Nobbit Kickstarter appeal

A new Kickstarter crowd-funding appeal for the iClone movie The Nobbit.

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Released: DAZ Studio 4 Advanced and Pro

The DAZ Studio 4 Advanced ‘99% there’ version is finally available for Windows (not Mac)… but only to DAZ Platinum Club members. It also seems that the Morph Followers feature and 64-bit support for Dynamic Clothing are still delayed. They’ll be included in a patch in Sept. The Pro version appears complete and final, as far as I can tell.

This long drawn out ‘release’ has been a bit of a mess. DAZ thoroughly confused people on the Advanced/Pro release, dribbling out news, then chopping and changing the features and generally confusing everyone, then getting users angry over very bad pre-release ‘deals’. It’s been a marketing disaster. Oh well, it’s here now.

If you purchase DAZ Studio 4 via this link, I’ll get a small slice of commission on the deal. Then maybe I can afford to buy it! 🙂

Important: note that DAZ Studio 4 Advanced is no longer the top of the range. There is now also a DAZ Studio 4 Pro version.

In DAZ Studio 4 Advanced you get new stuff like, among other things…

  * Auto-Fit plugin. Fit your old clothing collection to the new Genesis base figure.

  * Quicker test renders.

  * Figure Setup Tools (rigging)

  * Layered 2D backgrounds (like iClone’s 2D background, but layers with transparency?)

  * New 64-bit Windows version.

  * Upgraded version of Morph Loader, load multiple morph targets all at once.

In DAZ Studio 4 Pro, you also get…

  * Complete Content Creator Toolkit (inc. transfer of character rigging)

  * A bridge to/from ZBrush

  * A ‘3D Bridge’ to/from Adobe Photoshop Advanced.

  * Texture Atlas (no longer available in Advanced, it seems)

  * FBX exporter (no longer available in Advanced, it seems — which is a pain for iClone users)

Will my purchased Game Developer Kit work with Studio 4 Advanced? Not sure yet. If it does, then the game kit may give FBX export for Advanced, without the expense of getting the DAZ Studio 4 Pro version. You also get a good poly reduction plugin with the Game Kit (poly reduction is not mentioned anywhere in the specs for Studio 4 Advanced / Pro). So, I’d really hope that the Game Kit works with Studio 4 Advanced.

Finally, the free DAZ Studio 4 will shortly be costing $50 — so grab it now!

New iClone 5 feature – soft body dynamics

Jiggles, bounces, and squishes — all yours with the new iClone 5’s soft body dynamics…


Animated GIF – you may need to unblock it in your browser to play.

I’m not sure if this will apply retrospectively to all existing characters and props, or only to new items that are specially set up for physics?

New issue of Blend.art

New issue of the Blender.art, out now.

There are two useful articles on basic armature rigging (this is the sort of rig that usually makes it to iClone, via an .fbx export). Also an article on animation timing, also relevant to iClone users. In the free Blender files pack you get a free rigged coelacanth (an ancient dinosaur-era fish that still lives today). No working textures, though, just some reference pictures to help you make your own.

New features in iClone 5

Here’s a screenshot of the new Toon Shader controls in iClone 5, courtesy of the forums…

There will also be a new Media Tab that appears to collect your in-use project assets in one space on the screen.

Aknzrdude also reports on what seems to be a useful new ‘one-click’ feature…

there is also a mixMoves button which allows you to smoothly blend two separate motion files

And…

a new Motion Editor that supports layers – i.e. each body part can be edited and keyframed separately

Alembic, new alternative to FBX?

Major new file format that seems set to rival FBX, Alembic 1.0….

Open source exchange format provides standard for exchanging animated computer graphics scenes between content creation software packages.

Backed by Sony, Lucasfilm, etc. and currently in use on the new Avengers movie. Basically it allows the use of huge 3D models with much smaller file sizes. It doesn’t seem to affect pro-am users yet, just the big movie studios. But as we all know, what’s used in high-end movies often hits the hobby user in a couple of years.

New Poser version announces – features

Update: I now have a dedicated Poser Pro blog!

A new Poser 9 and Poser Pro 2012 has been announced, new features list here. It looks like the new DAZ Genesis figures finally woke up one of the beach-slumbering execs at Smith Micro. Now they’re scrambling to see if they can support the new figures, maybe even before DAZ gets DAZ Studio Advanced for sale? Genesis seems to be what all the new support for “weight maps” is about…

full Suite of Weight Map Editing Tools such as Weight Map editing and painting, Zone converters, Hybrid Rig creation and Weight Map Auto Transfer.

Also very interesting, for iClone users used to real-time rendering, is…

Real-Time Preview Improvements. With Poser’s OpenGL [now in 4.2, although you need a graphics card that can run it] improvements, you’ll get accurate, real-time previews of Spot, Point, Infinite and IBL (Image Based Lights), Soft Shadows, Ambient Occlusion, Normal Maps and Back Facing Polygons

Although you will need an Nvidia GeForce graphics card that supports OpenGL v4.

Fiddlesticks!

Prosecutors in Renton, Washington, are seeking the animator Mr. Fiddlesticks. His heinous crime? He made fun of the local police dept. (gasp!) in a satirical animation on YouTube. First Amendment? Free Speech? They’ve obviously never heard of it in Renton… and bizarrely, they’re perverting the meaning of a cyberstalking law* to try to get Mr. Fiddlesticks’s true identity revealed. Kind of makes you wonder if some of the things he alleges about the local police corruption could even be true….

* Who knew that would happen so quickly? Expect politicans to follow suit…

ShapeShifter

ShapeShifter from Charlex…

Looks very polished, but probably best watched with the sound turned off and your own choice of music… as it’s marred by dreadfully bad ‘poetry’ and plinky-plonky music.

Making of…

Free Viking-style helmet for iClone

I’ve made a free Viking-style helmet prop to go with the excellent Viking village that’s newly arrived on the iClone Marketplace. It’s CrazyEyes000‘s newly-arrived untextured Viking helmet on ShareCG (free, it has a “please credit me licence”). I’ve converted it for iClone, and textured it up with some of the Creative Commons textures from the assets of the open movie Sintel.

Download

I guess you have to imagine huge amounts of shaggy hair filling out the space under the helmet…