Poser 10 On Sale – 66% Off

Ok so here’s another short post. A nice little message just ticked up on my Facebook feed, Poser 10 is currently $100.20 (66.6% off) until the 31st of October (2013). This is coming just weeks after the wrap up of Smith Micro’s last promotion where they were moving Poser 9 for about $30. If you were lucky enough to buy then you can now upgrade to 10 for just $60.12, netting Poser 10 for a total of $90 (normally $299). For those that missed out on that promotion, or already had 9 then this is the perfect time to step up or in to P10.

If you’re a DAZ Studio user how’s been wondering about life on the other side then now is a great time to jump the fence for a good look. If you’re totally new to 3D, then now is a great time to pick up some software that will serve you well for years to come.

Here’s a little (pft yeah little!) example of how Rooster Teeth Productions (Red Vs Blue, RWBY) do with Poser.

Poser 9 and other Smith Micro Art Apps At 90% Discount

For a limited time Smith Micro has put previous versions of Poser 9, Manga Studio 4 EX, and Anime Studio 8 Pro on sale.The current versions of these programs (Poser 10 etc) are currently retailing for $299, but you can pick up these older versions for just $29.99 each. That’s a saving of 90%! If you buy these all together you get the lot for $49.99!

Upgrade to current versions and save

Perhaps the best part of this deal is that you can then use these versions to upgrade to the current programs for the upgrade price of $179.99. Effectively this means you can get Poser 10, or Anime Studio Pro 8, or Manga Studio EX 5 for $209.99 (save $90 at current prices). Of course for Poser users this means you can sidegrade to Poser Pro 2014 for a total of $329.99 (regularly $499.99).

Right now looks like a great time for DAZ Studio users to jump the fence and take a good look around. If you like what you see then you can snap yourself up a very good deal on an upgrade.

Maya LT Brings State of The Art 3D Tools To Indie Developers

Ever find yourself drooling over programs like 3DS Max and Maya? I know I have. In fact that’s what I was doing when I stumbled upon Autodesk Maya LT, which was released just back at the end of August (2013). It packs in many of Maya 2014’s new tools and advancements. It actually includes all of Maya’s modeling tools, most of its material tools, a selection of animation tools (including rigging and weight painting), Viewport 2.0 and DirectX 11 viewport technology, among a few other fancy features.

High Quality Realtime Shaders with ShaderFX

A huge draw for those looking to create game assets comes in the form of ShaderFX, a node based realtime shader editor that allows for the creation of HSLS and CgFX shaders without the need for any programing knowledge. This feature is not currently in Maya 2014 (though it does support these real time shaders languages), so it is currently a nifty perk for Maya LT owners. Below is an example of a scene rendered in real time in UDK with custom converted CgFX shaders made in Maya. The ability to view results in Maya similar or the same as those in UDK, CryEngine, or Unity is pretty neat. These shaders can then be exported in a number of formats that suit most current 3D game engines.

obviously the meat of Maya LT lays in it’s modeling capabilities. The program also includes some handy retopology tools and geometry baking (to bump/normal maps), to help convert those high poly models down into something more suited for work in real time environments.

Maya LT Limitations

Perhaps the biggest drawback to LT is that it has a serious restriction on how much geometry can be exported, and the formats it can export in. For a start it can only export in its own native .mlt format and .fbx. With the .mlt format there is no limitation on polygon count, but only Maya LT can read it. With FBX the limit is a mere 25000 polygons! The argument here is that 1) LT is primarily targeting indie developers, who are primarily developing for iOS and other mobile devices 2) Autodesk need to implement some harsh measures to ensure LT doesn’t compete with its premium kin.

The suggested work-around is to export assets in multiple parts, if necessary. It is worth mentioning that there has been some rumbling about the possibility of lifting the export limit somewhat, though Autodesk is still very keen not to get too generous. For the inquisitive, there is an interesting thread on the Polycount forum in which the developers have sought to communicate and collect ideas.

The next big features to be excised are a good number of more advanced rigging features, advanced 2D/3D textures, MEL and Python scripting, and then the rendering features – all gone! To be fair rendering and the advanced 2D/3D textures (for software rendering) would be of little use to games developers. Rigging and scripting are very important to many users, but scripting could be used to circumvent limitations, and advanced rigging tools are one of those premium features (arguably).

So, while Maya LT has many of Maya 2014’s best features, it is sorely lacking in some respects, so this brings us to the all important question, how much? USD $795. Some people will be spitting their beverages at the screen in disgust at this point, while others will be carefully weighing up the pros and cons. To put it in perspective, Maya (and 3DS Max) are roughly 4 and a half times that. It’s also half the price of LightWave and Modo, but significantly more expensive than Carrara 8.5 or Shade 14. What it comes down to is that Maya is the gold standard in game and film asset creation. It is respected and used widely, and for a fraction of the price you can get a good deal of that power.

