature, though apparently the Eevee toon shaders are not yet implemented. The simple Sculpting UI workspace template also looked worth a brief try.
But, sadly, the current Blender 2.8 beta crashes my Windows display driver every time it starts to load. Then it refuses to load anything, and just sits there as a blank bare window and loads no UI elements.
Oh well, I guess my system is no longer powerful enough to run Blender. Probably because the… “minimum graphics card requirements for Blender have increased to OpenGL core 3.3.” And the new plugins, such as Toonkit for Cycles 1.3, will only run with Blender 2.8. As I can’t afford a shiny new £500 graphics card + a new PSU to power the new Blender, it looks like Blender is not for me. Despite being free, Blender has now made itself very expensive, both in terms of time-to-learn and its hardware baseline.
The free Krita 4.2 final has just been released for the desktop. It’s an important release, and of course is free as it’s the flagship digital painting software for ‘open source’ creativity, Krita 4.x rivals Autodesk’s Sketchbook Pro and has clearly outpaced a clutch of similar software.
– over 1,500 stability buxfixes.
– better drawing tablet support.
– better multi-monitor set-up support.
– “a host of bugs with tablets have been resolved”.
– faster brush-speed.
– improved Flow and Opacity in the brush engine, for delicate strokes.
– better colour-picking and colour-palette storage.
– easier ‘move and transform’ of selections.
– rotate your canvas from the Overview mini-window.
– resize the Layer thumbnails.
– updates GMIC filters plugin to version 2.4.5.
– some new Blend modes such as Freeze, Glow, Heat and Reflect.
– and there’s a new Noise generator.
I’ve previously looked in depth here at the potential of its GMIC filters for doing interesting toon-ification things with Poser renders, and I like what I see.
Be warned that it’s not like Blender, in that you can’t have multiple versions of it on the same PC. It’ll remove your old version. But I found that my Brush preset tagging and custom UI remained as it had been in the old version.