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.
I was pleased to find another H.P. Lovecraft for Poser, albeit as a morph for the older character of Michael 3. It’s OK-ish, but not as accurate as the dedicated character from Meshbox. I discovered that there are quite a few packs of “famous faces” made for M3 and still floating around, as I had a quick look around and a runtime search for superhero freebies for M4 / Freak 4. I dug up a David Tennant (Doctor Who) and an Edgar Allan Poe, both for M3, for instance.
Such faces are mostly for M3 and require the Head morphs from the ‘Michael 3.0 Head & Body Morphs‘ pack…
1. Load M3 base character from Figures | Daz People
2. Then go to Pose | !M3 All Morphs INJ | ! All Head Morphs.
3. Then select the Head of M3, and load your character head.
It’s not the “David Tennant for M4, that looks nothing like him”. It’s another one, tucked away in an old multi-pack of superhero morphs for M3. The problem with a David Tennant as Doctor Who is, of course, finding the Fabulous Hair of Cosmic Awesomeness that will also look good in Poser’s Comic Book mode. The hair is so Awesome it has whole blogs devoted to it, and deservedly so.
Fancy trans-mapped hair is no good for Poser’s Comic Book preview renderer. Though Maraboo Hair looks like a useful starter, if you wanted to render in full 3D. The popular Reivel Hair was also a possibility.
In the end, the M3 hair seen above was down to a surprising combination of the ancient Ben hair and the almost-as-ancient M3 Star Trek hair for McCoy.
The Ben hair can be easily detached in pieces and re-positioned over the McCoy base, and as long as you don’t delete the base scalp (hide it in the body) the Ben hair doesn’t revert to bare guide hairs.
The David Tennant Poser-portrait above is just an alpha version, and I haven’t even checked it against reference photos yet. But it’s already somewhat recognizable. The M3 coat has a strange forward bump, as if it’s expecting V4 to drop in at any moment, but it’ll do for now.
An update on Freak 4 bundle, recently blogged about here because discounted to $7.
The Freak 4 morph dials won’t do much, after you load him. To get The Freak 4 ‘over the wall’ on this and working with his Micheal 4 base, you first need to go to…
… and there find the DzCreateExPFiles-M4.bat and possibly also the M4Gens.bat files. These are batch script files which, when double-clicked on, will seek out the new morphs and inject them into M4 so that he can handle becoming The Freak. It only takes a second or two, and you’re done. Then you load Freak 4 from his preset in Figures | DAZ People.
Here’s a bit of test fun I had with him. He was rendered on a ‘Very Quick Preview’ setting in 15 minutes at 2800px, so is not looking as good as he might. However, I cut out a bit of a stock wolf-pelt to provide a rather nice furry kilt, which I think adds something to the picture…
The fancy Barbarian shield textures don’t work in Superfly renders, which is a pity, but everything else seemed fine. But I’ve found that the Barbarian clothes in the bundle go very well with the hair in the free SOTO’s Vincent for The Freak 4 (used in the above picture).
I accidentally gave out a wrong bit of information here the other day, my apologies. I had found and installed the old Poser LLanime script. Then, when I wanted to blog that it worked, I needed to give you the install location. To get this easily, in Windows Explorer I typed “ScriptsMenu” — since that’s where I had installed it to. Windows Explorer then showed me the wrong ScriptsMenu. Even when my Windows Explorer is explicitly told to find everything…
… it still skips the C:\Program Files folders. Which, of course, is the real place Poser 11 keeps its Python Scripts.
Poser maintains a number of locations where Poser’s Python scripts can plausibly be installed. But only one of them works for seeing them show up inside Poser 11…
1. Your main runtime, where you install your characters, props and other content. This will very likely have a ..\content\Runtime\Python\poserScripts folder.
2. C:\Users\Public\Documents\Poser 11 Content\Runtime\Python\poserScripts\ScriptsMenu
3. C:\Program Files\Smith Micro\Poser 11\Runtime\Python\poserScripts\ScriptsMenu
The third path is where you put new scripts, if you want them to show up in Poser 11’s Scripts menu…
Here I have a handy FavoriteScripts folder, since the Python Panel in Poser is annoyingly incapable of remembering assigned scripts between sessions (at least, without some vigorous manual code-hacking of various *Buttons.py scripts).
