Medieval Warfare magazine may interest some who use DAZ/Poser to recreate such scenes, and are seeking place to publish. I’m guessing the editors might be in need of the highest-quality artwork that’s both dramatic and historically authentic, to match with their articles from the leading scholars in the field. The publishers are Dutch, and also have a sister title Ancient Warfare, for which it’s probably even more difficult to find suitable artwork.
Right then, it’s near enough the end of the month. Time for a survey of the new content released in April for Poser, Daz and Vue.
Note that I’m no longer covering freebies if they’re only ‘non-commercial use’ or if the licencing is confused (i.e saying “commercial use” in one place on the page and “all rights reserved” in another). Certain fan-art is excepted, where it’s obvious that there can’t be commercial use.
Space Bundle for DAZ Studio. A highly detailed near-future cockpit and matching spacesuit for G8F.
Not especially well-served by its preview renders, but ATVE Strider looks like it would have potential for wide desert scenes.
An Italian style Monocycle ‘Mono-Scooter’ as an .FBX with material zones. On the new ArtStation Marketplace, at a very reasonable price and with commercial use.
Lickalicious for Genesis 8 Female, a mutant “super tongue” for G8F. With nine new bones in the tongue.
Orbit Apartment for DAZ Studio.
There’s a new Collection at 3D Warehouse for free Space stations for SketchUp.
Steam Voyager, a very nice Jasper Morello -style airship for DAZ Studio.
Wild West Mine, which could be fairly easily adapted for steampunk.
Cartoon Airplane at CGTrader. Low-poly but detailed, as a 44Mb OBJ. I’m guessing it’s probably the 4K materials that are making the file size so big, for a supposedly low-poly craft. It looks a bit Miyazaki / anime, but I’m assuming it’s not fan-art.
K-9 freebie for Poser. The famous robot dog from Doctor Who, and thus of course for fan-art only.
Free Steam Powered Clock at BlendSwap. For Blender, so you’d need to wrestle with the infernal Blender UI and export to .OBJ.
3 Wheeler car for DAZ Studio.
HD 3D Scenery: Buried Remains for Poser, from expert scenery maker ShaaraMuse3D. Very high-res textures. Suited to ‘prehistoric’ sabre-tooth tiger -type pictures, as well as modern pictures.
Authentic Early Roman Empire Imperial Legion guard, for Genesis 8 Male.
Retro dforce Retro Swimsuit from the late 1940s and early 1950s.
BBarbs continues her fine series of believable Genesis 8 Young Child Poses, as freebies with commercial use.
Creepy Old Attic for DAZ Studio.
Oxford Library for DAZ Studio.
Soggy Bottom for DAZ Studio, a new-made bog-garden with paths and pools.
Kake-zukuri Temple and garden, by a name new to me, i74.
Underwater scenes could be enhanced by the new Scuba Gear for Genesis 3 Male.
Three volumes of Poser shorebirds, by Poser bird expert Ken Gilliland. Songbird ReMix Shorebirds Vol 1 for Wading Birds inc. Sacred Ibis (Ancient Egyptian); Vol 2 – Herons & Bitterns including the classic Heron; and Vol 3 – Small Waders for mudflats and shorelines.
Purr-fect kittimations with Animations for Millennium Cat, Pack 1, Animations and aniBlocks for Millennium Cat, Pack 2, for DAZ’s Millennium Cat in either Poser or DAZ Studio.
Characters and generic clothing/hair:
Ethan for Genesis 8 Male. An excellent male character, believable and great hair. Looks like a very flexible guy, re: being able to range from medieval dragon-fighter to 1940s noir detective to spaceship captain and beyond.
dForce_French Twist Hair for Genesis 8 Female. Free dForce hair, with colours, and commercial use.
A dForce cape Splendid Chic for Genesis 8 Females which seems to offer all sorts of flexibility in terms of settings, from an Irish colleen to a sci-desert nomad and beyond.
Maki for La Femme, an affordable makeover from Japan for Poser 11’s La Femme.
La Femme – Another Look MATs, giving Poser 11’s new La Femme flagship female character an older and more weather-worn look.
