Following whining idiot leeches saying “the links don’t work”, this post has been blanked and the content .zip deleted (the link was still working fine, you lazy morons). You were warned — any moaning leechers and it’s gone.
Ah, here we go. I knew it was likely… Autodesk Sketchbook Pro at half price.
* Subscribe to Autodesk’s SketchBook Pro for half-price if you buy a year’s subscription. $14.99 per year instead of from $29.99, although you won’t get that deal at the sketchbook.com site where it’s still $29.99. Nothing on Facebook either. The only detail is at the blog…
“this Black Friday 50% off offer will expire on Monday at midnight.”
It appears that you get the 15-day trial, sign up, then pay by Credit Card and find out then that it’s half-price?
* Wacom have also slightly reduced some of their Cintiq pen tablet prices.
* Get another 10% off the Corel Painter 2017 discount, by using the checkout code: 10CORELSAVE
More Black Friday discounts…
* Unity Asset Store “up to 50%” off selected Unity Store assets. Can be imported to DAZ and Poser, and should also be low-poly enough to use in Reallusion’s iClone. In sci-fi, the curvy toony Sci-Fi Scout Drone ($5.50) caught my eye…
I’d have expected to see more Syd Mead-style ground vehicles here, but there’s nothing of that sort there outside of a couple of blocky ultra-low-poly items.
* Blender users have a Blender Market. Who knew? It’s new to me. A look at the sci-fi section suggests some nice models, but almost all at high ‘movie studio / ad agency’ prices. The Hammershark looks great, though it’s not discounted…
* No discounts on Crossdresser licences other than for Cookie, over on Runtime DNA.
* The Cinema 4D software has some discounts on licences, but I see they’re for those in the U.S. and Canada only.
So, let’s tot up what Black Friday bargains I’ve had tonight and today. In total, taking into account coupons and some store credit, my PayPal is down by just $28.00. Not a bad haul, for the spend. And there’s still a chunk of PayPal balance left for software or a plugin, if a deal suddenly pops up via Facebook through Cyber Monday.
Stryke Angel for Star. Because… sci-fi! And it’ll soon be back up at an eye-watering $16 again. Can be converted for other characters via Crossdresser.
Lil Star Witch for Star!, not so much for the outfit itself but rather to give access to mix-and-matching bits of it with other Star! outfits, and to take advantage of freebies that may need the hat.
Dr Pitterbill Hobo outfit. Opens up new possibilities for Pitterbill in rural and gardening illustration and cartooning work.
HFS Environments: Ancient Tree. Trans-mapped leaves though, so it probably won’t play nicely with Poser’s Comic Book Mode. Note that Ostestes Trees (DAZ Store) do have polygon leaves though, so they work fine with the Comic Book Mode.
Steampunk Classics-Lamp. I see there’s also an animated rig for this on Runtime DNA.
Adventurer Set for the semi-toon SuzyQ 2. Useful for converting via Crossdresser. The boots will be especially useful for other characters, and good pith helmets are rare.
It’s now 9am on Friday in the UK, and past midnight in most of the USA. What’s new in the Black Friday sales?
* Renderosity now has a good many 30% sales, and also a “up to $10” off checkout coupon: BLACK2016P30B10 I see that Nursoda’s Muggie is 70% off, at just $3.50. Dr Pitterbill Hobo and Wizard outfits are both 30% off.
* Hivewire 3D: Now have an official Save up to 53% with Black Friday page. I also noticed some Poser script helper utilities are well discounted there, and there’s a gorilla-sized discount on Poser fur for the Hivewire Gorilla. The sci-fi Stryke Angel for Star (Poser) for less than $10, too, which persuaded me to log in and get it.
* I see that the Teknology 3D store also has a 70% off Black Friday sale, though there was nothing there I wanted.
Still no movement on discounting Autodesk Sketchbook Pro subscriptions. There’s a lackluster 20% off for Photoshop CC subscriptions, I see.
It’s 9pm Thursday evening UK time, and here are the Black Friday -to- Cyber Monday deals I’ve spotted so far:
The DAZ and Poser stores:
* The DAZ Store has a 30% off page. Some of the content creators also have heavy discounts. Nothing in my WishList is discounted though.
* Renderosity. No sign of any Black Friday content sale yet, though the Poser 11 software is discounted (see below).
* Content Paradise. No sign of any Black Friday sale yet.
* Hivewire 3D. No sign of any Black Friday sale yet.
* Cornucopia 3D (for Vue users). A nice range of What’s On Sale? items, but no specific Black Friday discounts yet.
* Runtime DNA has 60% off all content remaining in the store. Hmmm… login. Wishlist is still working? Oh yes, though it’s rather depleted these days. I see that a number of Crossdresser licenses are still available and discounted, including Cookie. Advanced Shaders Launcher script for Poser, get the complete set for $7. So I loaded up on various items at RuntimeDNA.