So I’d obviously done a correct install on LLanime, but then my casual reliance on Windows Explorer caused my mistake in the blog post. It was my fault, as I had long ago told Windows not to index C:\Program Files (in order to speed up the sluggish Windows indexing process). In such a circumstance, to have Poser’s script content folders and files show up in the Windows Explorer search, go:
Star Menu | type Index | Select ‘Indexing Options’ | Click on the C: drive | Modify | Now you can choose which folders you want to Index or not | Choose ‘Smith Micro’ and OK.
I’m pleased to say that Rust-Icator for Poser and Grime-Inizer for Poser work in Poser 11. They seem a simpler script/texture-based alternative to the new materials layer blending possibilities in Poser 11. For instance, they offer a very simple way to apply a blended cross-hatching texture, without fading the underlying material or changing its appearance.
They’re billed as…
“… one-click age and decay effects you can use on everything in your scene … can be applied to ANY surface – human skin, clothes, props, hair – like any other shader. Existing texture maps will not be replaced. The shaders incorporate math nodes so the original texture is still visible beneath them.”
These scripts were updated at the DAZ Store in fairly recently. I can confirm that the latest Rust-Icator for Poser runs fine in the latest Poser 11 Pro version (SR6) under Windows…
There is however a forum report suggesting that modern Mac users have the ‘wrong type of Python’ for this to run. Could be that it’s now effectively Windows-only, but that’s just my guess.
They also seem a bit temperamental about launching from: Poser Library | Props. If there’s no response from clicking on a Library icon there, then use the alternative route of File | Run Python Script… which seems to always work fine.
There are three duplicate sets of the scripts, one for Poser 8, Poser 9, and other named MHGS. The MHGSrustcracked.py and other MHGS versions ran fine in Poser 11, from File | Run Python Script… Do not delete the older P8 / P9 versions, thinking you won’t need them. Because it seems that the working MHGS versions require or call them in some way.
The scripts call up 4000px textures from the runtime, which can be swopped out easily in the Materials Room…
For less memory-muching, a smaller file can be loaded and its scaling then dialed down from 1.0 to 0.1. Here I’ve switched to a piffling little 130px cross-hatching tile, which isn’t even optimised for seamless tiling…
When I first loaded up Poser 11 Pro I fairly quickly discovered that the old Sketch Designer is happy to noodle its sketch-render magic along the new Comic Book mode’s toon lines, and thus create a simple soft-charcoal line, for later Photoshop blending into the hard-ink Comic Book toon lines.
I more or less stopped there, happy to have a sort of ‘grease pencil’ line. But after some more experiments today I’ve discovered it’s possible to use Poser’s Sketch Designer to create a different type of ‘rough sketch’ Comic Book line, and at the same time to render Sketch Designer’s lines into the base materials too.
Here’s the stock Andy 3D character in a flat light, with a simple slightly-shaded plain texture and with the normal Comic Book mode inking lines applied. Next to him is the Andy with some of my home-brew Sketch presets applied into the Comic Book lines, plus another preset where I was trying to get big chunky ink lines.
I’ve also discovered (or perhaps re-discovered, after many years?) that you can preview and design a new Sketch render preset in 4000px. First turn off all the Sketch Designer’s also-sketch-lines-into-the-background panel sliders (which speeds it up enormously) and do any old Sketch render to that size, then leave the finished render ‘live’ while going back to: Render | Render Settings | Sketch Designer. This time the Sketch Designer will take some seconds longer to load. That’s because it’s now picking up the settings from the finished render and offering you a live preview at a huge 4000px. As such you’ll have to pan wildly across the preview, to get your object back into view again. But you can then design Sketch presets which work for a 4000px render…
Sadly I’ve also decided that there seems to be no way that convincing traditional cross-hatch ink shading can be done this way, except perhaps as a very lucky accident for one-off character portraits. By ‘convincing’ I mean I need it to work like a human inker would — follow and hug into the shadows, follow curved surfaces with a suitable angle-of-attack, and not start whorling and swirling about.
Still, while the Sketch Designer has its limitations in terms of realistic cross-hatching , it’s also fairly easy to take it far away from its usual ‘teeny-weeny hairlines’ default presets…
For reference, if you want to share any Sketch Designer presets you’ve made, your personal ones get stored as .pzs files in one of Poser 11’s many obscure hidey-holes, at:
A quick-start on the absolute basics of how to add a new blended materials layer, using Poser 11.
Layers work somewhat like they do in Photoshop, in terms of the basic ability to blend them into one another.
1. Go to the Materials Room. Click on a scene material you want to overlay. Click on the Plus icon…
2. You’ve now made a new Materials Surface. The old one is still there underneath, it’s just that you now have two layers and the new one is on top.
