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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.

GameDev News Art


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.

Art Design


20. November 2018


Substance Painter, the popular PBR based texturing application, just received a major update.  The fall update comes with a completely new rendering engine resulting in better performance with lower hardware demands by incorporating Sparse Virtual Textures, which simulate large textures using less memory.  The new engine also supports up to 300 UV Tiles at once enabling support for massive scenes.  There are also several new tools aimed at mobile users including a new 2D viewport exporter with the ability to bake into a single high resolution texture and more.


Complete details on new features from the release notes:

Added:

  • Summary: a huge boost in performance, viewport upgrades, proper 2D view export, new UI helpers, an enhanced symmetry tool and new content
  • [SVT][Engine] Sparse Virtual Textures (SVT)
  • [SVT][Preferences][UI] SVT hardware support acceleration option
  • [SVT][Log] Additional information for Sparse Virtual Texturing feature (e.g. size disk)
  • [SVT][UI] Message window at start if size on disk too low for the cache
  • [SVT][Preferences][UI] Substance Painter global cache location
  • [SVT] New environment variable to specify the path of the cache of Substance Painter
  • [SVT] New environment variable to activate the SVT hardware support acceleration
  • [SVT] Detect sparse support by hardware
  • [SVT][Hardware Sparse] Raise minimum driver version for Nvidia GPU
  • [SVT][Shader][[Viewport][UI] Warn user if artefacts present with Sparse Virtual Texturing at project opening
  • [Anti-aliasing][Viewport] New temporal anti-aliasing filtering for 3D viewport (via Display Settings)
  • [Export] Export the content of the 2D viewport as a single texture
  • [Export][Dithering] Expose dithering at export
  • [Layer stack] Colors on layers and folders
  • [Layer stack] Quick activation and deactivation of multiple layers and effects
  • [Layer stack] Easier navigation for blending modes with up down keys and mouse scroll
  • [Proj][UI] Additional rotation manipulator on all three axis for triplanar
  • [Proj][Shorcuts] - and + to change the UV projection manipulator size
  • [Shader] Control coated layer parameters with channels in the PBR-coated shader
  • [Substance] Expose new mesh-based texture inputs for filters and generators
  • [Symmetry][Viewport][UI] Control symmetry offset with manipulators
  • [Symmetry][Contextual toolbar][UI] New symmetry panel with options
  • [Symmetry] New symmetry line intersection mode
  • [Symmetry] New symmetry clone cursor
  • [Symmetry][Shortcuts] Q to hide and -, + to change size and shift to snap
  • [Log] Improve error messages when unable to export textures
  • [Scripting] Allow to change or update the resources in Display Settings
  • [Scripting] Allow to create or remove channels in Texture Sets
  • [Content][Shaders] Add support for anisotropy with a dedicated shader (pbr-metal-rough-anisotropy-angle)
  • [Content] Update of the preview sphere with anisotropy and modified angle
  • [Content] Updated matFx shutline
  • [Content] New Texturing.XYZ seamless face scan
  • [Content] New anisotropic procedurals
  • [Content] New filter: baked lighting stylized
  • [Content] New environment map: studio automotive neutral
  • [Content] New project template: PBR - metallic roughness Anisotropy angle (with anisotropy channels)
  • [Content] New project template: PBR - metallic roughness Coated

Fixed:

  • [Color Picker] Painting cursor appearing when trying to pick a color
  • Crash by Selecting or Unselecting layers in a specific order can lead to crash
  • Crash when pasting as an instance a layer with a mask
  • [User Channel][Regression] Crash when renaming user channel
  • [User Channel] Grayed brush preview
  • [Alembic] Only one texture set from several materials after import
  • [Engine] Exported texture differs from viewport for brush stamps
  • [Engine] Invert with a level effect does not fully affect a texture
  • [Material picker is applying a brush stroke while picking
  • Switching resolution to 128x128px leads to a crash
  • Mesh map links are not updated properly when rebaking or instancing layers
  • [Substance] UserData ColorSpace does not work on Baked Mesh Normal requested as input
  • MDL association mismatch when using multiple shaders instances
  • [Symmetry][Fill Layer] Symmetry plane and its manipulator active in Fill Layer
  • [Viewport] Pivot point for translation not always updated after clicking
  • [UI] Fixed icons and removal of placeholders for HDPI monitors

