Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Smustard Forum to Offer Much Improved Customer Support

I was thrilled to see that the Smustard team has created a discussion forum. This will surely be a huge improvement from the outdated FAQ page and the email contact form support system that has been in use for some time. I strongly encourage all users of my commercial plugins to register and post questions there.

Australian Steel Profiles Now Available for Profile Builder

Andrew Carter (aka utiler) has graciously shared his profile libraries of Australian steel shapes. These profiles libraries can be used for my plugin Profile Builder. Get them both from here. Thanks Andrew! If you have created your own profile libraries that you would like to share, please let me know!

Monday, March 9, 2009

SketchyPhysics SkIndigo Animation One Step Closer to Reality

Chris Phillips has released SketchyPhysics3 beta. It includes several changes since the alpha version but the most notable change for me is this:
Added interface code to SketchyReplay to allow renders to call an export
This will allow me to add SkIndigo animation support for SketchyPhysics very easily without having to hack into the code. I had already created a 'proof-of-concept' SkethyPhysics/SkIndigo animation awhile ago but I had to modify the SP code to do it:

If you have never heard of SketchyPhysics, try doing a search on Youtube. There's some really cool animations that have been done by users and by Chris. Being able to render these animations should be pretty exciting and open up some really cool possibilities.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Future of SkIndigo

I've been trying to get SkIndigo (a.k.a the plugin that will never be finished) ready for the next stable Indigo release. Onosendai (creator of Indigo) will soon be releasing Indigo 1.1 stable. SkIndigo is basically ready to go. However, loading IGM materials is still currently broken and I am finally working to fix it. I have been dreading working on this because it is very time consuming and a lot of boring work. Users probably don't realize the huge amount of effort it takes to get this feature working. The challenge is that Onosendai added and changed so many things in this new version including emitting materials and procedural shaders. Plus, the XML syntax has changed substantially as well. My goal is that 95% of all materials in the Indigo Material Database will be loadable by SkIndigo. Therefore, my code must not only be fully compatible with the latest Indigo release, but it also must be backwards compatible with older IGM materials saved with previous SkIndigo versions.
What about the future? Well, here are some features you might (no promises) see in the next batch of SkIndigo beta releases (versions 1.2.x)
  • the return of internal textures (texture maps workflow has changed a lot in versions 1.1.x)
  • network rendering options
  • SketchyPhysics SketchyReplay animation export
  • Scene tab object animation support
  • OSX support
As a matter of interest, the latest stable release of SkIndigo has been downloaded almost 16,000 times! I know you will all enjoy the next stable release of Indigo. It's going to be killer!