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ArmorPaint 0.7 Released

ArmorPaint just released version 0.7 containing several new features including additional texture file formats, plugin support and even live preview support for Unity and Unreal game engines.  ArmorPaint is built on top of the Armory3D game engine (tutorial available here) and is an open source alternative to Substance Painter.

Details from the release notes:

  • Added support for .psd, .bmp, .gif formats
  • Added single material export
  • Added blend modes for layers
  • Added blend modes for brush
  • Added plugin manager
  • Added ‘auto-save’ plugin
  • Added ‘hello-node’ plugin – custom material node
  • Added ‘console’ plugin – run commands
  • Added ‘profiler’ plugin – performance graph
  • Added ‘converter’ plugin – convert .arm files into .json
  • Added ‘import_tiff’ plugin – support for .tiff format
  • Added ‘import_stl’ plugin – support for .stl format
  • Added ‘import_gltf’ plugin – support for .gltf/.glb format (alpha)
  • Added ‘uv_unwrap’ plugin – auto-generate uvs / unwrap active mesh
  • Added ‘theme-editor’ plugin
  • Added box selection to node editor
  • Added per-fill-layer uv control
  • Added option to split .obj mesh by groups or materials
  • Added ‘decal tool – scale x’ option for non-square decals
  • Added ‘menu – file – reimport mesh’
  • Added ‘menu – viewport – split view’
  • Added ‘preferences – restore’ button
  • Added ‘preferences – native file browser’ option
  • Added ‘preferences – viewport – vignette’ option
  • Added ‘preferences – usage – dilate radius’ option
  • Added texture export presets
  • Added ‘layer’ material node – drop layer onto node canvas
  • Added ‘layer mask’ material node – drop layer mask onto node canvas
  • Added ‘blur (image)’ material node
  • Added experimental dxr build
  • Added path-trace (dxr) viewport mode
  • Added ao (dxr) bake
  • Added bent normal (dxr) bake
  • Added lightmap (dxr) bake
  • Added thickness (dxr) bake
  • Added normal-map bake from high-poly
  • Added height bake from high-poly
  • Added dilation pass to baking
  • Added ‘up axis’ option for relevant bake types
  • Added support for drag and dropping multiple files at once
  • Added popup for editing RGBA node sockets
  • Improved gizmo
  • Improved height paint
  • Improved .obj importer
  • Improved .blend importer
  • Improved outliner
  • Improved node drawing performance
  • Improved layer handling performance
  • Improved key detection on linux
  • Fixed handling of accented filepaths
  • Fixed brush mask on linux
  • Fixed copy-paste on linux
  • Fixed window title updating on linux
  • Fixed file association
  • Fixed envmap import
  • Fixed object mask for fill layers
  • Fixed height displacement scale
  • Fixed blurry text on windows
  • Fixed texture filtering option for image node
  • Fixed key repeat for text edit
  • Updated dark and light themes
  • Updated menu bar structure
  • Reduced gpu memory usage
  • Faster texture loading
  • Undo for layer opacity and blending
  • Undo for node canvas
  • Adjustable viewport clip distance
  • Remember window size and position
  • Open node search on link drag
  • Resizable ui panels
  • Duplicate material
  • Use brush ruler (shift) to draw lines
  • Auto-set 2x scale on high-res displays
  • Flat shading for viewport modes inspecting pbr channels
  • Picker tool works on non-base layer
  • Picker tool shows texture coordinate in 2d view
  • Export single texture from textures tab
  • Eraser takes hardness and opacity into account
  • Export textures as udim tiles for udim projects
  • Download ‘texture-synthesis’ plugin preview
  • Download Unreal Engine live-link preview
  • Download Unity Engine live-link preview

If you want to build ArmorPaint from source you can learn more about the process here.  You can see ArmorPaint in action in the video below.

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Building ArmorPaint From Source

ArmorPaint is an open source competitor to Substance Painter, from the creator of the Armory game engine (tutorial series available here).  It is available for just 16 Euro in binary form, but can also be built from source code.  This guide walks you step by step through the process of building ArmorPaint from source.

There are a few requirements before you can build.  Download and install the following programs if not already installed:

First step, we clone the repository.  Make sure to add the –recursive flag(that’s two ‘-‘ by the way).

Open a command prompt, cd to the directory where you want to install ArmorPaint’s source code and run the command:

git clone –recursive https://github.com/armory3d/armorpaint.git

Depending on your internet speed this could take a minute to several minutes while all of the files are downloaded. 

In Explorer, go the installation directory, then navigate to armorpaint\Kromx\V8\Libraries\win32\release and using 7zip extract v8_monolith.7z to the same directory as the .7z file.

Next in the command prompt run the following commands

(Assuming you are reusing the same CMD that you did the git clone from)

cd armorpaint

node Kromx/make –g direct3d11

cd Kromx

node Kinc/make –g direct3d11

explorer .

If you receive any errors above, the most likely cause is node not being installed.  The final command will now open a Windows Explorer window in the Kromx subdirectory.  Open the build directory and load the file Krom.sln.

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This will open the project in Visual Studio.  If you haven’t run VS yet,you may have to do some initial installation steps.  Worst case scenario run through the initial install, close and double click Krom.sln again.

