Last minute Halloween sale

Over at The Philosopher’s Egg, with select items on sale for 50% off and the rest of the store on sale for 20% off, through Nov 02, 2015. Xurge3D is also having a 50% off Halloween sale, through Nov 02, 2015.

I see AeonSoul is continuing their pattern of being flaky, closing out their store at RDNA: “many products will never be available for sale again, anywhere.” I considered picking up Oni Braids, but you know what? No. Just no. They’re free to do whatever they want, but I’m equally free not to support this behavior. Other folks are just as free to feel differently, of course, so if there’s something you wanted, better grab it before it’s gone for all eternity.

And continuing on the WTF? front, DAZ has a new beta. The updates to Iray and 3Delight, which I’m looking forward to, are being overshadowed by the revelation that DAZ will be moving toward encrypted files at some point in the near future. Not looking forward to that.

I loathe DRM with the passion of a bazillion burning suns.

I have had nothing but trouble with it in regards to ebooks, over and over again. Even through reputable parties like Adobe, Barnes & Noble, and Mobipocket. B&N recently locked me out of a couple hundred purchased ebooks — only on my desktop apps; the iPad app still works. So far. I have to keep my ancient laptop around because that’s the only computer on which Adobe Digital Edition still works — Adobe’s miserable app won’t install on my newer computer — and while I only had a couple dozen books on ADE, I still paid money for them. Argh!

I get the desire to smack down content pirates, I really do. I had ebooks pirated too, and it was frustrating. These morons even stole free ebooks. The thing is, DRM only really punishes those who are honest and purchase the product. Those that steal content were never going to buy it anyway, so it’s not like they’re lost sales.

I don’t use the download manager or smart content and wouldn’t being using the new features in DS 4.9, either, but this direction DAZ is going is something to watch. I’ll upgrade to 4.9 once it’s a stable release, because a faster 3Delight is always good, but DRM content…I just don’t want to bother with it.

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35 thoughts on “Last minute Halloween sale

  1. Regarding flaky behavior, I try to remember the old saying about walking a mile in another’s shoes. I suspect online 3D vendors get as much flak as anyone else, so I can sympathize with anyone’s decision to bail.

    DAZ’s DRM decision, however, may stop me from buying anything more from them. Have you heard if they plan to apply it to everything or only to new product?

    • Yeah, I’m sure they have their reasons, which would of course be none of my business. They have a history of doing things like this and I do feel it’s kinda flaky behavior. But that’s just my opinion; AS is hugely popular with lots of folks!

      As for the DRM thing, I’ve been trying to follow the discussion over at the DAZ forum, but it’s still a little confusing to me. I think it will only be for new products that are purchased through the new connect feature in DS4.9. Not any of the older products, or Poser-compatible products.

      I’m really leery about DRM because of my experiences with it, and I’m not yet committed to Genesis 3, though I like the figure well enough. If the situation gets too hinky, I’ll just stick to older generations.

      Then again, maybe it’s all a lot of panicking over nothing. πŸ™‚

      • History is hard to escape. πŸ™‚

        I’m doing my best not to invest in anything later than Genesis 1, which seems like a perfect product to me, though I’ve had to break that rule with DAZ’s Edwardian stuff.

        I’m not the only person who would agree you’re right to worry about DAZ going the DRM route. I chose Poser over DAZ Studio partly because Poser has a more open world. (But I completely understand the attractiveness of DAZ’s approach.) I get the impression there’ll be a new generation of Poser soon, which probably means Smith Micro will be selling the current generation pretty cheaply, and you could try Poser 10 then.

        • I went with DS because DS 1.8 was free, plain as that. I’ll keep an eye out for sales, and I’m on Smith-Micro’s mailing list too. I have nothing against DAZ Studio, not feeling a need to boycott it or anything, but I like having options.

          Aside of the price tag, another thing holding me back is the idea of having to learn a new program. I’ve barely figured out how to use DS 4.8 as it is. Sigh…

          Genesis was great for people who are interested in more than rendering pinups. You can do everything from toons to monsters. I get that androgyny posed problems for clothing creation, but I can’t help thinking it wouldn’t have been so hard to make fixes for that instead of splitting the genders.

          Ah, well. I’m also still happy using M4 and V4, so I’m definitely not running with the cool kids here!