A free set of G8M M8 romantic couple poses, SN I love U Poses.
Toon and semi-toon:
Toony Lizard Head Morphs for G8F.
Diarmuid for G8M, a Scottish-looking semi-toon lad character for DAZ Studio.
Shaders, materials and add-ons:
Vince Bagna’s SuperShaders for Poser 11 SuperFly, Volumes 1 & 2. Over 300 high quality Cycles shaders for the SuperFly engine in Poser 11, easily applied via presets. A must-have for Poser users.
Atmocam2 for DAZ Studio.
Render Queue for iRay, for DAZ Studio.
Wrangling the Daz Studio Content Library.
That’s all for the month. More picks next month!
TwoMorrows, an online store dedicated to comics history. They currently have a sale on for their Draw! magazine “the professional ‘how-to’ magazine on cartooning”, with most issues as low as $5 and some as low as £3.
Their sale runs through 1st May 2019.
In among the stampede of ‘big wallet’ releases from the makers of 3D software this spring, there’s still space for the small and niche. How does a tool to design individual hair strands grab you? Yes, you can of course ‘grow hair strands’ fairly easily in Poser Pro and DAZ Studio has its LAMH plugin and its presets. But the new $3 Hair Strand Designer beta… “creates hair strands ready for placing onto your hair cards” on 3D hair models. It’s for people who make hair this way…
… so may be useful for DAZ / Poser / iClone content makers.
One of the problems with the old MojoWorld software is that, even when you full-screen the software, the “instant preview” window is very small. Here is that preview window, seen actual size on a modern 1920px desktop monitor…
So tweeny-weeny, so cute, but… a pain on the eyes and the neck, on a big widescreen monitor! The user can do certain things to improve it. In its Settings controls you can set render size to: ‘Large’ and ‘Auto-update’. While its ‘Render Quality’ is best left at Default (it makes little difference, but is slightly the fastest of the three options).
So the user can do some things to improve it, but can’t actually enlarge its size. Wouldn’t it be great to get a bigger view? Like this…
Is there some freeware that can do that? What about a Windows magnifier software? Nope… I looked for hours and there’s absolutely nothing that can grab a section of the screen and show it in an enlarged fixed window like this. They all want to play “follow the cursor, and show what’s under it”.
There is a solution, and it comes from a surprising direction. It’s the popular free video player VLC Player. Here are the instructions…
1. Launch the latest VLC Player. From the top menu, go: Media | Open Capture Device | Capture Mode | Desktop | 12 FPS | Play. You have now set up a live video-stream of your desktop. Don’t worry, it’s not being sent to some dodgy blokes in Ecuador, and is staying within your PC!
2. From the top menu, go: Tools | Effects | Video Effects | Crop | then you will need to play around with the pixel offsets to suit your screen. You may need to ‘jiggle it a bit’ until the section of the screen you want to isolate pops out into an ‘enlarged’ mode, but you’ll soon get the hang of how its ‘indenting the screen’ and thus enlarging it. Here are my settings on a big widescreen desktop monitor…
Optionally, you can also have VLC do a very slight real-time sharpen, which is controlled from the same Video Effects tab — the Sharpen slider is found under ‘Essential’. You can even send the image into black and white and slight change the contrast, to get a sense of how the greyscale values of the picture will visually “read”.
3. When happy with the view, effect and magnification level, grab the VLC Player window and place it in the bottom right of the screen (as seen above). Then go to the top menu and set: View | “Always on top”. This forces VLC to be visible, even when MojoWorld is the active window.
You then work with MojoWorld as usual.
Optionally, in MojoWorld if you mouseover on the native instant-preview window, then you can click once on it to “Enhance”. That’s pretty quick on a modern PC, little more than a second. After doing that Enhance, here’s a comparison at actual-size of the two views, the native instant preview and the VLC stream of that section of the desktop…
Not ideal, but better that the native preview. You’re getting an entire planet rendered in WYSiWYG in near-real-time, and as such some pixellated blockiness seems a small price to pay.
