Vimeo to do Pay-Per-View

Vimeo is to introduce Pay-Per-View

“In the coming months, we will introduce our first pay-to-view service, giving video creators of all types flexible tools to charge for access to your videos”

Also, Kickstarter UK is launching at the end of October. Hopefully in a manner that gives us Brits seamless access to the USA’s large and rich pool of investors.

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Honest architectural visualisations

Fab new real-time Lumion visualisation of the planned Descartes Bleriot development in the northern French port town of Calais. It all looks very sexy under the Mediterranean sunlight, and the buildings are seemingly designed for a Mediterranean climate. Sadly, Calais doesn’t have such a climate. It has much the same gloomy climate as London does. Which means the Mediterranean sunlight only appears for about three weeks a year. If I was a buyer I’d worry about the honesty of the developers, in other areas such as construction values and the like, if they blithely expected me to be interested based on such glossy and essentially misleading pictures. I’d love to see an industry-wide move toward more honest architectural visualisations, so we can see how a proposed development looks throughout the year, and through day-night and weather cycles. Before real-time animation there might have been an argument that presenting such a weather-complex video would be too expensive. But not now.

Element 3D for After Effects – new realtime plugin

Very interesting new $150 real-time plugin for Adobe After Effects CS6, called Element 3D. And no, it seems that it’s not the usual dubious claim of “I got two grainy frames per second, and I’m calling it real-time”.

3D Artist magazine reports…

“At first we couldn’t believe we were rotating over 100k polygon models, with 4k textures on them, in real time, and they were still looking amazing […] incredibly good results”

The software uses an OpenGL render engine (I’m not sure which version — the DAZ Studio viewport still uses the ancient 1.6), and has light presets, 20 shaders, multi-pass rendering in a dropdown menu, and a particle system. That all looks very tasty for a mere $150, especially for video and motion graphics people who find it scary once 3D goes beyond “3D spinning logos”.

Drawbacks seem to be that, unlike iClone, it isn’t optimised for complex or long scenes. Nor does it seem to be set up in any way for character animation. Plus, from what I remember of using After Effects back in the day, rendering the final video at full resolution is likely to take a lot longer than iClone.

Another drawback is that there’s no FBX import, which may limit your ability to speedily access 3D models from a big DAZ/Poser content library. Import is currently just plain old OBJ (with all the inevitable hassles arising from external textures) and Cinema 4D import.

For pro video makers who need a little 3D with some level of ease-of-use, it sounds like many people might be better off with Keyshot 3 ($900), rather than After Effects + Element 3D (around $850 all told). Since the simplicity of Keyshot 3 (learn it in one day) would save you months in having to wrestle with learning After Effects. You’d also get a better quality of render (not real-time, admittedly, but very fast). But if you already have and know After Effects, then Element 3D sounds like a very interesting realtime plugin, and one that can hopefully only get even better as it moves to version 2.0.

3DVia

Interesting new(?) iPad publishing system 3DVia that claims to be able to take 3D models and slot them into iPad apps…

“…seamlessly integrates your images, video and 3D files into engaging, mobile-ready web apps for the Apple iPad platform. Just upload your media to 3DVIA.com, place it into the app design of your choice and publish.”

They also have an interesting 3DVia Store service, to help people get familiar with where things are in a physical store…

I haven’t looked into it too much, since it looks like the kind of service where “if you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it”, but it would seem that the service must be pumping the end result to mobile devices in real-time? Hence it needs low-poly 3D. Now that we have “quickly build it in iClone and export to FBX with 3DXchange 5 Pro”, I wonder if this sort of service might be an emerging market for content creators and developers?

Kickstarter bans 3D renderings

The popular crowd-funding service Kickstarter has banned all 3D renderings and animations…

“Product simulations are prohibited. Projects cannot simulate events to demonstrate what a product might do in the future. Products can only be shown performing actions that they’re able to perform in their current state of development.”

“Product renderings are prohibited. Product images must be photos of the prototype as it currently exists.”

Maya’s Viewport 2.0 as a ‘real-time’ tool

Interesting article on doing “real-time” rendering in Maya, which means… “2 to 4 frames per second” rather than the genuine fluid real-time of iClone….

“Joe Daniels cut render times to 2-4 frames per second on a standard workstation through a real-time workflow that makes use of Maya’s new Viewport 2.0 display.”

Bear in mind he’s only rendering out the animated characters and other moving elements, then using After Effects to composite the character footage over static 2D backgrounds.

MotionArtist from SmithMicro

SmithMicro, developers of Poser, have launched a fully-functional public beta for new software called MotionArtist. It’s a basic ‘motion comics‘ tool that will sell for about $50 and let you make “semi-animated” comic books and strips.

Judging from the demo video, it looks a little rough around the edges at present. The finished version is set for release in early Spring 2013. But I must say was wowed by the feature to “slice an animated panel in half, and move it around”. You can see that feature happening in the demo video…

Mmmm…. HTML5 output, and an official mobile app to host it. Nice.

Here’s the MotionArtist interface video…

And the Manual is here in PDF.

Reallusion’s excellent CrazyTalk Animator must be nudging toward a version 2.0 sometime soon (just my guess), if CTA is going to hope to attract a much-needed ecosystem of talented content developers. There was talk at the New York Comiccon (Oct 2011) of a future ‘CrazyTalk Motion Comic Creator’ edition. If so, then judging by MotionArtist’s likely release date, it looks Reallusion might want to get that released for January 2013.