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1. April 2019


Instead of reporting the April 1st “news”, today we are instead going to look at a pair of excellent free texturing tools that run entirely in your browser, Normal Map Online and Texture Generator Online.  Normal Map online can be sued to create normal, displacement, ambient occlusion and specular maps from a simple height map image.  Texture Generator Online is used for creating simple procedural textures like patterns, noises, terrain and more.

While both tools are easy to use, you can see both of them in action in the video below.  You can also learn more by clicking the question mark icons found within the website.  Chrome is the developers recommended browser, although I ran it without issues in the Firefox browser.   Both services are also available from this homepage.

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12. March 2019


SpriteStack.io is a tool for creating 3D pixel art using the technique known as Sprite stacking.  Basically it’s a matter of creating a 3d object by making stacks of sprites.  Sprite stacking is described as:

Sprite stacking is a simple technique that allows you to get 3D models by making a stack of 2D images. Each image is offset by 1 pixel and represents a horizontal slice of a 3D model.

The tool runs entirely in the browser and is very simple to learn.  The help/documentation is available here.  The tool is free to use but requires a $1 payment to enable exporting outside of the public gallery.

You can see SpriteStack in action in the video below.  To get started in SpriteStack click here to launch the editor.

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23. February 2019


It’s simply amazing the amount of free software available these days for game developers, and SculptGL is no exception.  It is a 3D sculpting application similar to ZBrush, Sculptris or Mudbox, but it runs entirely inside your browser (or locally via Electron if you prefer).  Features from SculptGL include:

  • Sculpting tools
    • Standard tools : Brush, Inflate, Smooth, Twist, Drag, etc
    • PBR Vertex Painting (color, roughness, metalness)
    • Alpha texture support for each tools
  • Multiresolution sculpting
    • Quad-tri Subdivison (catmull-clark/loop)
    • Reversion (compute opposite of subdvision if possible)
    • Navigating from low/high poly level subdiv will retain sculpting changes
    • keep UVs (both reversion and subdivison)
  • Voxel remeshing
    • Uses SurfaceNets meshing algorithm (produces quad-only mesh)
    • Uniform remeshing (quads will have the same size)
    • Can also create non-manifold vertex :(
    • In case of a non closed mesh, a naive holefilling algorithm is performed first
    • Deletes UV
  • Dynamic topology
    • Triangles only
    • Operates in real time
    • Local subdivision (create new triangles)
    • Local decimation (deletes triangles)
    • Deletes UV
  • Supports OBJ, PLY, STL import/export
    • Reads vertex color
    • Optimizes post and pre transform cache (tipsy algorithm)
  • Undo/Redo support

It is an open source MIT licensed project with the source available on Github.  Check out SculptGL in action in the video below.

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11. February 2019


Last year we took our first look at VRoid Studio, a 3D anime style character creator that had recently been translated to English.  It works very similarly to Daz3D, Poser and MakeHuman, but is entirely dedicated to creating characters in the anime style.  Using a simple set of sliders, you can quickly customize a character to your liking, much like defining your character in a video game.  However you can also go much deeper, with integrated texture editing tools, hair creation tools, multiple animations and much more. 

Previously however, VRoid had one major limitation… it could only produce female characters.  This has now changed and male characters can be created as well, with their own set of gender specific animations defined.  In the video below we go hands-on with the updated and more capable VRoid Studio.

You can download VRoid Studio here.  The page is Japanese, so look for the following buttons and pick the appropriate operating system:

image

The download is a 0.5GB zip file, simply extract and run the executable within.

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8. January 2019


Back in June of 2018, Microsoft acquired GitHub for an eye watering 7.5 Billion dollars.  This transaction took several months to make it through regulatory approval, with Microsoft finally taking control near the end of 2018.  Yesterday, we saw the first official impact of the ownership change and for end users, it’s a pretty good change.  The free tier of GitHub now offers unlimited private code repos!  This was arguably the biggest reason for many small developers to actually pay for a premium account, so for these developers, they can downgrade to free and save their money.  Now the major limitation between Free and Pro accounts is the number of collaborators in a private repo, with the free tier have a limit of 3, while the pro tier has no such limit.

Details of the new changes from the Github blog:

  • GitHub Free now includes unlimited private repositories. For the first time, developers can use GitHub for their private projects with up to three collaborators per repository for free. Many developers want to use private repos to apply for a job, work on a side project, or try something out in private before releasing it publicly. Starting today, those scenarios, and many more, are possible on GitHub at no cost. Public repositories are still free (of course—no changes there) and include unlimited collaborators.

  • GitHub Enterprise is the new unified product for Enterprise Cloud (formerly GitHub Business Cloud) and Enterprise Server (formerly GitHub Enterprise). Organizations that want the flexibility to use GitHub in a cloud or self-hosted configuration can now access both at one per-seat price. And with GitHub Connect, these products can be securely linked, providing a hybrid option so developers can work seamlessly across both environments.

Pricing for individuals now breaks down as follows:

image

Not a bad first move…

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