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Blender 2.80 Release Candidate

Blender have just released the first, and hopefully only, release candidate for Blender 2.80.  Assuming no major show stopping bugs are found in the release candidate, Blender 2.80 final release should be just around the corner!  You can download the release candidate here.  Given the excitement around Blender 2.80 and the fact this isn’t their primary development server, except the download to be quite slow.  Note, even though the file says Beta, this is in fact the release candidate, just be sure to look for the July 11th or later release date when selecting the file to download.

Blender Download Image

Blender 2.80 has spent over 4 years in development and is absolutely packed with new features.  The star of the show is EEVEE, the new real-time viewport renderer, but other major features include massively improved 2D creation and animation tools, Cycles renderer improvements and of course a completely new UI.

To learn more about Blender 2.80 be sure to check out the Blender 2.80 launch page.  Much more in-depth details of the thousands of new features in Blender 2.80 are available in the extensive release notes.  Or you can simply watch the video below!

Stay tuned for more in-depth coverage when Blender 2.80 is finally released in the coming days!

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De-Lighter Free Texturing Tool By Agisoft

Today we are taking a look at a free, cross-platform (Mac, Windows & Linux) texturing tool from Agisoft called De-Lighter.  The purpose is all in the name, it’s for removing the effects of lighting from a texture.  This is useful in removing specular highlights or shadows from a texture captured via photography or 3D scans via photogrammetry such as using Meshroom.

The workflow is simple enough, you enter a 3D object in a variety of 3D formats with the original texture applied.  You then mark the areas that are influenced by light and the areas that are shadowed and De-Lighter takes care of the rest.  This leaves you with a texture that is then light neutral for use in your own lighting set up, be it a 3D renderer or a real-time game engine.  Thanks to 80.lv for the heads up on this release.

De-Lighter is available for download, completely free and no registration required, right here.  Watch the video below to see De-Lighter in action.

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3DS MAX 2020.1 Released

Hot on the heels of the somewhat underwhelming 2020 release, Autodesk have just released the newest update to the seminal 3D modeling application, 3DS MAX 2020.1.  They have also updated their roadmap, showing future development priorities for the application.  The biggest and possibly most game changing new feature of this release is the ability to detach and support up to 3 different viewports, making multiple monitor configurations so much more capable.

Primary features of the 2020.1 release:

There are also several bug fixes and improvements fully detailed in the release notes.  As mentioned earlier, Autodesk also updated their development roadmap, which is available here.

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Gravit Designer 2019-2 Released

Gravit Designer 2019-2 has just been released.  Gravit Designer is a vector based graphics application, available both on the web as well as downloadable for Windows, Mac, Linux and Chrome.  It is available in both free and pro editions.  The 2019-2 release brings several new features, including translations for a dozen popular languages, which should be autodetected in the web based version based off your browser settings.  The release also includes improved PDF support, Unsplash photo integration and more.

Full details from the release notes:

New features
  • Hallo, Bonjour, もしもし and Merhaba: As already teased (by accident) in the last release, Gravit Designer now comes with these twelve additional languages, available from Help → Language: German, Spanish, French, Italian, Polish, Russian, Chinese simplified, Chinese traditional, Czech, Dutch, Japanese, and Turkish. This makes a total of 14 languages in your favorite design tool.
    • On top of that, the correct language is automatically detected from the browser language, so you should see the correct translation by default.
  • Unsplash photo integration: To give you even more options to work on your projects without needing to leave Gravit Designer, you can now add photos directly from the Unsplash photos category in the Libraries. Either click on a photo to insert it or drag it to the canvas.
    • When having a shape selected on the canvas while clicking on a photo, it gets added as a texture fill.
    • Additionally, when holding Alt it gets masked to the selected shape.
    • Of course you can also search for photos and for some inspiration the dropdown list lets you choose from a range of categories.
Improvements
  • To simplify adding images to your designs, JPEGs and PNGs can now be opened directly from File → Open file… without needing to use File → Import → Place.
  • Generally improved PDF import.
  • Multiple improvements to duplicating pages in Multipage Mode:
    • Duplicating with Ctrl/Cmd + D places the page after the last page, not in between other pages.
    • Duplicating with Alt-dragging or moving it places the page exactly where dragging stops.
    • A subsequent number now gets added to the name of the duplicated page (MyPage → MyPage 1). If duplicating a page that already has a number in the name, “.1” is added (MyPage 1 → MyPage 1.1).
    • The bounding box of subsequent pages is now correctly respected.
    • Hovering over pages now shows a selection box to clarify what will be selected when clicking (unrelated to duplicating).
  • The interface font of Gravit Designer no includes Cyrillic characters.
Bugfixes
  • Fixed some last bugs for printing.
  • Window functions (Minimize, Restore Down and Close) work correctly again in the Windows desktop version.
  • Pages that have a Master Page assigned show the content outside of the page’s boundaries correctly.
  • Solved a problem that JPEGs were exported with wrong header information.
  • Solved some drawing issues with the Freehand and Freehand Shaping tool.
  • Fixed that some categories in the Libraries show a large gap before the actual assets start.
  • Resending the email confirmation works correctly again. DEV-2571
  • The Preserve editing capabilities for SVG files option for SVGs in the Export dialog doesn’t hang the Export dialog anymore.
  • Fixed that certain files show an incorrect warning for missing fonts.