  2. Come to the dark side .. we have cr2’s that anyone can edit πŸ™‚
    Seriously … I’d suggest switching to poser. it doesn’t hold your hand as much as DS does, but at least they don’t try to lock you out of everything interesting and useful. *lol* I’ve been making content for many years, and I’ve had nothing but trouble with DS. It may be nice and easy for the end user, but for creating content it can be extraordinarily temperamental. That is a hard enough job without the program getting into a sulk.

    • LOL, the dark side!

      I have considered trying Poser, but to be honest the price is an issue. I really like the dynamics in Poser; DAZ doesn’t come close to anything like Tipol’s work at Renderosity. Some of the skin and lighting looks really nice too.

      I’m not a content creator, just a user…and not sure about the hand-holding. DS is notorious for its lack of documentation, and there are features in DS 4.8 that I don’t even know what they’re for, much less how to use them.

      The only time I ever edited a CR2 was when I figured out how to get 3DU’s and CDI’s morphs for Sadie to work for Sam. It was a little scary; I thought for sure I was going to kill Sam. πŸ˜›

  3. DRM is so passΓ©. *shakes head*

    From the software development PoV, I’m not too fond of the idea of cramming all those features into an app that could use other improvements. I am fairly sure at this point that one day I’ll just up and leave into the Blender world – but that’s not going to be tomorrow (the 3Delight exporter needs more work). As long as the new DS can handle the old formats and import OBJ files, I’m staying.
    From the content creation PoV, DS has its strong points (IIRC, say, the Hivewire team built the DS Dawn first and then exported the figure to Poser and finetuned it). Poser has a few strong points, too, like the morph brush or dynamics, but its interface, well, it’s like DRM – it has to go.
    And of course, what passes for a renderer in Poser is unbelievably crippled. Yeah the combined community efforts led to creating amazing solutions for a few tasks (like skin). But that’s basically that. The Cycles (Blender’s path tracer) fork about to be included in the new Poser may be a great step forwards… or not. Hard to say.

    • Yeah, I remember reading that about Dawn. And I’m pretty sure I read forum posts at Renderosity slamming the figure because of that. But there was a lot of hostility directed toward Dawn at Renderosity, period.

      From what I’ve heard about the morph brush, it sounds very useful. Like it can fix lots of problems with figure bending. But there has to be some catch there, because people are always complaining about V4’s bends (rightfully so) and there were a ton of fixer morphs for her and M4.

      I wasn’t a fan of the wax look that a lot of Poser renders had there for a while, but in the hands of people who know what they’re doing, skin can look amazing.

      I’ll be curious to see the new features in Poser. I do think SM needs to kick it up a notch to remain competitive. The last thing I want to see is a consolidation of resources in one company. I don’t feel that’s ever good for a market, especially a creative one. And I’m selfish; I want to continue to buy and use products by both my favorite Poser and DAZ vendors.

      (I come at this from the perspective of books and writing, and I have a love-hate relationship with Amazon. I remember when Amazon just sold books, and only new books at that.)

      • Hostility against Dawn at Rendo? But why, I wonder… I can understand the rift between DAZ and Hivewire, but Rendo’s always been kinda neutral ground, or am I missing on quite a lot of drama by not reading their forums?

        I’d say people are always complaining because they want a one-click solution. Any sculpting (and it’s essentially what the morph brush is) takes some time to master.

        Maybe that’s just the cynic is me, but to me the market seems to have lost a lot of the creativity. Both the DS and Poser side of things. Most new products coming out just bore me.

        Amazon has become so weird.

        • Yup, quite a bit of hostility. It was kind of depressing to see. It’s one thing to give constructive criticism; I never have a problem with that, but so many made it personal. There were a few DAZ vendors piling on too, and their behavior was very off-putting to me. End result was a lot of people on my Ignore list over there, far more than at any other Poser/DAZ forum.

          Some folks there really hate V4 too and want to “kill” her. I don’t get this mindset; the figure was (and in many ways still is) a workhorse.

          • Humans. Sigh.

            If someone really wanted to kill V4 and M4, they would make a very cheap way to adapt all the M4/V4 content for use with the killer model, and the killer model would have to be easy to use with Poser. DAZ could probably do both if they wanted to, but it seems their current business model is to ignore Poser as much as possible. (I’m probably showing my ignorance of DS here. I gather it’s not that hard to use V4/M4 product with Genesis in DS. It’s just not so easy to make the change in Poser–the DSON importer is slow, and a surprising amount of DS product doesn’t come with DSON importer files. Which has saved me some money, so I shouldn’t complain.)

