Synapse Circuit has great pleasure in bringing you yet another great synth, and it's FREE!
SynthMaster One is an easy to use wavetable synthesizer with an intuitive workflow. Although it shares the same engine with its bigger brother SynthMaster, it comes with new features like wavetable synthesis. With its simple layout, rich wavetable/waveform content and inspiring factory presets library, designing new sounds with SynthMaster One is a real joy. Read on!
Sometimes great VST synthesizers can be offputting for novices, and even some semi-professionals. A lot of Electronic Computer Technology Musicians just want to install an awesome VSTi (and effects) and start composing straightaway! Well, you can do this with K331 Audio’s Synthmaster One.
Synthmaster One comes with many waveforms and wavetables, as a result you can create amazing patches! You can also add your own! Synthmaster One comes with the most amazing presets you will ever hear on a VSTi! Beautiful analogue sounding patches for all types of Electronic genres. GUI Me? Again, I am not what you would call an out and out expert in VST. However, I do like to get stuck in and alter the preset sounds to create my own unique take on them (the presets). I don’t understand people who would just use the presets as they are. Oh, well… Anyway, the Synthmaster One user interface is not only aesthetically pleasing but I find that it lends itself to tweaking the parameters. The interface is very inviting to those who, like me, just want to experiment and intuitively tweak the settings to create the desired sound. I am sort of old school in that when I used to have hardware synths I had to learn to program them pretty quickly to get the most out of them. I only had a few Kawai synths, and boy, did I program the heck out of them! I was so good at get the most out of these Kawai synths (K1 & K4) that people thought I was using more expensive synths! Synthmaster One takes me back to the days when I intuitively understood what I was doing when creating new synth patches! FX Above: K331 Audio Synthmaster One working inside the MAGIX Music Maker 2017 Premium DAW flawlessly! It has some wonderful onboard effects, distortion, EQ, compression, chorus, delay, and reverb. These effects really go that extra mile in giving a patch a certain sweetness that just delights your ears! I have to hand it to K331 Audio for creating this cost effective - more so because it is currently discounted in a Spring Sale! DESIGNER As simple as the interface is, the seasoned professional sound designer would get mileage out of Synthmaster One and then some! I don’t meet Synth Master’s very often, but when I do it never ceases to amaze me what they can do in the name of synthesizing sounds! In fact, it was such a Synth Master who got me into Electronic music in the first place! All this Synth Master needed was a white lab coat! I think he would have created divine sounding patches if he were around today! CONCLUSION Synthmaster One is a phenomenal VSTi for the money - the current sale makes it even more so! There is no excuse for boring formulaic Electronic music! Seriously, have you ever gone to a Trance, EDM, or Industrial event? As a former music journalist, I can tell you that attending these events were seldom fully enjoyable. There may have been one or two bands/artists on the billing worth listening to, the rest were terrible clones. I think some of these lacklustre artists/bands could up their game with Synthmaster One! I really mean that! I would love to hear what an Electronic band like Front 242 would do with Synthmaster One! Front 242, these guys are like what the Rolling Stones is to Rock music; they can give these young pretenders a run for the money any day of the week! Anyway, enough bitching! I love Synthmaster One! It is a fantastic synth and it, along with some of the recent synths that I have reviewed of late, makes me want to start composing again! If you are serious about producing music and/or sound design then you NEED Synthmaster One yesterday! Get it now while it is on sale!
SCORE This one is a no-brainer! The interface is on point! The range of sounds is plentiful! If you have a sound in your head Synthmaster One will synthesize it for you in all its glory!
Synthmaster One scores an astounding... Synapse Circuit Platinum!
Do these Reallusion guys ever stop? There are at it again... Reallusion is up to its usual amazing tricks in the name of 3D Animation and Character Creations! Read on!
San Jose, CA 19th April 2017 - Reallusion launches Unreal (UE4) Character Creator 2.0 update, a solution for thousands of UE4 game developers to create, animate and export 3D characters fully-rigged and ready for games. Unreal character design for developers utilizing Adobe Fuse & Mixamo now have a new solution for game character creation and animation with Reallusion Character Creator’ full compatibility. Design a visually stunning character with easy morph sliders and clothing options, animate it with hundreds of iClone animations, custom mocap or lip-sync and export the finished characters to Unreal with a workflow that integrates into any indie or studio pipeline for game development.