There are a few drawbacks:
1. You loose instant access to your “random cam” dice buttons, because the corner of the VLC Player windows is covering them up. If you want access to them you have manually grab the VLC Player window by its top bar, and slide it down for a few moments, then manually side it back up. But that’s easily done, and then you can re-select the MojoWorld window and go back to the JogNav buttons.
2. You get a slight ‘mouse cursor flicker’, due to VLC capturing the stream.
3. It’s overkill for fast-rendering planets. On a fast modern PC you’d get a preview that’s nicer and almost as fast by just doing a quick 600px render on the lowest settings.
The above technique should work on any older software where the instant preview is of a fixed size.
A new freebie from JLK, a Python Script which claims to enable Render in Background for Poser.
Poser 11 Pro already “Enabled rendering in background” for SuperFly renders (that’s the equivalent of iRay, DAZ readers), back in the official Poser 11 SR5 update patch in September 2016. Thus I assume this script is a workaround to enable background SuperFly rendering in Poser 11 Standard?
I don’t have the time to test this just now, but I assume it does what it says on the tin. The script’s code shows it expects Poser 11 and SuperFly.
The new $10 real-time landscape software goes to 1.2, just released…
Among many other features…
* Fantasy creatures — including a dragon, skeletons, and what appear to be Ents.
* Fantasy houses.
* Place-able lights.
* Ctrl Z undo / Ctrl Y redo.
Regrettably the Windows download appears to be corrupt. Should be 1.2Gb, but downloads as 2Gb then stops part way through. Others have the same problem. So it’s probably best to wait until this is fixed, to get it.
The itch.io app also shows 2Gb, but appears to have no problem downloading. Their app’s main problem is that it has no bandwidth throttle, and will saturate your available download bandwidth.
Artists beware. At least one person on DeviantArt is putting pictures under Creative Commons, then when you take them up on the permission… they remove the licence from the page and falsely claim you ‘pirated their work’ and that they want $600 cash.
Those using ‘stock’ and CC pictures should always, as I do, keep ‘a PDF save’ of the page showing the licence or permission. Then you can prove that such a person is lying, if they make such a claim.
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?
I’ve added a sidebar link to Flaming Pear, maker of Photoshop plugins, on this blog.
Many science-fiction artists will remember using their LunarCell (moons and planets renderer) and Glitterato (star-field and nebula generator) plugins in Photoshop, and some may still do so. These plugins still work fine for making backdrops elements in landscapes, and I see that Flaming Pear have updated their Flood plugin to Flood 2 in 64-bit. The interface is still a bit old-school, especially the clunky preset loading/saving, but the scene-reflective water it makes is very good and highly adjustable. It could save days of render time on 3D reflective water for large landscapes. “Now with improved 3D realism”, in Flood 2 — which seems to have been released late 2017?
Regrettably, when the picture has objects in the water at different distances from the camera, one has to make about for or five Flood 2 renders at different horizon heights. Then one layers these in and blends them together with the aid of a mask. It takes a bit of work and finessing, compared to just dropping in water onto a picture with a straight horizon.
Ah, the smell of a new freebie cover-disk, physically taped to the cover of your latest inky print magazine. The careful finger-wrestling needed to get it away without damaging the cover, the sensual slide into the whirring CD-bay in your PC.
But that’s an experience that’s gone down the memory-hole, in these days of broadband abundance and digital magazine delivery. Yet the giant garage-sale that is Archive.org can recreate the old-time feeling somewhat, with its software archive of CD ISOs (for which you need Daemon Tools Lite to mount as a browsable disc on your PC).
One good thing about the arrival of the first wave of broadband and DVDs was that the magazine cover-discs became very chunky and high-value, as the magazines strove to compete with the Internet from about 2006-2011. While nearly all the software they carried has been superseded, there are still free 3D models to be found on such platters…
At 260Mb this was a CD, and small enough to get and test. Not worth having, although I did spot the old Zygote doe (deer), which when remapped and furred should look acceptable even today. Plus, light enough to have an animated herd.
Enter 3 CD-ROM (2005)
Apparently has the “DAZ Studio Base Content” install for DAZ Studio 3.