3. Make the new layer semi-transparent, by dialing its Transparency down to 0.6, so we can see the old layer coming through the new. Then, for fun, load a ‘Spots’ preset into the Alternate Diffuse.
4. There’s now a ‘spotted cow-hide’ like effect, because the new spots material layer is blending in top of the original layer. There are lots of presets like Spots. They’re explained in the PDF Manual in Chapter 15, 16 and 17.
2D textures can also be loaded into the blending layer. There’s obviously a lot more to this layer blending feature, which I haven’t yet investigated, but that’s a basic four-step starter to get someone started.
This is a fascinating video breakdown of Darwyn Cooke’s approach to superhero comics layout. At first glance it seems to be a format aimed at a less-able juvenile reader who was raised on movies and TV, and who thus who needs a more ‘widescreen movie experience’ without having to weave their eye across a complex series of panels.
Yet the comic, “The New Frontier” (collected in one volume in 2015) is hailed as a classic moment in DC’s post-2000 output, and a powerful homage to the golden age of DC. I’ve never been a DC fan, but I’ll have to take look at that one. Update: comic is excellent, the animated movie adaptation is mediocre.
It occurs to me that it would be much easier for a Poser comics-maker to make a 28-page commercial comic this way. There are only three widescreen panels on each page, which means Poser scene setups would be reduced in number. Wrestling with the framing would be reduced. And when one had the finished panel pictures, all the complex layout and fiddly design considerations of the page are then radically simplified. There’s also fewer boxes and less text to add to the page, and less fiddly colouring via the Toon ID layer. The downside is it’s going to take a whole lot more pre-production story-boarding to get it right, and a restrained story script which ‘shows-not-tells’.
Ever wanted to block those ‘giant mega-boobs’ Poser/DAZ renderers from your search results in regular DeviantArt searches? You probably know the ones. You’re searching for something sedate like “gardens” in Digital Art / 3D and… bam, “oh, I’ve run into the mega-boobs guys again”. Since they make pictures of clothed models, they show up in search results even if you block nudity and violence. It’s their right to make such pictures, of course, if it pleases them. I’m very much in favour of free-speech. It’s just that such pictures add nothing to my enjoyment of DeviantArt, and the makers do tend to make a whole lot of such renders. Often of exactly the same scene from slightly different angles.
Here’s how to block them easily from your search results…
1. Install the free Adblock Plus browser add-on, if you don’t already run it.
2. Go to a suitable set of keyword search results. Click on the Adblock Plus icon. Choose “Block Element”.
3. Mouseover and select the booby preview picture, in your search results page.
4. AdBlock Plus will then pop up a search filter rule suggestion. Edit down this search filter by adding a few * wildcards. For example, your resulting blocking rule should look like:
Note that the blocking rule also blocks all file types by adding a final USERNAME.* rather than .jpg, as that would just block the user’s .jpg files (they may also use .png or other types).
However, you will also want to cover the possibility that DeviantArt will sometimes add a tracking -hash after the username, such as USERNAME-7gftu4. For that you’ll need a final blocking rule of…
Note that the last letter of USERNAME has been snipped off, which will also cover possible use of the tracking hash in the image URL. Be careful with this, as it may also block previews of pictures from other users. For instance, block the user BlubberBlubberBlubber01 and the above wildcard rule would also block pictures from BlubberBlubberBlubber02. So it’ll be down to you to judge how unique your target user’s Username is.
You can still mouseover the blanked result, and see the picture’s title and stats, and even click through…
Since you set a blocking rule using multiple * wildcards, all that user’s other previews in all future search results will be similarly blanked.
If you want to delete a filter rule, they’re in: Adblock icon | Options | Add your own filters | Remove selected. There you can also “Edit filters as raw text” and copy-paste in a mass blocklist with one instance of ||*.deviantart.net*USERNAM*.* per line.
A note on browsers: I usually browse DeviantArt using the Opera Web browser, and thus use Adblock Plus 1.13.2 to get the above result. I tend to use Opera for DA because of its Turbo Cache feature (Opera’s servers cache large chunks of high-traffic websites) and Opera’s free VNP sometimes helps reach the site when it seems down. All of which is to say that users of the Firefox Web browser may find they will also need to install the Adblock add-on Element Hiding Helper to do the same blocking.
