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26. March 2016

 

Toonz is a 2D animation package which has now been open sourced under the New BSD license as OpenToonz.  Toonz has a long history in 2D animation for inking, painting andimage digital composition and has been used extensively by Studio Ghibli on such projects as Princess Mononoke and others.  Toonz dates back to the early 90s in SGI machines.

 

From the OpenToonz site:

  • This is software for producing a 2D animation.

    It is based on the software "Toonz", which was developed by Digital Video S.p.A. in Italy, customized by Studio Ghibli, and has been used for creating its works for many years. Dwango launches this OpenToonz project, in cooperation with Digital Video and Studio Ghibli.

  • This software can be used by anyone free of charge, no matter whether the purpose of use is commercial or not.
  • This is available as an open source, so that users can modify its source code freely.
  • We aim to develop a new platform for connecting the academic research into frontline animation production.

Studio Ghibli also contributed GTS, a scanning tool as part of OpenToonz:

  • Sequence number scanning can be conducted efficiently according to in-between animation numbers.
  • Compatible with 4 types of scanning.
    (black-and-white, colored, with or without binarization)
  • The settings for scanning can be saved. Processes can be reproduced when some cuts are rescanned.
  • Compatible with the TWAIN standards

The source code for OpenToonz is available on Github.  You can download binaries and documentation for OpenToonz here.

GameDev News


16. March 2016

 

Substance Painter, the PBR (Physically Based Rendering) texture painting tool, just released version 2.0.  If you want more information on Substance I featured it in this video.  It’s an excellent texture creation tool that is growing in popularity every day ( just yesterday Unity announce Substance support for example ).  This release includes several new features, including:

- Iray Path Tracer integration for advanced rendering and screenshot capability
- New Smart Masks for creating and using your own mesh-adaptive mask presets
- New Clone tool, non destructive, for copying and pasting parts of texture
- New Smudge tool, non destructive, for blending and spreading colors
- Ability to chain and composite substances
- New content in the shelf: alphas, tools, materials, smart materials, and more
- New interface with reworked colors, icons, and parameter organization
- New Orthographic view mode and Perspective Field of View control
- New Fullscreen mode with interface toggling
- Full support for the Specular/Glossiness PBR workflow
- Scripting I/O
- Non-PBR shader and template
- Full support of height & normal workflow

There is also a release trailer for Substance Painter 2

For more details, click here.

GameDev News


15. March 2016

 

Nevigo have updated and changed the pricing for articy:draft, including a new subscription pricing option.  articy:draft can be thought of as a project management and design solution specifically for game development, a sort of mashup between MS Project and Viseo, but geared towards game development.ad

Details on the new subscription model called FLEX pricing:

Finally the time has come: We roll out the FLEX license subscription model for all versions of articy:draft. This new license eliminates the initial costs of using articy:draft and gives you maximum flexibility to scale your team up and down. It is an additional licensing option, the purchase option is still available as well.

  • Use articy:draft for a low monthly rate
  • Subscriptions may be cancelled monthly
  • Purchased and rented licenses can be mixed
  • All updates and upgrades included

Additionally they have made changes to the existing licensing model:

We did some spring cleaning to our pricing model to make it easier and more transparent. The different server tiers and upgrade costs are gone, and the core products all come at the same price. Effectively, this leads to a price drop in many cases, especially when scaling up your previously “indie”-sized studio.

  • One price for articy:draft, the API and articy:access
  • Floating licenses available
  • Unified shop experience for single and multi user
  • Simplified costs when adding more licenses

They also added some hosting services and training options.  Full details are available here.

GameDev News Design


15. March 2016

 

Nearing the end of last year, SideFX software released Houdini Engine, which brings procedurally based modeling to Unreal and Unity.  Previously the Indie version had a $99 price tag.  Now however, that price tag has been removed.

From the announcement:

SideFX is pleased to announce that Houdini Engine Indie is now available for free (previously $99). Independent game devs and CG artists can now freely load Houdini Digital Assets built using Houdini’s procedural node-based workflow into apps such as Unity, UE4, Maya and Cinema4D.

"This is exciting news for indie developers who want to enhance the procedural features in Unreal Engine 4," said Epic Games CTO Kim Libreri. "Houdini Engine Indie brings amazing power to the table which makes it possible for smaller teams to more easily achieve AAA-quality results."

