Monday, June 29, 2009

GeekAtPlay Studio - excellent 3d graphics site for hexagon, Daz3D Studio and Photoshop!


GeekAtPlay Studio is an excellent site for anyone interested in 3d graphics. The staff are very industry experienced artists and very talented. They are:

Vladimir Chopine View Vladimir Chopine's profile on LinkedIn
Partner Geekatplay Studio

Founder and Creative Director, Vladimir develops the ideas and artwork, does the research, and coordinates the efforts at Geekatplay.

Trained in film production and computer sciences, if you don’t find him in front of a computer, you may find him in front of the stove, a movie screen, or playing around with his kids.

Jason BuchananView Jason Buchanan's profile on LinkedIn
Partner Geekatplay Studio

At GeekAtPlay, Jason wears many hats, including Illustrator, Graphic Designer, Web Developer and handling business relations.

When he's not working at GeekAtPlay, Jason enjoys Painting, Illustration, dabbling in Martial Arts and spending time with his wife, Amy, and their four children.

Ami Chopine View Ami Chopine's profile on LinkedIn
Writer and Editor

Ami is a professional writer whose mad desire for correct English landed her a job editing and narrating at Geekatplay.

A published author and graduate of Orson Scott Card’s Literary Bootcamp, she loves writing speculative fiction, reading, and triathlon training. She is better at growing human beings than plants.

Amy Buchanan
Recording Artist

Trained as classical musician and vocal artist, Amy spends most of her working hours glued to a microphone.

When she's not recording for GeekAtPlay, Amy spends her time working on her debut record, finding the patience to put up with her husband, Jason, and enjoying her children.

Jared Buchanan
Director of 3D Content / Master Rigger

Having won many awards early on in his career, Jared comes to GeekAtPlay from Daz 3D and brings expertise in 3D modeling, rigging and Poser development.

When Jared's not busy dispensing 3D knowledge, you'll likely find him tricking out his latest car project or coming up with material for his next comedy routine at the water cooler.im Harris, M.S.
Learning Development Director

Jim's love for learning and his passion for assuring others "get it", landed him at the Geek At Play Studio. Learning Projects(training & tutorials) and Corporate University Development improve with his influence.

An innovative educator and certified teacher, Jim applies what he knows about learning in home renovations, personal study, gardening, cycling, and backpacking. When not in a learning mode, he is getting schooled by his grandkids.

Gary Miller
Instructor

Gary Miller has been involved in computer graphics since 2001 when he first bought a copy of Bryce 5. From there his interests have grown to include Photoshop, Vue, Hexagon, Poser, Cinema 4d, BodyPaint 3d and others. After retiring in 2001 he taught himself modeling, texturing, composition, lighting and other areas all with the generous help of others who have created tutorials and other resources and shared them on the internet.

Gary and his wife Catherine are very happily married and live in So. California with their two children, Nicholas and Grace as well as a petting zoo worth of animals. Gary lends his time and skills as well as his wife’s patience, to give back to 3d Hexagon, community.

The site has excellent tutorials that are easy to follow and cover various levels of experience in Hexagon, Vue, Daz3D, Poser, Photoshop and Cinema 4D. You can watch the tutorials individually or download them at a reasonable cost in 'Mega Packs' (around $25 each). Included in each 'Mega Pack' are not only tutorials, but resources incudign materials, models, textures and nodes (in the Vue packs). They also have some free downloads.

Check out their site at http://www.geekatplay.com/

Photographers Direct - stock photography images
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Friday, June 26, 2009

Is Microsoft about to offer Windows 7 on USB thumb drives?


Image via Wikipedia
Is Microsoft actually considering offering Windows 7 on USB thumb drives to allow netbook owners to upgrade their machines? In an interview on Thursday, Senior Vice President Bill Veghte said that Microsoft had nothing to announce on that front.

