Category Archives: Technology

Smith Micro Streamlines Animation Production for Studios and Professionals with New Anime Studio 11

anime-studio-pro-11-boxshotThe productivity and graphics group of Smith Micro Software, Inc. has announced the latest version of its Telly Award-winning Anime Studio software, designed to streamline production for studios and professional artists who create complex animations. The new Frame-by-Frame feature of Anime Studio 11 lets artists switch between traditional animation techniques and more automated bone-rigging techniques, making it faster and easier to achieve different effects without switching tools. New and enhanced drawing and painting features provide a natural feel and raster-like characteristics with life-like results.

With Anime Studio 11, you’re able to combine the best of rigging and frame-by-frame work, allowing two different animation worlds to finally touch each other with great results. Working in teams is easier and more powerful than ever before. Plus, artists can now create powerful rigs and effects that were extremely difficult or impossible with other tools.

Key Features of Anime Studio 11

  • Frame-by-Frame allows artists to immediately switch between bone-rigging and a frame-by-frame workspace for authentic, precise and life-like animation results.
  • Layer Referencing propagates changes from one design layer to all related layers, even across multiple documents, improving accuracy and saving significant time for team-based productions.
  • Animated Shape Ordering extends the ability to quickly and easily rearrange shapes anywhere within an animation timeline rather than adjusting each full frame independently.
  • Enhanced Tools and Brushes Freehand drawing is now simpler and more realistic with new automated Merge Strokes, a Smoothing option for round, smooth shapes, and a more efficient Blob Brush for simple shapes. The new Color Points tools lets artists blend colors together in new ways, while Merged Alpha and Drift Angle brushes offer a more natural and pleasing look and feel.
  • JSON File Format support for Java Script Object Notation (JSON) file format provides faster file processing and more flexible asset tagging within files, making it easier to exchange and manage related assets across workgroups. Backward compatibility with older versions of Anime Studio is retained, as well as compatibility with MotionArtist file formats.

A full list of features and enhancements is available online.

Anime Studio Pro 11 is available for $299.99 and Anime Studio Debut 11 for novice artists is $49.99.

What Does Facebook Tell Us about Pitch Perfect 2 and Mad Max?

pitch-perfect-2-pp2_rgbThis past weekend at the box-office was a triumph for women, and a blow to misogyny. Pitch Perfect 2 ruled the weekend earning $70.3 million domestically while Mad Max: Fury Road earned $44.44 million. The two films helped make it a record breaking weekend, but also had two films that had kick-ass women in it.

Pitch Perfect 2 was especially impressive earning about 5.5x the original film’s opening weekend. But should that have been a surprise? The original film found a huge audience after its initial theatrical run.

About 72% of the audience for Pitch Perfect 2 was female, and 57% was younger than 25. Mad Max: Fury Road was 60% male and 64% older than 25. While 51% of the population is female, 52% of moviegoers are women according to the MPAA.

Facebook shows us these general trends, the Pitch Perfect series has many more female fans while Mad Max skews more male. Both performed better than their stats though in their “opposite” gender of the majority of fans. More men attending Pitch Perfect 2, and more women attended Mad Max. That could account for their dual solid openings, as each gender brought the other to the cinema. Each fan page also does better in their weaker gender than previous films in the series.

No matter the why, each film shows that women shouldn’t be discounted when it comes to the cinema.

Pitch Perfect 2 Mad Max Stats

Devil’s Due Turns to Digital First

Galaxys for Hire Convention Preview - Art by Sherard JacksonKeeping up with the trends, Devils’ Due Entertainment has announced they’re expanding their digital first comic offerings. The first to be released is the sci-fi action series Galaxys for Hire by Shawn DePasquale and Sherard Jackson. The series centers around two rivaling sisters, Tanna and Mallori Galaxy, trying to survive a rigorous life in space in the 51st century.

