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15. January 2019


Today Autodesk have released the 2019 edition of both Maya and the stripped down indie edition, Maya LT.  The big theme of the 2019 release is performance, with 2019 having performance improvements across the entire application, from start up and selection speed, to animation playback improvements.  This release also includes tools to better track how Maya is using your computers resources, including Evaluation Toolkit and Profiler, which should help you track down bottlenecks to your scene’s performance.

Details from the Maya 2019 release notes:

This release focuses on letting you work faster than ever before through new workflows and numerous performance enhancements.

A myriad of improvements to Viewport 2.0 enhance its performance when doing everything from loading scenes to selecting objects, to handling dense meshes.

Additionally, cached playback speeds up your ability to preview animation changes by intelligently redrawing only what's changed rather than updating the entire scene. This greatly improves viewport playback performance, removing the need to constantly playblast your scenes.

This release also gives you the most powerful tools yet for tracking exactly how Maya is using your computer's resources. New features in the Evaluation Toolkit and Profiler allow you to pinpoint exactly where there may be inefficiencies or problems that are slowing down your scene.

Improvements to Render Setup enable you to better organize your render layers by coloring and isolating them in the Render Setup editor, or by controlling whether lights are included in each layer by default. In addition, more options are available for exporting and importing scene Render Settings and AOVs.

You can also now render Arnold right in the viewport, including all its RenderView options such as Debug Shading, AOVs, and region rendering.

New Graph Editor filters have been added to help you refine animation curves quicker and easier than before.

Plenty of examples and presets have been added to the Content Browser covering a variety of areas, from motion capture, to motion graphics, to characters. Use them as-is, or as a jumping-off point for your own work.

This covers just the top level new features, be sure to consult the full release notes for more information on improvements in the 2019 release:

Maya LT also has a dedicated release notes available here.

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7. January 2019


Over the weekend, Esoteric Software released version 3.7 of their Spine animation software.  Spine enables you to create complex 2D animations using a bone and mesh based workflow, much like working and animating in 3D.  It is a software that we have covered several times on this site including this step by step tutorial as well as in our recent round-up of bone based animation packages.  The 3.7 release brings several new features and improvements including new audio support, improved exporters, new skinning functionality and a new C++ based runtime.

Major new features of the 3.7 release include:

  • Audio support
  • Stretchy, compressed and uniform inverse kinematics
  • Mesh whitespace stripping
  • Revamped exporters(Gif, APNG, Range and Crop limiting)
  • Pixel rendering
  • Skin combining
  • Type to Search
  • Skin duplication
  • Vertex copy/paste
  • CLI improvements
  • Runtime improvements
  • New C++ based spine runtime (will power UE and Cocos)


You can learn a great deal more about this release on the Spline blog or by watching the video embedded below.  In addition to the new 3.7 release, a Spine Web Player was also released, with the announcement being lost in the holiday noise!

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1. January 2019


2018 was an interesting year in game development.  In this post/video, we take a quick stroll down memory lane and look at some of the key stories as they occurred throughoutGameDev2018 the year. 

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18. December 2018


MakeHuman, an open source character creation software that started life as a Blender plugin, recently released 1.2.0 Alpha 2.  With Manuel Bastioni Labs recently shutting down, MakeHuman has become the primary open source character creation software.  Fortunately it is quite good and is getting better with more extensive community support.  While no longer a Blender plugin, MakeHuman still tightly integrates with Blender, both via it’s mhx format and through a real time communication option.


Highlights of the 1.2.0 a2 release include:

  • The codebase has received a major overhaul to bring it up to date with modern versions of Python and Qt
  • Third party assets can be downloaded from within MakeHuman with a simple point and click procedure
  • There is a completely new Blender integration, with support for socket transfers, IK and Kinect
  • Improved internationalization support for non-ASCII characters (backported)
  • Plugins in user space
  • Plugins activation at runtime
  • Improved tag sorting capabilities, including sticky tag provisions
  • Tags for models (with configurable tag count)
  • Show Name Tags instead of file names in the file loader.
  • Saving model as target
  • Real weight estimation
  • Configurable location for the home folder
  • MHX2 is bundled in the default installation
  • There is a new installer for windows
  • There is a new PPA for ubuntu. This PPA also offers builds of plugins.
  • Using Jupyter for the shell utility, if available on the system (currently not working for MakeHuman windows builds)

You can download the installer for Windows here while a Linux PPA is available here.  If you want to learn more about MakeHuman, be sure to check out the video embedded below.

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13. December 2018


In modern AAA games you often have a staggering amount of control over your character’s creation.  As a game developer you may think, “Why can’t we do this for creating game assets?”.  Simple answer, you can and that’s exactly what Character Creator 3 from Reallusion enables you to do.  Starting from a base mesh you have a staggering amount of control over just about every single visual aspect of your character.  You can flesh this out by adding a variety of clothing items, props, hair and more, all via simple drag and drop.  Best of all, your character is full rigged and ready for export and animating.

This approach to character creation is nothing new, several other packages we have covered in the past such as Fuse, MakeHuman and the recently cancelled Manuel Bastioni Labs all take a very similar approach to character creation.  Character Creator 3 however has some key advantages.  One of the biggest is it’s game engine focus, with the ability to create game friendly meshes (both in terms of polygon count and UV layouts) and export them to a number of game engines and applications including Unreal Engine, Unity, Maya, Max and Blender.  There is also functionality for tweaking your generated mesh right down to the vertex level, substance designer integration for materials, fine level PBR texturing control, templates for creating your own clothing and tools for automatically creating multiple LOD meshes.

Watch Character Creator 3 in action in the video below. 


If you are interested in checking out Character Creator 3, there is a 30 day trial available here.

Until December 31, they are also having a holiday sale with savings up to 50% available here.

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