iClone 5 Pro for £90 (UK only)

iClone 5 Pro has just hit Amazon UK. It’s being offered for a mere £89.93 boxed, with free shipping from Amazon. To be released on 30th November 2011. That price sure beats the £154 that iClone 5 Pro would cost you at the regular download price ($199 plus 20% UK sales tax) at current $-£ exchange rates. Even with the current Christmas discount over at Reallusion, the UK Amazon price is still much better. Plus, you get it in a box! Mmmm… shiny! 😉

Note that Amazon UK have a pre-order price guarantee. So, if you’re in the UK and want what effectively seems to be a very heavily discounted iClone 5 Pro, I’d say… order now before they change their mind!

iClone 5.02 patch

iClone 5 just got patched. What’s in the 5.02 Update…

* Added: Device Mocap – Added “Knee Rotation Constraint” option to avoid foot flipping.
* Fixed: Device Mocap – Fixed incorrect head and shoulder movement.
* Added: Option to add motion curve on the first level of the motion layer key.
* Fixed: Inability to download content from Reallusion City under certain conditions.
* Fixed: Cannot reload the avatar after the teeth are modified.
* Enhanced: Updated “Wo” lips map for better lip-syncing.
* Enhanced: Updated facial creation data to enhance the facial quality.

RSA animation competition

The UK’s RSA (Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) is running a short film competition. Animation is accepted. Entries worldwide are accepted. You’re asked to…

“create a short film in any genre that visually communicates an audio excerpt from a RSA lecture.”

£1,000 prize. Deadline: 19th January 2012.

William Golding animation competition

The Foundation set up for the Nobel Prize winning author William Golding is running an animation competition

“…for the best short digital video animation (minimum 4 minutes, maximum 8 minutes) portraying a scene, characters or an imaginative interpretation from any William Golding novel EXCEPT Lord of the Flies, The Spire, and the Ends of the Earth trilogy.”

£2,000 of cash prizes. Deadline: 31st December 2011.

DART animation contest

A current animation contest…

“The DART Viral Animated Video Contest invites animators to pitch a concept, develop a proposal, and deliver an animated short that addresses misconceptions surrounding the environmental impact of foam cups and containers, as well as their many advantages.”

Deadline for the first round: 30th November 2011. $3,000 in cash prizes.

How to cut rendering times in DAZ Studio

A interesting ‘taster’ video tutorial for DAZ Studio users, which claims to show you how to save 50% or more on your long render times (DAZ users can have 2-4 hours rendering per frame on complex scenes)…

Basically the formula seems to be something like this: render in layers (DAZ: “Render to New Layer”, with the DAZ Studio 3D bridge active to send it to Photoshop), each with a single light, stack the resulting layers, then use the layer blending modes in Photoshop to obtain your lighting effects. There’s apparently a free ebook on how to do this, at his 3dlightmaster.com — in exchange for your name and email address. I could be wrong, but it seems that this is a freebie that’s intended to get people interested in his paid tutorial courses?

Project London 3D assets – Creative Commons

The guys behind Spiral Production’s SF movie Project London have kindly decided to give away key 3D art assets under a Creative Commons licence. The .blend files are at Project London Blender Rigs and Paul Spooner’s Project London Blender Models. Several are high-poly, and all are the typical “Blender nightmare” to export and convert for iClone (I didn’t have success with any of them). But, they’re there if you want them.

Journal of Visual Culture machinima special – free again

Free access to the SAGE Journal of Visual Culture special April 2011 issue on machinima, through to the end of 2011. It had been free on publication, but was then taken behind the paywall. Now it’s free again.

Those seeking more writing on the topic should look at Henry Lowood’s bibliography on machinima, and also my own more recent machinima bibliography which covers publications from 2007-2011.