CrazyTalk Animator 3 has been recently released. It’s a relatively easy and accessible 2D package for animators and also a drawing aid to cartoonists, and is one of Reallusion’s most appealing bits of software. There’s a range of short tutorials on version 3 in the Reallusion YouTube channel. But it’s really difficult to track down a “new features” overview in a ten minute video, and I don’t think there is an official one yet. There are videos for each new feature, though.
In terms of new content enabled by version 3 the cats and dogs are new packs. Breeds are extra purchases, but even the outlines look especially useful for budding animal cartoonists…
Reallusion does have a full online manual which has been updated for V.3 — just type “New for v3” into the search box to see the technical details on what’s new. One of the big changes is that a user can “put bones in anything”, and create “free bone” non-human characters. Animate a book, for instance.
I see that a coming patch for the $299 Pipeline version will allow the creation of 2D rigged characters from Photoshop layered .PSD files. Automated, I’m guessing, from a correctly named template .PSD? That would be interesting, especially as Sketchbook Pro can output .PSD files.
And apparently their real-time animation software iClone 7 is set to ship in December. If it has a Comic Book Mode as good as the one in Poser 11, I’ll be interested.
Got an Ugee drawing tablet, and rather envying the shiny row of buttons that your friend’s Cintiq tablet has on the side? Envy no more! If you have an old USB-wired console game controller, such as a nice ergonomic Microsoft XBox controller for the PC, then just get the free Windows shareware JoytoKey.
JoytoKey lets you map the buttons and joy-stick of the game controller to software things like Save, Undo, switch brush to Eraser, etc. This video from Trevor Daley explains it fairly well, for a simple photo ‘pick & tag’ software… just be aware that the download link URL he uses is now flagged as a hijacked ‘attack site’ (eeek!). The safe and official JoytoKey software is now over at the official site JoyToKey.net.
So far as I can tell JoytoKey is fully functional, despite being shareware. There’s an optional $7 PayPal payment if you want a licence, but I’m not sure what it might unlock. Maybe there’s a timeout or you eventually get a useage nag, but I haven’t encountered it yet.
JoytoKey doesn’t need to be installed. Just unzip and set it to start in Windows XP compatibility mode, or if you’re confident then give it Administrator rights. Then load JoytoKey (works fine for me in Windows 8.1), click the controller button you want to configure, then Edit the button assignment. Once you’re set up you can save a labelled configuration file for each software package you want to use it with, such as Photoshop, Sketchbook Pro, Clipstudio (aka Manga Studio) etc.
So, for a low cost you effectively get the nice buttons of a $2,000 Cintiq, but in a quite literally ‘more handy’ form — in your hand as a controller, and one made with all the ergonomic expertise of Microsoft! You can totally remove the need for a keyboard while you’re drawing on an Ugee tablet, and there’s much less need to be moving your arm around the screen to select menu items and the Undo.
I have yet to test if I can map one of the joysticks to smoothly grow or shrink the size of a brush as the stick is thumbed, but that may also be possible.
Here’s a quickstart / aid-to-memory on how to load a Poser Furries Melody/Micah character with one of the creature face morphs. These are older characters, but still work well with the new Poser 11 comic-book effect…
Note that these figures have dependencies. Melody and Micah need Melody for A3 which requires Aiko 3, and Micah for Hiro 3 which requires Hiro 3. Phew!
1) Load the Melody or Micah base figure.
2) Go: Content | CDI folder | Furries. Apply !INJ Furries Micah. If this !INJ injection is not applied, the head shapes have nothing to fix onto.
3) Now you can load the Head presets from Content | CDI folder | Furries | Faces
The Base Figures are in:
The Faces are in:
Skins and furs are in:
CrossDresser 4.0 has Aiko 3 and Hiro 3 licenses for CrossDresser, which I’d imagine would enabling clothing conversion since Melody and Micah are built on these figures. All the old Aiko 3 and Hiro 3 clothing should also work.
I had cause to go looking for a good simple “Ken Burns-style” slideshow software, to make a really simple ‘voiceover documentary with zooming and sliding pictures’. It had to…
* be Windows standalone software.
* be simple, cheap, but up-to-date.
* have ‘Ken Burns style’ transitions, and those should be fully adjustable.
* have fast clear YouTube output, with a small file size for upload over slow broadband.
Surprisingly there’s no such open source software out there, other than some old stuff for Linux. And only a few modern Windows applications that offer Ken Burns style transitions, or at least advertise the fact that they do and use that name.
