The DAZ Hexagon 3d modelling software is currently on sale at $7.98. Somewhat old now, not having been developed for a few years, but fairly easy to learn and still perfectly capable of producing props and getting them to DAZ Studio and Poser in a quick way. I grabbed mine years ago, back when it was free, but it’s been full price for a while now. For your first step in learning it, Fugazi1968’s “Make your own Starfighter Tutorials” are well worth your $10, taking you through the basics in a very practical “let’s make something” way.
As we head into the really-leafy bit of the springtime, here’s a catch-up on last winter’s free monthly Digital Art Live magazine. The list below features the issues which have appeared since I last featured the magazine on this blog.
DAL is a Poser and DAZ -friendly magazine, devoted to science-fiction art and artists. It is currently regularly nudging 90-100 pages per issue, and is able to get in-depth interviews with the likes of Syd Mead. Next up is the Vue-themed issue, set for release any day now. Contact Paul to be put on the mailing-list and get your free copies. DAL will also soon be inviting advertising at very reasonable rates, so Poser / DAZ content vendors may also want to ask Paul about that.
Issue 12 : Second Skin, a Skin Art issue with a heavy Poser / DAZ contingent.
Issue 14 : Cybertronics. A Tron tribute issue for the mid-wintertime, with lots of glowing neon.
Issue 15 : Mystworlds, a tribute to the videogame Myst, with a lead interview with original Myst artist and animator Chuck Carter.
Issue 16 : Future Vehicles, with exclusive in-depth interview with Syd Mead.
Issue 17 : Movie Magic, on makers of VFX for movies and TV and more.
What’s new in the DAZ and Poser content in April 2017? Here’s my personal selection from the month’s new releases.
Morphing SciFi Glasses for G3F look like they could made flexible use of across a range of sci-fi and superhero characters, even if everyone is going to say “oh, that X-Men guy!” when they see it.
For something similar but more retro, the Project Zero Goggles for Poser.
Slime Attack for G3F is very unusual, and the slime models would also appear to have possibilities as standalone exports for ‘alien garden’ scenes.
Swamp Mushrooms by 1971s for Poser. Simple, but effective.
AJ Hibernation Hall for Poser.
Liquid Lab for DAZ Studio.
Missing those good ol’ Bryce 3D primitives? DAZ now has a pack of Impossible Objects.
A freebie, an iRay pack of Shimmery Sheer Fabrics suitable for sci-fi.
Aeon Soul’s new Proxy Outfit for Genesis 3 Female is an everyday cyberpunk style. No texture add-on packs yet, but Aeon Soul’s quality sci-fi clothes usually get one or more texture packs fairly swiftly.
The free Milkshake Props for DAZ iRay look like they’re worth a shake.
Classic James Bond-style 1960s Mountain Cable Car with sliding door.
Coflek-gnorg’s Bunker Hill is a large freebie scene for Poser.
Shadow Jester Outfit for Genesis 3 Male looks a bit silly on a standard male, but would fit to a more suitable G3M character.
There’s a new Ancient Celtic Adrian Hair and Beard for G3 Male.
There’s also a charging herd of male fantasy-historical centaurs on the DAZ Store this month, obviously high quality, but way too many content packs to link.
Steampunk and valvepunk:
New on Content Paradise. Meshbox’s old content can often be rather too low-poly since it was meant for old videogames, but their Steampunk Helicopter certainly looks nice and appears to have detailed engines. Beware that their stuff tended to use a single texture atlas, so swopping out the materials can be impossible.
Small town Newspaper Office of the 1910s-1930s, complete with a news-sheet printing press in the basement and a big bundle of period props.
‘Mr. SongBird Remix’ Ken Gilliland has a new creature, Nature’s Wonders Frogs with two common species created with his usual high quality and realistic approach. Certainly the best Poser frog I’ve yet seen, and I have a few in my runtime. His Renderosity Gallery suggests a “Giant Monkey Frog” morph may be forthcoming in volume 2.
AM has a rodent base and a squirrels morph and LAMH hair preset pack for it plus poses.
Dirty Mudyard is an unusual one, and might perhaps also double as part of a small harbour at low tide. The new Frozen Lake Scenery also looks like it could also help with a kitbash of a low-tide harbour scene. The Dirty Mudyard might also be used for the inside of a recent bomb crater that’s been rained on for a few weeks, and which your Res Mortifera monster (see above) rises up from.
Got ducks and dragonflies? The Harpwood Trail – Mallard Pond.
Stonemason also has a new similar water-side setting at Willow Creek.
If you fancy something more steamy there’s a new Vue Jungle Scene.
