Big bundle of 500 freebies for CrazyTalk Animator 2

To celebrate the new release of CrazyTalk Animator 2, and to help boost the meagre amount of content availble for it, here’s a mega .zip with my old OddJob freebies inside. Containing:

* The 340 odd professional backgrounds / backdrops / backplates I extracted from the OddJob Jack assets.

* All 160 or so professional props and animated props I extracted, and converted to CrazyTalk Animator, from the OddJob Jack assets.

Download (88Mb)

All Odd Job Jack assets and files are licenced as: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Generic. If you use, or distribute, these please credit: Smiley Guy Studios and the artists of Odd Job Jack.

Usage: Extract the .zip files, copy all folders, and then paste to… C:\Users\Public\Documents\Reallusion\Custom\CrazyTalk Animator 2 Custom\

The Share Send download link will last as long as it lasts. Given the amount of foul-mouthed abuse that poured into this blog’s comments, once a few Share Send links for my iClone and CTA freebies became broken through disuse, I’m not inclined to spend time on re-uploading freebies. I’m just making this one exception, in order to help along the fortunes of the excellent CrazyTalk Animator 2 — and perhaps help push it along to a version 3.

Element 3D

There’s a new real-time plugin for Adobe After Effects (Adobe’s motion graphics and FX flagship software) that uses OpenGL and OBJs. The 3D World magazine review of version 1.0 found Element 3D workable but a bit rough around the edges, and it seems you have to retexture your all objects by hand once they are imported (ugh!). But Element 3D 1.5 now has a…

“Real-Time Glow engine that allows you to add glow directly to illuminated materials or even image highlights. It’s extremely fast and offers even more realistic results than just using the standard Glow Plug-in.”

Real-time OpenGL shadows are also promised for a future release…

“Creating OpenGL shadows is not a trivial thing but we are experimenting with several innovative & hybrid solutions.”

YouTube webseries

A nice short introduction to writing Web series from one of the pioneers, as a free podcast. YouTube may be a bit of a sprawling mess, but I’m not sure I like the idea of the rush to “TV-ize” it. When you think of it, the bulk of YouTube starts to make historical sense when you understand it simply as a revival of the old music hall “specialist acts” and the end-of-the-pier “variety” shows — the wild and whacky performing animals, clowns and comedians, slapstick, dancers, magicians, singers, jugglers and tumblers, puppetry (machinima), etc that we thought we’d lost. They’re all there, in a new digital form.

[ Hat-tip: Wolf & Dulci ]

BBC developing a visuals engine for storylines

Interesting developments in automatic storyline visualisations. The experimental Mythology Engine was…

“a [BBC] prototype exploring new ways of telling stories on the web. It began as an experiment to bring storylines from Doctor Who to the web. Rather than create a basic page for each episode and character in Doctor Who, the Engine allow[ed] the storyline to be described using an ontology. This storyline can then be presented either in a linear way, mapped to the traditional TV structure of episodes and series, or [extracted] to let you examine a single story arc within a complex narrative, for example. This is particularly interesting when considering the time-travelling escapades of the Doctor. His stories can be viewed at in linear time, or as they are presented in an episode, for example. [...] The team demonstrated this as a proof-of-concept by modelling some EastEnders stories and loading them into the Engine with a different visual treatment. There are many remaining challenges: how do you present cliff-hangers or uncompleted storylines without giving away the ending before broadcast, for example? Our colleague, Paul Rissen, investigated this in a follow up project called StoryBox ["which was essentially the next iteration of the Mythology Engine", says Rissen].

Although someone must be pretty dumb not to be able to follow the plot of Doctor Who — and isn’t one of the pleasures of Doctor Who working out all those extra little fan-bits of who-what-where backstory, afterwards? But as a generative comic-strip software, it sounds interesting.

Another such early automatic story visualisation engine is StoryVisualizer from France.