Then I unloaded — because for some really annoying reason, the RuntimeDNA site no longer accepts PayPal payments wholly in dollars. If you’re in the UK you now have to pay partly in dollars and partly in pounds, which makes the purchase a lot more expensive for someone who holds and wants to pay in U.S. dollars only. I took several items out of my cart, so as to reduce my exposure to the rip-off rates.
For those who have the semi-toon character SuzyQ 2 in their Runtime I spotted the above outfit at Runtime DNA, for just $3.80 (and with Crossdresser 4 it should convert for the original Star).
The Poser content manager database PzDB 1.3 is down from $52 to $36. Still one of the best ways to wrangle a vast runtime.
Reality 4 for Poser and Daz, at just $5.99.
Poser 11 Pro – 65% off.
Poser Pro 11 Upgrade – 25% off.
Corel has a big discount on Painter 2017, priced at $299 down from $429.
Vue? Autodesk Sketchbook? No sign of any movement from them yet.
Manga Studio Pro for $25? Yup. Although these days they call it Clip Studio Pro…
Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 128GB + keyboard and pen, is available in the UK for £599.99 from the Microsoft Store UK, a hefty £259 discount. They’re clearing them out before the Surface 5 arrives in the New Year.
Lots of graphics cards and other deals in the UK, at Overclockers.
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.
Software releases are coming thick and fast as we hurtle toward December. Today comes SketchUp 2017. There are some useful-looking advances for the CAD and architectural users, but for artists there are only three main improvements…
* Faster rendering.
* Semi-transparency “renders faster and at higher quality too”.
* Cleaner “snap to” functions when model making.
75%-off the Poser 11 Standard version, which is now just $50 (was $130). The 75%-off sale ends 13th November 2016.
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.
So what is a “curvature pass” in Keyshot? Non-existent, that’s what it is. There is no such render type, as I found after I wasted half an hour trying to discover it. So I’m just dropping this blog post here to save others a similar waste-of-time. This is now the second time in recent weeks that a spurious mention in 3D Artist magazine has led me on a ‘wild goose chase’…
There is no such render pass in Keyshot…
I think that what is meant is rather a manual setup of a specialist render…
1. Save a version of your final render-ready Keyshot file that you can afford to destroy.
2. On the model, find all the textures that you want to distress in Photoshop. Double-click on them and turn them to Texture map: Texture: ‘Curvature’. Make sure you have a suitable bump map in place for each texture.
3. Set up bright colours on the Negative | Zero | Positive colour-pick boxes for ‘Curvature’.
Now render, and you get a custom render pass that is of some use in Photoshop, using Color Range selection…
Here’s a quick test, without using any extra ‘rust render’:
From left to right: 1. A test inkpot with a sort-of rough-texture gold surface. 2. Test inkpot with a distressed texture applied, then switched to ‘Curvature’ with strongly alternating colours and rendered. Colour selected with the eye-dropper in Photoshop, and used to select only a section of the scratched art-texture. 4. Selection “paste in place” and blended with the main render, for a very nice distressed patina look. It also serves to mute the shinyness of the main render.
Neither the gold texture or the super-crackle surface would have been suitable on their own, but this method allows one to get a more subtle blend, with local rim-distress such as around the rim and base of the inkwell.
I could be wrong, but that seems to be what is meant by the mythical “curvature pass”.
e-on VUE 2016 is now available. Now supports Poser 11 Pro.
New “Rendering Presets”: OpenGL, Preview, final, broadcast, superior, ultra, Path Tracer, user settings. I’m not sure if that speeds up the workflow re: Vue’s sluggish native rendering, but it might. If it doesn’t, then there’s another option…
“Render VUE content using any renderer (such as Arnold, Vray RT, Octane, Renderman…) thanks to the xStream Convert tool: In 3dsMax, Maya and Cinema4D.”
Also… “Maximum supported Poser version: Poser Pro 11 (SR1) and Poser Pro GameDev in standalone mode.”
Highlights of the many new features are:
Scenes and assets thumbnail previews in Windows Explorer.
Hybrid GPU/CPU interactive Real-Time Path Traced preview in the main view. Default OpenGL engine set to Shader 4.
Export EcoSystem populations as FBX, including texture maps. Export textured objects as FBX. Export full scenes as FBX (including EcoSystem populations and sky maps).
Other videos about what’s new for Vue 2016…
Also videos of the Plantfactory 2016 improvements…
The University of Massachusetts wants to create 3D digital models of all living organisms. To do that they’ve created the very cool Beastcam Array, a rapid-capture, “field portable” mega-camera system that quickly makes 3D models of living organisms. Just catch your octopus / koala-bear / lizard etc and persuade it to pose nicely…
On probing the website I see that there are no actual 3D animals at www.digitallife3d.com for download at present, just 360-degree video-turnarounds. I do hope we’ll be getting the downloadable .fbx or .obj models in due course, and ideally under Creative Commons.
What’s coming in screen science fiction in 2017, and which might be worth watching? Here’s my survey.
