The Prometheus Trap

Cool-looking 90-minute Prometheus fan-film and prequel, Prometheus Trap… looks like they have some talented FX and stage lighting people on board, even if the sound and dialogue both seem a little flat. Out now…


Lovely bit of seasonal 3D art from the latest issue (#47) of 3D Artist magazine…

Talking of glows… in iClone, it’s really easy easy to get things glowing (in contrast to both Poser and DAZ, where it’s a pain). But:— how to get a glow effect to ‘spill’ into the air a fair way beyond the edges of the glowing object? I’ve taken a casual look for a solution, but I’m guessing it’s impossible since it would horribly bog down the real-time rendering. And as iClone’s glows don’t shine through props or planes, you can’t just stack some glowing ‘10% opacity’ primitives on top of your base glowing prop, to fake the wide spillover effect. Is there a workaround, that doesn’t involve covering the whole scene with bloom? Or having to do something fiddly with single spotlight positioning?

Night sky

Lovely bit of space art, for a 1024px screen device. Found online with no attribution or title. Anyone know more about who made it?

Update: thanks to BiggsTrek for identifying this as being by Sandra of Belgium, Europe.

Valve Software Source Filmmaker goes to beta

Valve Software’s Source Filmmaker is available now as a semi-closed beta for Windows 7. It’s the real-time tool used to create Valve’s own promotional animations for games such as Team Fortress 2.

It’s licenced for commercial work, provided you don’t pinch any of Valve’s in-game assets. To snag a beta licence key now, contribute a shiny 3D item to the Team Fortress Workshop, TF2′s internal marketplace for fan-made items. Doing this gives you a better chance of getting a licence key.

For a complete set of tutorial videos, take a look at the YouTube channel.

The making of… The Pilot’s Dilemma

The making of… “The Pilot’s Dilemma”

Click on the picture for the full-size version.

The secret is not to do it all in iClone, but to use iClone to rapidly make a picture library of quick approximately-lit prop candidates, with each prop isolated against a green and blue-screen. The picture is then put together like a jigsaw in Photoshop, bringing in each prop one at a time on a new layer, and cutting it out. When all the prop pictures have been swiveled and nudged into the right place, to make a good composition around the central photo, then the prop elements are color-shifted and faded out — to give a sense of distance and to start to unify the colour. At no time did I automatically “colour-match” layers, it was all done by eye. No filters were used. Then I brought in special FX such as mist and fog layers. Finally I got the Photoshop brushes out and blended, blurred, smudged, painted and generally fixed some of the details and errors.

With a stronger light source you might have more problems keeping the light direction looking consistent. That’s possibly where more pre-Photoshop work in iClone could help, making a more iClone heavy base-layer to start from. Or a quick “lighting sketch” to work from as reference.

I prefer to cut out in Photoshop as I have a plugin for that, and it gives me more control over semi-transparent bits. But I seem to remember that iClone can also output images that have “hard edge” embedded alpha channels, which should save time if you’re not used to cutting out. Reallusion’s popVideo software can also cut out from green-screens.

Time was about eight hours.

3DS Max 2013 – new features breakdown

3DS Max 2013 new features announced

* “ActiveShade interactive rendering that constantly updates as changes are made to cameras, lighting, materials, and geometry”…

I suspect it’ll be one of those “updating like a slide-show” previews that many of the big 3D applications have, rather than something that works like iClone. But it’ll be very interesting to see how responsive the lighting changes are on a casual hobbyist 32-bit setup, using an imported Poser DAE or iClone FBX (from 3DXchange 5).

* “Adobe After Effects Interoperability […] There is nothing else like it in any other product. It gives you a bidirectional workflow [which] provides two-way transfer of cameras, lights, null objects, plane objects/solids, footage (including footage layering), blend modes, opacity, and effects”

* “new ability to output renderings in a layered PSD Photoshop format” [it’s catching up with Poser, on this feature]

Expected to ship 12th April 2012. I’m not sure if the cheaper educational version will be available at the same time, or not.