VIDEO: Character Creator 2.0 Export for Unreal & UnityPhysically Based Render Shaders
Optimized for Unreal UE4 Unreal users highly requested a new character design tool that is dedicated to working and scaling with Unreal development. In response, Reallusion has adapted Character Creator 2.0 to auto convert character bone structures for UE4 rigs, allowing CC characters to be fully compatible with the Unreal UE4 Third Person Controller.
Unity Mecanim Compatible With the latest CC 2.0 update, Character Creator assets can now enjoy a direct FBX export for Mecanim-compatible characters into Unity 3D, for instant 3rd person gameplay. Users will also be able to save and display the same realistic PBR looks in Character Creator to their Unity game by manually setting up their texture maps. Mixamo Motions ExportBy combining with the iClone/3DXchange pipeline, users can auto convert Mixamo motions through Character Creator 2.0 for use in the Unreal engine. Reallusion now offers a quick workaround to quickly apply any Mixamo motions to character rigs in Unreal by taking it through 3DXchange. This will save time by avoiding the requirement to map and rename bones and re-align axis. Benjamin Bishop of Caprica Productions details how Reallusion answered their call for help and saved their game company “thousands of dollars and hundreds of development hours”.“We were using Mixamo, Adobe Fuse for a lot of our character creation needs. When the Unreal Engine 4 rig was removed from their service it completely broke our pipeline and caused us to lose countless hours of work. We turned to Reallusion for a possible solution and have found a company which was quick to respond, help and integrate everything we needed into their software. We found them vastly superior in every way and couldn't have imagined a better interaction. Shortly after, Character Creator 2.0 was released including the feature we requested plus many others that make it an excellent addition to any developers’ tool bag. Reallusion have saved us thousands of dollars and hundreds of development hours. It’s great to find a company that really listens to their customers and does everything they can to help!” - Benjamin Bishop / Capricia Productions Download Character Creator Lite -https://www.reallusion.com/character-creator/download.html
About Reallusion: Reallusion Inc. is a 2D and 3D animation software and content developer. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, with R&D centers in Taiwan, and offices and training centers in Germany and Japan. Reallusion specializes in the development of realtime 2D and 3D cinematic animation tools for consumers, students and professionals. The company provides users with easy to use avatar animation, facial morphing and voice lipsync solutions for real-time 3D filmmaking, and previsualization for professional post production. Reallusion's core technologies are widely used by trainers, educators, gamers and filmmakers providing them with standalone movie studio packages.http://www.reallusion.com
Synapse Circuit brings you a dedicated kick drum synthesizer from the house of Noizefield!
KICKING OUT THE BEATS
You and I both know that there's no such thing as having enough drums! Whether it's your ever expanding collection of loops or one-doors, or soft machines… There's always room for more! Getting the right sounding kick to cut through the mix can prove to be troublesome. It helps if you've got the right sounding kick for a particular genre. The advantages that software has over a sample is that you can shape the sound more readily by tweaking the synth parameters. Read on!
KICKING OFF Above: Kick-Machine in action! The DAW is MAGIX Music Maker 2017 Premium.
The presets are nice and varied to span most, if not all, genres of Electronic music. Do you love Gabba? I do. Well, not all of it… … Anyways, there a few kicks that lend themselves to that genre; you know that hallmark distorted sound that makes you feel that you're losing brain matter throttle your nose. C'mon, we've all been there… … We've been at those hardcore clubs…
Yes, indeed! It's easy to tweak the parameters to create the ultimate kick. There are quite a few kick synths out there and Kick-Machine is quite outstanding.
It's free! What more can you ask for? That's a trick question! We want it all! We'll get the next one; we'll get the next sample, and the ones after that…
The only thing you have to do is create an account with Noizefield in order to download. You can do it here: Noizefield
SCORE The Kick-Machine is a must have synth as you'll keep coming back to it; it's solid! .
Kick-Machine scores a decent Synapse Circuit Gold!
Synapse Circuit brings you what looks like an unbeatable DAW in Reaper!
NEXT TO FREE DIGITAL AUDIO WORKSTATION!
I don't know if you've noticed but there's a great deal of digital audio workstations on the market. Some are available free on the Interweb and then there are commercially available ones from the likes of MAGIX, Steinberg, Cakewalk, and many others! Cockos Reaper comes out like a hand from the heavens reaching musicians all-over the world. Reaper was born on the Interweb but, unlike other Web based software projects, it has taken off… BIG TIME! Let's take a look…Read on!