The plan for the publisher is the add this distribution channel along with their crowdfuding and print releases. The publisher said in their release that while some titles do well in stores, others do better at conventions, some better with online sales, or through crowdfunding.

The digital first program will see several titles released in digital format followed by third party digital distributors such as comiXology and Drive-Thru Comics, and (for certain titles) to its crowd-funding campaign backers and additional marketing, all which serve as marketing to promote the comics in anticipation of print distribution through the comic book shop Direct Market and several large comic-cons.

Already known for their huge presence as web-comics, Plume (by K. Lynn Smith) and the recently added Scorch (by Ashley Witter), are also published by Devil’s Due and will maintain their own independent web presence.

The full line-up of digital first comics include:

  • Galaxys for Hire by Shawn DePasquale and Sherard Jackson – May 2015
  • Mercy Sparx by Josh Blaylock, Matt Merhoff and various artists starting with issue 8 – May 2015 (still scheduled for print release as solicited).
  • Drafted by Mark Powers which ran as a critically acclaimed twelve-issue maxi-series from Devil’s Due a few years ago, in development as a film by Benderspink Productions – Summer 2015
  • Tales of Mr. Rhee vol. 3 by Dirk Manning and various artists – Fall 2015
  • Solitary vol. 2 by CW Cooke – Fall 2015

Toronto Comic Arts Festival Official Anthology Gets the Digital Treatment From Sequential App

Sequential and The Toronto Comic Arts Festival have announced that the TCAF 2015 Digital Comics Anthology will be created and distributed for free exclusively by the acclaimed graphic novel and comics app for iPad.

The Anthology is out now and features brand new, specially-commissioned work from a range of comic artists including Hunt Emerson, Barbara Stok, Noah Van Sciver, Margreet De Heer, and Joe Decie. All the comics are themed around TCAF and Toronto, and all the artists will be appearing or exhibiting at this year’s TCAF. The Anthology, which runs to over 50 pages, will be completely free for a limited time, available only via the iPad app which is itself free to download from the App Store.

2015 marks the tenth TCAF festival, which was founded as a biannual event in 2003, and since 2009 has been held annually at the Toronto Public Library’s Toronto Reference Library branch. In 2014, more than 22,000 people attended TCAF events, with over 400 comics creators from 15 different countries as well as a range of exhibitions and programmes. This year is the first in which a digital anthology is part of the Festival package.

The 2015 TCAF Digital Comics Anthology is out now on Sequential and will be available as a completely free download until May 11th.

tcaf sequential 1

ComiXology Launches a Refer a Friend Program

comixology refer a friendToday, comiXology announced the latest way to spread the love of comics with the launch of comiXology’s Refer-A-Friend program – an all-new initiative for fans to benefit when they share their love of comics, graphic novels, and manga. Comic fans using comiXology’s Refer-A-Friend program will receive a $5 eGift card for each new friend they refer, and that friend will receive a special $5 coupon to use on their first purchase of $10 or more.

To earn credits, comiXology fans just need to follow these simple steps:

  • Go to http://refer.comixology.com and log in.
  • Choose to share via Facebook, Twitter or email.
  • When your friends click your link, they’ll receive a unique $5 coupon to use on their first purchase of $10 or more.
  • Once they make their first purchase ever with comiXology of $10 or more, you’ll receive a $5 eGift card for your hard work!

The Refer-a-Friend feature is only available on comixology.com. For those that want to get int the full terms and conditions including eligible states you can do so here. For these who want to read their FAQ, you can do so here.

It’s great to see the company innovate and give a further incentive to comic fans to do what we already love to do, talk about comics and get people interested! Anything to grow the industry and audience should be applauded, and it happening on a digital platform creates an easy access point for those who might be interested in checking comics out.