Windows has, until now, only been distributed on DVDs or via download. However, netbooks don't come with optical drives and downloading an operating system is a frankly painful experience.

The Windows 7 ISO weighs in at 2.3GB, which would take several hours to download on an average broadband connection and potentially do serious damage to a customer's broadband data cap.

Consequently, the company is exploring alternative means of distributing the OS, including USB flash drives, according to a report on CNET



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Bloggers Unite for a Free Iran


Objective:
Bloggers Unite for a FREE IRAN on Mon. June 29th.

Bloggers Unite to support Human Rights in Iran on Monday June 29th.

Violence, arrests, crackdowns and media blackouts continue to increase in Iran in the aftermath of the recent presidential elections. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_Iranian_election_protests

On Monday June 29th, we ask Bloggers from around the globe to Unite for a Free Iran. Please JOIN this event and use your blog to educate your readers and spread the word about how we can help support a Free Iran.

Tweeting about this event use hash tag #FreeIran.

What can you blog about? How can you help?

* write a post about the lack of basic human rights and freedoms

* ask democratic leaders from around the world to unite and stand up for the citizens of Iran

* let the people in Iran know that we are supporting them and their fight for freedom

* do what we can to help highlight the disappearance and inhuman treatment of Iranian citizens

* arrange/promote Blogger & Twitter Meetups in your town on Monday

* write a post offering moral support to the people of Iran

* call on the Iranian government to stop arresting peaceful protesters and opposition supporters, and to free those it has already detained

* blog to get the people of Iran free and open Internet access

* blog for a fair and just election

* write a post asking your readers to email the United Nations Human Rights Commission to hold an Emergency Meeting

* blog to free the press and remove the controls that have been placed on media and bloggers

* call for an end to the violence in Iran

* blog to ask your readers to turn all avatars black to mourn those killed in the protests

* add an Action Badge to your blog before June 29th and ask other bloggers to join in.

Please post any other ideas you have for how bloggers can use our blogs to make a difference on Monday June 29th.

To discuss the event visit www.bloggersunite.org/discuss/entry/what-can-we-do-to-help-in-ira...

Tweeting? Use Hash Tag #FreeIran

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

7digital offer free MP3 tracks for download!

7digital are (they claim) the UK's leading digital media delivery company. Certainly, they are behind several major online sites including Warner Brothers, Five, ITV, EMI and Sony.

They also have their own digital download online stores in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Austria and Portugal. On their site in the UK, as well as buying music from 50p a track and album from £3, you can download free tracks, all in the MP3 format.

Artists available include the Howling Bells, Ministry, Tiger Lillies and Fishbone. Check out their selection at http://www.7digital.com/free-mp3-downloads

Monday, June 22, 2009

Hasselblad Masters Gallery 2009 - Vote Now!


Vote for the next Hasselblad Masters!
The top 100 finalists in the Hasselblad 2009 Masters Awards Competition have now been selected. This year the voting to determine the final 10 is also open to the public! Images are now online for viewing and voting.

The Hasselblad Masters Award is the most prestigious awards in the industry, each year celebrating the best in both established and rising photographic talent. Masters Awards are given in recognition of a photographer’s contribution to the art of photography and are judged on overall photographic ability, encompassing creativity, composition, conceptual strength, and technical skill. Past Masters include both renowned artists of international standing as well as promising newcomers in a wide range of fields and disciplines.

Visit here to vote: http://www.hasselblad.co.uk/Masters-2009-Open-Jury.aspx

Photographers Direct - stock photography images

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

DAZ Studio 3 Advanced Bundle now available

DAZ Studio 3 Advanced Bundle

The advanced bundle offers full access to all the features of Daz tudio 3. It includes:
  • DAZ Studio 3 Advanced
  • Figure Setup Tools Bundle
  • 3D Bridge for Photoshop
  • FBX Plug-in for DAZ Studio
  • Multi-Layered Image Editor
You can download a 30-day free trial or purchase Daz Studio 3D for $97.47 ( a saving of 35%, valid until 15th July 2009). The Advanced Bundle costs $324.97 (a 35% saving, again valid until 15 July 2009).

