akeytsu Animation & Rigging Software

Today we are checking out akeytsu by Nukeygara.  This is a commercial 3D rigging and animation software providing a quick and simple workflow for setting up and animating characters.  Simply import your character in FBX format, create a rig or use the existing Unreal or Unity rigs then paint skin weights.  Once your character is configured, or if you imported an already rigged character, it is time to begin animating.  If you are used to Max, Maya or Blender’s animation workflow, you will find akeytsu’s approach to be much more streamlined.

It is available on a fully functioning 30 day trial available here.  There are perpetual and subscription based pricing options for both professional and indie (>100K revenue) studios, as well as education licenses available. 

Learn more and check out akeytsu in action in the video below.

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Exporting From Blender 2.8 To Godot

With the release of Blender 2.8, there is a ton of interest in using Blender 2.8 with Godot.  The process of importing/exporting has always been one of the biggest challenges for game developers and the newest version of Blender 2.8 is no exception.  We already created a step by step tutorial on creating, texturing and animating a model in Blender 2.79 and successfully import it to Blender.  This video is slightly different, in that we are going to be looking at the options available to export from Blender 2.8. 

There are three primary options available, each with their advantages and disadvantages:

  • COLLADA
  • glTF
  • FBX

In this video we look at the process with each format when using Blender 2.8.  For this example we use the model Laiku freely available on Sketchfab, that is non-trivial, fully textured and simply animated.  Please also note that FBX import to Blender requires Godot 3.2 which is as of writing in development still.  If you don’t want to build Godot yourself, you can get nightly builds here.

Art Design


Universal Sprite Sheet Character Creator

Today we are checking out the web based tool, the Universal LPC Sprite Sheet Character Generator, a free tool that enables you to quickly and easily create multi angle animated character sprite sheets.  The LPC in the name stands for Liberated Pixel Cup a contest/organization on OpenGameArt for creating open source 2D pixel art in a consistent style.  You can browse the entire content of LPC assets right here.  The assets on LPC and generated by this tool are available under split open source licenses, the CC BY-SA 3.0 and GPLv3.

The Sprite Sheet Generator enables you to quickly compose characters by selecting a male or female base sprite, then customizing dozens of attributes and accessories, such as eyes, hair style, clothing and weapons.  While the UI isn’t amazing, the process is remarkably straight forward, as shown in the following video.

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Autodesk Announce Indie Versions Of 3DS Max and Maya

Autodesk have announced new Indie version of their popular 3DS Max and Maya DCC applications.  These are full versions, not subset’s like Maya LT, their other indie focused offering.  They do however come with some strings attached.  The new version (3DS in this case) is described as follows:

Autodesk 3ds Max Indie is the same industry-standard product used by professional studios, at a price point accessible to those who are just starting out. If you are a recent graduate or freelancer with less than USD$100,000/year in revenue, you can get started now. Please note that this is a limited-time offer.

The revenue limit is not the only limitation:

  • Your annual gross revenue from design work must be less than USD$100,000/year
  • Only one license can be used per user or organization
  • Offer is only eligible to those based in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK or the US

There is also one very big gotcha people should be aware of:

Note: In order to avoid an automatic renewal at the full subscription price of 3ds Max, you must turn off the automatic renewal once you subscribe to 3ds Max Indie. In order to turn off the automatic renewal setting, you must go to your Autodesk Account, and follow the instructions posted here. This offer is subject to certain restrictions.

So, if you do not turn off automatic rebilling, you could get hit for a VERY nasty surprise on your credit card in a years time, as you get charged for the full, non-indie version of Max or Maya!

It is a huge savings for those that qualify and it will be interesting to see if the deal expands to other markets or is offered beyond this year.  Have Autodesk noticed a new market between students and full professionals, or are they facing pricing pressure for alternatives like Blender?  Or perhaps it’s a bit of both?

You can learn more about the programs here (3DS Max) and here (Maya).