I also see that the DAZ Store currently has a (mostly) sub-$5 clearance sale on many items, as well. Lots of characters mostly, rather than scenes and props, but on a quick skim-through I spotted:
Gothic Muse has an unusual skirt which may interest makers of steampunk scenes, to make background characters more interesting.
Anu-naki, a sci-fi V4 character by TheAntFarm which I wasn’t previously aware of.
AnimeEyes for V4 and Aiko 4 / Hiro 4, possibly useful for making comics with the Poser 11 comic book mode. On the DAZ forums you can also find a freebie set of Genesis presets for fitting the eyes to Genesis 1 in DAZ Studio. (If you need similar for Genesis 2 see DG Toon Style Eyes for Genesis 2 Female).
Swordist for M4, a big collection of sword and hand poses which fit a set of weapons made by Xurge.
The Moebius-style Space Mother head-dress for V4, which is actually fan-art for the Lotus character in the Warframe videogame. This toons up very nicely, in Poser’s Comic Book Mode with flat lighting.
That’s it, more picks next month.
You don’t need a wizard to conjure up some halflings from Middle-Earth, just a copy of the free DAZ Studio and some content packs. Here’s my survey of the suitable content for making fan-art.
The following may contain spoilers, for the early chapters of the book, for those who’ve not yet read it.
The basic halfling:
The good thing about the following being Genesis 2 is that G2 can be easily imported to Poser, and can thus get Poser 11’s Comic Book Mode treatment.
Dwarf Poses for Genesis 2 Male including pipeweed smoking and walking-with-a-staff poses. This includes a matching pipe and walking staff as props.
The above packs may use the name ‘dwarf’ on the store, to avoid the wrath of the Tolkien estate (‘halfling’ and ‘middle earth’ are fine, as they were in use pre-Tolkien). But in terms of body shape and feet, it’s really the only DAZ / Poser halfling worth having.
There is however, and also for Genesis 2, the rather neglected Ferdibrand Goodchild for Genesis 2 Male character. Perhaps suitable as a Woody End inn-keeper, but he would need adapting to look far more rustic and Shire-like and less Byzantine. I’ve been unable to discover any ‘rustic Ferdibrand’ materials makeover packs, or any other add-ons. He might also provide the foundation for making a large rural halfling of the Farmer Maggot type.
Most of the Dwarf Creator promo faces don’t look right to me, as they’re too pixie-like and pinched. Halflings eat well in the Shire, what with ‘second breakfasts’ and all, and their faces should generally be far rounder and more cheery. Dwarf Creator for Genesis 2 Male does have some face morphs, but to get a movie-quality halfling face you might also want to have Genesis 2 Male Head Morphs installed.
Wyatt Hair for Genesis 2 Male, for which you probably want to play with adding extra curls.
Jordan hair for Genesis.
Also see Gurumarra for Genesis 2 Male, for the hair.
Real Hairy for Genesis 2 Male has foot hair as polygons. It’s applied in a modular manner and there are hair modules for… “knuckles and toes. Each module has its own morphs for length, thickness, clumping, wetness as well as color and glossiness options.” However, even that might not do it, as I get the impression that some of the most robust halflings have something akin to curly “woolly” sheep-like hair on their feet. Some post-work painting of hair, using Photoshop, may still be needed for certain types of halfling.
More clothing options:
Work Clothes for Genesis 2 Male. An impractical collar, but it includes useful dirty texture sets.
Steampunk Working Class for G2M, for a good plain base of Sam-like gardening shirt and trousers on which you could build an outfit.
You’ll probably want to avoid the Meshbox Halfling Village (versions 1.0 and 2.0 alike) series, as they are too old and low-poly now, and use a single texture map so can’t be easily re-textured.
Mortem Vetus has a rustic pipe and bedroll, both freebies for Poser.
Classic Pipe Collection has a long-stem pipe suitable for the best Longbottom Leaf.
There’s an old Doors pack for Poser that has a ‘Hobbit Hole.cr2’ in it, and a hinged door which opens. It’s old, so needs re-texuring, but you may find it your runtime if you have a decade-old collection. It looks like a good starting base for quality hi-res retexturing.
Walking over The Shire, to the Woody End:
Vue’s Walk in the Forest is a fairly good approximation of the ‘neglected cart road’ which takes the back way from Hobbiton to the Woody End. Note that for this to work properly you need to have installed Large European Ash-Summer sparse foliage / Broad Leaf Straight Trunk / Alder-Late Summer / and Long Grass, all shipping in the Vue Infinite/xStream default free-content pack.
Poseable Trees with Ivy is less realistic and more storybook. It’s a bit bare in terms of ground cover and thus would need either a good low-poly ground-cover pack, or lot of grass and low herbs ‘Photoshopped in’ at the postwork stage.
