Antics3D Version 5 – just released!

October 9, 2008

Exciting news! The latest version of our software Antics3D, V5, has just been released – with a host of new and improved features. You’ll save time with our improved user interface which features context-sensitive buttons, and several other simplified tools like a unified Edit tool. But most of all, the feature you’ve all been waiting for is finally here: character emotions!

We’ve worked really hard to bring this incredible new feature to the product. You can now add all shades of expression to your characters, and animate it all in the same easy point-and-click fashion. Use preset emotions such as happiness, anger, surprise – or fine-tune the exact amounts of aggression, excitement, sadness, etc. that are present in the expression, to really achieve a subtle feeling.

There’s tons of improvements all across the board, and you really have to check it out to get a good feel for them. You can download a free trial, or for more information point your browser to: http://www.antics3d.com/v5.

If you did that, you’ll also notice we’ve come out with a completely new website, alongside the new logo and colour-scheme which you can already see on this blog. We hope you like it – please getintouch with us with any feedback you have, or any problems you may encounter. We’ve done our best to iron out any bugs, but as with any new website there may be teething problems – we’ll fix them as soon as we can.

One of the greatest things about the new website is the revamped asset management system. You can now download singular assets (like just 1 table) rather than having to download entire content packs. This means it’s cheaper and faster for you, and the choice is entirely yours. What’s more, all of our products now come standard with 6 months free access to all of this premium content!

We really hope you enjoy V5 and we’re continuing to improve the product daily. Please email in with any suggestions or feedback – we love to hear from you.


Antics3D at the Cambridge Film Festival

September 15, 2008

The 28th Cambridge Film Festival will feature a machinima track showing around 50 films, including the winner of the Antics3D Medical Shorts competition that we ran earlier this year. Tony Bannan’s short ‘Folie a Duex’ will be screened alongside movies made in a variety of Machinima tools, including Antics3D, iClone, Second Life, Moviestorm, The Sims, Half Life 2, and Second Life.

Running from September 18th to 28th the Cambridge Film Festival is one of the largest in the UK. Audiences have grown by 40% in the past 5 years, reaching 16,500 participants in 2007.


Essential maintenance – Wednesday 3rd September

September 2, 2008

This mainetenance is now completed. If you encounter any licensing difficulty please let us know in the Installation & Getting Started section of our forum.

Our IT team will be performing some essential maintenance on our licensing server this Wednesday, 3rd September. Downtime will be minimised and we will let you know here as soon as the license server is available.

This will only affect you If you are attempting to activate Antics using a license key. Similarly, if you need to make use of the ‘unlock’ facility in Antics to move your license from one machine to another.

There will be no impact on our other services – the Antics web site, online store, community forum and blog will all be operating as usual.

If you should encounter any difficulty with the activation process outside of this time then please let us know over in the Installation & Getting Started section of our forum.


Making the fairy fly – SketchUp advanced class

August 28, 2008

An angel, a demon, a wizard and a fairy share the folder in the newest character pack released from Antics. There are some screenshots further down this blog for you to check them out. I love getting hold of these new assets, they start me thinking about new little stories that I can tell with Antics. I thought it might be fun to go through the steps needed to make the wings of the fairy move. It’s possible to use the tab key to allow selection each wing, set a pose or two and then get the fairy to blend from one pose to another, but, I thought you might want to have a little more control, plus this way you can have your fairy free to do other stuff. (Like walking.)

For this you’ll need some eggs, a little flour and an inclinometer. (just kidding you won’t need the eggs!) Actually this process works best with photoshop and sketchup and of course Antics. We’ll be plucking the wings off our fairy and then sticking a couple of new ones on. So place the fairy on a new room. To remove the original wings, right click the fairy, choose textures then right click on the wings.ksh texture in the list, to select edit. Under the colour tab you can set the transparency to 100%. So now you have a wingless fairy. Not bad looking as a female character, bar the ears and the ridges in her back!.

The next step is to set up for creating or own wings. We do this by importing a new fairy and positioning her so that all we see is the wing sticking up through the floor like a wing shaped floor mat. (Turn off the snap to position,rotation option.) Line your camera up to this wing and when it’s large in frame save out a single frame. This’ll be what we use the create and texture our new wing. Your wing should look like this…….