            • I’ve seen numerous comments that DSON is something of a kludge.

              DS does have the autofit and transfer morphs utility, which makes it pretty easy to use older content on various Genesis figures. It’s not perfect; dresses, skirts, capes, and long coats don’t usually convert well. Shoes and boots can be iffy too. But for the most part, the autofit clones do a good job.

          • You’d think vendors would be extremely cautious so as not to alienate customers! Sadly, I’m seeing specifically DAZ vendors doing more and more very stupid things online when it comes to interacting with people… very unprofessional.

            Now that’s even weirder. Does anyone force them to use V4 or something?

            • Some of the behavior does strike me as unprofessional. Expressing opinions is what folks do, but some opinions are better expressed in privacy or in private forums, not in front of paying customers.

              That of course would just be my opinion. πŸ˜›

              Nobody forces anyone to use a figure. Or to stop using a figure, for that matter. I don’t get it.

              For me, none of the Genesis figures, or Dawn and Dusk, can match the dial morphing capabilities of V4 and M4. I’m not saying these other figures can’t be dialed into attractive or striking or outright bizarre appearances, but a equivalent range of dial morphs doesn’t exist for them.

              For users who simply want to create their own unique characters — and can’t afford ZBrush or don’t have the time to learn Blender — the older generations offer more opportunity to DIY. Again, just my opinion.

              • The good thing about the original Genesis is that all the Gen4 morphs and most of Gen3 ones are easily transferable (and without the need for expensive plugins actually). The things to watch out for are “morphs” that are actually scaling dials. There are tutorials floating around, but they aren’t exactly in the spotlight because, well, there are people out there writing expensive plugins to do stuff that a user can do with a li’l elbow grease for free.

                I plan to cover this topic some day, just not in the immediate future because two things take priority: a) real-life job; b) my WIP script/shader kit.

                …And I express this sort of opinions publicly because I am not going to try and become a vendor at DAZ =)

                Again, I must say that whoever spread the myth about ZBrush being so amazing when used as a “morph creation tool”, well, that person did the community a major disservice. ZBrush is geared towards AAA gamedev and the movie industry, hence the price tag. It is _too_ capable for what _we_ need.

                Another paid-for tool – which is exactly that, a tool geared towards Poser/DS type of meshes – is Blacksmith3D. It can morph; it can paint textures seamlessly over meshes UV’d the way we’re used to – a map for face, another for legs etc (not every expensive 3D paint app can do that). The interface is a tremendously ugly WTF (at least in the version 5 that I have), but once you get the hang of it, it’s a lovely tool. It’s over a hundred dollars, but there are sales…

                Out of DAZ software, Hexagon is a capable solution for custom morphing There is even a very neat tutorial specifically dedicated to that – http://deslea.deviantart.com/art/Tutorial-Lookalike-Faces-in-Daz3D-and-Hexagon-426158536

                • I meant to respond to this last night, but it was one of those cases where I clicked a link, then another…and the next thing I know it’s 3AM and I’ve been watching cat videos on YouTube for hours. o.O

                  Anyway, thanks for you thoughts on this. The transfer morphs by hand…would that by chance be Kattey’s post(s) in the Commons? I think I have that bookmarked…

                  I’ve heard about Blacksmith3D, but mostly I’ve been looking at the utility that converts M4 textures to Dusk. I keep going “hmmm” when I get to the bit about the cr2 file. It sounds a little dodgy to me, and I’m not sure I’m desperate enough yet to buy it.

                  I still don’t quite get the advantage of making a custom morph in another program if I can do the same thing with dials from morph sets I’ve already bought.

                  Well, except for dialing a Giuliano de Medici nose. I already know none of the dials I have are up to the task. πŸ™‚

                • Yes, Kattey was probably the first to document the workflow, and there are others, too (VAlzheimer has good tutorials on dA, though they’re more about recreating a whole character than just a single morph for combining with others later).
                  But most people focus on Gen4 to Genesis, while there are a few extra tricks needed to make it work for Gen3 (like D3 or A3 Realistic morphs).