Survivors Backpack by Cybertenko for M4 would need modification of its modern textures, but it looks fairly useful as ‘Sam’s big pack’ if you can convert it for G2M.
Luthbel’s Dragonworld: Wildenlander for V3 also has a softer and less-square backpack prop to fit V3, and it also has a water-bag.
Other Shire characters:
Also look at Soul Nexus for the original Millennium Horse.
Robed aged wizards with big pointy/floppy hats are, of course, very common and they really deserve their own content survey. Storybook dwarves, likewise.
Lastly, as an alternative to the Dwarf Creator for G2M, Nursoda’s Gosha could also be looked at if you want a crowd of background halflings, since you might want a less memory-intensive base character for that than G2.
I do love it when quality content goes below $5. Renderosity currently have an “all items at $3.50” spring sale on all the items in their store’s large Clearance area. I spotted the following $3.50 goodies among the 643,000 variants of V4 + glamour clothes…
Of special interest to Vue users:
Curious Greenhouse for Vue. Although note that it’s also currently on the Cornucopia store in a nice $5 bundle (with Curious Stacked Shack and Curious Shaker Row).
Curious Mason Jar Lantern for Vue, an add-on for the Greenhouse. Note that… “the flame will glow beautifully in a Global Radiosity Atmosphere” in Vue. Another add-on for the greenhouse is the new free pair of Gloves for M4 and V4 on Renderosity.
Looking rather old now, but IanMPalmer’s Desert Village might just about pass for a distant town in a southwestern USA scene or on Tattoine (Star Wars).
Cydonia 3 for Vue is a sci-fi city backdrop in 3D.
The Tenement is an old American city tenement building from the 1880s-1950s.
The 7 Keepers of Magic castle is not really my thing, but it would certainly be an impressive medieval fantasy castle to have rising up from a large Alpine forest.
Beau Quartier, a construction set of classic Parisian rooftops and building facades for building large city scenes of pre-car Paris.
While you’re at Renderosity, you might pick up Coflek-Gnorg’s quality free new Bunker Hill 20th century war scene.
Swidhelm’s Robustus and Iuvenis and Tyrannosaur dinosaur with its impressive skin texture. Six poses come with the Tyrannosaur, and there are more elsewhere on Renderosity in another pack by Swidhelm.
There’s also Swidhelm’s Fluvialanguis which appears to be a fantasy-prehistoric crocodile.
FA Tavrohk. Not especially impressive seen up-close, but… “everything possible has been done to ensure that the creature uses very little memory, so you can load a whole herd even on systems with modest amounts of RAM [memory]”. So far as I can tell, there are no alternative free textures or poses or horn types out there for the Tavrohk. The Bolladon and the Moo are probably more suitable for use as similar ‘alien planet’ herd beasts, for science-fiction landscape artists.
Snow Leopard by AM for Poser. Poorly served by its promo pictures, but like AM’s SaberTooth Reloaded it has excellent pre-applied fur which renders quickly.
MS13 War Mammoth Armour. Requires the DAZ base African Elephant and its Columbian Mammoth add-on, but it appears that the Mammoth is no longer sold. I’m guessing that, with some wrangling, the armour rig might be made to fit onto DAZ’s LAMH Wooly Mammoth?
Poisen’s War Banners .OBJs could accompany your army of Frazetta-style war mammoths.
Also note the set of Cat Poses for the Millenium Cat, if you need more in your runtime.
SteamPunk BFG and V4 poses.
The alien Octos for M4.
Lair – Eco character preset for V4. The previews leave it uncertain if this is full-figure, or only waist-up.
The Divine Order by Oskarsson for V4 and Aiko 4.
Atom-0-Ray Guns. Not well depicted by its naff main promo picture, but the design is nicely retro and there’s a huge set of parented poses for V4 and M4 in the classic pulp-art style.
Flying Cadet Lola Pepper for V4.
Madness Lab looks a bit basic in terms of textures. But it could be useful for those making a comic strip using Poser 11’s Comic Book mode, with characters such as Doctor Pitterbill and Lenore (and her Raven), and the Lab is more or less in the Lenore style. Also of interest in that context may be The Back, also on Clearance.
Privateer Twin Hull U-boat submarine.
Cryo Chamber, SkyCaptain3D’s first model.
Popular characters, new looks + props/clothes:
Kali Fairy for Nursoda’s Kali.
Mongolian Princess for V4, which looks like a starting point for making a second-trilogy Star Wars princess.
And lastly… don’t sniff at V4, she’s got Biscuits Noses for V4… with noses “custom sculpted in Zbrush”! 🙂
That’s it. I skimmed through everything in Clearance, and that’s the stuff which caught my eye.