First make sure that you are building for x64 and Release mode at the top:

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In the Solution Explorer, select Krom then hit ALT + ENTER or right click and select Properties.

Then select Debugging, in Command Arguments enter ..\..\build.krom then click Apply.

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You are now ready to build ArmorPaint.  Select Ctrl + SHIFT + B or select Build->Build Solution.

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Assuming no errors, are exe should be built.  Now go to the folder armorpaint\Kromx\build\x64\Release and copy the file Krom.exe, then copy to armorpaint\build\krom.  You can now run Krom.exe and you’re good to go. 

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Step by step instructions are available in the video below.

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Krita Receive Epic MegaGrant

Krita, the open source drawing/painting/animation package just received a MegaGrant from Epic Games, the makers of Unreal Engine and Fortnite.  The MegaGrant program was announced at GDC 2019 and is a $100M giveaway to game developers, educators, technology companies and perhaps most importantly open source tool makers such as Krita (and Dust3D, Blender and Lutris so far).

Details of the grant from the Krita announcement:

Epic, the makers of the Unreal game engine, have supported Krita with a $25,000 MegaGrant!

Epic has supported other free software projects, such as Blender and Lutris before, and now supports Krita. The purpose of this grant is to fund improvements to our development process so Krita’s development gets more sustainable. This is something we have already started on, and which want to accelerate. With an estimated five million users, making sure that we can release as stable a version of Krita as possible in as dependable a way as possible is pretty important!

The grant represents about 10 months of funding that Krita currently receives, so it should make a tangible impact.  You can learn more about Krita and the Epic MegaGrant program in the video below.

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Maxon and Red Giant Merge

Maxon, the makers of the long running Cinema 4D 3d application have just announced a merger with Red Giant, a provider of tools for the VFX and post processing industry.

Details of the merger from the Maxon news release:

Portland, OR and Friedrichsdorf, Germany – December 17, 2019 – Maxon, the developers of professional 3D software solutions and Red Giant creators of unique tools for editors, VFX artists, and motion designers, today cooperatively announced that the two companies have reached a definitive agreement to merge under the media and entertainment division of Nemetschek Group to better serve the post production and content creation industries. The transaction is expected to close in January 2020, subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions.

Maxon and Red Giant are already well known and established in the digital content creation (DCC) industries, and share synergies in philosophy and long-term goals. Both companies have earned a peerless reputation for the quality and accessibility of products, and uncompromising commitment to service and support of the artistic community. Each company’s workforce features the industry expertise, organizational maturity, and executive experience needed to fully leverage this unique opportunity.

Maxon, best known for its flagship 3D product Cinema 4D, was formed in 1986 with a passion for providing extremely powerful, though exceptionally accessible 3D software solutions. Artists across the globe rely on Maxon products to create cutting-edge visuals. In April of this year, Maxon acquired Redshift, developer of the GPU-accelerated Redshift render engine.

Since 2002, Red Giant has built its brand through award-winning products such as Trapcode, Magic Bullet, Universe, PluralEyes and its line of innovative visual effects software. Their unique, industry-standard tools are staples in the fields of film, broadcast, and advertising. Red Giant has differentiated itself in the industry through its artist-driven approach to software creation and its popular training and award-winning short films.

The merger should have minimal impact on either companies customers.  You can learn more about each company and the merger in the video below.

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HitFilm 14 Pro Review

Last week on Humble the Humble Software Bundle: Filmmakers bundle was launched.  The star application of that bundle is HitFilm Pro 14 by FXHome (although the bundle contains other software, services and tons of stock footage and special FX).  In the time since the bundle was released I have been learning HitFilm Pro and what follows in my review.

Please keep in mind, my use case for a NLE is very casual, so I do not use advanced features such as camera matching, 3D importing and such.   I did however find HitFilm to be extremely easy to use, to perform exceptionally well and to be extremely capable, at least for my needs.  Suffice to say with the current Humble bundle, HitFilm is a gigantic recommendation for anyone needing a video editor.

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Pixelorama Pixel Art Tool

PixelORama is a free, open source (MIT licensed) pixel art application written using the Godot game engine in GDScript.  Version 0.5 was just recently released with the following features:

  • Choosing between 6 tools – pencil, eraser, fill bucket, lighten/darken, color picker and rectangle select – and mapping them to both of your left and right mouse buttons.
  • Different colors and brush sizes for each of the mouse buttons.
  • Support of two types of custom brushes: “From files” and “per project” brushes. Custom brushes from files get loaded from the “Brushes” folder that comes with Pixelorama, and per project brushes get saved with the rectangle select tool.
  • Creating a new canvas with a size of your choosing.
  • Are you an animator? Then you’ve come to the right place! Pixelorama has its own Animation Timeline just for you!
  • Import images and edit them inside Pixelorama. If you import multiple files, they will be added as individual animation frames.
  • Export your gorgeous art in PNG format.
  • Save snd open your projects as Pixelorama’s custom file format, .pxo
  • Undo/Redo support!
  • Horizontal & vertical mirrored drawing!
  • Tile Mode for pattern creation!
  • Split screen mode to see your masterpiece twice! And a mini canvas preview area to see it thrice!
  • Create straight lines for pencil and eraser by holding down Shift while you draw.
  • The middle mouse wheel isn’t forgotten, you can use it to pan around the canvas and by scrolling up and down, you can zoom in and out!
  • Keyboard shortcuts! I’m pretty sure this is a lifesaver for most of you.
  • Just like onions, Pixelorama has a multiple layer system! You can add, remove, move up and down, clone and merge as many layers as you like! It is also possible to rename them!
  • Rulers and guides!
  • Scale, crop and flip your images!
  • Greek localization support!

