FaceGen software, royalty-free

This looks rather useful. FaceGen Modeller is a powerful face-creation kit — and it can then apply the face to a low-poly 3D mesh…

“The program gives you tons of parameters to configure, including race, skin, facial areas, and emotions.”

And they’re not joking. There’s just about every tweak and slider you could possibly want, although children are not included on the age slider. But yes, it also has that all-important one-click “Generate a random face” button! And the equally-important rider that…

“you may sell or distribute images, video or sculptures rendered using FaceGen-created models in any way you want.”

The v3.4 free version just does the face creation, but since we already have easy face-to-mesh capability inside iClone that shouldn’t be a problem. As long as you only need the fairly small face images that you can obtain from FaceGen by using screenshots. A FaceGen preview head has full 3D rotation and tilt, and basic zoom. You will need to use Photoshop to erase the small “SI” logo that the free trial stamps on the forehead….

The free trial doesn’t expire, and comes with a small library of both 1024 and 2048-pixel face textures, to be found in C:\Program Files\Singular Inversions\FaceGen Modeller 3.4 Free\Detail

Could also be useful for cartoonists and comic-book artists who want quick reference material to draw over — it can do emotion and caricature.

Of course, a FaceGen-exported head is just a mesh, and you won’t be able to puppeteer it. So these heads are only useful for background extras.

Other similar software:

* the photofit software Faces 4.0, but that only does black and white “police wanted” images.

* Poser‘s Face Room and its ‘random’ ability.

* Argile looks like a fine tool for creating quality meshes from photos of real people.

* iClone itself has a “randomize face” button. As far as I know, CrazyTalk doesn’t have a generative face-generator tool?

* The new Evolver iClone site for creating custom characters. Evolver custom characters can do facial animation once they’re inside iClone.

5,000 78rpm gramophone records free online.

The UK’s AHRC has made the CHARM Sound Archive freely available online. Could be useful if you need an old gramophone record for your movie. The 5,000 high-quality (i.e. FLAC format) recordings have been professionally made from antique 78rpm discs, discs which are presumably ‘public domain’ in those nations which are not slobbering on the jackboots of the record companies.

CHARM’s search gives you loads of options, but is poorly implemented and is set out in typically “awkward-academic” fashion. You can use the ‘free text’ search to pick up types of music (e.g. folk, spoken) to browse a list of, and then have to copy the title you want to Notepad, and use the clumsy Sound Search to eventually find it for download. Somewhere buried in there is a spoken-word recording of Blake’s poem “The Tiger”, but the search is so awkward that I gave up on getting to a download location. If it was me, I’d just release a set of torrent files alongside the archive — and we could just download the lot in one go.

If you need a gramophone model I’ve converted a.j unknow’s gramophone (good visual impact and best-of-breed on 3D Warehouse), deleted the floor and tiles, removed the record and made it a separate prop so it can spin. I also added additional textures from Randy Rope’s free any-use gramophone (only his textures are useful, as his model is huge at 500,000+ faces).

Download the props and textures here (7Mb, .7z zip file).

Avenue Magazine

New magazine added to the sidebar list. Avenue Magazine is a specialist Second Life fashion magazine. Could be useful for film-makers who want to see what SL has to offer in terms of the best of its costuming capabilities, without actually venturing in there. There’s a free flip-book preview of selected pages.

I did a keyword search for “Poser” — they’ve never heard of it, so it seems there’s no crossover with the various communities using the ridiculously-abundant range of fashion add-ons for DAZ/Poser?

Your steam-blimp awaits…

A free Jasper Morello-style “Air Blimp” (19Mb, .7z file), as a project file for iClone. 60,000 faces total. Free for any use in any iClone project or movie. The craft could be a good accessory for the steam owl, if the owl were to go on a long quest.

The ‘free for any use’ airship model by “Adm” had no textures — so I completely textured it for a grungy rusty look, using original textures. It’s been scaled so it fits iClone Universe’s free steampunk-ish Sweeney Todd character at the wheel. I’ve added new propellers by “GUN3Y”, from Google 3d Warehouse. The propellers are parented, so they should be able to spin if you know how to do pivot points and constant spinning effects. The rudders are fixed — so add additional flaps if you need the impression of steering. There are two small exhaust tubes and one big one at the back, where you might want to put particle effects to simulate smoke. I’ve added a green glass rain-screen at the front.

Click the pictures for larger versions. Sweeney Todd character (seen above, sans hair) not included.

Free “yoof” cartoon character for iClone, rigged

iClone Universe has a new cartoon-style character today, which I don’t think has been released before. It looks to have a lovely blue-jeans texture and an interestingly-stylised face. Worth grabbing before Parlophone’s copyright police arrive…

iClone Universe writes…

“Unlike the photo, he comes shirtless. The .zip file contains the shirtless character, and a texture .jpg for his upper, which should be applied to the upper for Reallusion’s Little Boy avatar.”