All of this blog’s 250 sidebar links have had their annual check, by hand and eye rather than an auto-bot. Problematic links have been repaired or deleted, as needed.
High-quality realistic Gaze Warping. Seamlessly change where the eyes in a hi-res photo are looking. Currently it’s an academic paper and an WebGL demo. I’m guessing: next stop, Photoshop integration? That might mean there would be no need to do a fiddly pose of your 3D character’s eyes, as you could fix the gaze afterwards in Photoshop.
The Poser-friendly Hivewire3D store has a substantial April Showers Sale on now, until the 1st of May. Looks like most of the Sale items are 50% off or more, they’re quality and there’s a lot of them.
I also spotted there that Songbird Remix-maker Ken Gilliland’s ancient Assyrian Hanging Gardens of Nimrud is half-price. It also ships in a Vue version complete with ‘hanging-gardens planting’ friendly Vue materials. The Poser version has cameras and “place figure” poses which teleport your character and a matching camera to the correct spot in the vast structure.
Talking of Vue, the DAZ Store also has a heavy discount on the useful scene elements Mini Moss (easily applied tiny moss plants and micro-ecosystems for boulders and logs) and Misty Moments for Vue (low mists and fogs as hi-res position-able .VOB files, which cut render times compared to other depth-haze methods).
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.
Here’s a look at my second round of Vue freebies from the Cornucopia Store. They limit a customer to seven per week, so this is my second batch. Around 110mb for the lot, so once again the download wasn’t huge.
Readers of this blog may have noticed new posts flashing up on this blog, only to be seemingly removed some hours later. Their ‘removal’ is due to the ongoing problems with my website host’s database servers, problems which have been going on for about ten days now. The overall site and domain is stable, but the database server is not. This impacts on the WordPress blog, which requires a database to function. When the database server crashes and reverts to a stable backup of its contents, it has the effect of wiping my recent posts. Currently the blog is stable to 6th April. I have backups of all the contents and also the wiped blog posts, and will re-post those once the blog is stable again (i.e.: if this post remains live and doesn’t also vanish). Thanks for your patience, readers!
Building a Vue content Wishlist on the Cornucopia Store is a bit odd. You first have to add-to-Cart, then go to the Cart and turn it into a Wishlist item, then you get taken through to the Wishlist. It slows down powering through the Store to build a Wishlist. But I spotted some nice free small scenes there, such as “Crypt” and the Pit” and some others…
That lot came it at around 200mb total, so the download time was acceptable too (Vue scene files can be big).
“Ah… what I could do with a faster PC”. How many times have you heard that one? Well, if that’s you then you might interested that there’s a new form of slot-in cache memory from Intel, “Optane memory”. It promises to give Moore’s Law another push and potentially to make media content production work on PCs faster. If you have a Core i3 CPU or higher…
“powering up your PC will be twice as fast; overall system performance will be faster by up to 28%; storage performance will be up to 14 times better; launching of apps will be up to 5 times faster for Google Chrome, up to 6 times faster for MS Outlook, and up to 67% faster for some games.”
“… officially available from 24th April onwards in 16GB and 32GB sizes at $44.00 and $77.00 respectively.”
Intel-based PCs with Optane memory ready-fitted should be shipping-and-affordable around Christmas 2017. But bear in mind that Intel’s cheapest 8-core consumer CPU costs $1,000 just for the chip. So a complete 8-core + Optane system is not likely to be cheap.
Note, however, that Intel are mostly touting start-up times for software, and I’m guessing that the “overall system performance will be faster by up to 28%” may be degraded by other components. But if you already have the correct motherboard slots and the correct CPU, then a mere $44 for 16GB of Optane memory looks like it may offer a very affordable speed boost for artists, even if it’s only an overall system performance boost of perhaps 15% in the end.
The Optane price also compares well with the current price of around £69 (UK) to get, say, an extra 8Gb of branded DDR3-SDRAM 1600 for my AMD-based PC. But that may may not show a great deal of difference in performance either…
“… for most regular work, there is no tangible performance difference between 8GB and 16GB of system memory.”
For the beast-like 3D software Blender, the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation’s…
“test only pushed the entire system usage to 6.1GB”
Here’s a little round-up of some Vue freebies I found and checked today on a quick 30 minute scoot-around, and which are not fan-art…
Reeds 2.0 as a .veg file.
And the shiny new D&D Creations web store has a nice free frozen lake material which uses multiple layers.
Vue Scaling Objects – 34 different types of sports ground terrains. I’d never considered that Vue might be good for sports scenes, but it makes sense — big fields and stadia, atmospheric weather, large squads of easily-posed and placed characters via Poser.