Sunday 18 December 2011

More on editing

Editing on Volume 4 is going well, and we're very hopeful it'll be out before Christmas. Here's what the 18 exercises in the book cover:

Controlled Scene Length
Establishing Shots           
Fast Cuts vs Slow Cuts   
Matching Eyelines
Fade Through Black        
Fade Through White      
L Cut     
Cutting On Action           
Cutting On Shape            
Cutting On Theme          
Cut Through Sky              
Walking Into Camera     
Photo To Scene
Visual Metaphor             

Saturday 17 December 2011

Coming soon - another free book

I'm aiming to get this out by Christmas if I don't find too many typos and errors. Otherwise, it'll be available in the last week of December. As before, it'll be a free download.

Thursday 15 December 2011

Indian Culture

Here’s a great pack for adding a bit of Indian Culture to your movies in the form of a traditional Indian taxi, road signs and textures, props for your interiors and some authentic Indian costumes. There’s an intricate fireplace, privacy screen and ceiling fan for your house interiors, a road and pavement texture (along with kerbstones to separate them), plus a selection of market stalls and telephone/ power cables to dress your streets.
Both costumes (a pajami for your female characters and a kurta for the males) have pattern variations and, as usual, there’s a version of each that you can tint to any colour.

Thursday 8 December 2011

Moviestorm 1.5 is LIVE!

Moviestorm 1.5 is now available!

We promised we’d get it to you by the end of the year, and here it is. Moviestorm 1.5 - shinier, faster, and with all-new added goodness. It’ll make your hair more lustrous, help you lose weight, and wash your clothes even whiter than before. Okay, maybe not, but it will help you make films faster and better.

What's new
Moviestorm 1.5 includes a lot of new features. You can find full details in the patch notes here, along with the main bug fixes. Here are just some of the highlights:
Terrain editor: change the default mountains around the edge of the set.
Import video into the cutting room: you can now mix scenes from several different movies, or mix in external video files.
Save gestures to stock: once you’ve created a gesture for a character, you can easily use it again in other scenes or movies.
Tint the sky: gives you much more variation in the feel of your exterior sets.
Timeline grouping: group several activities together on the timeline and move them all together.
Text to speech allows you to create basic dialog without an audio file or microphone.
WebM video format gives better performance and quality on a wider range of hardware.
Dressing room user interface makes it easier to find costumes.
Screenshot button in Camera view makes it easy to create storyboards or stills.
Timeline user interface has been made clearer and easier to use.
Some Cutting Room filters now have options for different strengths of the filter.
Extra Large Set is a new stock set with the floor grid at 100m square instead of the normal 50m square.
You can now render stereoscopic 3D left and right eye views as separate renders, allowing you to re-combine them in the 3D software of you choice.
New audio filters give you better control over your sound.

Just start up Moviestorm as normal. It will automatically update the launcher (not the main program). Then when you're ready, you can update Moviestorm from the launcher when it's convenient. Be patient, it could take a while, especially if you're on a slow connection.
If you have repeated problems downloading the file, you may need to temporarily disable your virus checker.

As far as we can tell, your existing movies should work fine with 1.5. There are however, a few things to watch out for.
Mods: we've tested some mods, and we haven't found any problems, but we can't 100% guarantee that your mods will continue to work.
Video: If your movies have video files playing back on props, you should convert those videos to the WebM format; they will then play back faster and with audio. More info about WebM.
Lighting: we fixed a bug with ambient lighting which meant that it was extra bright under some circumstances. You may need to adjust the ambient lighting to compensate.
Doors: we changed the pathfinding for going through doors. In some cases, your characters may take a different route, and will walk through walls instead of being stuck..
Dance floor: the dance floor works differently and you may need to tell each dance floor to flash instead of them all flashing at the same time.
If you have problems, please check the support forums or contact support via the Web site

Wednesday 7 December 2011

Instant stills

Whenever we tell you about an upcoming release, there's always a small flurry of people who tell us they're putting their current projects on hold until the new version's out.  This time, it happened to me.

I was planning to shoot all the illustrations for the next volume of my series of filmmaking books this week. That usually involves taking about 150 images, of which maybe 60 or 70 get used. I generally do this by taking a full-screen screenshot of Moviestorm's camera view, then pasting it into Photoshop, and cropping out the area I need. It's a laborious task: even if each one only takes a few minutes, and even using macros, it all adds up. I generally allow 2-3 days to do it all.

Moviestorm 1.5 includes a new feature that's going to make a real difference to this process. In the camera view, there's now a screenshot button that exports a still. No more PRT-SCRN - flip to Photoshop - paste - save - flip back to Moviestorm every time I want an image. Just click, and the job's done. Even better, I won't have to suffer my PC running out of memory once I'm dealing with Photoshop files that have vast numbers of layers of high-def images. I reckon it's going to save me at least a day's work.

Tuesday 6 December 2011

All together, now!

This new feature for 1.5 brought a huge smile to my face.

You know when you've mostly built a scene, then you realize you need to change a few things early in the scene? You shift all the activities on the timeline and that's when you find that all your carefully set up timings are now just ever so slightly off and it's immensely frustrating to get them all back again.

With the new timeline grouping feature, you can CTRL-click on several activities at once and move them all at the same time. Voila! Your timings are preserved.  No more fiddly adjusting everything back to how it was.

That's going to be a huge time-saver.

Monday 5 December 2011

Colonel Andrew "Flash" Kennedy

So, Movember is over, but my grips are far from!  The memsahib is far too in love with ‘em (not).

Thank you to all that contributed to bring awareness to such a worthy cause – I am thrilled to say that you have helped me contribute £225 to the Movember appeal ...and in the true spirit of these things, I am proud to say that I have given my plums a good squeeze, and there is nothing to report.  As for the clacker, I leave that investigation to another day.

If you wish to get a future missive on my hirsute journey, please let me know.

Until then, toodle pip and tally ho!


Climb every mountain

The latest news on the 1.5 is that it's now in the process of final checking.  We made some fixes over the weekend, and we're just giving those a last check. Assuming all's well, we'll have it wrapped up and shipped out to you guys by the end of the week.

Among the list of new features is the terrain editor, so you're no longer constrained to flat sets.  Here's a couple of very quick examples of what you can do with it.

Saturday 3 December 2011

Movember update

And here's Andrew's completed whiskers. We'll get a proper photo done shortly to show them to you in all their magnificence!

Friday 2 December 2011

Mac users lose control

If you're a Mac user, you'll like this. In the new release of 1.5 (which should be out very, very soon now) hotkeys now use the Command key instead of Control.

Copy CMD-C
Paste CMD-V
Undo CMD-Z
Redo CMD-Y
Save CMD-S

Windows users still use CTRL, of course.