As well as being cost effective at a discounted $60 licence, it's next to free as you will get a prompt to purchase a license when it's launched. It is fully functional. Even at $225, Reaper appears to be a steal.
What I like about Reaper is that it is less than 15MB to download and takes up about 50MB after the installation. It's ready to go! It can even be run from a flash drive! Cool! Reaper is configured in accordance to your PC soundcard. No need to make any adjustments. I find that quite impressive as MAGIX Music Maker Premium was quite fiddly to configure on an AMD based rig. Above: The sparse but highly functional Reaper interface.
As interfaces go, Reaper looks pretty good. The layout is very self-explanatory, and, for the most part, quite intuitive. Me? I don't like reading manuals unless I have to. Adding a VST Instrument on a track and adding notes via the MIDI interface was easy!
Unlike the aforementioned MAGIX Music Maker Premium, and other DAWs, Reaper isn't preloaded with a bunch of instrumentation. There are about 27 VST and JS effects. It kind of makes sense to not include Instruments as Cockos, the creators of Reaper, expects users to be in possession of a myriad of Instruments (and effects). This DAW is aimed at the serious music producer, yet it is within reach of the bedroom producer. This is what sets Reaper apart from the more established DAWs on the market.
Reaper's nearest competition that springs to mind is, yes, MAGIX Samplitude Pro X3 (I hope to bring you a review soon), which costs £300 for the standard version or £750 for the suite that's currently on sale for £450! So, it looks like Reaper is a very attractive prospect for producers of all abilities. With the money saved, depending on what option you go for, there should be enough money left over to get a decent synth or two, plus effects for mastering, etc. I must look into cost effective mastering effects soon. There again, the standard of freely available VST instruments and effects is astounding! Not only that, there are many developers out there who are creating great mastering effects for a very reasonable price.
Reaper looks good and has skins to change the overall colour scheme. It's not like, say, MAGIX Music Maker Premium for example, in that it's colourful with a modernized aesthetic. In comparison, Reaper looks rather dull. However, Reaper is highly functional in ways that MAGIX Music Maker Premium is not. For example, it's possible to modify various aspects of the graphical user interface by using a script. I won't go into detail as you can learn how to modify the GUI via the Reaper website: www.reaper.fm
And let's not forget that Reaper is aimed at the serious music producer and there are other functions that are not available in MAGIX Music Maker Premium such as VCA track grouping. What? Basically, you can group a number of tracks and control these tracks with a single VCA master. As a result, you can create sub mixes. It's very flexible and powerful.
Above: Automation in Reaper and options.
When it comes to automation, Reaper is very, very straightforward in that you load a synth or effect and by going to the automation settings you can then select “Touch” or “Latch” - in addition to others - and proceed to move a knob or slider on the Instrument/effect and record those moments in real-time. Once the knob/slider movements have been recorded they can be played back as part of the composition. Whereas with Music Maker Premium, there are no options for “Touch” or “Latch” automation; these parameters can only be drawn in the MIDI editor interface. Don't misunderstand me, it doesn't mean that Music Maker is less capable, it's just that you have to work in a slightly less efficient manner.
NO FUSS VST
Unlike Music Maker Premium, Reaper isn't fussy about accepting VST instruments and effects - at least during my test time! I didn't encounter an instrument not functioning as it should. Not only that, Reaper locates all the VST instruments and effects from the start; there's no need to keep updating the VST location each and every time a new VST is added. That's a remarkable bit of programming that saves a lot of time.
Reaper is on its own when it comes to value for money and professional features. Again, other DAWs that cost around £20 less than the discounted license is guaranteed to have a limited feature set that will appeal to a particular user base. Whereas, Reaper can cover a wide range of users from the bedroom producer right up to seasoned professionals working in a studio environment. Yet, at the same time, Reaper's interface may not appeal to producers who rely upon sample loops for composition.
The sample loop driven DAW is not aimed at musicians and is lacking features. No. I'm not dismissing such DAWs as toys - such applications have a place. That said, MAGIX Music Maker - especially the Petition version - straddles both sample loops and musicians remarkably well.
In contrast, Reaper is perfect for traditional and computer musicians.
SCORE Given that you have the option to a discounted license at $60 while you're working on making your music pay, Reaper is unbeatable! It's constantly being updated; it seems that Reaper gets updated at least every two weeks. I downloaded a version a couple of weeks ago and then when I launched it today, 17th April 2017, there was an update! The updates aren't solely for the purpose of increased stability, uh-uh! The updates add new attributes that increases the usefulness of Reaper even more!