Known Issues:

  • Computation freeze on AMD VEGA GPUs
  • Huion tablet issue with shortcuts on Windows OS
  • Anti-aliasing and shadows when active together may give unexpected results

You can learn a great deal more about this release in this blog post.

Art GameDev News


15. November 2018

EDIT  -- Several of the licensing issues that limited this bundle’s usefulness were removed.  As a result, I created the following video, that takes a look at the updated license details as well as takes a deeper look into the contents of the bundle.

The folks over at Humble Bundle are running another bundle of interest to game developers, the Humble RPG Game Dev Bundle.  It’s a large collection of RPG Maker (don’t worry, they can be used outside of RPGMaker in your engine of choice) assets including sprites, tiles, sound fx, icons and more.  Humble Bundles are collections with different priced tiers, with a portion of the proceeds going to the content maker, a charity of choice (Child’s Play in this case) as well as to Humble Bundle themselves.  I normally full heartedly recommend Humble Bundles to people, but this time I must give a bit of a warning due to the attached license.

From the license:

4.1. A “Licence” means that the Seller grants to GDN (purely for the purpose of sub-licensing to the Purchaser) and GDN grants (by way of sub-licence thereof) to the Purchaser a non-exclusive perpetual licence to;

(a) use the Licensed Asset to create Derivative Works; and

(b) use the Licensed Asset and any Derivative Works as part of either one (1) Non-Monetized Media Product or one (1) Monetized Media Product which, in either case, is:

i) used for the Purchaser’s own personal use; and/or

ii) used for the Purchaser’s commercial use in which case it may be distributed, sold and supplied by the Purchaser for any fee that the Purchaser may determine.

That 4.1 b is going to be a huge deal breaker for many people.  If you are intending to use these assets for personal use, the license wont matter.  If you are looking to distribute your works however, do be sure to go over the license with a fine tooth comb, as that clause seems to limit you to a single product, commercial or otherwise!  There is a discussion of the bundle going on over on /r/gamedev if you are interested in learning more.

EDIT – An update on the licensing terms.  The publisher of the assets have reached out to me on Twitter to announce they’ve heard the complaints regarding the license and are updating it to be more developer friendly.  Additionally I signed up for the Humble Bundle partner program, meaning purchasing through the above link will help support the channel.

image


EDIT2 – The license is going to be updated, but hasn’t been officially updated yet.  However, the following has been attached to every file in the bundle.

Licensing Before you jump in and get going with all of the assets included in the bundle, we just need to make you aware of the licensing terms for using the assets.

Each asset that comes in the bundle is mainly covered by GameDev Markets standard license terms, with one vital difference. At the moment our license states that each asset can only be used in one project, however we are in the process of removing this clause, so for the purpose of any Humble Bundle purchases, all assets can be used in multiple projects.

You can find the full terms here - https://www.gamedevmarket.net/terms-conditions/#prolicence Please ensure that you read the license terms in full so you understand what you can and can’t do with the assets.


Updated and hands-on video

Original Humble Bundle video

Art GameDev News


24. October 2018


Materialize, a free texture generating tool we featured last week has just been open sourced under the GPL 3 license.  Materialize enables you to quickly create texture maps such as Normal, Edge, Ambient Occlusion and Height from a single Diffuse map.  It was built using the Unity game engine and the author is hoping to see Mac and Linux ports as a result of the open sourcing.  The source code is available on Github right here.  Simply clone the repository and import into a recent version of Unity game engine to run.

If you are interested in learning more or seeing Materialize in action, be sure to check out this video also embedded below.

Art GameDev News


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