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1. April 2020


Today we are going hands-on with Asset Forge 2.0 by Kenny.nl.  Asset Forge is an extremely easy to use 3D modeling application where you can quickly create models using building blocks.

Details of Asset Forge:

You'll have access to a large library of pre-made blocks (about 600 currently), they're each categorized in different categories. You can place an unlimited number of blocks in your creation after which it's possible to export and use in the game engine of your choice.

  • Position, rotate, mirror and resize blocks
  • Export to common 3D file formats (see below)
  • Render your model as a 2D sprite
  • Apply colors, materials and textures
  • Batch export a sprite in multiple directions

The exported models are compatible with most game engines including Unity, Unreal Engine, Blender and ThreeJS. The 2D sprites (PNG) are compatible with all game engines that support sprites.

Asset Forge 2.0 is currently available, with Mac and Linux versions coming soon.  The 2.0 release adds Lua scripting support, making procedural content creation in Asset Forge a breeze. 

Asset Forge is available in Standard ($19.95) and Professional($39.95), with the pro edition containing an addition 10% more blocks.  Both editions including ongoing free updates and possess no DRM.

Check out Asset Forge in action in the video below.

GameDev News Art


30. March 2020


Pixologic have released version 2020.1 of their long running sculpting application ZBrush.  Along side the ZBrush release they now have a fully functioning 30 day trial available for download here.

Details of the 2020.1 release:

  • XTractor Brushes - Convert detail from your model into a new alpha or texture for reuse elsewhere.
  • HistoryRecall Brush - Project a model’s Undo History to another model regardless of topology differences.
  • Sculpt & Paint in Morph UV - You can now paint and even sculpt directly on a model’s flattened UV shell.
  • Move Infinite Depth - Affect anything that is directly inline with the brush cursor, no matter how far from the camera.
  • Texture Adjust Color - Adjust the colors in a model’s texture on the fly, modifying hue, intensity, contrast, gamma or tint.
  • PolyPaint Adjust Color - Same as above, but for PolyPaint. These features include eight color channels to easily restrict your changes to certain areas.
  • Wall Thickness Analysis - Instantly know what parts of a model are too thin for successful 3D printing, or thicker than necessary.
  • Real-Time Draft Analysis - Easily identify and fix portions of the model that would lock up when used in two part molding or CNC printing.
  • Calculate Surface Area - ZBrush can now provide you with the bounding box size, mesh volume and surface area, check for watertight integrity and help calculate real-world material needs.
  • Cam View - Always know how your model sits relative to XYZ space. Includes one-click buttons for snapping to orthagonal views.
  • Real-Time Silhouette View - Turn on a picture-in-picture window that displays your model’s silhouette in real-time, or see how it “reads” from a distance.
  • ZeeZoo - Mannequins have gone wild, with a library of animal figures to help you compose scenes of all kinds.
  • Deco Curve Brush - The classic Deco Brush for 2.5D painting is now available as a 3D sculpting brush.
  • Model Paint Fade Opacity - If a model’s PolyPaint or texture is making it hard for you to see the sculpted details you can now partially fade the color or even hide it altogether.
  • No Back & Forth Mode - Zigzagging brush strokes can now build up in one direction, only. This mode also combines with LazyMouse Backtrack for unique effects.
  • New Import/Export Options Window - Easier control when importing or exporting and support for even more formats, all in one place.

You can learn more about the 2020.1 release and free trial in the video below.

Art GameDev News


17. March 2020


Today at not-GDC, Khronos Group announced the release of Vulkan Ray Tracing, with initial support via beta drivers to NVidia cards.

Details from the Vulkan announcement:

Vulkan Ray Tracing consists of a number of Vulkan, SPIR-V, and GLSL extensions, some of which are optional. The primary VK_KHR_ray_tracing extension provides support for acceleration structure building and management, ray tracing shader stages and pipelines, and ray query intrinsics for all shader stages. VK_KHR_pipeline_library provides the ability to provide a set of shaders which can be efficiently linked into ray tracing pipelines. VK_KHR_deferred_host_operations enables intensive driver operations, including ray tracing pipeline compilation or CPU-based acceleration structure construction to be offloaded to application-managed CPU thread pools.

