Top new tools for 3D artists this July

It has been a sweltering summer in the UK so far, but these cool new 3D art releases should help any artist get through the heat in July.

01. Premiere Pro Pond5 plugin 

Adobe Premiere CC’s Pond5 plugin allows stock footage to be found and inserted easily into an editors timeline

Adobe Premiere CC users can streamline their workflow with a new plugin for stock footage and template company Pond5. The add-on enables artists to access Pond5’s massive library of HD and 4K video, music tracks and sound effects – all of which can searched based on price, duration, resolution or frame rate – without leaving Premiere. Footage can be dragged directly into the timeline, and once the client has approved the footage, the watermarked version is automatically updated. 

02. Ignite Express

Ignite Express comes with over 80 VFX, grading and editing plugins

The newly released VFX plugin suite HitFilm Express is getting a little brother. Ignite Express has over 90 plugins, which work in a wide range of applications – Adobe After Effects, Premiere, Fusion and Final Cut to name but a few. Included are tools for grading, keying and VFX. And the best thing is that Ignite Express is completely free.

03. Oculus Rift Price drop

Oculus has reduced the price of its complete VR and controller bundle to £399

Although those of us who bought the full-price Oculus Rift bundle may be smarting at the news, there’s no denying the new limited-time offer of £399 for the Rift and Touch controllers is a great deal. While VR aficionados may speculate that this as a sign of the rising popularity of the HTC Vive, remember that Oculus has the vast resources of Facebook behind it, so profit may not be the driving factor – this could be a way for the company to get an Oculus Rift into everyone’s living room. All we need is for Oculus to confirm it will follow HTC in developing its software for Mac.

04. Hybrid rendering in V-Ray 3.6

V-Ray Hybrid is an all new implementation of V-Ray that can make use of all your computer’s resources

In the latest release of V-Ray 3.6 for 3D Studio Max, Chaos group has added V-Ray hybrid rendering. V-Ray hybrid rendering combines the computer’s CPU and GPU power to speed up rendering times compared to using either on its own. While this is separate from the V-Ray Production render (which is CPU-based), having a hybrid render engine from V-Ray could be transformative for many artists.

05. Modo 11.1

Modo 11.1 comes with many enhancements, including a new Unreal Engine bridge

The latest release of Modo has just been made available. New features include a new Bridge to Unreal engine, which enables artists to push elements or entire scenes into Unreal from Modo. This can be updated as revisions are made, and even works across a network – which means, for example, a Modo artist could push work to an Unreal artist on another machine. Modelling workflows have also been improved – notable enhancements include a revamped Topology pen and an easier-to-use Loop tool.


The Red Hydrogen could mark a new revolution in mobile technology

RED has long been recognised as one of the world’s leading creators of digital cinema cameras. It has gained a reputation for championing new technologies years before anybody else, from 4K in 2006 through to its latest announcement: the HYDROGEN phone. 

Pre-orders start at $1,195, and for that you get a modular device that has the potential of becoming a full shoulder-mounted camera. Oh, and then there is the holographic display! This could be a game-changer of a device.

07. Canon EOS 6D Mark II 

The Canon 6D Mark II packs many great improvements into the familiar 6D shape

The Canon 6D offered an inexpensive way for many photographers to get into full frame photography. With the release of the Canon 6D Mark II, Canon has vastly improved the number of focus points to 45, and created an all-new 26.2 MP sensor. One of the biggest changes to the otherwise similar exterior is the 3” articulating touchscreen. While video stays at HD only, it does have Canon’s excellent Dual Pixel AF focus.

08. DJI Spark

The DJI Spark is aimed at novice and enthusiast flyers

DJI has become dominant within the drone market due to its easy to fly and continually evolving drone models. The Spark is the latest drone from DJI, aimed primarily at the novice and casual flier with its 1080p camera and two-directional gimbal. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be used to shoot great video: the Spark has many of the flight controls of the bigger Mavic and Phantom Pro drones, bundled into an airframe not much bigger than an iPhone.

09. Golaem 6 released

Golaem 6 brings many enhancements to the Maya population plugin

Autodesk Maya population plugin maker Golaem has have just released version 6 of its easy to use software, and with it comes some exciting updates. Characters now have custom AI abilities, making them perceive and react to the scene more realistically. 

There are also new emit and kill behaviours, a new behaviour for traffic simulation, and enhancements to the bundled Golaem Layout tool. The best thing is that a PLE for Golaem 6 is available for free, so artists can find out more about this amazing plugin. For further inspiration, check out our list of mighty Maya tutorials.

10. ZBrush 4R8 now shipping

The new Gizmo 3D tool enables you to move multiple subtools at once

ZBrush 4R8 is now shipping and is being offered as as a free update to existing users. A new Gizmo 3D tool, along with the ability to transform multiple subtools at once, makes the new ZBrush a lot easier to pick up for users coming from a more traditional 3D background. New deformation modifiers, live booleans and interactive primitives will also help artists create amazing 3d models. The interface has been given a much-needed tidy up, too.

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