                  In Blacksmith 5, that utility is part of the less expensive license that I have (they split it out for version 6, and I think it sells for about twenty dollars to Prime members at Rendo). I keep meaning to try it, so I hope I will be able to let you know if it’s any good.

                  And yeah, a lot of the time custom morphs are needed exactly when there are no dials like that. Especially when you’re doing lookalikes of real people (think Mihrelle’s celebrity chars at Rendo, they’re combos of customs and dials). Or sometimes a combination of dials will distort part of the mesh, and you need a fix.

        • Oh, and I do agree about the creativity. I haven’t bought anything at Rendo since early July, nothing at DAZ or RDNA since mid-September. Maybe it’s because I have so much stuff already, though the huge amount of skimpwear certainly doesn’t help any.

          Edited to add that while I haven’t bought much recently, my wishlists are…robust. I don’t mean to imply there’s nothing interesting or creative; just my usual grousing about too much skimpwear.

          Morph brush still sounds intriguing, not to mention a lot cheaper than ZBrush. The joint and bending fixes for V4 and M4 are pretty much one-click solutions, though, so I still don’t know why people complain. Some of the fix sets are a little pricey, I guess?

          • With enough patience, every set can be snatched at a bargain price during one promotion or another – otherwise I wouldn’t have any =)
            ZBrush is a monster of a program. And not necessarily in a good way. I looked at the trial once; Blender is more user-friendly.
            Basically, the problem isn’t what to sculpt morphs in – there’s a lot of options now; the problem is getting them back into DS/Poser correctly. This is what the morph brush eliminates because you aren’t leaving Poser.
            I also heard that Carrara8 can do the same, but I only have C6.

            • ZBrush also has a monster of a price tag. Yikes!

              Like the sound of that morph brush. I didn’t know that about Carrara. I just have the old Carrara Express version; picked it up as one of those $1.99 Plat Club anniversary deals from the old days.

              So vendors who made those crazy ass monsters for Genesis didn’t use DS, but another program? I hear about the DS content tools, but I always assumed it was more for creating clothing or props than character sculpts.

              My absolute lack of interest in content creation means I’ve never even looked at those tools…

              • Basically, to make anything for DS, be it monster morphs or clothing/props, you need two programs at least: a modeler to actually push vertices around in; and DS itself to rig and save out the proper support files. Content creation tools are required for the last DS-specific step. Since version 4, they have become an integral part of DS and not an expensive add-on.

                The key for morphs is to make sure certain settings are adhered to when you export/edit/re-import the mesh, otherwise geometry won’t match. It’s not rocket science, but you may need to change some settings in your modeling software, yadda yadda yadda.

                There is a tool right inside DS that can be used to make morphs, and that’s deformers. But it takes a lot of patience to use them for anything more or less complex (one of the reasons I admire Wowie’s Beautiful Bends for Gen4 – they are deformer-based, which actually has a great plus because they automagically fix conforming clothing! Something a purely morph solution like Perfect V4 cannot do). And a brush-based workflow is more intuitive to most people as compared to spherical or even weight-mapped deformers.

                Carrara 8 Pro seems to be at a permanent 40% discount in the store now, sometimes even more. Which makes it about 20 USD more expensive than Poser 10 (which is 32-bit only), and around 2.5 times cheaper than Poser Pro.

                http://www.daz3d.com/carrara-8-5-pro – the “non-pro” doesn’t have the ability to morph posed meshes and does not support 64bit. So it’s not really worth trying to save $20.

                I actually find Carrara (even the version 6 that I have) to completely pwn Poser – the only thing it doesn’t have is true dynamic clothing (it could be done with its softbody physics in theory, though), but the pros vastly outweigh the cons: a non-crippled renderer (has issues, but those are “niche” issues), a landscape generator, capable modeling tools, 3D painting tools, particle tools… the interface, though, is closer to Poser than DS (Kai Krause’s unfortunate legacy), although it’s better than that of Bryce.

                • Yowza. Sounds like a lot of work. I’ve just never had much of a desire to create clothing or props, beyond the “I bought Hex, so I should do something with it” rationale.

                  You have Poser, right? I seem to remember you saying you did.

                  I’m just happy most of the Howie Farkes stuff works in C-Express. They’re pretty.