Synapse Circuit brings you another great VST synthesizer in the form of...
COBALT OUT OF THE BLUE
You may be well aware of the plethora of free VST instruments and effects on the Web; you may also be aware that many of these freebies can be badly programmed. Great ideas and wonderful looking synths/effects poorly realized can have an adverse effect on your productivity. Nothing worse than a beautiful sounding synth that keeps causing your DAW to crash. Read on!
Behold… Leslie Sanford delivers a Cobalt out of the blue…
Do not worry if, as a novice, that the above means little or nothing to you. It is more important to get in there have mess around. That’s how you learn! I created a patch by fooling around, saved it and recalled it.
Above: Little Cobalt, big Cobalt.
Whenever I install what promises to be a decent free VST instrument or effect, I cross my fingers in the hope that it doesn't crash my DAW. It's worth noting that I'm using MAGIX Music Maker Premium in my ongoing tests. I recommend that you test these VST plugins with different DAWs; what crashes one DAW works perfectly well in others!
Well, that's the nature of these things. In the not too distant future, I'll be reviewing other DAWs! Stay tuned…
I'm happy to say that Cobalt is wonderfully realized. It was created to emulate classic synths of the 80s. Gosh! Cobalt sounds phenomenal!
The presets sound fantastic! Sweet! The bass instruments are varied, leads cuts the air like shrapnel flying through the air, and the pads are lush!
Those sounds can be used in any music genre. It's easy to program too! Cobalt is a must have!
SCORE The graphical user interface (GUI) could have been better but the sounds are delicious! .
Cobalt scores a well-deserved Synapse Circuit Gold!
Synapse Circuit has great pleasure in bringing you yet another great synth, and it's FREE!
MORE BOUNCE TO THE OUNCE
Bounce is a 6 oscillators subtractive synthesizer… OK, whatever that means… Ha ha! But seriously… It is designed for EDM, House, Future House, Dance, Melbourne Bounce, Trance and Dubstep other styles of Electronic music. In other words, the preset sounds are geared towards the genres mentioned above. The truth is that you can tweak the oscillators and other parameters to create your own unique patches. Read on!
For the technically minded, look below. If you are not technically minded then look below!
6 oscillators (Four oscillators with 32 waveforms each and two oscillators are wavedraw
oscillators), inclusive Phase, FM and RM and XMod.
Sync option for the osc 1-4.
Multimode - Filter (LP,HP,BP).
Noise generator (White Noise).
4 Envelopes (One amp and three modulation envelopes (Pitch/Filter/FM).
Portamento for gliding sounds. Do not worry if, as a novice, that the above means little or nothing to you. It is more important to get in there have mess around. That’s how you learn! I created a patch by fooling around, saved it and recalled it.
Above: The saving and retrieval of a patch. Oh, when you save a patch (a synth sound) based on one of the presets, you can’t revert back to the original sound. In order to revert to the original sound you have to reload the Bounce. This is a minor irritation that doesn’t spoil the whole deal. Also, whatever you have named the new sound that you have created does not show up on the interface. Odd! So, that’s two minor irritants. SCORE If not for the two minor irritations I would have liked to have given Bounce a possible Platinum. The interface looks good, the parameters can be easily modified to create new and compelling sounds, and it presented no problems in that it did not cause the MAGIX Music Maker DAW (digital audio workstation), used for the test, to crash. It is well programmed.
Synapse Circuit has kicked off with the start of a long running Computer Electronic Future Music Technology string of reviews!
“The entity Noisebud can pretty much do whatever it likes and not care about anyone or anything else…” I like that… Bold! Noisebud are Sol and Johannes from Sweden. These men are accomplished Electronic musicians but makers of some wonderful VST instruments and effects. And here’s the Synapse Circuit review of Burt 2.0! Read on!
