“All must have prizes”

The winners of the 3DVF Alice in Wonderland competition are announced. 3D category and 2D category.

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Muvizu rocks

A special peek at the rocking new features that are due to be added to the next, as yet unreleased, Muvizu update…

Animated lights, animated effects (like stage fog, below / roman candles, above), animated properties, rock music animations, instruments, and “more”.

Music: Phenom, second half of “Resurgence” from their Creative Commons album Unbound.

Windows Movie Maker 2011

A review of the new Windows Movie Maker, part of the free Windows Live Essentials 2011 kitchen-sink pack — which is now being punted via Windows update.

An interesting new bit of automation, which might lead to some interesting “cut-up” style works…

“Windows Live Movie Maker comes with a one-click auto movie button, for those who don’t want to spend time trying to edit a video. You select the files you want, including videos, images and music, and with one click, you’ll have an automatic movie that doesn’t require any software knowledge. The one-click auto movie pre-set themes add a title, transition effect, credits and with your added video, images and music, you’ll have a movie completed in under a minute.”

Yes, Microsoft invents the “I Win!” button. Personally, I’ll be sticking with Adobe Premiere Elements.

Oh, and be warned. You may also be tempted to upgrade your Mail application if you install Windows Live Essentials 2011. But beware that it doesn’t auto-import all your old emails into the new Mail application. You’ll have to point the import option at the folders buried at: C:\Users\YOURUSERNAME\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Live Mail, and then wait (in my case) 50 minutes while it imports, in the meanwhile preventing you from doing anything else with Mail for the duration of the importing. Grrr.

Time Machine for iClone – freebie

The George Pal version of Wells’s Time Machine for iClone, converted and retextured by me. 64,000 faces. Drop it in: C:\Users\Public\Documents\Reallusion\Custom\iClone 4 Custom\Props

Download

Click on the picture to see a bigger version.

Credits:— Thanks to Bluesdog for his Time Machine model on Google 3D Warehouse, based on the original prop for the excellent George Pal film of H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine. Character (not included) is the free Sweeney Todd from iClone Universe. Loft/attic model (not included) is Dusty Attic, converted for iClone.

CrazyTalk Animator

Reallusion has announced CrazyTalk Animator v.1.0, adding “Real-time Body Puppeteering” to the standard facial abilities of Crazy Talk, At just $50 the price is certainly right, and if it has the right balance of power and “drag and drop” ease-of-use then this could be a winner for them. I’ll be looking out for the first in-depth reviews of this. ETA: November 2010.

As with all such software, the approachable toon style sells it, but there’s no reason that creatives can’t use it for other styles. Such as gothic shadow puppetry.

Sintel DVDs now shipping

The Sintel DVD sets are finished and are being shipped now. Includes…

“All .blend files, models, textures, and so on… the material used to create the movie.”

A little pricey at 34 Euros plus shipping, and keep in mind that the models and textures should be online for free before Xmas. But look at all the goodies you get on the DVD, not to mention the warm glow from knowing your supported a worthy open-source animation project. The goodies include… 60 minute “Making of” documentary in HD; “29 tutorial videos, by 10 people, almost 5 hours”; and Gb’s of other goodies.

The Book

Awesome camera-work and editing from Matthew Perks, for his super little Muvizu short “The Book”…

First-prize winner at the Muvizu / Raindance Film Festival.

Creating memorable characters

New article in Computer Graphics World magazine, on how games developers are adding character traits to models to create memorable and individualised characters…

“As Poznanski notes, good game characters need a tasteful balance of clean, simple shapes, complemented with meaningful details, which weren’t added just because there was empty space on a normal-map texture. He adds that it is important that even when players are squinting their eyes, they still clearly ‘get’ the distinctive features of the model, including the character’s silhouette, props, and attitude.”

Synfig

Synfig 0.62 is

“a powerful, industrial-strength vector-based open-source 2D animation software package”

Not an especially impressive gallery, and I’m not sure how easy it is to learn — but it’s free and it might be useful for making low-overhead minimally-animated backgrounds, once iClone 5 gets cel-shading.

Free hugs

New freebie on iClone’s Backstage, the components from the recent Tender Moments pack (I think that was what it was called) to have two characters perform a hug.