iClone5.1

News just in…

“Reallusion will upgrade iClone5 to version 5.1 in 2012 to enable the [Kinect] sensing of such human parts as elbows, heads and feet, the company indicated”

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Friday Funny: Kong

German illustrator Kong carries a pair of toon eyes around with him, and uses then to toonify urban objects. Of course, iClone users could do this with a photo, some virtual eyeballs, and a little care with the lighting so as to match the original photo… and with CrazyTalk you could also get them talking…

Ray Harryhausen’s Fantasy Scrapbook Animation Competition

Got monsters? Ray Harryhausen‘s Fantasy Scrapbook Animation Competition

“Your task is to create a winning storyboard on the theme of monsters for a stop motion animation short that, when shot, would last between 30 seconds and 3 minutes.”

Deadline: 12th February 2012. Note that they only want the storyboard, so iClone could be used to produce the stills for that (especially as we now have the sketch mode in iClone 5).

CrazyTalk Animator pack, Cartoon Solutions Combo Vol.2 released

I have to say I didn’t think much of the CrazyTalk Animator pack Cartoon Solutions Combo Volume 1. Now here comes Cartoon Solutions Combo Volume 2. It’s looking more appealing this time around, and the Tyrone and Dr. Naughty characters certainly come across as characters. The Grocery Checkout set also has comedic potential. All three have gone into my Wish List. Note that these are available as standalones on the official Reallusion store, as well as in the Volume 2 bundle, at $12.95 per character or scene.

Here’s the video preview…

Single-player PC games for 2012

Single-player PC games I’m looking forward to in 2012, in order of interest…

1. The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim downloadable content (DLC), which promises to be more of a game in itself than the Bethesda’s Oblivion DLC was. Rumour has it that we may even get Morrowind, remade for the Skyrim engine and released on Morrowind‘s 10th Anniversary (1st May 2012). Which would be utterly awesome. Or perhaps it’ll just be some $10 mudcrab armour.

2. Risen 2: Dark Waters. When played with healthy doses of God Mode, the original Risen was a near-perfect modern PC game all the way through (until the end, which was a bit naff). This ‘makeover, polish and tweak’ sequel promises more of the same, this time with a tropical pirate setting (which it’ll share with 2012’s Far Cry 3). Sales-wise, PC games with pirate themes consistently sink without trace. Let’s hope Risen 2 bucks the trend.

3. Dishonoured. Arkane Studios teams up with Bethesda for an action-stealth steampunk open-world game. Reminds me a bit of the fun Saboteur in the setting and limited colour-range, but with the cool robots and ‘aristocrats’ instead of Nazis.

4. BioShock Infinite. Another retro/vintage steampunk setting. Actually valve-punk, since the game is set in an alternate USA in 1912. In plot and setting it also seems to borrow bits from Microsoft’s classic Crimson Skies, and the animated films of Miyazaki. In terms of interesting art direction, this looks like the main game of 2012. It also seems to take a refreshing approach to the use of vivid colour…

5. Grim Dawn. Hmmm, maybe. I loved Titan Quest, which was by the same team. But I’m not sure if I want to play Titan Quest given a depressing Fallout -style post-apocalyptic setting. One of the great attractions of Titan Quest was its fresh sun-drenched Greek Islands setting, which was beautifully depicted. But if Grim Dawn has innovative aspects, then I’ll be interested. I’ll also be taking a look at Diablo III if and when it finally arrives in 2012.

6. X: Rebirth. Will Valve finally be the one to get the space-trading RPG right? Will those made space-sick by the combat dogfights be able to use an alternative combat system? Will beautifully polished PC copies of the long-awaited Elite 4 fly out of David Braben’s earhole in 2012? Don’t hold your breath on any of these propositions. Still, one thing is certain. The X series are the best-looking space sims and X: Rebirth promises to offer more jaw-dropping real-time space art than you could fill a galaxy with…

7. Mass Effect 3 is… a possible. I played through the first and enjoyed it, while feeling it was more an interactive movie than a game. But then they lost me on the sequel, as soon as I heard they’d done the “let’s make it grim and depressingly bleak” thing that was in fashion back then. Mass Effect 3 is said to be more like the first game in the series.

Also interesting for machinima is that Halo 4 is pencilled in for Christmas 2012. And if Far Cry 3 ships with a free construction kit of the same excellent quality as Far Cry 2 then there may be some machinima potential there too.

Literary Slipstreams, papers invited on machinima

The Children’s Literature Association’s 2012 conference is on “Literary Slipstreams”. One of the topics they are inviting papers on is “Machinima”. Deadline for application: 15th January 2012. The conference…

“invites participants to think about literature for children and young adults as a literature both of and in transition.”

Organic hair in iClone

An interesting iClone idea from Panthar. “Organic hair” on iClone characters using plants…

Not quite sure where it’s going, but as a mod it would seem to have some potential. Warlord is also experimenting with styling the iClone hair for a more natural look…

Eye of the Storm

Philip Kang’s new 22-minute “filmed in-game” machinima, Eye of the Storm. Yes, it’s Halo, but is miles better than 99% of such stuff, especially in voice-acting and editing…

He reports on just how difficult in-game film-making is, when done properly…

“Each shot took an average of 5 hours or more to capture. The first 2-minute scene is made up of around 55 unique shots. That means it took approximately 275 hours to capture the shots for that scene alone. [the] AI had to be painstakingly manipulated to set up most of the scenes. It required over a hundred play-throughs just to stage the action required, not including blown takes. […] The camera had to be controlled in real time, without any coordinates or keyframes, and, in almost all cases, without any parenting or targeting options. Long story short, it was really easy to mess up when trying to capture the footage. Combine this with the lack of rewind in Halo 3‘s campaign-based saved films and you have a recipe for rage-induced, controller-tossing disaster.”

imagineNative

The imagineNative and the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) have a call for digital arts project proposals. imagineNative is open to any indigenous aboriginal in Canada, and any “digital genre” is welcome, such as animation and interactive animation. Applicants are asked to summarize their ideas on two pages for submission. ImagineNative and NFB will choose one submission to make a new $50,000 production. The deadline is 9th January 2012.