Using sketchup, import the wing still frame (as an image) so that we can trace the shape. I found a Bezier Curves plugin for Sketchup which made the job much easier. Once you have a completed the outline of your wing, you can import the stillframe again (as a texture) and apply it to the surface. A little scale/rotate/position fiddle and we are all set. Remember to do the other side as well. Ok now save the .skp file as wing.skp then back into Antics and jump into the file/import and select your wing.skp

All good. So now you should have a wing and a wingless fairy. At this point I saved the Antics project. When you do this you can access the texture map being applied to the new wing so that you can set the look of it to match the original wing texture map. These maps are found in a “maps” folder within the saved project. The original wing was mapped with a fairy_hair_wings.tga file. If you want the new wing to be identical to the original you’ll need to use photoshop to match the RGBA channels. Otherwise you could set the transparency value so the new wing has the look you want.

The next part of the process is to get the new wings flapping. As usual, I’ve gone for the old, “use a camera to create a motion curve” trick. If you haven’t heard of it before, it goes something like this. Put a freecam in the spot where you want an animatable axis of some sort. Link the asset/prop to this freecam. Now use the pan, tilt and dolly values to drive your prop. In this way the values are recorded via the camera’s motion curve, and therefore editable. For the wings, make sure the pivot point is in the right spot, then link each wing to it’s own freecam, which you put, right on the ridge on the back of our wingless fairy. It’s useful to have two viewports open. One is the Mastercam, framed so you can see the whole wing, (say from the top). The other viewport (which you make active) is to see what the freecam is looking at. When you pan left, the asset will swivel to the left. Make sure the freecamera animation is recorded in the timeline.

Once you’ve got your cameras doing their thing, link them to your fairy. Now she is free to be directed, and the wings will perform on cue.

Have fun.

T.

This article was posted by Antics user Tony Bannan of Ammo Previz


Free content libraries

August 20, 2008

You can never have enough content at your fingertips. More resources mean you can be more creative with your animations.

Here are some great free libraries suggested by Antics users:

Free motion capture

http://www.mocapxtras.com/

This is a massive library and I’ve imported a few of their animations with no trouble at all. If you find an animation that needs editing, why not use another suggestion – BVH Hacker

Free audio

http://www.soundsnap.com

Another large library, I’ve found many useful .wav files here, and most seem to be in the correct format to drop straight into Antics

Free textures

http://textures.forrest.cz/

The same for textures to help customise your props

Gary


20 new Antics characters now available

August 15, 2008

Five new content packs are now available for you to download. Containing 20 characters, these packs will bring your fantasy scenes to life.

For those who wanted to get hold of the scary Nosferatu character we used in our V4 shadows preview video, now’s your chance. He’s available in the Characters Horror 01 pack, along with Frankenstein’s monster, Dracula and a Mummy.

The characters are fully interactive and can be dropped into any Antics scene. Some come with their own special walk animations. As you can see in the V4 preview video, Nosferatu has his very own Mr Burns-esque shuffle.

The packs retail for £3.95/$7.95/€5.45 and of course are free for Antics Professional users.

Characters Horror 01 (Premium)

Characters Fantasy (Premium)

Characters Medieval 01 (Premium)

Characters Medieval 02 (Premium)

Characters Casual Female Adult 08 (Premium)

(You’ll need a fair damsel or two to rescue from Nosferatu’s clutches!)

If you’re a BasePack user and were thinking of taking the $95 upgrade offer to get V4 Professional then now’s the time to do it as you’ll get all 5 packs for free. Be quick though, the discount code is only valid till the end of August.

If there’s any content packs that you would like to see in future then please let us know over in the Content Wishlist area of the forum.

I hope you enjoy the new characters, be sure to share your horror and fantasy inspired videos on the forum.

Gary


Antics V4 – How do you use yours?

August 12, 2008

Antics users are already getting creative with the new shadows and lighting features. Even though V4 has only been available for a week or so, we have seen some interesting techniques which really bring a scene to life.

How about this police car?

To find our how that effect was achieved, there’s a step-by-step guide you can follow over in the Tips & Tricks section of our forum.

We would love to see how you’re using the new V4 features in your movies. Post a link to them in the Showcase section of our forum.

Don’t forget that the new shadows and lighting tools are backwards compatible – that is you can drop a new light into any scene you have created in previous versions of Antics and easily add V4 levels of depth and realism. So why not dust off that old favorite project, you’ll be amazed at the difference a couple of V4 lights will make!

Gary