A Free Month of Marvel Unlimited

MarvelUnlimited_AgeOfUltron_FreeMonthMarvel Unlimited is celebrating the release of Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron and offering new and returning subscribers their first month free to prepare for the cinematic event of the summer. For the first month of a Marvel Unlimited monthly subscription, new and returning subscribers will be able to enjoy free access to over 15,000 digital Marvel comics!

Unlock the Marvel Universe using the Promo Code ULTRON at Marvel Unlimited Checkout and prepare for some of the greatest Marvel comics featuring Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow and many more!  Marvel Unlimited is accessible on the web and through the Marvel Unlimited app for iPhone, iPad and Android devices.

New to the Marvel Universe and don’t know where to start? No need to worry! Marvel Unlimited subscribers have access to the DISCOVER section of Marvel Unlimited. Subscribers are now able to discover easy to follow avenues into the Marvel Universes by being able to search by their favorite storylines, characters or creators.

Marvel Promotes Comics with Fandango and Age of Ultron

I tend to call out missed opportunities when it comes to marketing comics to those who might be interested in comic books. For instance the lack of advertising of comic books during movies based on comic books have driven me crazy. That’s why it was great to open up my email today and come across a promotion between Fandango and Marvel for those who buy tickets to Avengers: Age of Ultron through the ticketing service.

The promotion provided seven “free” digital comics via the Marvel digital comic app. The comics provided are Avengers Origins: Quicksilver & the Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye #1, Thor: God of Thunder #1, Captain America #1, Black Widow #1, Hulk #1, and Superior Iron Man #1.

Two other things also stand out. Marvel, in the redemption page, has a “source” of Fandango. That means they’re tracking how well the promotion does, probably to see if it’s worth while to repeat in the future. What gets measured, gets done, after all. Also, towards the middle of the Fandango email was a link to a discounted digital copy of the Age of Ultron trade paperback.

This type of promotion should be standard with every movie, television show, tie-in released, so great to see. Now, to provide digital codes in all toys….

marvel_fandango_1_001 marvel_fandango

KickStarting: Comics

Money_CashIt’s a new week and KickStarting: Comics is back with a look at how much was raised/pledged for comic projects on Kickstarter for the past week!

I realize some projects are not in US dollars, but they all will count the same regardless of origin, for now. $1 US will be the same as $1 CAD, $1 AUD, etc. There is one exception, there is one project which was in the Danish Krone. That has been converted and rounded to the nearest dollar.

Over the past week 18 projects were successfully funded.

For the past week from April 20 to April 26 the statistics are:

Average goal: $4,119.44
Average pledged: $7,076.17
Average number of backers: 156.17
Average pledge: $45.31
Average percent raised: 171.77%
Most common given amount: $15 (558 times)
Most money from pledge level: $50 level brought in $15,150

Total pledged for the week: $127,371

For the week, the top projects were:

The top grossing project: Victoria Jr. – $24,932

Most backers: Victoria Jr. – 688 backers

Highest percent above goal raised: Victoria Jr. – 755.52%

Highest average pledge: Isis/E’steem Series Crossover Event Cover Art Project – $143

Lowest average pledge: BDR: Pretty Big Deal – $13.31

For the month of April, for the 83 successful projects, the statistics are:

Average goal: $5,181.41
Average pledged: $9,259.94
Average number of backers: 206.67
Average pledge: $44.80
Average percent raised: 178.71%
Most common given amount: $25 (2793 times)
Most money from pledge level: $25 level brought in $69,825

Total pledged for the month: $768,575

For the month, the top projects were:

The top grossing project: The Beyond Anthology – $79,670

Most backers: The Beyond Anthology – 2521 backers

Highest percent above goal raised: Zara – 2600%

Highest average pledge: The Adventures of Wook and Womp – $196.88

Lowest average pledge: BDR: Pretty Big Deal – $13.31

That wraps up this week’s data! I’ll be making tweaks to this as more are done, so let me know what you want to see!