THERE ARE NO COINCIDENCES How I stumbled upon Burt 2.0… I was looking for some free VST plugins to test MAGIX Music Maker 2017 Premium. Very often, some of these free VST instruments and effects would crash Music Maker. The plan is to do a small follow-up review on the stability of Music Maker with free VST! Standby for that review… In the meantime I have downloaded quite a few freely available VSTs. For some reason Burt 2.0 was outstanding. I think it was the interface that did it. I found it on a free VST specific website and I went from there straight to the Noisebud website. I saw there are two versions, one free and the other asked for a small donation fee of $7.99 and I had to have it! The donation version allows some of the presets to be controlled by a modulation wheel. Darn it! I need a USB music keyboard with a mod wheel on it! That’s next on my list! Anway… WOW What I love about Burt 2.0 are the beautifully distorted and aggressive presets. Gorgeous sounds! Burt 2.0 is the kind of synthesizer that Electronic music purists will just fall in love with. At first I had an issue with getting some sound out of Burt 2.0 with Music Maker… I contacted Noisebud and they came up with this solution: “The steps listed below is a bit different between the Windows versions, so don't panic if it looks slightly different:
- Use Windows Explorer to browse to your VST Plugins folder.
- Right-click the folder - 'Properties'
- Choose 'Security' tab.
- Click 'EDIT' (You may need to click a UAC prompt).
- Select username "Users".
- Tick options Allow 'Write' and 'Modify'.
- To finish Select 'OK' to close the two dialog boxes.
When all this is done, reinstall Burt and launch you DAW and see if it works.” That did the trick! It may not be necessary to deinstall reinstall Burt 2.0. This is what I did: I located the VST folder that I installed Burt 2.0 in and then edited the folder properties as detailed above. I then launched Music Maker, went to the settings, added the VST folder and I could see straightaway that Burt 2.0 had been utilized and it became available in the instrument selection. I dragged one instance of Burt 2.0 across and low and behold, sound came out! YAY! NO PRETENSE I can’t pretend to know everything there is to know about a synthesizer to be able to explain on a scientific level about what all the knobs do, but the knobs are labelled clearly thus give an indication as to what they do. I had great fun messing around with the knobs going through the presets. I tend to find a sound that is closest to the one that is bouncing around in my head and proceed to tweak the settings until I intuitively get that sound that I am after. I can see that I will have hours of fun coming up with some rather dirty gritty sounds! I haven’t made any music in ages and I can tell you that Burt 2.0 has inspired me to get making some tracks again! I have to find the time in-between writing and other things! CONCLUSION If you want a simple and effective VST synth for all genres of Electronic music without paying a king’s ransom then Burt 2.0 will do it for you. It’s pure and raw. It is very programmable. The knobs are fully automated too! Oh, automation - if you are new to Computer Music - is when you are able to record the movement of VST instrument and effects knobs, sliders, and dials, etc. The recorded movement can then be played back as a performance. It’s like messing with the knob of the (in)famous Roland TB-303 to create that definitive Acid sound. SCORE Burt 2.0 scores a well deserved Synapse Circuit Gold!
You will be amazed by the sounds and the scope! Believe!
Synapse Circuit will be reviewing VST instruments, effects and Music Technology hardware! It's been a long time coming!
ELECTRONIC COMPUTER FUTURE MUSIC TECHNOLOGY
DAW or Digital Audio Workstation applications have come a long way. More and more people are getting into music production as these DAWs have become very inexpensive and delivering professional sounding results. Judging by the amazing response to the Synapse Circuitreview of MAGIX Music Maker 2017 Premium, the time is right for Synapse Circuitto venture out into the realms of Music Technology, Computer Music, Future Music Tech - whatever! The idea is not to end up being a catalog for Electronic Computer Music with the bias ethos, "You need this to be professional," but to let You, the Synapse CircuitReader, know what's out there! Stay tuned for some great Electronic Computer Future Music Technology reviews! To be clear, it's VST instruments and effects, and Music Technology hardware such as USB audio devices, keyboards (musical), speakers, etc. If Synapse Circuitcan get hold of it, then it will be reviewed! Watch this space! Thank you for reading!Synapse Circuit / Blue Gene
#MAGIX #Music #Maker #Platinum #MusicMaker #VST #Soundpool #ComputerMusic MAGIX is on a mission; it's an unrelenting multimedia machine that has no off switch. It has just acquired Sony's dying video and music applications, Vegas and ACID respectively and breathed new life into them. Reviews coming soon… The question has to be asked: Has the MAGIX staple, Music Maker (Premium) suffered as a result? Well, let's take a look at the 2017 version of Music Maker Premium.
Like MAGIX, the Music Maker Premium interface has gotten yet another thoughtful interface makeover. So far, so good! Sample loops and instruments are now flushed to the right for easy access and it takes one click to move it out of the way so that you're left with just the tracks. You can get rid of the bottom half of the interface containing the virtual keyboard, templates and inspector just as easily.