Vulkan Ray Tracing shaders are SPIR-V binaries which use two new extensions. The SPV_KHR_ray_tracing SPIR-V extension adds support for ray tracing shader stages and instructions; SPV_KHR_ray_query adds support for ray query shader instructions. Developers can generate those binaries in GLSL using two new GLSL extensions, GLSL_EXT_ray_tracing and GLSL_EXT_ray_query, which are supported in the open source glslang compiler. Engineers at Khronos member companies, including NVIDIA, have also added support for the SPIR-V extensions to DXC, Microsoft's open source HLSL compiler, enabling Vulkan Ray Tracing SPIR-V shaders to be authored in HLSL using the syntax defined by Microsoft, with minimal modifications.

Beta drivers are available from NVidia here although it should be cautioned, these drivers are very much for developers only!  You can read more about the announcement in this 20 page pdf presentation, as well as a more in-depth technical overview of raytracing support in this blog post.

You can learn more about raytracing support in Vulkan in the video below.

GameDev News


10. March 2020


This quick tutorial will walk you through the process of exporting 3D models and more importantly textures from the Unreal game engine for use in other engines or in content creation tools such as Blender.  There is a complete step by step video included below.

The first part is identifying the model to export.  In the Content Browser, find the mesh object you want to export, then right click and in the menu select Asset Actions->Export…

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A dialog will pop up, first asking where you want to export the asset to.  Pick an appropriate directory.  You will then be prompted for export details.

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The default settings should be fine in most cases.  If you have trouble opening the generated file you may want to try a different compatibility mode.  You will get a low polygon “cage” mesh if you select Collision for the Static Mesh, uncheck that option if you do not want this collision mesh generate.  Finally click export.


And done…


Well, unfortunately not quite.  We still need to get textures out.  The easiest way I have found to to this is via baking.  In the Asset viewer window, with the mesh open look for the Bake Out Materials button

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First let’s set the texture size for our baked textures:

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Next click the + icon in Properties for each texture channel you want to export.  In this case we will do color, normal and roughness.

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Now define each channel you want baked.

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Once complete click Confirm and your textures will be baked.  The textures will appear in the same folder as the Mesh (as will new materials).  You will have 3 textures for each material channel on the object ( 2x materials x 3 textures in this case for a total of 6 generated textures ).  Unfortunately CONTENT BROWSER DOES NOT REFRESH automatically, so navigate to a different directory and back to see the generated textures.

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Now right click each new texture and export it exactly the same way you did the FBX file earlier on.  You are now ready to use your model and textures in your application of choice.  In the video below we continue to show how to recreate the materials in Blender.

Art GameDev News


27. February 2020


Hot on the heels of Quixel Bridge 2020, Quixel have just released Mixer 2020.  Just like Bridge 2020, Mixer 2020 has also been made completely free!  This version contains a massively updated UI, a revamped 3D brush system, the Smart Material system and most importantly, the ability to directly paint on your own imported meshes, making Mixer much more of a competitor to Substance Painter in functionality.

From the Quixel announcement blog:

The wait is over! We’re excited to share with you the first Mixer 2020 preview release introducing the first look at early 3D support.

This first release unlocks features for texturing single objects and restyling Megascans assets, with Multi-channel 3D Painting, Megascans Smart Materials, Real-time 3D Curvature, Material ID Masking, Seamless Texture Projection and so much more.

For some odd reason, all of the download links on Quixel.com currently point to the 2019 release.  If you want to try the 2020 version it is available for download here.  Windows and Mac versions are available.

You can learn more about Quixel Mixer 2020 and see the new painting functionality in action in the video below.

GameDev News Art


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