The standalone version of Daz Studio 3 Advanced includeds the following features:
  • Advanced Shaders and Effects - DAZ Studio now includes HDRI, IBL, Ambient Occlusion, Area Lights, Volumetrics, Velvet, Indirect Lighting, Translucency, Layered Anisotropic Specularity, and Sub-Surface Scattering. Special thanks to omnifreaker.
    • UberEnvironment 2 (by: omnifreaker)
      • Image Based Lighting (IBL)
      • High Dynamic Range Images (HDRI)
      • Global Illumination (GI)
      • Indirect Lighting
      • Color Bleeding
      • Ambient Occlusion
    • UberSurface (by: omnifreaker)
      • Sub-Surface Scattering (SSS)
      • Velvet
      • Skin
      • Layered Anisotropic Specularity (hair)
    • UberArea Lights (by: omnifreaker)
    • UberVolume [Fog/Smoke] (by: omnifreaker)
  • Scripted Renderer - Gain full control of the rendering process. If you're into scripting and are familiar with the RenderMan API, this is for you.
  • Shader Mixer (Advanced Material Editor) - Mix and match over 90 included shader bricks (or design your own) to create custom lights, cameras, and surfaces within a simple node network for amazing render effects.
  • Figure Mixer - Now you can blend between different figures to create your own unique figures. This tool will not only blend two or more shapes together, but it will also provide a working joint rig and preserve the original morphs of the figure you started from.
  • Morph Follower - This feature allows you to add support for new figures in old clothing by automatically creating new morphs to fit an unsupported shape.
  • 64-Bit for Windows - This functionality not only makes things go faster, it expands memory support, and allows large scenes to be arranged and rendered much easier.
  • Map Transfer - This allows you to convert a texture from one figure's UV's so they can be used on another figure's UV's.
  • Shader Builder - Built for advanced artists who need a deeper level of control and want to create shaders from scratch.
  • Shader Baker - Bake surface shaders, bump maps, displacement maps, and textures into a single image-based texture for a final-render look straight out of the box. You can then share or sell to other users who may not have the same advanced shaders you use to make it look its best.
  • Animation Keyframe Editor - Now you can easily see where your keyframes are. Add, delete, copy, paste and/or move your keyframes around with great visual feedback. Special thanks to GoFigure!.
DAZ Studio 3 (core)
  • Improved Render Engine - DAZ Studio is now compatible with version 8.5 of the powerful 3Delight render engine. Improved performance and memory management reduce render times and handle heavy, complex scenes like never before.
  • COLLADA Import/Export - Now you can export figures, conforming clothing, morphs, and scenes into Carrara 7.
  • aniMate Lite - Create animations by dragging and stacking aniBlocks into a timeline. You can also crop, split or combine aniBlocks and/or create completely new sequences. Special thanks to GoFigure!.
  • Visual Helpers for Cameras and Lights - Provides visual cues for the spread angle and falloff of your spotlights, as well as the limits of your camera's depth of field. Special thanks to Dreamlight.
  • Selection/Bounding Box Display - Change the opacity, size, color, and length of the selection bounding boxes.
  • Render Album - Store recent image renders in an album format, which can then be loaded into the Render Editor to perform various editing functions on the image. The editor provides options for blending two images, adjusting colors, comparing images, and applying filters without having to open a separate paint program.
  • Visible in Render - Added support for whether or not a node's geometry is visible in render without the need to make surfaces transparent.
Free 3D Models

Friday, June 19, 2009

Idiot's Guide to Photoshop from makeuseof.com


Makeuseof.com is an excellent site and I use it a lot. They have lots of useful information and resources, much of it available as downloadable pdfs. One of these is

An Idiot’s Guide To Photoshop

Have you decided to venture in the world of image editing? Decided, but don’t know how?