You can learn more and download it here on Itch.io, while the source code is available on GitHub.  You can learn more and see Pixelorama in action in the video below.

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Godot Game Tools–Mixamo To Blender Made Easy

Although it has a misleading name, Godot Game Tools is a very cool Blender addon that makes working with Mixamo animations in Blender 2.8x extremely easy.  This includes the ability to easily import and merge multiple animations from Mixamo, an otherwise frustrating task.  Features of Godot Game Tools include:

– Batch Animations Bake In A Single File

– Character Armature Clean and Fixes for Better Export

– Animations Testing

– Add Automatic Root Motion For Model Export

– Automated NLA Tracks Insertion

– Animation Rename

Godot Game Tools is available as a free download on itch.io.  See GGT in action, including how to install, in the video below.

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Autodesk Maya 2020 Released

Autodesk have just released their annual update to Maya, Maya 2020.  Detailed release notes are currently unavailable so all we have to go off right now is the press release features:

Maya 2020 highlights include:

— Over 60 animation features and updates to the graph editor and time slider.

— Cached Playback: Experience faster animation playback and more predictable results with new preview modes, layered dynamics caching, and more efficient caching of image planes.

— Animation bookmarks: Mark, organize, and navigate through specific events in time and frame playback ranges.

— Arnold GPU: Access Arnold 6 for production rendering on the CPU and GPU.

— Bifrost for Maya: Significant performance improvements, Cached Playback support, and new MPM cloth constraints bring even more power to the visual programming environment.

— Viewport improvements: Interact with and select dense geometry or a large number of smaller meshes faster in the viewport and UV editors.

— Modeling enhancements: Spend more time modeling and less time cleaning up your models, with new Remesh and Retopologize features.

— Rigging improvements: Simplify rig and character TD work with matrix-driven workflows, nodes for precisely tracking positions on deforming geometry, and a new GPU-accelerated wrap deformer.

While not currently updated, you will eventually be able to download a 30 day trial of Maya 2020 here.  Additionally Autodesk have released a short 4min feature video for Maya 2020 available here.  You can learn more about this release in the video below.

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Humble 2D Animation Bundle

Humble are running a new bundle of interest to game developers, specifically 2D animators.  The Humble Software Bundle: 2D Animation is based around two key pieces of software, Crazytalk 8 Standard and Crazytalk Animator 3 Pro, both from RealIllusion.  As always the bundle is broken into tiers, the tiers of this bundle are:

1$

  • Face Filter 3
  • Makeup PRO

18$

  • CrazyTalk 8
  • Dress Up Show Time
  • Dress Up Work Wear
  • Stylized Classic Avatars
  • Garry Pye’s Comic Faces

25$

  • CrazyTalk Animator 3 PRO
  • G3 Animals Dogs
  • G3 Human Motions – Smooth Moves
  • G3 Animated Props – Fun Stuff
  • G3 Elastic Motions – Come and Go

With Humble Bundles you can decide how your funds are distributed, choosing between the developer, Humble, charity and if you so choose (and thanks if you do!) to support GameFromScratch if you purchase using this link.  Check out the video below for more details on the bundle.  Stay tuned for more hands-on content with CrazyTalk and CrazyTalk Animator in the near future!

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Blender 2.81 Released

Only a few months after the massive Blender 2.80 release, the Blender foundation have just released Blender 2.81.  Blender is an open source 3D application that is gaining a ton of traction in both film and games media.  The 2.81 release brings several new features including several quality of life improvements such as outliner and file dialog modernization as well as excellent new features like vastly improved sculpting and grease pencil brushes.

Highlight features of interest for game developers in this release include:

  • Massively improve sculpting with new brushes, masking support, better usability and more
  • Poly Build tool for rapid polygon creation and editing, excellent for retopology
  • Quadriflow and Voxel remeshing
  • Improved and more powerful mirroring support
  • UI improvements including:
    • Outliner selection improvements, easy to select, multiselect and deselect objects
    • Modern file browser that opens in a floating dialog window
    • Powerful regex powered rename feature (F2 key)
  • Grease pencil improvements including several new brushes
  • Denoising improvements
  • NVIDIA RTX support for realtime raytracing in Cycles
  • and much, much more.

You can learn more about the release in the Blender 2.81 release notes available here.  Additionally CGCookie have put together a nice introduction to new features in this article.  Blender 2.81 is available for download here.

If you want to see Blender 2.81 in action, including the new Poly Build, sculpting tools, file dialog, outliner and more be sure to check out the video below.

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