If you work in the world of computer graphics, you'll know that creating any 3D art or effects work is no easy feat. So to help out we've scoured the web this month for a selection of tools which are sure to make the life of a digital artist just that little bit easier.
While not necessarily the most exciting chip upgrade ever to grace the world, the fact that manufacturers are now actually shipping units containing Quad core 7th Gen chips is good news for artists looking to upgrade their hardware. The main advantages that Kabylake offer is mainly with the integrated graphics which is much improved with much better 4k support. This also means that there are likely to be some decent discounts on Skylake-based systems which offer nearly the same level of power as the new generation.
02. Dell Canvas
CES was this month which meant that the majority of the electronics companies gathered in Las Vegas to show off their latest wares. One of the highlights was the Dell Canvas. The Canvas is a 27” drawing tablet which takes on the Wacom Cintiq and the new Microsoft Studio. It's a standalone display with a QHD resolution like the Cintiq, but uses the control paradigms of the Microsoft Studio, without the underpowered hardware which the studio comes with to drive its screen. Pricing is expected to be around £1500 when it ships around Easter time.
For many CG artist’s the GPU is as important as the CPU. Nvidia has had gaming cards available for a while based on it’s Pascal platform, which have offered near parity between mobile and desktop cards while being very power efficient and much faster. It is only now that the Pascal has made it to the professionally-based Quadro cards.
While the price of a Quadro can seem excessive when compared to a gaming card, they can often offer more UI speed and reliability than their gaming cousins at a comparative price point, so having the efficiency and power of Pascal in Quadro cards is mouthwatering for many CG artists.
Adobe has just started shipping Project Felix, its take on a 3D application for people don’t want to be 3D artists. The big news of the release is that Chaos Group have added a version of V-Ray to Felix, allowing realtime previews along with a guaranteed quality level for the final renders. Felix comes with a really good selection of material and lighting presets and should be checked out by any artist with an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription.
05. Panasonic GH5
It’s here…..finally (well for pre-orders anyway). The camera that truly brought videography to artists on a budget receives it’s latest iteration. The specs are truly astonishing, from 180fps slo-mo, 10 bit recording, 3,680-dot panel EVF, and 60fps at 4k, with 5-axis in body stabilisation. This is a beast of a camera for any videographer, and early tests of the stabilisation especially look amazing. The only real downside is that it isn’t shipping until March.
06. HDRI Link Suite
The C4D plugin specialists Greyscalegorilla have just released a new bundle of their excellent HDRI Link plugin plus all of the HDRI expansion packs, this makes adding HDR based lighting solutions so much easier in Cinema 4D, with a raft of options which work for any of the major C4d third party render solutions. Order before January 17 and get the Modern Industrial and Studio Basics suites included for free for the great price of $229.
07. HP Sprout Pro G2
3D scanning and printing is still new to many 3D artists, but it is becoming increasingly common in many studios. The HP Sprout was launched in 2014, and has just received a major upgrade which was announced at CES for release in March. The HP Sprout Pro G2 contains a 3D scanner and tablet, which comes with 3D scanner and new active stylus, with beefed up internals – HP has created a potential true 3D solution for small studios.
08. Wacom Bamboo Folio A5
The Wacom Bamboo Folio has been out in A4 format for a couple of months, to generally positive reviews, but size and price have been two major factors getting in the way. Wacom has remedied this by launching a new smaller A5 version of the Folio, which allows note taking and sketching on paper on the go, all of which can be transferred via a one button press to your mobile as an attachment or an editable document in a creative app.
09. Wacom Intuos Pro
Wacom also released a new Intuos range, dubbed the Intuos Pro, there is full support for the new Wacom Pro Pen 2, which has better tilt and pressure sensitivity as well as full multi-gesture support.
Within the new range there is a new Intuos Pro Paper option which mixes Wacom’s paper and pen recognition technology with everything that makes artists love their Wacom tablets. The pen and clip which enables ‘paper’ is available as an accessory for all of the new Intuos pro options. The tablets are available now from €379.