Photoshop can be quite difficult, if you throw yourself at it without preparation. You’ve probably got no clue how everyone gets that wizardry done, because you don’t know head from tail in that maze of buttons and filters!

Don’t despair, because MakeUseOf will be your guide in this intricate, yet magical world.

We’re proud to present An Idiot’s Guide To Photoshop, the starter’s manual for every Photoshop initiate to carry! This guide starts right at the very bottom, assuming no knowledge at all, and walks you through all basic aspects of the application. The guide even comes with three full pages of shortcuts, cheat sheets covering all the application’s possibilities!

You can download it from their site here: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/an-idiots-guide-to-photoshop/


Photographers Direct - stock photography images
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Pentax announces $100 rebate on K20D Body and Lens Kits



GOLDEN, CO (June 12, 2009)…PENTAX Imaging Company has announced a $100 INSTANT REBATE PROGRAM effective June 12– June 20, 2009.

Its available on the K20D body and two lens kit configurations. The award winning, weather and dust resistant PENTAX K20 features 14.6 megapixels, a PRIME engine processor, and Shake Reduction that works with every PENTAX lens ever produced.

Consumers who purchase these products during this time period will benefit from instant savings on regular MAP/estimated retail pricing as follows:
  • K20D Body - $100 rebate
  • K20D + 1855mm Lens Kit - $100 rebate
  • K20D w/16-45mm Lens Kit - $100 rebate
The PENTAX INSTANT REBATE PROGRAM offers several consumer advantages; There is no need to submit or track claims or wait several weeks for a rebate check; More information about the program and all of these products is available at: www.pentaximaging.com and www.pentaxwebstore.com

PENTAX Imaging Company is an innovative leader in the production of a variety of digital cameras including weather resistant digital SLRs and compact, waterproof cameras, as well as lenses, flash units, binoculars, scopes, and eyepieces; For almost 90 years, PENTAX has developed durable, reliable products that meet the needs of consumers and businesses; With headquarters in Golden, Colorado, PENTAX Imaging Company is a division of PENTAX of America, Inc.

Media contact: Michelle Martin 303.728.0224 Michelle.martin@pentax.com

Consumer contact: pentaxinfo@pentax.com www.pentaxwebstore.com

WebWait tests the speed of your website and its free!


What's WebWait?
  • WebWait is a website timer.
  • Use WebWait to benchmark your website or test the speed of your web connection.
  • Timing is accurate because WebWait pulls down the entire website into your browser, so it takes into account Ajax/Javascript processing and image loading which other tools ignore.
To use WebWait visit http://webwait.com/ and enter the url of the site you wish to test into the box on the page and click on "Time It!"

Testing this site (the one you are on now) comes out under 20 seconds. A its a Blogger site I was expecting as much. On my own domain at http://newbeltane.com the result is faster at less than 10 second. Testing www.google.com comes out at between 0.3 and 1.0 seconds, not really a surprise!

Written by Michael Mahemoff, WebwWait has two main uses:
  • As a webmaster, how fast does your site load?
  • As a web user, how fast is your connection and web browser? Imagine you're IMing with a friend, and he notices the page loads slowly. Run a trial on WebWait and send your friend the URL, then they can test it too and you can get a summary of the time it takes.

How does WebWait compare to other benchmarking techniques?

Compared to other techniques such as browser plugins, command-line tools, and websites that pull the data to themselves, WebWait has the following advantages:

  • Accurate timing. You get actual load times in the same client web users are running, not simulated times.
  • Runs in multiple browsers. There are plugins that do this, but as well as the installation overhead, they are usually specific to one browser. With WebWait, you can just cut-and-paste the same URL into different browsers. (No Safari yet as it doesn't listen to iframe onload ???.)
  • Respects your cookies and authentication - If you can access a URL in a web page, you can benchmark it with WebWait. Trying to set up cookies for use with a command-line tool like Curl is hard work. Doing it with a plugin is usually impossible. Doing it with a third-party website is dangerously insecure.
  • Access servers running on your machine or behind the firewall in the your LAN, unlike most external services.