3D World Issue 110 CD (2008)
“Turbo Squid contributes a broad selection of clothing-based models, while linefour supplies fabric textures and models. DAZ Productions is providing its popular Morphing Fantasy Dress for free, along with supporting expansion packs and other clothing assets. Poser World also offers a quartet of real-world attire.”
3D World Issue 111 CD (2008)
“the complete scene files for this issue’s Vue and After Effects double-header [tutorial], including a deer model provided courtesy of DAZ Productions.” [possibly the same as the one on the Zygote sampler linked above]
3D World Issue 112 CD (2009)
“a rigged hummingbird figure for Poser from Runtime DNA, and two substantial model selections from ModelUP and Flat Pyramid”.
3D World Issue 113 (2009)
“Trial version of the aniMate plug-in for DAZ Studio, along with an exclusive sampler of animation clips for use with the software”.
3D World Issue 114 CD (2009)
“DAZ Productions contributes Michael 3.0 Base, a complete rigged figure with bonus textures, morphs and clothing and hair props”
3D World Issue 116 CD (2009)
“DAZ Productions is in heroic mood, offering a selection of bodysuits and textures for Michael 4 and Hiro 4, as well as The Freak”.
3D World Issue 119 CD (2009)
“figure models worth $233 from aXYZ design, buildings worth $232 from Flat Pyramid, a Poser figure pack”.
3D World Issue 120 CD (2009)
“a set of five high-quality models from Amazing 3D Graphics, an ultra-detailed human figure from ShineFX, and a collection of assets for DAZ Productions’ new The Girl 4 figure.”
3D World Issue 121 CD (2009)
“3d02.com offers five models in 3DS, MAX, OBJ and other formats, while Flat Pyramid provides a brain model for our 10-Minute Tutorial. DAZ Productions contributes a range of future vehicles for science-fiction renders in DAZ Studio or Poser. DAZ Studio 3 is also complete on the disc.”
3D World Issue 123 CD (2009)
“models from TurboSquid, DAZ Productions and Vanishing Point” [and] “the full version of Shade 8.5 Professional, as sold for $899. Mac and Windows versions are provided with tutorials” [e-frontier’s 8.5 release of its old-school 3D modelling software was 64-bit, and apparently there was PoserFusion connectivity with Poser. Superseded now by better options].
3D World Issue 124 CD (2009)
“models from Bluebrain 3D and The3DStudio.com, along with Poser assets from RuntimeDNA and Vue assets from Cornucopia3D”
3D World Issue 125 CD (2010)
“models from TurboSquid and ShineFX, along with DAZ Studio and Poser assets from DAZ Productions”
3D World Issue 127 CD (2010)
“a mammoth line-up of vehicle models and other assets. There’s a whole traffic jam’s worth of car models from Falling Pixel, The3dStudio.com, Arte-3D and Cornucopia3D, plus more modes of transport from DAZ Productions and modelLab.”
3D World Issue 132 CD (2010)
“an impressive collection of architectural models from Intero Visuals”
3D World Issue 134 CD (2010)
“models from The Game Creators, PROVIZ3D, Xfrog and Poser World”
3D World Issue 136 CD (2010)
“Assets include high-quality models from Joseph Harford, Dark Edge Design and Poser World.”
3D World Issue 137 CD (2010)
“high-quality models from Runtime DNA”.
3D World Issue 139 CD (2011)
“the full version of Vue 8 Frontier from e-on software [and] all of this issue’s scene files” [the $99 entry-level version, Poser 8 import, only 2-core rendering, may have needed online activation]
3D World Issue 143 CD (2011)
“models from DAZ 3D”
3D World Issue 149 CD (2011)
“a full version of DAZ Studio 3 Advanced. There are also two sci-fi DAZ models: an environment and a battle suit.”
An archive that includes “ Poser Library”. Which doesn’t seem to be a typo for “poster”.
There you go, that’s the lot! It’s a ‘lucky-dip’, if you have superfast broadband and want to try downloading and mounting the discs.
The big-beast 3D software Lightwave has been sold to “Real-time broadcast graphics firm Vizrt”, though it seems Lightwave was not the aim of the purchase. According to the trade press, Vizrt were buying the company to get “NDI” which interconnects broadcast hardware and software, for software-controlled real-time broadcast.