Get physical, with DAZ Studio…
Free cute cats, delivered to your home! Nope, not an April Fools’ Day prank. HiveWire are giving away their high-quality Housecat for free until 31st May 2020, along with other goodies.
For fur also get their free LAMH Presets for the HiveWire House Cat, which are not on the new freebies page, but are free on the general store.
The Apple macOS version of CrazyTalk Animator 3 Pro (now Cartoon Animator 4) is free until the 1st of April 2020. Note that Pro is a limited version, compared to the full top-of-the-line Pipeline version. Pro lacks .PSD import/export, and vector .SWF loading.
I don’t imagine that there are many poor people with Macs. But for those who are short of cash, such as school students, then it’s a nice bit of creative software and is not tied to a subscription. Those who know schools that run on Macs might also point them in the direction of this offer, with a warning that Reallusion’s content-packs can be expensive.
At last, there’s a simple “object mover” script for Vue! It’s the equivalent to Poser’s vital SnapTo script.
Select any two objects, run the script. With one click the second object moves to the location of the first, with a slight offset… so that it doesn’t land on top of the camera or inside a building/tree etc. The offset can be precisely adjusted in the script. Optionally you can also have the object scaled up at the same time, which may be useful if it’s a tiny object in a vast landscape.
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.
There are quite a few new Poser 11 users since Black Friday 2019, and by now they may be wanting to get their first small handful of helper Python scripts. I’d suggest the following are the “top five” for new users…
1. “Scene Toy Pro” (2016 version), available paid at Renderosity and Hivewire. An absolutely vital scene helper, in a slick user interface.
2. “Eye-target” in the Poser Python tools with source code pack, also paid at Renderosity. A non-rendering cube that the character looks at. The cube can be moved, and the eyes follow it. An advanced user can manually set up such a ‘eye-target’ for a character, but this script hooks it all up automatically in a micro-second and saves some tedium. Does not work with all characters, but works with many. (*)
3. Ockham’s “SnapTo” mover. Free at Ockham’s site. Move the just-loaded item from Wheretheheckizit to somewhere in the scene where it’s visible/useful.
4. The DAZ “DSON Importer” for Poser. Free. I assume this is Python, though I’ve never looked — it just works. Auto-loads older DAZ Studio content into Poser, which means Genesis 1 and 2 and props of the same era, if you also downloaded and installed that content’s PoserCF files.
5. “ChangeGamma”. Free, and it ships with Poser 11. Find it under: Top Menu | Scripts | Material Mods. For quickly making grungy dark textures lighter in tone, without actually replacing them. “1” is a good initial setting to use it with, when it asks for user input, though the photoreal rendering crowd may prefer a more subtle ‘lift’ than that.
* Are you a Python coder with a large runtime stuffed with characters, and are you looking for a nice project? Note that Posers users would benefit greatly from a more sophisticated version of this script, with the addition of a per-character drop-down menu. Each drop-down line in the menu would call some character-specific code and math to adjust the eye-tracking for eye-size and other per-character foibles, thus giving perfect eye-target tracking.
See also my larger page on Python Scripts for Poser 11, including installation location advice.
Here are 50 commercial-use vector cartoon props for Reallusion’s excellent CrazyTalk Animator / Cartoon Animator. Unlike the Odd Job Jack assets (see previous post) these are commercial-use.
Originally converted and released by me in 2011, and now re-released here in 2020. Enjoy! It’s on SendSpace as a download, so “when it’s gone, it’s gone!”
It’s your lucky day, CTA users. The Odd Job Jack Megapack of freebies for Reallusion’s CrazyTalk Animator / Cartoon Animator, now combined, sorted and uploaded in perpetuity to Archive.org.
Protesting the litter/trash pack…
And a great many more packs, including all the backplates worth having from this cartoon series. All under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. Thanks to Smiley Guy Studios for the assets.
The training provider 3Dbuzz has just closed its doors, but has kindly made all its online courses free to download. Of most interest to readers of this blog will likely be training videos that are not software version-specific, such as…
* A four-hour course on making chibi artwork. Chibis being the cute stubby little characters from Japan. The single .ZIP file has all four parts. Poser 11 ‘Comic Book mode’ users interested in getting a quick-start with such art should also see Hivewire’s excellent-but-expensive Universal Chibi Head.
* Creating Compelling Character Concepts, in seven parts. Shows the step-by-step design and making of a fantasy mage character.
* Developing Modular Rigging Systems with Python, offering “over 50 hours of in-depth lectures”. Python being the much-in-demand scripting and programming language.
* Plus a small variety of introductory courses on hand-drawing, and lots of student-y 3DS Max and Maya and ZBrush stuff that now looks outdated.
And… I noted a three lesson course introducing level design and mods for the classic Unreal Tournament 2004. Still a very fine videogame, even now, and a good learning experience if making your first showcase game level.
Given the weight of all these video files, I’d guess that the server providing them may not be around forever and that they may not be archived to YouTube or Archive.org. If you want a course you should probably download it now.