Final Chapter of Pathfinder’s Rise of the Runelords Now Available from Syrinscape

PathfinderSyrinscape has announced the release of the Spires of Xin-Shalast SoundPack, the final chapter in the wildly popular Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

Having steeped their weapons in the ancient magic of Thassilon, the PCs in Pathfinder RPG Adventure Path: Spires of Xin-Shalast, are finally ready to confront the newly risen Runelord Karzoug at the seat of his power. To do so, they must travel high into the mountains, to the fabled city of Xin-Shalast, where they will be confronted by enormous giants, dragons, and other monsters before they can finally confront the mad wizard of greed in his mountaintop palace. With the Spires of Xin-Shalast SoundPack from Syrinscape, players will experience this epic confrontation like never before, as the entire campaign comes to life with hand-crafted, custom soundscapes, effects, music, and beastly cacophony.

The Spires of Xin-Shalast SoundPack from Syrinscape provides the complete soundscape for the adventure, including:

  • An enormous and very angry Blue Dragon
  • The weirdness of Leng Spiders
  • A stampede of Aurochs
  • The Wendigo
  • An inhumanely tall tower
  • A semi-plain of fire
  • A huge animated chain
  • And much, much more!

With the release of the final SoundPack for Rise of the Runelords, Syrinscape also announces today the launch of a brand new way to purchase the Adventure Path SoundPacks – as an all-in-one sound package of adventure. This offering includes all 6 of the SoundPacks created for Rise of the Runelords, bundled together for $89.99, a 5% discount off cover price. Syrinscape’s SoundPacks for Pathfinder can also be purchased individually for $15.99 each, or as part of Syrinscape’s Pathfinder SoundPack Ongoing Subscription for $6.50/month for the largest savings discount. The ongoing subscription includes access to Syrinscape’s entire library of Fantasy SoundSets, and all of the Pathfinder SoundPacks released to date and in the future. First-time users also now have the option of taking advantage of Syrinscape’s Free 30-Day Trial Offer.

The Syrinscape player is free to download and includes two free Fantasy SoundSets, with sounds such as Bugbear Battle, Witchwood, Flooded Cavern, Elven Vale, Lair of the Siren, and dozens more. Syrinscape is compatible with a wide range of devices, including PC, Mac, Android Tablets, and iPads.

Hero Lab’s Rise of the Runelords Out Now!

Hero LabLone Wolf Development has announced the release of the Rise of the Runelords Anniversary Edition package for Hero Lab. Rise of the Runelords is the first in a new series of add-on packages for Hero Lab, featuring the most-popular Adventure Paths from the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, and is available now via wolflair.com ($24.99).

This new Hero Lab Adventure Path package provides players with all the tools they’ll need for running the most epic of adventures:

  • Access to all of the encounters from the award-winning, fan-favorite, Pathfinder Adventure Path: Rise of the Runelords Anniversary Edition
  • Pre-built NPCs with spells, gear, feats, traits, armor, items, and more
  • Ability to import the encounters into the Hero Lab Tactical Console to manage combat with a laptop at the game table
  • Option to print-out NPCs and monsters for easy reference
  • Fully customize encounters and NPCs – perfect for the surprise player or home-brew setting
  • Automatic integration of spells, items, and other material from other Pathfinder RPG supplements, such as the Bestiary or Advanced Players Guide, for use within that Adventure Path (purchase of these packages is not necessary)

Designed for players and GMs alike, Hero Lab is the ultimate RPG character management tool. With this award-winning software, players can build characters in minutes for their favorite RPGs, and play from their laptop, iPad or printed character sheets. Indispensable Game Mastering tools, like the Encounter Builder and Tactical Console, ensure GMs don’t have to worry about the hassles of creating or running an encounter. With Hero Lab, preparing for games has never been easier.

In addition to the Pathfinder RPG, Hero Lab is available for Shadowrun, Mutants and Masterminds, Savage Worlds, Call of Cthulhu, World of Darkness, and the d20 System.

« Older Entries