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18. October 2018


Meshroom is a new, free and open source photogrammetry software from AliceVision.  Photogrammetry software enable you to create a 3D scene using a series of photographs, generally the more the merrier.  Currently documentation is a bit lacking, so I’ve decided to create this quick tutorial.  In this tutorial we are going to quickly walk through the process of using Meshroom using a photoset available here.  That post links to a zip file containing 50 images that are confirmed to work with Meshroom.  Simply extract them somewhere on your drive.  Of course you need to download Meshroom, which is available for download right here.  Simply download the archive, extract then execute the Meshroom application.  Note Meshroom requires a CUDA GPU and works on Windows and Linux!  So this process will only work on nVidia GPUs, at least as of time of writing.


Once you’ve got Meshroom loaded, follow the following simple steps.

Drag extracted images into the Images pane on the left.

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Save your project somewhere

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Click the green Start button.

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As it’s running, you will see the progress across the top:

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This bar indicates a problem occurred.  You can divine more details by locating the current task in the Graph, like so:

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With the node selected, check the Log (bottom right corner) for details.  This is the error message you receive if you run the process on a non-CUDA (nVidia) GPU.  Keep in mind, it can also be caused by the process running on a laptop with Optimus, not automatically selecting the right GPU.

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Hopefully however you encounter no such errors and the process is entirely green.  On the bright side, it should pick right up where the error occured if you run the project again in the same directory, as Meshroom caches the results of each step as it goes.  You will find the vast majority of time is spent on the DepthMap section,  this is normal.  As the process continues, you should start seeing results in the 3D viewer.

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You can pan, zoom and orbit the mouse using the LMB, scroll wheel and MMB respectively.  More detail in the point cloud will fill in as the process runs.  Once it completes successfully, you will see a button Load Model.

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You can now preview the results of your effort!

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A few steps in, it will have evaluated all of your photos, acceptable/usable photos will be marked with a green checkmark.

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Review the remaining photos for flaws and inconsistency if you run it again.

Go make some tea… it’s going to be between 10 minutes and an hour depend on the speed of your machine.  Once the process is complete, there will be a folder called MeshroomCache, with the following contents:

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This is a folder with all of the output files from each step in the process.  Generally what you are going to be interested in is the obj, mtl and texture file in the Texturing folder.  This can be imported into your 3D modelling application of choice, the obj format is fairly universal.  The resulting mesh is extremely dense and you may consider checking out Instant Meshes for optimizing the results.


Now that you know it works, it’s time to start refining the process or providing your own picture set.  I would recommend the following tips from my own experience:

  • use an actual camera, not a phone.  I got terrible results from my Pixel phone, but my Canon DLSR gave much better results.  YMMV
  • DO NOT green/white screen your background.  Unique markers in the background help Meshroom position each virtual camera
  • try to get the entire object in frame on each shot
  • get rid of any image with any blurring

So far we just default settings in the Graph Editor.  This graph represents a graph of nodes in the process, one for each directory shown in the screenshot above.  Note when you select a node, there are a number of properties you can edit:

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You can also connect pins to multiple nodes to create multiple results.  For example, if you wanted to create a set of TFF and lower resolution PNG textures, you can do the following.  Right click the graph editor and select Texturing:

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This will create a new node in the graph.  Now drag the output node from MeshFiltering and connect it to ini and inputMesh.

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Select the new Texturing node and have it create a lower detail texture set:

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Now when it runs, it will create two sets of textures for you.  Note there are other nodes such as Decimation that aren’t in the process by default.  You can see the entire thing in process in the video attached below:

Art


16. October 2018


Adobe have just released Adobe Animate CC 2019, the product previously known as Flash Professional.  This vector graphics drawing and animation package gained a number of new features in the 2019 release including auto lip syncing, new free form mesh deformations, webGL gltf export  (in beta), improved export options, a new launch window and more.

New features from the Adobe blog:

Asset sculpting for vector and raster content

Create new poses faster for vector or raster content using handles on a shape to change the mesh. No need to redraw assets on every frame — just tween between poses and create animations.

And yes, asset warping works with Raster content as well.