The result is an uncluttered and solid workspace, it was long overdue! The interface has always been good but a little problematic at times. The residual interface pixel phenomenon is no more. In other words, part of the interface no longer replicates inexplicably on the screen when introducing instruments on the track timeline and hang there (on the screen) when the application is minimized. At last! That was so annoying! Residual pixels up on the screen is an irritating distraction; I'm glad it's no more!
I was a little shocked to see that the mainstay “object” virtual instruments, BeatBox, Robota, LiViD, Atmos, and Loop Designer are gone! What??? It's hard to stomach! Okay, Robota and LiViD were not perfect and I won't miss them… … Well, to be fair, Robota had some awesome Electronic music presets that serves the genres of Techno and Industrial exceptionally well!
I loved the BeatBox as the drum machine grid made creating drum/percussion patterns easy and fun. And I must say that the Loop Designer was pretty good at rearranging beat loops; it was a little flawed but used creatively, it could make for some very inspirational beats.
Above: Sugar Bytes Looperator in action with Music Maker 2017 Platinum. Looperator can take the place of the now defunct Loop Designer. Just in case it is not clear: Looperator does not come with Music Maker Premium. Looperator, like all the external instruments and effects used in this review, can be purchased from the Sugar Bytes website. The main issue with the Loop Designer was that it was extremely fussy about accepting sample loops; it worked mainly with MAGIX's own “Soundpool” loops that came with Music Maker Premium by default. Thankfully, with regards to replacing the Loop Designer, you'll be pleased to know that MAGIX Music Maker Premium 2017 works with advanced VST instruments and effects such as the Looperator by Sugar Bytes. The Looperator is, if you like, the evolution of the Loop Designer.
I do think that MAGIX could've hybridized the BeatBox and Robota drum machines. Yes, the Drum Engine virtual instrument takes over all drum/percussion duties but the BeatBox had its place! The 2016 version contains all the drum/percussion instruments mentioned above plus Urban Drums which is an awesome beat machine aimed at Hip-hop and Dubstep containing some nice effects on it. With the 2017, you have to buy the Urban Drums along with some other instruments.
You can purchase and download more instruments (and sound loops) from within Music Maker Premium at the cost of £25 each. It does not appear that these additional instruments are compatible with other DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). I did try to see if I could use the instruments found in the 2016 to no avail.
Above: Cyclop by Sugar Bytes. It is a great synth for wobble basslines! IN USE
I've always appreciated the Music Maker ease of use ethos and it remains very user-friendly. You drag 'n’ drop loops and instruments - even video - upon the tracks to create professional sounding compositions.
The Mastering Suite remains easy to add polish to the overall finished tracks. There some good templates but you're not going to get lost in getting the sound you want for your music.
Music composition remains transparent; fuss free in this latest Music Maker Premium!
It has gotten to a point where the Digital Audio Workstation has reached the pinnacle in terms of what is deemed as “professional” features on a base level. It has been long established that masses of hardware isn't necessary to create a home music studio. You just need a decent PC, a microphone, USB keyboard, and Music Maker Premium.
Music Maker Premium is a very capable DAW that utilizes VST instruments and effects just like other DAW costing considerably more! If you are in the process of building a studio you might want to check out MAGIX Samplitude Pro X3! Review coming soon!
I did notice that Music Maker Premium had some difficulty in finding some VST instruments. I'm not too sure why but I found that I reinstalling the VST instruments did the trick!
I was a little concerned with Music Maker Premium crashing for no logical reason during the test, however, after downloading an update the stability was restored.
Above: The new Mastering Suite that makes it easy to add a professional sheen to the finished track!
Music Maker Premium 2017 has evolved into an outstanding professional music production suite. It's great as a level entry application and it's got more than enough attributes for more experienced users.
I would like to see a return of “object” instruments as that aspect reminds me of the way in which FL Studio works, what with it's pattern based input. I feel that FL Studio has a certain predefined sound that's hard to get away from whereas Music Maker Premium allows me to add color - so to speak - to whatever music I'm making.
Now that Synapse Audio (no relation) Orion Studio has bit the digital dust, I will state MAGIX Music Maker Premium is the best budget and most easy to use DAW out there!
Above: You can purchase sound loops in the form of “Soundpools” and instruments from within the application.