In some cases, those other techniques have benefits over WebWait:

  • Command-line tools, though they suffer from not taking into account browser rendering and Javascript parsing, have the benefit of being scriptable.
  • Browser plugins, though they require installation and are less portable, may be more convenient.

In all cases, there is a common issue to be aware of, which is that the timing is dependent on your own internet setup and local setup. For this reason, WebWait reflects the site being tested in the browser address bar - send this to a friend on the other side of the world to see how fast the site loads over there. (Or send it to a friend using a different browser and operating system.)

How should I run a WebWait test?

In general, it's more realistic to be running just one browser window, and ensure any major operating system delays, such as hard drive swapping, aren't going to affect the browser's performance. So ensure there aren't so many programs running that swapping will be impacting on browser performance.

Does This work in all browsers?

It's been tested in IE6, Firefox, and Opera. There's a problem with Safari for now as it ignores the IE and Firefox Iframe onload event.

Can I test secure sites that require login?

Yes, visit that site first and log in - this will set up your cookies. Then you'll be able to open it up in WebWait.

Why do I get the popup dialog telling me the page can't be loaded?

WebWait works by placing your site inside an IFrame embedded on the WebWait website. Some websites refuse to be embedded in a parent website. Unfortunately, the standard technique they use is to remove the parent website altogether and put themselves in its place. If this happens while you are trying to load your website, it means your Javascript code is causing this problem. Remove it to test with WebWait.

I have a suggestion/comment/flame

Please mail michael@mahemoff.com.

Credits

Karma goes to ...

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Apple announces new 3G iPhone, releases Snow Leopard, Safari 4 and Macbooks are updated!

Well, now that Apple's WWDC is over, its time to look at what Apple has delivered. Certainly, everyone was expecting a new iPhone and we weren't disappointed, though the cut-down version didn't appear. Instead we got a faster version of the existing 3G iPhone and announcements of price cuts in the current line-up. Welcome nevertheless. The new version is meant to be faster and has the much requested improved camera with the ability to shoot video. This is certain to strengthen Apple's position and in all probability will increase market share.

As regards that other expected announcement, we had more news on Snow Leopard. Coming in September it is the upgarde that everyone (except maybe Microsoft!) has been waiting for. At the ame time we had news of the Server version.

Missing was new of the so-called Media Tablet. Whether we ever see such an appliance remains only specualtion. In the meantime we have updates to the Macbook Pro range of laptops, a welcome boost to the range. Starting at £899, the range has plenty to offer. Still, its disappointing that a yet. Apple doesn't have anything to compete with the cheaper end of the market. Personally, I could sell truckloads of a smaller Apple laptop that came in below £500. Many people I deal with would love to buy an Apple laptop but te price put them off. Instead they end up buying an inferior WinPC laptop that costs more than £450 less than the cheapest Apple! Its time to repond to the pent-up demand Apple... so come Steve, get your finger out!

MacBook Pro updated with new models and innovative built-in battery

MacBook Pro updated with new models and innovative built-in battery

8 June 2009

Apple updates the aluminium unibody MacBook Pro line to include 13-inch, 15-inch and 17-inch models featuring Apple’s innovative built-in battery for up to 40 percent longer battery life. Each MacBook Pro includes an LED-backlit display with greater colour intensity, the innovative glass Multi-Touch trackpad, an illuminated keyboard, an SD card or ExpressCard slot, a FireWire 800 port and state of the art NVIDIA graphics. Apple also updated the incredibly thin and light MacBook Air, making it more powerful and more affordable. Filed under: Mac. Read more: apple.com/uk/macbookpro