You can learn more about this release and see Gravit Designer in action in the video below.  You can run Gravit Designer directly in your browser right here.

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Creature Runtime Licenses Changed To Apache Open Source

Kestrel Moon just made a change to the licensing of the runtimes powering their Creature 2D animation software.  These runtimes enable you to fully utilize animations authored in Creature in your game engine of choice.  Runtimes exist for the follow game engines and platforms:

The terms of licensing for the runtimes are now as follows:

The Creature Runtimes operate under 2 License types depending on whether you own a Licensed copy of Creature or not.

  • People who own a licensed copy of Creature: You use the standard Creature License included with the runtime code. TLDR: You are free to publish/modify/sell your product with the Creature runtimes without needing to state you are using the runtimes/put the copyright notice in your code/app. If you already have been using the Creature runtimes as a licensed owner of Creature, nothing changes 🙂

  • Everyone else: The runtimes are released under the very permissive Apache License 🙂

Both Licenses allow for private use and do not require any disclosure of your source code.

The previous licensing required developers to have a license to work with a runtime, making integrating Creature runtimes into various game engines and technology impossible if you didn’t already own a license.  This change should make it easier for example for a game programmer to work with the runtimes using art generated by an artist, not requiring an additional license in this scenario.

If you are interested in learning more about Creature, be sure to check out our hands-on video available here and embedded below.

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Krita 4.2 Released

Krita is an open source painting application available for Windows, MacOS and Linux.  It has improved massively over the last two years and continued that process today with the release of Krita 4.2.  This release fixed over a thousand new bugs, adds HDR rendering support, improved tablet support and much more.

Highlight features from the release notes:

  • Updated Tablet Support for Windows, Linux and macOS
  • HDR Painting
  • Improved brush speed performance with vectorization and lock-free programming
  • Improved Color Palette Docker
  • Animation Python API
  • Configure File backups
  • Color Gamut Masking
  • News about Krita Widget
  • Improved Artistic Color Selector
  • Undo operations with move tool
  • Move and transform selections
  • Improve display of memory usage
  • Overview Docker improvements
  • Resize layer thumbnails
  • Multibrush improvements
  • Painting mask performance improvement
  • Improvement to Select Opaque
  • Sharpness Changes
  • Flow/Opacity Changes
  • Clone Brush – Reset Origin
  • Simplex Noise Generator
  • New Blend modes
  • 1,000+ Bug fixes

Krita 4.2 is available for download right here.

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ShaderFrog Shader Editor

If you are looking for a tool to quickly create complex shaders by mixing and matching existing shaders, ShaderFrog might be the perfect tool for you!  Running entirely in your browser, ShaderFrog can be used to create WebGL shaders in two ways.  First you can create a shader by connecting together existing shaders, to create a new composite shader.  Shaders can even be imported from ShaderToy or the GLSL Sandbox.

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In addition to the composition based approach, there is also a full blown GLSL text editor with automatic compilation/error reporting, syntax highlighting and more.  Once you are happy with your created shader, you can save it, share it, or export it to iOS, Unity or Three.js.

Check out ShaderFrog in action in the video below.

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Exporting Rigged Textured and Animated Models From Blender to Godot Tutorial

One of the most requested Godot tutorials I get is to cover how to export models from Blender to Godot and retain textures, animations and more.  Therefore I have created exactly that tutorial in both video and text formats, hosted on our sister site devga.me.  This tutorial is mostly in Blender, showing how to properly configure textures, an armature and create NLA strips so when exported “it just works” in Godot.  This example uses Blender 2.79 and Godot 3.1.

Don’t forget, if you want to learn Godot we have a complete Godot 3.x tutorial series available here, a step by step creating a full 2D game tutorial available here.  We also have Blender tutorials available in our tutorial section that should get you up to speed using the popular open source 3D application.

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Blender Cloud Free Month Trial And Hands On Preview

The Blender Foundation recently released their new animated short Spring, a completely open film that is used to push development of Blender forward.  Along side the Spring release, they are also offering a free month when you sign up for the Blender Cloud service.  The Blender Cloud is a subscription service that helps support the development of Blender, while offering you several nice features including:

  • All of the assets used in their open films
  • Sample blend file to download and learn from
  • 1,500+ textures and dozens of HDR environment maps
  • Plugin to access the above resources
  • Dozens of high quality multi-part tutorials
  • Tools to share and collaborate with others on Blender Cloud

You can sign up here for €9.90 a month.  The first month will be free and you will not be billed until the 2nd month begins enabling you to try Blender Cloud for free.  To see inside the Blender Cloud service, check out the video below.

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NormalMap & Texture Generator Online

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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