While it is half the price of the mid-level programs, it is still expensive in that it comes with some hefty restrictions. It is up to the punter to decide if the tool is for them.

Just For Indie Developers?

As far as I know there are no licensing limitations locking the software to indie game development, but with the cut-down feature list it is certainly a targeted product. This is to say that Maya LT may have other uses too. If you don’t mind having to cut your models up for export via FBX to your other 3D programs then Maya’s modelling tools and 3D painting might be an attractive asset to your 3D tool set, whether your a hobbyist with a bit of cash to burn or a content creator for programs like DAZ Studio and Poser. Or maybe there are some software nutters out there that just want to own everything they can get their hands on… like me.

So yeah, I’m personally a little excited by all this. I’d love to see Autodesk increase the polygon limit and include an OBJ export option, but on the whole, I think Maya LT is a solid product.

Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE via our easy to use RSS and RSS email feed for all the happenings at DigiSprawl to come to you

Autodesk Maya LT 2014

Terragen 3 Coming Soon – Win 1 of 5 Copies

terragen 3 depth of field

Win a copy of Terragen 3 Professional

Back on the 13th of June Planetside Software announced Terragen 3. Don’t expect it in months. Expect it any day now. No specific date was set but July 2013 is the nominated month. It will be available in three versions, “Professional”, “Creative”, and, in keeping with Planetside’s business model, a free version. To promote the upcoming release there are five copies of the program up for grabs – subscribe to the Terragen 3 blog for your chance to win.

Terragen – the brief

To give a little background on the program, Terragen is a 3D terrain and natural scenery creation and rendering program. Matt Fairclough was responsible for the first versions of the program, and continues its development alongside a small team. The history of Terragen is not easy to precisely trace. The oldest version I could dig up was version 0.4. This limited feature demo version is copyrighted 2008, but the ZIP archive contained files as old as 1996, so there could well have been a public release older than this.

Since these early days Terragen has gone on to develop industry standard features and tools that have seen it put to work generating and rendering environments and terrain for film, television and games. Some examples include the recent Man of Steel and at least as far back as 2003’s Gospel of John, and Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life.

Terragen has been providing some very good tools for its price for some time now. One aspect that will appeal to many 3D enthusiasts new and old (and just about anyone in the business) is the scalable nature of the program, which can handle everything from the creation of entire planets right down to highly detailed ground level scenes, and even macroscopic style plant renders.

Other key features include: volumetric clouds and realistic atmospheric effects; procedural terrains; large-scale instancing (perfect for quickly generating large vegetated areas); overhanging geometry; global illumination; support for planet scale, and finely detailed but large displacements; anti-aliasing and motion blur; HDR output; node based texture/shader editor.

terragen 3 spherical cameraTerragen 3 features

Reportedly, the price of Terragen 3 is set to increase over previous versions, but as of yet no details have emerged. There is no comprehensive feature list and details about which version of the program will/won’t have access to which features is not yet available. One confirmed feature restriction was that “Creative” won’t have the layered render tools.

The tried and true, though sometimes complex user interface of Terragen has returned much unchanged for all versions of T3. For some this will undoubtedly be disappointing, but a relief for seasoned vets. Terragen is not one of those 3D apps that novices can just dive in and have a tinker and a play, well not for most. Most users would be best directed to hit YouTube or the Planetside forums for some tutorials and pointers.

For Poser/DAZ Studio users, and modellers everywhere the incorporation of FBX support will be a huge plus. What, if any sort of posing tools will be included is not clear, but more advanced export options will always be welcome. Fingers crossed that some form of SSS support will be included.

terragen 3 improved global illumination

Confirmed Features

  • Comprehensive layer and render element output
  • Enhanced 3D preview
  • Updated Global Illumination
  • Improved population control including per-instance editing and color variation
  • Support for FBX and other industry-standard data interchange formats
  • Performance enhancements for localized cloud rendering
  • Object mesh deformation
  • Content library for organizing and accessing scene files, objects, and textures
  • Enhanced DEM format and georeferencing support
  • New spherical camera
  • Depth of Field blur
  • Linux render node

For many, the price of Terragen, when compared to the likes of the feature rich versions of Vue, is well worth the extra time it takes to learn the program, and with these updates it could well be on its way to becoming a serious competitor for many more users. I’ll certainly be carefully watching for more feature and price announcements. Don’t forget to sign up to the blog subscription for your chance to win one of those copies.

Subscribe to DigiSprawl – full RSS and email options