After my searching and comparing, the German Ashampoo Slideshow Studio HD 4 came top of the small heap in 2016 for standalone Windows software. It’s $40, comes with a whole lot of cheesy transitions and some even cheesier online marketing. But I’ve tried it and it’s very capable and beautifully easy-to-use bit of software, with excellent simple/fast rendering output. It also has the needed Ken Burns style documentary transitions…
So it’s affordable and very useful for rapid production. Slap in your hi-res photos, record a basic voiceover, tweak the transitions, add titles and credit cards, then output the video. You’re done.
However, you can’t add any sort of video clips and neither can you adjust the audio balance between a music .mp3 and your recorded voiceover. A music .mp3 would thus easily overpower your recorded voiceover and FX, in the final video output. Nor can you boost the amplitude of your voiceover recording, if you have a soft voice. However, one can work around the audio problem, and without having to resort to some huge lumbering video editor.
The complete workflow for making a Ken Burns style slideshow documentary video in Slideshow Studio, without any ‘talking head’ video inserts, would thus be:—
1) Do the research, get the facts straight, and ideally work from the original sources (or as close as you can get). While doing the reading and research, create a list of your likely image-search keywords and phrases.
2) Rough out the voiceover, but only very loosely, just in terms of getting the subject’s basic sub-topics or talking-points in the right order.
3) Then do the intensive picture research, to find the best and most usable hi-res pictures for each of the points you want to address. (On the basis that it’s no use writing a full script and recording the voiceover first, only to find you then can’t get the public-domain or Creative Commons pictures or maps needed for certain sections).
4) Use Slideshow Studio to assemble a simple timed-sequence of your pictures. I’d do this without using the Slideshow Studio wizard, as a wizard-made sequence of slides doesn’t seem to re-flow nicely when you try to add cross-fades between pictures (while also keeping the Ken Burns effects on them).
5) Add titles and credits, and get the picture sequencing absolutely right, so you have the full length of the final video 98% done. (Don’t forget to credit the makers of your Creative Commons pictures, or pictures from museums that offer public domain works. The same goes for texts from the likes of Archive.org and Hathi, and especially short ‘fair use’ quotes found via Google Books).
6) Now preview the sequence in Slideshow Studio while adding a rough and mumbly ‘rehearsal voiceover’, and keep at it until you get the timings right and work out which of your asides and digressions will need to be left out. You’ll see that some pictures will need to be on screen for longer, other for a shorter time.
7) Then, while your finalised sequence of Slideshow Studio slides plays back in preview mode, in another software (such as Audacity) you’ll simultaneously record your final “give it all you’ve got” voiceover. You may want to do this from a script, but a more conversational and impromptu style may flow better and have more bounce. Because you’re recording into an audio editor, rather than Slideshow Studio, there will be less pressure to get the voiceover exactly right and to ‘hit all your marks’ as each slide comes up.
8) In the free Audacity audio editor you’ll then trim away any slight stumbles in your delivery, and boost the depth of your voice (a high squeaky voice, and a recording which opens with a lot of stumbles, may cause your YouTube audience to flee instantly). Then increase the amplitude of the recording, because a ’12 inches from the microphone, with a wind-sock on’ recording will inevitably be too quiet and soft. And a ‘cheap gaming headset, microphone on my top lip’ recording may be too loud and raspy.
You may also want to place a public domain, or SonicFire, music track underneath the trimmed voiceover. Then have it fade in and out, so that your voice can be heard clearly over the music.
The subtle addition of quality sound effects can also work wonders at bringing old photos alive, for instance the faint crackle of a campfire or the sound of a horse, so you may even want a third FX track alongside the voiceover and music.
You can add all these in Slideshow Studio, but the problem is that you can’t mix them or boost their amplitude. Nor can you do that in Ashampoo’s related Movie Studio Pro 2 software. And once you’re into video editors, well… you’re in the ‘video editor hell’ that many creatives will know so well.
9) Once the audio is finished then you can save your voiceover/music mix from Audacity, then output in the form of a single high-quality .mp3 file. Import that into Slideshow Studio as a music file. Now you can finesse the slide timings so everything matches up perfectly.
10) Now — and only now — you can sprinkle your final Ken Burns pan & zoom magic on the pictures. You have the voiceover done, so now you know exactly what the point-of-interest needs to be for each pan & zoom, and when in time that point needs to become dominant on the screen. Slideshow Studio has excellent and easy adjustment tools for the Ken Burns effect.
Output the final video. You now have something of quality to show to potential contributors of talking head video interviews, and if you get enough of those you can take their clips and the Slideshow Studio video to a full video editor, in order to make a longer documentary film.