I’m giving up on Vit3D’s PR5 character system

I’m giving up on buying the new releases for Vit3D’s character system, after spending far too many points on it. The PR5 characters are an ever-expanding attempt to build a system within the Reallusion iClone character system. While Vit’s ‘photo-realistic’ characters certainly look great nude, and with simple hair on (buy them for that, if that’s what you want), the same characters are incredibly difficult to put a whole set of Vit’s own clothes on. You basically require a Ph.D level education in Vit’s stunningly complex naming and parts system. Even if you do manage to puzzle some of it out, it seems next to impossible to get the characters looking like they do in the Store previews. Specifically, there appears to be no way to do something as simple as placing an undershirt under a jacket. Sorry, Vit, but I won’t be purchasing any more of your clothing packs or outfits for the PR5 characters — and I really can’t recommend that anyone else spends time and money trying to figure it all out either. iClone’s content is supposed to be simple, not even more complex than Poser’s clothing system and its ridiculous levels of dependencies.

New face for Vit’s V5 female

The Reallusion Marketplace has a new and rather disappointing face for Vit’s V5 female for iClone. The new 450-point face is called “Venus”, and is by a third-party and not Vit himself. Below is a side-by-side comparison. Vit’s original face is on the left. As you can see, “Venus” is far inferior, and doesn’t seem to change the facial features in any noticeable way…

Click on the picture for the large version.

Moebius, RIP

The great French comic-book artist and writer Jean Girard, also known as Moebius and as Gir, had died. His clear and precise penmanship, first encountered in old used copies of the early Heavy Metal magazine, made a deep impact on me when I was younger.

Daz Studio 4 final, out now

What a week. First Muvizu, now Daz Studio 4 is finally out of its seemingly-perpetual beta. DAZ Studio 4 Final is available now as a 450Mb download. It’s still free. Don’t forget to pick up your serial number at the checkout, as well as the download.

So what are the big features in the What’s New list?

* Updated User Interface.

* New Genesis Figures type with easy auto-rigging and extreme morphability. But before you get too excited, remember that 3DXchange junks DAZ morphs.

* An Auto-Fit tool for fitting M4 and V4 clothing to the new Genesis Figures.

* Improved Content Library (hmmm, I’ll believe that one when I see it) and Content Search.

I’m download it now, and will post more once it’s installed.

Hello Halo

Tonight’s kewl Master Chief Halo give-away, to be found on the Wolf & Dulci Show (yes, the show is still going — despite no downloads on TMOA since 8th Nov)…

Free destructible plugin for Max

Want to remake 2012 as an anymation? Unless you’re building pre-shattered props, then painstakingly re-assembling them — or can find suitable matching footage in a videogame — you’re going to need destructible physics for the “falling cities” scenes. The rather awkwardly-named Pulldownit! promises just that. It’s free as a plugin for either Max or Maya…

“The standard version is free to download, it is fully functional for dynamics and fracture, only some professional features are not present.”

“By using it digital artists are able to simulate the collapse of structures, such as buildings demolition, in minutes. Its easy setup and powerful stress tools allow for control of the creation of cracks, and [then the plugin] drives the simulation.”

Tutorials are here.

Subtitles freeware

Visual SubSync is an actively-developed and stable subtitling software. I used it for a commission about 18 months ago, and found it to be excellent. It’s freeware, and writes standard .srt files so if you’re distributing on a DVD (such as sending a movie to a festival) then viewers can choose to load subtitles or not.

And YouTube seems to support the upload of .srt sub-title files along with a video, but it’s not something I’ve tried.

To allow SubSync to load up video files, and write subtitle files, you may need to give it Administrator rights under Windows 7.

Usage is a little unintuitive at first try. The basics are: Select the segment of audio waveform that you want to make a subtitle for, by clicking on the start of it, holding down Shift, and then clicking on the end of it. Then right-click on the selected/highlighted portion of audio, and select “Add subtitle”. Now type the words into the lower box and hit return on your keyboard. The text you typed will be placed alongside the timings for the selected/highlighted portion of audio.