                  Oh, and I forgot to mention that I have wowie’s Beautiful Bends for M4, though I haven’t gotten around yet to buying the V4 version. I like it, although it appears I can only inject Morphs ++ into it, so that limits my character use a bit. I did notice clothing looked better with certain bends. Those thighs, which soar like flying buttresses when M4 squats or sits…

                • Yup, I do have Poser. I lucked into a Poser Debut promo when SmithMicro gave it out free for a day, and some time later I was able to upgrade that licence to Poser 10 (not ‘pro’) for about $45 (a sale at Rendo). A neat thing is that Poser comes with a boatload of content which is mostly ‘oldschool’, so you may have it already, but I didn’t; and while some of that content is hilarious (like ‘anatomy’ models), some is very good. Newer Poser weight-mapped figures don’t always work 100% in DS, but for some, even if the bending isn’t perfect, it’s still acceptable (like monster creatures).

                  I wish I could help you with getting Capsces’ morphs into Wowie’s cr2, but I don’t have them unfortunately. The DAZ morphs all seem to work, as do those add-ons that use ‘standard’ channels. What you could try to expand the options is using DS3 and its free InjectPMD plugin to get the PMD morphs in that cr2 – the famous DieTrying PMD set for V4 actually works well on M4.
                  Come to think of it, now that DS4 can create a cr2 with PMD, the Capsces morphs could be transferred via PMD, too, with some hoop jumping and text editing, but I’d need some time to figure out the perfect workflow.

  4. I tried injecting other DAZ morphs into Beautiful Bends M4, both in DS3 and DS4, and the only dial parameters that show up are Morphs ++. I didn’t think to inject the DieTrying set; those do have some useful morphs, even for the male figures.

    If you do ever figure out a way to get CDI morphs to work as a PMD, that would be awesome! I miss those sets for the Genesis figures.

    I noticed CDI did a set of face morphs for G3F, and there was another vendor at DAZ who did a large set — 100-plus — and so maybe G3 will have a bit more for dial spinners like me to play with. We’ll see…

    • This is actually strange because DAZ morph injection PZ2s definitely work with Beautiful Bends. I just tested them on the office machine in 4.8 with a fresh install (and made a god-awful Freaked Hiro that scared my brother LOL).

      • Hmmm. I’ll download the file again and reinstall it. Maybe something got messed up when I did it the first time, because nothing works for me but Morphs ++, in both 4.8 and 3.1.

      • Nope, still the same. No morphs work except for Morphs ++. You load Beautiful Bends M4, then go to the Pose folder, open DAZ’s Michael 4, go the Morph Injections folder, and click on the inject files you want, right? He’s not in the morph loader.

        Even weirder, when I went to download the file again, it was only 2MB. All that’s included is the cr2 and the poses.

        When I first got this, I thought textures and even some lights were included. Quick check to the store page confirmed I remembered correctly; these are still advertised on the product page, but not included in the download.

        • Yes, pz2 injectors in the Poser runtime structure. Not even the Freak inject-and-apply ones? Hiro injectors create their channels silently (I don’t remember if older figures use the shaping tab in DS4, but in the parameters tab all the morphs are there under various headings), and those of Freak’s should change the shape at once.
          The only reason I could think of is the BB cr2 getting damaged somehow. So overwriting it with the one from the zip should fix the problem. But if it doesn’t, I have no idea what to do, sorry.

          I don’t think actual new textures were ever included, but new materials using DAZ textures were, and they should be still there but in the DS folder structure (People / Michael 4 ). Maybe lights are in the “light presets” DS folder? Presets don’t really need much space; only maps do, and new maps were definitely not included.

          • Oh, jeez, do I feel dumb re: the textures. Definitely had a brain fart there. Maybe it’s because the promo images don’t look like the default M4 texture.

            I just don’t know what the deal is with the morphs. I’ll have to put a ticket in to DAZ on Monday. But no, injecting H4 and Freak 4 doesn’t do anything. No changes in the view port and there’s nothing in the parameters tab, in either DS4 or DS3.

            Very strange! My Beautiful Bends is a problem child…

              • I submitted a support ticket this morning. I hope they can help too, but if, for whatever reason, Morphs++ is all that will ever work, I’m okay with that too. The cr2 would be a bit more useful if I could use the others, but I have plenty of characters that only use Morphs++.

  5. My vote is for flaky as well. Thanks for the head’s up about the sales and all of the other resources and freebies here. I love this site! I always find a lot of great stuff that I didn’t know about here.

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