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Humble 2D GameDev Bundle

Another Humble Bundle is running of interest to game developers, this one is the Humble 2D Game Dev bundle, a collection of 35+ sprite and graphic packs from Game Dev Market.  As always, Humble Bundles are organized into price tiers, where if  you buy a higher dollar tier, you get all tiers below that as well.

The tiers of this bundle include:

1$ Tier

  • Game Character Sprite 20
  • Game BG Platformer Tileset 01
  • 10 Game Backgrounds
  • Cute Animals Pack
  • Explosives Pack
  • Water and Fluids Tiles
  • Chests n’ Keys
  • Platformer Game Tile Set 13
  • 18 Amazing Sprite Effects for Your Game

15$ Tier

  • Soldiers Pack
  • Platformer Tile Set Game BG 12
  • Sprite Sheet Animation
  • 10 Game Vector Backgrounds
  • Animated Soldier 2
  • Platformer Game Tile Set 2
  • 32×32 Gameboy Pack 5
  • Cyberpunk Platformer Tileset
  • Cyberpunk Character Sprites Set
  • Platformer Assets Pack 3

25$ Tier

  • 10 Game Sprites Bundle Boys and Girls
  • Game Character Sprite 06
  • 2d Game Obstacles Sprites
  • Mega Projectile Pack
  • Ship Level Construction Kit
  • 2D Fantasy Character Pack
  • Mega Castle and Dungeon Pack
  • 100 Cartoon Characters for 2D Games
  • Platformer Game Tile Set 12
  • Characters Spritesheets 9
  • Six Animated Pirate Crew Characters
  • Folding Platforms
  • Skeleton Army
  • Goblins Game Character Sprites
  • Monsters Enemies 2D Game Sprite Set

If you buy using this link you can choose to support GFS (thanks if you do!) as well as deciding how your money is split between Humble, Charity and the publisher.  Of course, the license of the assets is super important as well, and it’s available here.

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Cinema 4D R21 New Details Pricing and Subscriptions

At SIGGRAPH 2019, Maxon announced details of the upcoming R21 release of their Cinema4D 3D DCC application.  The release isn’t actually coming until September of 2019 we have details of the upcoming new features.

In addition to new features, there were two major announcements, a change to a single version and a change in pricing.  First details on the new single SKU approach:

  • Only one version of Cinema 4D:
    • No more Prime / Visualize / Broadcast / Studio / BodyPaint editions. 
    • All functionality is in the one version, no separate editions anymore.
    • Demo and Educational versions are no longer separate downloads. 
    • Demo and Educational can be upgraded to a commercial version.

    With a single SKU, there is now also a single price tag, however there are now several subscription options, detailed here.

    Cinema4D pricing details

    Essentially you can now pay for Cinema4D via subscription which are cheaper when paid on an annual basis.  Additionally you can continue to purchase Cinema4D with a perpetual licence, but unfortunately it is 3x more money that the most affordable version available currently.  Learn more in the video below.

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    Blender 2.80 Released

    After 4 years in development the biggest version of Blender ever has just been released, Blender 2.80!  Blender is a comprehensive open source and free 3D graphics application with 2D, 3D, sculpting, texturing, rendering and compositing support.  The 2.80 release brings massive new features to Blender including a complete UX redesign, a new real-time PBR viewport renderer EEVEE, 2D drawing and animation support and much more.

    A quick list of major new features include:

    • Completely redesigned user interface/experience
      • Pie Menus
      • Collections replacing layers
      • Redesigned tabs and toolbars
      • Adaptive interface based on resolution
    • Grease Pencil brings 2D support to Blender in a huge way
    • EEVEE real-time renderer
    • Cycles improvements
      • Hair shader
      • Cryptomatte
      • Random Walk Subsurface Scattering
      • Subdivision and Displacement
    • Multi object editing
    • Pixar OpenSubdiv Support
    • Improved COLLADA and glTF support
    • Much, much, much more

    Blender is available for download on all platforms at Blender.org.  You can check out more details of Blender 2.80 in the video below.

    Art GameDev News


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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!

    Art GameDev News


    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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