The free open-source MakeHuman 1.2 released a new 1.2.0 alpha 4 before Christmas, and the next will be a beta. As usual in the Blender community, a tiny increment in the version-number can mean substantial new features. Three key features in 1.2 appear to be…
* “A completely new Blender integration, with support for socket transfers, IK and Kinect”. “Import directly from MakeHuman [to Blender] The process is almost instantaneous”.
* “A new randomization functionality, for generating large sets of randomized characters.” … “Real weight estimation.”
* A new Windows installer that supports uninstall, if you just want to take a quick look at it.
They also have a new DeviantArt group, but without active moderation and barring it appears to have been invaded by the usual tedious foot fetishists and other digital sexhibitionists. DeviantArt could really do with an AI that spots pictures of feet and toes, and adds such pictures to its adult filter. Until then, people using Chrome-based Web browsers (e.g. Opera etc) can install the handy DeviantArt Filter add-on.
A year ago I posted here about some Photoshop blur-based methods to remove speckles on Poser 11 Firefly renders…
“As you can see, we have tiny unwanted speckly dots. These tend to appear the closer the camera is to objects or characters, are somewhat uniformly distributed, and are specific to a Firefly line-art render mode and to medium and close-ups camera framing. These speckles have been a long-standing problem with Poser ‘toon outlines’ renders.”
The blur method(s) I proposed worked, but were not ideal. They can damage the integrity of the lineart by making it grey out. There’s also an ancient free Polaroid plugin that works, but not on .PNGs and it can often eat into the line edges.
But I’ve now finally got a robust solution for lineart, after much searching. It’s free, and it does not change the lines.
What you want is the free Paint.NET graphics software, which runs on Microsoft’s NET framework and was intended as a replacement for Windows Paint. Then you install its fine Remove White Plugin and its Stray Pixel Remover plugin.
Paint.NET plugins are simple .dll files and are manually installed in its ../Effects/ folder. “Remove White” is then found on the Paint.NET menu under Adjustments | Transparency, and “Stray Pixel” is found under Effects | Object.
“Remove White” knocks out all the white in an image, leaving you with just the line-art and the speckles. “Stray Pixel” then examines the image and if it finds stray specks, stray kind-of lines actually made from tiny separate dots, or tiny islands surrounded only by transparent pixels, then it knows they’re not lines… and deletes them. There are adjustable sliders to control the plugin’s strength. If you then want the image back on white again, simply add a new layer behind, and fill it with white.
Sadly it’s not a Photoshop-native solution. Such a thing does not exist, amazingly, though there are three dead non-working ones from years ago. And Paint.NET doesn’t have Photoshop’s record-able Actions, and thus can’t automate the process into a single click including saving out the cleaned .PNG file. The best it can do there is the limited filter-automation plugin ScriptLab. This will at least save you a few clicks.
This fast and robust solution may also help those bringing hand-drawn line-art into the PC for digital inking, especially if they find their scanner software is not up to the job of removing every single stray dirt speck from the scan.
Two classic animation concepts, ready set up in Poser. “Rolling Road” and “Parallax Scrolling” systems, both free from Sparky at PoserDirect.
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…
How to strip your Poser characters… to clay.
1. Download SnarlyGribbly’s free EZmat, unzip. Inside there is another EZMat.zip. Unzip that too, and copy the ..\runtime folder there to your usual main ..\content\runtime folder by copy-merging.
2. Then copy the rest of the EZMat folder content to ..\content\ezmat and use Windows Explorer to clipboard-copy the filepath for the \plugins\ folder. e.g.: C:\Users\YOUR_USER_NAME\YOUR_PATH\content\ezmat\Plugins
3. Load Poser. Under the top “Window” menu, and then right down at the bottom, you now find the main way to launch the core EZMat panel…
4. In this core panel you paste in your path to the many EZMat plugin scripts. These are a wide variety of helper scripts, doing things such as adding rust overlays and even special ‘furry moss’ textures for standing stones, all explained in the PDF documentation.
In the screenshot below I have the truncated path ..\content\ezmat\Plugins\Official shown for security, but your own full path will be required in your install. You may then need to reload Poser to get the plugins-list loading into EZmat. Choose the EZClay plugin from the selection in the EZmat panel.
5. The workflow on the EZmat panel is then fairly straightforward, if a little roundabout…
Be warned that apply to “whole scene” is ticked by default.
6. If your translucent or glass materials are then looking jaggy in Preview, such as on Robo-kitty’s visor, then set the shadow quality on your scene lights to 1024 instead of 512.
Enjoy your test Robo-kitty in grey clay. This particular kitty ships for free with Poser 11.2, and once installed is found under Figures | Toys | SA Kitty.
Update: Further testing seems to show a small problem with EZmat in Poser 11.2.x: to load it for a saved Poser scene, its panel first needs to be opened briefly on an unsaved Poser scene. After that it will load fine on saved scenes, but will otherwise refuse to fully do so.