Announcing the new iPhone 3G S — The Fastest, Most Powerful iPhone Yet

Announcing the new iPhone 3G S — The Fastest, Most Powerful iPhone Yet

8 June 2009

Apple introduces the new iPhone 3G S, featuring improved speed and performance — up to twice as fast as iPhone 3G — longer battery life, a high-quality 3 megapixel autofocus camera, easy to use video recording and hands free voice control. iPhone 3G S includes the new iPhone OS 3.0, with over 100 new features such as Cut, Copy and Paste, MMS, Spotlight Search, landscape keyboard and a new Find My iPhone feature that works together with MobileMe to help you locate a lost iPhone. Filed under: iPhone. Read more: apple.com/uk/iphone

In addition, Apple unveiled Max OS X Snow Leopard and Snow Leopard Server.

Apple Unveils Mac OS X Snow Leopard and Mac OS X Server Snow Leopard

Apple Unveils Mac OS X Snow Leopard and Mac OS X Server Snow Leopard

8 June 2009

Apple unveils Mac OS X Snow Leopard, a powerful new version of the world’s most advanced operating system that includes hundreds of refinements, new core technologies, out of the box support for Microsoft Exchange and new accessibility features. Snow Leopard will ship as an upgrade for Mac OS X Leopard users in September 2009. Apple also unveiled a Developer Preview of Mac OS X Server Snow Leopard, a full 64-bit UNIX server operating system based on open standards that is up to twice as fast as its predecessor. Filed under: Mac. Read more: apple.com/uk/macosx


Apple Releases Safari 4

Apple Releases Safari 4

8 June 2009

Apple releases Safari 4, the world’s fastest and most innovative web browser. Available for Mac and Windows PCs and introduced as a beta in February of this year, Safari 4 features the Nitro engine which runs JavaScript up to 4.5 times faster than Safari 3. Safari 4 makes browsing more intuitive and enjoyable with innovative features, such as Top Sites, Full History Search and Cover Flow, and support for modern web standards like HTML 5 and advanced CSS Effects. Filed under: Mac. Read more: apple.com/uk/safari

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Pixelmator

draftsmantop

Pixelmator is an easy to use alternative to Photoshop. Like Photoshop, Pixelmator is a layer-based image editor and as with Photoshop, you can blend layers, use masks and change their opacity.

It comes with the standard array of tools such as selection tools, painting tools and retouching tools. It also comes with an extensive set of filters, including Quartz Composer ones.

It handles over 100 different 100 file formats and can open and save Photoshop files with layers.

Available for the Mac, it has become a popular addition to many an artist’s toolset.

Cost: $59 from http://www.pixelmator.com/

Canon Enables Manual Exposure in Video on EOS 5D Mark II

Canon announced it will release a firmware update for the EOS 5D Mark II allowing users to manually control exposure when shooting video. The new firmware will be available for download from 2 June 2009 on Canon Europe’s support web site.

Following the launch of the EOS 5D Mark II in September 2008, Canon’s Research and Development team has listened closely to customer feedback to develop additions to the camera’s movie recording functionality.

Allowing EOS 5D Mark II owners to achieve even more stunning video results with the camera, the firmware update will include the following manual controls when shooting video
  • Full aperture selection
  • ISO speed: Auto, 100 – 6400 and H1

  • Shutter speed: 1/30th – 1/4000th second

The EOS 5D Mark II integrates full HD movie capability into a high-end 21.1 Megapixel camera; opening a multitude of new possibilities for photo-journalists and news photographers. Since its launch the camera has proved its appeal to professionals working in diverse fields, from studio and wedding to nature and travel. Now, following customer feedback, Canon has improved functionality for professional video users, further unleashing the potential of the EOS 5D Mark II for cinematographers and photographers alike.

Sunset over Abberton. Greetings cards with original photography.

Sunset over Abberton Card by celtxian If you like my images why not consider buying some greetings card with them on? They come b...