30 September 2016

Space Station test/update

Some projects I just use as tests, seeing how the render with a software or hardware upgrade or if they can be improved as I acquire new skills. This is one of those projects and I am pretty happy with it at the moment.

The station takes about 20 hours to render, far too long but it has a lot of details in case I ever want to do a close up shot. The earth has improved immensely since the first try at this and looks pretty real, I think, in this version.

27 September 2016

Sparkle web design app

In my quest to replace Adobe products with more affordable and better made applications that don’t charge me for the privilege of using them them every month, I may have finally come across  Dreamweaver alternative that works for me. 

To be clear, this is not a program for coders… in any way shape or form. It’s clearly for people like me who are designers and want something that works closer to a page layout program. While it is not as flexible as many might like, it basically covers all the bases and will improve with each iteration in response to what the users say they need. 

I am currently re-working the Behemoth media site with it and almost immediately came across a bug. I contacted Sparkle, got a reply in a couple hours and a solution minutes after I sent in the file for them to look at with promise to look into the bug right away and a quick tip baed on the file I sent that was more than a little helpful. So it is fair to say they won me over fairly quickly over the poor service I’ve reviewed at Adobe over the last many years. 

Using the application is very simple to figure out and not having to work in tables and place everything where you want, even over other elements without having to think of the technical aspects is very freeing as a designer. I haven’t found any templates available, which to me at least is a good thing. nor have I found any plugins, though you can embed code using a an embed object that might allow to insert Hype animations at a future date. The gallery feature is basically and easy to use, very clean looking with limited but useful adjustable parameters. This could be said about almost all the features offered at present.. clean, useful, uncomplicated. 

I am just starting with this software but I already love using it. I swear a lot less and work much faster. I don’t do much web design for clients these days, that business all went to the drag and drop companies a couple years back, so something like Sparkle handles all my current needs very well and I assume it will only get better from here on out. 

Update: behemoth media site updated with Sparkle

17 September 2016

Software I am looking forward to

I am not really someone who just buys and tries lots of software. What I have already is complicated enough to keep me busy but updates and occasionally new software catches my attention and gets me excited. 

Affinity is producing some really nice stuff so far, I have both Designer and Photo and I am really looking forward to a couple of new things from them. Photo is getting a big update, soon, not sure when exactly and it will fill some of the remaining gaps with Adobe Photoshop… making it much easier to stop using Photoshop in future. They will also be releasing a page layout program to compete with Indesign and I am very curious to see what they do as it’s one of those core softwares I can’t do without and will need ago replace when my current Adobe stuff eventually stops working because I refuse to pay them a ransom every month. Also in the works is a program to organize files, like Adobe Bridge does now and that would be amazing. 

I am not a big gamer, but I have been waiting years for Obduction, the Myst-like new game form the makers of Myst. It’s technically already out, just not for the Mac so I have to wait. It looks fantastic and the early reviews have been stellar. 

3D Coat is something I am deciding to add to my Cinema 4D workflow as it that is one application I am not updating anytime soon. Too much money for too few new features and it still misses basic functions even free software has nowadays. Maxon is so terrible now with their updating that 3rd party plugins basically take me me far beyond what even their next version upgrade will be. X-Particles is getting much better fire and smoke simulations we are told, something no version of C4D can do at all and the current 3D Coat surpasses even the coming updates in Body paint for texturing. So I will be stuck C4D version 16 a long time. I have been seriously looking into Blender to see how easily I can replace C4D if need be in the future. 

Since I made the switch to Final Cut X it has already made some big improvements but it really needs to settle some existing workflow problems and with a rumoured update in the works I hope it and Motion get some of the attention they deserve from Apple. If Motion had a way to read a depth map I could basically abandon After Effects for all of my 3D animation post and most everything else.

Hopefully I am not setting myself up for disappointment but so far all the stuff I am excited about looks like it will be great. I wait hopeful and eternally for the Mac version of the LCARS project to be released. It exists for Windows and the Mac version is announced for the next update but as it’s a free thing done by fans, it’s anyone’s guess when I will be geeking out over the LCARS OS  on my two screens.