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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Moviestorm 1.5.3 released

Moviestorm 1.5.3, released today, is a free upgrade available to all users.

Two new features you’ll notice are the look customizer and the mini timeline.

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The look customizer gives you much more control over the ways characters can look at each other: you can look with just the eyes instead of turning the whole head, you can choose where on the other person the character is looking (eyes, head, chest, left/right hand, pelvis or feet - or top/middle/bottom of an object), and you can control the speed at which the look happens. You can even have the head looking at one target while the eyes look at another target.

This is a small change in some ways, but it’s really powerful from the dramatic and cinematic point of view. You can say a lot with a look - often much more than you can in words.  Independent control of head and eyes, combined with targeted focus points allows you to look someone up and down, checking them out, or add in shifty, surreptitious sideways glances. Characters can even keep their eyes fixed on someone while nodding their heads - with a little cunning, you can use this to create a character peering over their specs at someone. This kind of subtlety in acting adds immense depth to your animated characters, It involves a little more work for the filmmaker, but the results are well worth it.

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The mini timeline, down at the bottom right, now shows you how much of the total timeline is visible. You can also click and drag it to navigate around the master timeline. There are a few other minor changes to the timeline: for example, activities that are reduced to zero length on the timeline now show as a red square instead of a triangle. The timeline zoom is also now exponential rather than linear, letting you zoom in or out more.

Another small improvement that people have been asking for is for ceilings to cast shadows. You need to disable “Interior Lighting” if you want this effect. Another change we made to shadows is that props can have their shadows disabled. This will also stop it reducing the overall shadowmap quality if it’s near the edge of a scene. Try switching off the shadows for large backdrops, panoramas and primitives, or for large buildings or trees that are only partly visible, and you should see a big improvement in the shadows on the rest of the set.

Moviestorm 1.5.3 also includes many bug fixes and performance improvements. Whenever you add or move actions on the timeline, Moviestorm does a “retake”, which re-generates the animation sequences for the scene. Retakes are now much faster, which will improve overall speed, particularly when making tweaks to a scene. If you’ve been working with long video clips, you’ll be relieved to know that clips over 6 minutes long now display correctly on the Cutting Room timeline. And for those who like to use Moviestorm to generate screenshots or storyboards, screenshots taken in the Camera View with the snapshot button now include depth of field.

Something that anyone who makes action or horror films will appreciate is that “dead” characters are finally, properly dead and will no longer do automatic look ats or any other improvisations. We’ve also improved the skinning on several of the costumes in the base pack and some of the add-ons, and tweaked the

Modders will be pleased to note that we’ve changed the ‘Move to’ menu in the Modders’ Workshop so that you can scroll through the list of addons, and we’ve fixed the ‘Browse’ button so that it works for props that have spaces in their folder names.

Get Moviestorm 1.5.3 now

Full details in the release notes.

To get the update, just start Moviestorm as normal and press the Update button in the launcher.

(0) Comments | Permalink | Posted by Matt Kelland

Monday, September 17, 2012

Free flashlight for paying customers

Free flashlightThe latest free asset for Moviestorm customers is a handy little flashlight that can be used either as a held prop or as a static set object. Use it in crime movies, thrillers, adventures, horror, or sci-fi!

Characters can switch the flashlight on or off. In the on state, there are two different beam strengths; poor illumination, which is great for horror movies, or a bright light, ideal for investigators. Characters can get the flashlight and put it away, as well as aiming it in different directions.

To get this asset, you’ll need to request the free bonus content pack if you don’t already have it. Go to the bonus content page, click on “Claim your bonus content” at the bottom of the page, and it will be downloaded and installed the next time that you start Moviestorm.

This content is exclusively available to paying customers.



What you get:

  • Flashlight prop (with "off" and two "on" states)  
  • Flashlight held prop (with "off" and two "on" states)

Flashlight animations (male and female):

  • Get flashlight  
  • Turn flashlight on (bright beam)  
  • Turn flashlight on (dim beam)  
  • Look left (with return animation)  
  • Look right (with return animation)  
  • Look up with return animation)  
  • Turn flashlight off  
  • Put flashlight away

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More free items

Free flashlightPrevious items in the free bonus pack include:

  • Violin (with animations)
  • Electric razor & toothbrush (with animations)
  • Microphone (with animations)
  • Halloween masks & weapons (with animations)
  • Pot of pills (with animations)
  • Binoculars (with animations)
  • Elevator (with animations)
  • ATM / Cash machine (with animations)
  • Asian hairstyles
  • Wheelchair (with animations)
  • Sniper rifle (with animations)
  • Smartphone (with animations)

Get the free bonus pack now

(0) Comments | Permalink | Posted by Matt Kelland

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Moviestorm partners with Promethean Planet to deliver interactive educational content

imageWe are very proud to have been selected to partner with leading educational technology specialists Promethean Planet to deliver a wide range of classroom resources to teachers at all levels worldwide.

Promethean creates, develops, supplies and supports interactive solutions that span all ages and market sectors from traditional education to business and government. Their vision of future education is to use technology to create an integrated and interactive environment that is easily implemented and user-friendly, and includes proven techniques such as interactive whiteboards, learner response systems, software, and resources and instructor communities as well as training and professional development. Promethean is a truly global company, with offices in 15 countries, and has worked with students in over 500,000 classrooms in more than 100 countries.

“We are really looking forward to seeing many more students, of all ages, around the world, benefiting from Moviestorm,” said Moviestorm’s CEO Andrew Kennedy. “Our educational products are suitable for kids from elementary school upwards, and we’ve already seen how they can transform learning, not just in the arts and media as you might expect, but in other courses. Teachers worldwide are using it to teach science, history, civics, numeracy, literacy, game design, languages, and sciences. It’s been a great alternative for disadvantaged students who have problems presenting written work, and even in mainstream courses, students enjoy the opportunity to present work in an audio-visual form. It’s being used by primary school kids and university students, in private and public education, in modern high-tech colleges, and in the developing world. It’s even being used for corporate training. We’re constantly astonished by the innovative and creative uses that both teachers and pupils are finding to incorporate low-cost, easy animation into their working methodology.”

With the increasing emphasis of students being media literate and being prepared for today’s knowledge economy it is essential that students of all ages engage with industry standard tools to be able to understand and create resources of the highest quality. This is where Moviestorm really stands head and shoulders above the competition.
Adrian Hall, former Programme Director, DFES

Promethean Planet now hosts Moviestorm’s growing collection of free lesson plans and books for teachers and students. These cover a range of topics, and are mostly available as PDF. (Free registration required.)

For teachers who want to experiment with Moviestorm in other ways, the Web site and the education forum have further ideas for using it in the classroom. Many of these, as well as practical advice for incorporating animation into teaching, are incorporated in a short e-book, Using Animation in Schools: a practical handbook for teachers (available free from both Moviestorm and Promethean Planet).



Pupils at Long Road Sixth Form College, Cambridge, UK

“Moviestorm is an exciting alternative to existing animation software that is currently available. Its intuitive interface, richly textured environments and characters plus its fully functional directorial suite makes it an impressive tool for planning, directing and editing animated movies. My students are already discovering new ways to utilise Moviestorm for class assigments, choosing this over other presentation styles.”
Steven Caldwell, MLC School, NSW, Australia


More information

We also encourage teachers to submit ideas and lesson plans to share with others - if you suggest an idea, we’ll upgrade your free trial to an annual license.

(0) Comments | Permalink | Posted by Matt Kelland

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