Great Software and Genesis Character Specials At DAZ 3D

DAZ 3D software and genesis character sale

Got’a catch ’em all

Carrara 8 Pro – 69% off! Normally, I’d say that’s pretty crazy, but this is DAZ 3D we’re talking about. These guys often have crazy sales, though I don’t ever remember seeing it this cheap. Hexagon and Bryce are a good buy too, even if they were free for quite a number of months until recently. Loads of Genesis characters and morphs up for sale too. IClone Animation Pipeline is also 30% off and that seems to be the thing all the cool kids are using these days – can’t say I know much about it though. My current favourite DAZ to LuxRender program, Luxus is half off at the moment too! Which reminds me, Reality 3 for Poser was released just the other day. That $15 sidegrade from Reality 2 is mighty hard to resist right now, especially seeing as I’ve been wanting to start using my copy of Poser Pro a little more.

Ok, I admit it! I’m a complete software junky – there, that’s a load off. I don’t even have to be a user of a program, but I still want it in my collection. I figure I’ll use all my pretty 3D apps one day. Until then I’ll keep reading about them all and drooling over all the pretty art people are making with them.

Oh, it seems the above prices are only for Platinum Club members, so if you’ve been looking for an excuse to join the PC or pick up some software or content from DAZ 3D, now is the time. Even without the PC membership the prices are still good but paying out for a month subscription to the PC is worth it just to get the discount for Carrara, if that’s something you’ve been eyeing off. check out the current sale to see all the goodies.

More real-time rendering musings with Unreal Engine 4

aki ross final fantasy: spirits within movie

Aki Ross – the CG superstar that sadly never was

Do you remember Final Fantasy: Spirits Within? I sure do. As an occasional fan of the Final Fantasy games I will say that I was very excited to hear about the movie, and to an extent I wasn’t even disappointed. As the on/off fan I wasn’t distressed by the disconnection the film had with the games, and given that all the games are more-or-less unconnected why would the movie have been any different? The CGI, even now, is a stunning piece of work even if the motion capture fell a little short at times, and the movie as a whole was letdown by a plot that bordered on utter rubbish propelled along by a clichéd, and occasionally cringe-worthy band of characters. Despite all this I still love the movie for that CGI feast.

…and then there’s Aki Ross… four-hundred thousand beautifully rendered polygons that were not popping out of her outfit, cutesfied, or eroticised at every opportunity; now that is something that is indeed rare for a leading female anime character (yes I did just say FFSW was anime – deal!). But I’m getting off track.

Spirits Within still stands as one of the most expensive CGI movies ever produced. According to Wikipedia the film was rendered with a “home-made” render farm composed of 960 Pentium III-933 MHz, with each of the 141,964 frames taking an average of 90 minutes to render. If my maths is right that’s over 24 years of rendering! That was all back in 2001. Fast forward 12 years to today with technologies that are capable of rendering characters, animation, and environments in real-time in detail only wide-eyed dreamers dared to ponder on, and it creeps ever onward towards photorealism. Indeed, looking at the latest tech demos you could be forgiven for thinking we are already there.

Once again I’m finding myself very excited by the possibilities of new 3D game engines like Unreal Engine 4. Just a few days ago (29th March 2013) the Infiltrator tech demo went up on the Unreal Engine YouTube channel. Of course, Epic being Epic they had to demonstrate their fancy new technology with adrenaline fuelled pew pew action.

As far as I’m informed (Polygon) everything in the video is a real-time rendering all running on an Nvidia GTX 680, which while coming with at a considerable price, is well within reach for many. When we have the potential for such grand visual immersion coupled with the engine’s amazing editing tools I’m left with a huge thrill for the possibilities, not only for the production of big budget high octane games, but for the modding community, indie developers, animators, and artists. GPU based real-time rendering is making huge leaps and it has been pushed largely by video games. Could we be about to see the technologies and software used to develop games explode into widespread use in many different applications?

This is what can currently be done with UE3. Skip to about 1 min in to see all the neat features.

The engine has also been used to render environments for children’s show LazyTown.

Reality Is Dawning

I know I’ve been talking Luxus up a lot lately (still got some more to come too), but I can’t say I’m not excited about Reality 3. According to a recent statement presented at The World-wide PoserExpo Online Seminar, R3 for Poser (later posted at Pret-a-3D) will be released on April the 8th at a discounted price of $39.95 (usually $59.95). SIDEGRADE AVAILABLE for Reality 2 owners just $14.95! You’ll be able to get your fresh baked copy from Renderosity, RuntimeDNA and Pret-a-3D. Pret-a-3D is apparently the only site that will be handling the tasty sidegrade option.

I’m sure that I’m not in the unique category of user that have both Poser Pro 2012 (or P9) and DAZ Studio, but prefer Studio for whatever reason. The question for us is, “how long are we going to have to wait for our version of the program?”. According to an dated FAQ posted on the front page of Pret-a-3D we can expect to wait about two months Post Poser release, but that was with an expected Poser version release date of November 2012… Does that mean it is closer or further away now? The same? I shall try to find the answer. [edit: Paolo Ciccone, developer of Reality just kindly provided us with an answer – see comments – saying the DS version should be available in about three months).

There is a lot to get excited about with the new Reality release, not least of which is the very cool feature that lets Reality talk to Poser’s node based material system and, as best as possible, produce Lux equivalent materials. Check out the Reality 3 preview for more of the goodies – alt text if you don’t want to sit through the YouTube presentation.


Carrara 3D Expo Issue 10

Carrara 3D Expo is something I’ve been meaning to plug for a long time now. On the 10th of March the free online magazine released their 10th issue. I’m not a historian of such things, but if one looks at their catalogue on ISSUU it seems that issue 1 was released all the way back in July of 2009. Having briefly ran a free online magazine myself (survived one whole year!) I know that it is a lot of work, so congratulations to Danas Bartkevicius and his team for keeping Carrara 3D Expo thriving for over 4 years and 10 issues. Seeing the awe inspiring work of Elianeck back in issue 9 was one of the precipitating factors in my purchase of Carrara.

Highlights of the issue, for me at least, were the interview with C3DE founder Danas Bartkevicius (so hope I’m spelling that right!), and the gallery section which, as usual, features some fantastic work from several artists. Looking forward to seeing the magazine into the future with issue 11 and beyond.

And… in other Carrara related news: Carrara 8.5 slotted for September 2013 release (that would be what Americans mean by end of summer?), and Carrara 9 planned for some time in 2014. Check out the few details that made it out of DAZ 3D to Carrara Cafe.

Carrara 8