Apparently it’s the year for “Movies set on the ISS”. Is our venerable orbiting space station available for film-makers to rent? First up is the movie God Particle (Feb 2017), which sounds like Contact meets Interstellar on the ISS. The second space station movie is Life (end May 2017) which also involves finding life on Mars. Then there’s the much-delayed Geostorm (Autumn 2017?), in which some half-baked climate ‘science’ is meant to rectify ‘dangerous’ global warming — but it goes 404 and oops… it’s suddenly set to destroy the world. Who knew? One of those three movies has to be good, and I suspect it’ll be Life.
A live action Ghost in the Shell (March 2017), with a megabucks budget? Yup, but it’s Hollywood-does-anime… so it will probably end in tears. There’s just no way to do the anime classic’s many special effects and set pieces to today’s high screen-standards, unless the studio spends billions on a continuous stream of FX-heavy scenes. Not to mention also handling all the sexual aspects, which are OK in Tokyo but not in Tuscon. But at least we may get to understand the plot, this time around.
Back in good ol’ Japan, a major anime movie reboot of their beloved rubber-suited monster Godzilla (Nov 2017?) is well underway, which sounds like fun. It can’t be any worse than the dire Hollywood Godzilla movie of a few years ago.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (July 2017) rockets away into space-opera territory in late summer. It’ll probably very outre and French, but it might be fun in a Fifth Element-meets-Barbarella sort of way. Hopefully it won’t be another total turkey like Jupiter Ascending.
Also looking rather fun is The Mummy (June 2017). Tom Cruise vs. mad mummies from Ancient Egypt, all wrapped up in a romping summer blockbuster… yup, I’ll happily see that!
Alien: Covenant hits in August 2017. A sequel to Ridley Scott’s Prometheus (hint: Prometheus is better paced in the extended fan-edit). Apparently we get to visit David on the mecho-planet. It looks promisingly intellectual, or as ‘intellectual’ as Hollywood can get these days. At least it’s not “horror pretending to be sci-fi, big guns and a sweaty Sigourney Weaver”. (I’d totally forgotten that I wrote a pitch for the sequel in 2013. It’s still online, if you want a look at what might happen in the new movie).
The Three-Body Problem (Sept 2017?) is an unusual one, and is possibly set for the student indie cinema market in September? It’s a fairly major Chinese movie of the best novel from a writer called ‘the Chinese Arthur C. Clarke’. Originally set for 2016, but it’s slipped to 2017.
Blade Runner 2049 (Oct 2017). It’s the Blade Runner sequel, which is really all you need to know. Let’s hope this time we don’t have to wait 20 years for the Director’s Extended Really-Final-This-Time cut of the movie.
Star Wars: Episode VIII (Dec 2017). The next Star Wars movie.
Superhero films? Nope. I’m bored, bored, bored with superheroes, after far too many noisy and time-wasting flops. In 2017 only the third Thor film (Nov 2017) raises even a twitch of interest, and even that will fade if the Doctor Strange movie is forgettable.
The same is true of the latest Planet of the Apes reboot movie. Absolutely terrific first movie, but the second was a plodding ‘tired old western, disguised as sci-fi’. Now it looks like the third in the series is set to be ‘a tired old war movie, disguised as sci-fi’. I’ve no interest in any more Apes reboot movies. The same goes for more installments in the Guardians of the Galaxy and Pirates of the Caribbean series.
In terms of imaginative British movies Kingsman: The Golden Circle (June 2017) has some promise, as the first film was a very solid and stylish bit of entertainment.
The mid-budget British movie King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (March 2017) also intrigues, apparently being a ‘classic’ King Arthur told-straight by Guy Richie (Sherlock Holmes) with the help of several cart-loads of hunky Brits. Looks a bit too “big guys bash each other, get spattered with blood”, though, and not enough “Heathcote Williams does earth-magic as Merlin”.
In American space sci-fi on TV, the excellent The Expanse launches into its 2nd season soon. It should be well underway by 2017. I greatly enjoyed the first series, but I think it’s now going onto my “wait until they’ve finished, and then watch just the main story arc episodes” list. The same is true about The Man in the High Castle (season two coming soon) and Westworld (just started, ongoing), which I hear good things about.
The once-great tradition of low-budget British sci-fi series seems to be all-but dead these days. I’m not sure what killed it? Sniffy Guardianista producers, wanting to make stuff that’s more ‘socially relevant’ (code for: ‘relevant to socialists’)? The cost of VFX? But we can at least look forward to the 10th season of Doctor Who. Let’s hope we get a straight twelve-episode high-budget run of a connected storyline, rather than half of the series being filler ‘monster of the week’ episodes. That’s not going to happen, of course, but however choppy the show gets it’s always great fun and packed with wild and eccentric sci-fi ideas that you’ll find nowhere else.
Watch out for the December 2016 Christmas Special of Doctor Who, “The Return of Doctor Mysterio” on Christmas Day. It looks set to introduce the Doctor’s new ‘young companion’.