Layer parenting and layer effects

Organize your assets on different layers in a parent-child hierarchy. When an object on the parent layer is moved, the child layer moves along with it.

In addition, the layer effects feature provides you the capability to add filters and tint effects on frames. Create interesting in and out fades, depth of field, etc.

Auto Lip-Sync

Don’t waste time matching mouth poses to sound inflections. The new auto lip-syncing feature will use machine learning to make it happen automatically.

Animate After Effects workflow

Use the new simplified workflow to carry your Animate compositions into After Effects. Just drag and drop an FLA file into the new After Effects and proceed to add cool effects.

VR authoring and publishing (beta)

Use an existing 2D skill set and export 360 or Panoramic VR animations. Stitch your existing 360 or panoramic images and create a virtual walkthrough, or let your imagination run wild and create a 360 animated experience using the drawing tools.

New start screen

The all-new start screen in Animate provides a new intent-based onboarding experience. In addition, learn more about the existing or new features using the training videos in the learn tab — without leaving the product.

Other new features

  • Export to GL transmission format (glTF).
  • Texture publishing to enhance the performance of HTML5 Canvas compositions.

Key enhancements

  • Paint bucket tool,
  • Quick tween creation,
  • Support for Microsoft Surface Pen,
  • Redesigned timeline,
  • And much more.

You can learn a great deal more about this release on in the What’s new document available here.  You can see Adobe CC in action in the video embedded below.

Art GameDev News


16. October 2018


Materialize was just released for free.  What exactly is Materialize?  In the creators own words:

Materialize is a stand alone tool for creating materials for use in games from images. You can create an entire material from a single image or import the textures you have and generate the textures you need.

Materialize is production tested, having been used to generate metallic, smoothness and occlusion textures for the Uncharted collection.  It is very similar in scope and functionality to Substance’s B2M or the free ModLab.

Essentially you start by feeding it a diffuse map, which you can then edit as you desire, then create a height map, normal map, edge map, smoothness map, AO map and metallic map automatically.

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Each step of the way you have fine tune control over how each individual map is created.  For example, here are the controls governing the creation of the normal map.

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You also have the ability to provide your own maps from file if you have them, simply use Materialize to generate the maps that you are missing.  There are also features in place for creating tiled maps.  Of course to go along with all of it, there is a real-time preview of the map you are creating, including multiple skyboxes and control over the post processing effects show in the preview.

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When you are done you are able to export your generated maps to a variety of different texture formats.  Just an all around amazing application and one that should be added to every texture makers toolkit!  Watch the video below to learn more and see Materialize in action!  There are also some tutorials available here if you wish to learn more.


Art GameDev News


13. October 2018


Nevercenter, the makers of Silo and CameraBag, have just released Pixelmash, a new take on how to create pixel art.  Pixelmash includes tools to create your own pixel art from scratch using a resolution independent editor, or by importing photos which are pixelated automatically.  Additionally the package contains animation and transformation tools, special layer effects and more that all work in a non-destructive workflow.  You are able to export your work to a variety of image formats, sprite sheets and even as animated gifs.

Pixelmash is currently $25 and is available for Mac OS and Windows.  There is a fully functioning 7 day trial available if you want to give Pixelmash a try.  If you are interested in seeing Pixelmash in action, be sure to watch the video below.

Art GameDev News


5. October 2018


During my recent MagicaVoxel video I mentioned that this application deserves a place on my “Top 10 free game development tools” list.  Then I realized I’d never created such a list, so now I have!  This is a collection of 10 free (as in money, not freedom, although many are open source as well) tools that all game developers should download, especially if money is tight!  This list is applications only, so does not include game engines, frameworks or libraries.  Beyond the top 10, there are a few honourable mentions that just missed the list.  Let me know in the comments below if you have an additional suggestion or disagree with my choices!

10. Inkscape

9. git

8. DragonBones

7. Krita

6. Tiled

5. Paint.NET

4. MagicaVoxel

3. Audacity

2. Visual Studio Code

1. Blender


Honourable Mentions

GIMP

TexturePacker

Sculptris

Aseprite

Gravit Designer


The Video

Art General Design Programming


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