Houdini Engine Indie works with all of the Houdini Engine plug-ins including Unity, UE4, Autodesk Maya, Cinema 4D and Autodesk 3DS Max. These plug-ins let game devs load Houdini Digital Assets which can be created in Houdini Indie or downloaded from the Unity Asset Store and the Orbolt 3D Smart Asset store.

 

There is one major limitation on the indie edition of Houdini Engine, namely you must make less than $100K USD a year and is limited to 3 licenses per organization.  You can see Houdini Engine in action in Unreal Engine in the video below:

Houdini Engine for UE4 from Go Procedural on Vimeo.

GameDev News


7. March 2016

 

It’s not very often I am surprised by the existence of a previously unknown to me 3D application, as I tend to pay attention to these things.  It’s even rarer that such an application is free, as I am a huge fan of free tools.  It’s almost a blue moon scenario when its TWO applications we are talking about!  Well, that’s exactly what just happened, I learned of the existence of two, completely free, 3D modeling applications and I figured I would share them here.  Both apps are very different in scope and what they are trying to accomplish.  Both are also fairly young in their development cycle, so expect crashes and unexpected behavior from either application.

 

Dilay

Dilay is probably the easier of the two applications to explain, so I’m going to start with it.  Basically, Dilay is an open source sculpting application such as zBrush or Pixologic.  As the later is no longer being developed and the first one is quite expensive, this is without a doubt a good thing.  Of course, Blender has sculpting features, but there are certainly flaws in it’s implementations.

The interface in Dilay is extremely straight forward.  You essentially work in one of two modes, sculpting and sketching.  Here is the sculpting interface in action:

image

 

If you’ve used zBrush/Sculptris/3D Paint/Mudbox at this point, you have a pretty good idea what to expect.  Generally you start with a simple mesh like a sphere and then sculpt as if working with virtual clay.  The sculpting can easily be mirrored across the center axis for symmetric objects.  The tools are pretty straight forward, you can carve, crease, grab, drag, flatten, smooth and pinch your object into the desired shape.  Nicely, you can also reduce, which enables you to dynamically reduce the polygon count of the mesh you are creating.

The other mode of operation is Sketching.  Essentially you shape your base model using a series of spheres.  Somewhat confusingly you need to delete your sculpt before you can sculpt.  Now it’s mostly a matter of painting a series of spheres that will compose your base mesh.

image

 

When you are done, simply click Convert Sketch, and it will be ready for editing in the sculpt interface.

When you are done, objects can be saved as obj files, a format that is supported in pretty much every single 3D application created in the last decade.  There are some glitches, I experienced a couple of crashes (for example, don’t enable wireframe!), but it is certainly a usable tool at this stage.  Dilay is open source and released under the GPL license.

 

PolyBrush

Polybrush is a much harder application to explain.  I think the easiest description is, it’s a 3D sketch modeler.  The entire idea is to create 3D models quickly using a combination of sketching, user generated brushes and symmetry.  The results are actually pretty astonishing.  The application is more stable and complete than Dilay but the interface is also extremely obtuse and will require a much steeper learning curve.

image

 

Here you either create your own 3D volume brush or use one of the included brushes, then either paint on the construction plane, or one another existing object.  Brushes can in turn be applied to the surface of an existing model, giving you rapid sculpting abilities with dynamic brushes.  You can also work symmetrically across a number of different axis.

Like Dilay, Polybrush also exports in OBJ format.  The exe weighs in at a paltry 4mb with the included brushes and at 2mb without.  It’s also remarkably fast, I made some fairly complicated scenes while running on my integrated Intel GPU and never experienced a slowdown.  The application is quite robust and vast, offering layers, 2D and 3D sketching, 3D primitives, the ability to define your own brushes and much more.  It’s a cool application once you get past the somewhat confusing interface.  It does however have a community behind it, so getting support is a heck of a lot easier than Dilay.  Polybrush is closed source software.

 

I will actually be posting quick videos showing both applications in action shortly.  Both are small downloads and completely free, so if you are in the market for a modeling or sculpting application, I recommend you check both of them out.

 

EDIT – A video of Dilay in action is now available.

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