FLIP 2010

The Light House in the English Midlands is the venue for the UK’s 7th Flip Animation Festival (4th to 6th November 2010), and the organisers are now inviting animators to submit animated films (up to 15 minutes in length) to the Open Shorts section. And for the first time, Flip is accepting submissions from children, to be judged in a special category. Submissions are welcome from across the world — however, good-quality English subtitles will be required. There is no entry fee. Entry deadline: 9th July 2010.

The Photo

Just posted on YouTube, “The Photo”. It’s an interesting experiment in green-screening Moviestorm characters, and then using popVideo Converter to drop them into iClone scenes as video billboards. When confined to the middle distance, the Moviestorm characters do seem to work well…

iClone Fan Film Challenge

The iClone Fan Film Challenge is open. Prizes — three copies of iClone 4 (it seems to be the Standard version?). No need to actually make the film to enter, just pitch the idea…

“In order to enter you need to submit a fan film story pitch and how you would utilize the iClone software in making that pitch a reality. There’s no minimum to the length of your pitch, but please make the pitch no longer than one [plain-text] page.”

An example of a fan film would be the 40-minute The Hunt for Gollum, made unofficially by fans, and which fills in a gap in the story in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy…

RIP Malcolm

With the death of Malcolm McLaren it seems apt to ask if the creative underground is once again underground. It may seem silly to ask such a question, in an age of creative abundance when everything appears to be instantly public and “just one click away” and covered in depth by a multitude of online blogs and e-zines. The problem is that the online English-language audience for creative intelligent content has broadly plateaued. Yet the amount of quality content being produced grows exponentially every day. And the amount of e-smog clogging up search-engines is growing even faster. So there are ever-fewer eyeballs or ears to go around — for even the most high-quality content, even if people could find the stuff for themselves.

The thinking audience naturally gravitates towards making space in their busy lives for the very best content — guided by curators who can point out the best stuff (nerdy newsfeeds, we love you). Intelligent audiences also make space for the quirky, the niche, the local, and the highly-specialised. There’s even a place for uproariously silly no-brain-required jewels (e.g. 2012, Plants vs. Zombies, substitute your fave), since even quality gets tiring if consumed as a staple diet. Everything else flows past unheeded, unless it has a million dollar marketing budget. Mainstream journalism in the English-speaking world is largely senile, and is rarely capable of conveying the subtleties of new forms of cultural expression. Fan bases are inherently insular.

That’s why I’m thinking that the creative undergrounds are once again more-or-less “underground”, much as they were before about 1995 and the arrival of the mass Internet — in the sense of being unknown and largely unheeded, and the province of the cognoscenti. Which is ironic, since it’s all being done in the open. It’s just that almost no-one notices it. If that’s indeed the case, then in a way it’s probably a good thing for our new global culture, our open “diaspora of talent”. Since one of the attractions of underground creative scenes has always been their scope for wild experimentation, away from the cynical eye of the masses. Yet what’s different now is that there is always the chance that a product of a cultural underground scene can suddenly go viral and spread autonomously through multiple worldwide audiences in a matter of minutes.

2012 Paralympic Games film challenge

The 2012 London Paralympic Games is inviting British 11-25 year-olds to make a short film. There will be an Olympic-sized programme of 100 free film-making workshops at venues around the British Isles — more details of these in the early Summer. In the meanwhile, 11-25 year olds are invited to start creating short films (must be no longer than three minutes) celebrating the values of the Olympic Paralympic Games: respect, courage, excellence, friendship, equality, determination and inspiration. Any style will be welcome, including animation. Submissions will formally open in June when the project website goes live, and the deadline for entries of films will be 1st October 2010.

The Change

A newly-posted short film by Halenow in the UK, made in DAZ Carrara and apparently with a little help from iClone. That’ll be the rising terrain near the end, I’d guess. Overlook the text-to-speech voiceover (someone please buy this guy a copy of MorphVox and a microphone…), and there’s a whole lot to like here, including a real story…