FINAL THOUGHTS & OBSERVATIONS
I look at the amount of newly released Digital Audio Workstations such as Bitwig, Studio One, and Sequel wondering what it is these applications are trying to achieve. It appears to me that these newcomers are trying to emulate Music Maker Premium for ease of use and be a self-contained solution to budding music producers (with accessibility to external VST instruments and effects). But the prices of these new DAW doesn't add up to something worthwhile - in my humble opinion.
Music Maker Premium is unsurpassed for ease of use, features and value for money! Plus it looks great too! Let's look at the Reason application in comparison…
Reason is closed off and can't be extended with VST instruments and effects. It costs £320 to Music Maker Premium at £90. With the £230 you've saved you can put it towards some phenomenal VST instruments and effects!
Add a USB audio interface and you've got a decent home studio. In theory, it's possible to use that £230 to purchase both a USB audio interface and a decent VST instrument/effect.
I would invest in MAGIX Music Maker Premium any day of the week. OH! ONE MORE THING!
The reason (no pun intended) why I featured Sugar Bytes instruments and effects in this review is because they are some of the most sophisticated VST instruments and effects available! Music Maker 2017 Premium can handle the aforementioned instruments and effects without crashing! Hook up a USB keyboard and Music Maker 2017 Premium and other versions will find it, no problem. What can cause crashes are the freely downloadable VSTs out there. I may do another review solely based upon use with these free VSTs. Sometimes the programming of these free instruments and effects can cause any DAW to crash. The ones that I used did not present any problems.
MAGIX Music Maker Premium scores a Synapse Circuit Platinum!
#MAGIX #Vegas #Studio #VegasStudio #MusicMaker #DVD #Architect #DVDArchitect The MAGIX acquisition of Sony video and music applications must have come as a shock to the die hard users. I would imagine that many people using Vegas Movie Studio have not heard of MAGIX until now. So, if you're on version 13, read on… And if you are taking your first steps in video editing, read on... MAKEOVER
One of the most off putting aspects of Sony multimedia software is the bland interface. Thankfully, MAGIX have given Vegas Movie Studio an aesthetically pleasing makeover; it doesn't hurt my eyes.
The workflow is smooth and logical; given a bit of time, MAGIX will perfect the interface for the next version. You should upgrade now if you're on version 13!
Vegas Movie Studio 14 Platinum is a very solid performer and did not crash on the AMD FX based PC used for the test. There was no stuttering during playback.
Users of version 13 have experienced constant crashes and I suspect that this is due to the system and software optimization. It appears to me that Sony didn't spend too much time on optimization. It's quite a hard task to optimize software for various PC configurations. This is why a lot of people have gone Apple Mac, Apple has a tight control over the hardware as well as the software.
However, MAGIX have more than a couple of decades of experience with intricacies of the PC. MAGIX has done wonders for Vegas Movie Studio 14 Platinum and will no doubt continue to do so for future versions.
You're not just getting a video editing package! Uh-uh! No! You're getting excellent add-ons to compliment Vegas Movie Studio 14! You've got great transitions from New Effects; DVD Architect and the standard version of MAGIX's Music Maker DAW!
You're not going to get a better deal.
CONCLUSION Vegas Movie Studio is in great hands! MAGIX have done a brilliant job of updating it and it will continue to get better.
If you are new to video editing and you are looking for a solid and inexpensive means to get started with a video editor then Vegas Movie Studio 14 Platinum could very well be for you. Again, you are getting more software in the box - DVD Architect and Music Maker! And, to top it off, you have some very useful plug-ins from NewBlueFX! And all for £69.99! How could you possibly go wrong! SCORE MAGIX Vegas Movie Studio 14 Platinum scores a Synapse Circuit Gold! Start your YouTube channel right now!
It’s back! For the third year running, Portobello Live! returns to West London with its winning formula of music, cabaret, spoken word, performance and art.
Held over the May Day bank holiday in association with dance label Wall Of Sound and Rough Trade records, this year’s festival also takes a retrospective look at Rock Against Racism, a movement which sprang into life 40 years ago.
A stunning line up of new bands and performers, rock royalty and special guests will play out across the stages of Portobello's iconic pubs, clubs and venues. This year, Portobello Live! is delighted to announce punk performance poet John Cooper Clarke as one of the headline artists, along with Glen Matlock (the Sex Pistols), The Egg, Youth, Salad Undressed, Ben Volpeliere-Pierrot (Curiosity Killed The Cat), Don Letts, Rusty Egan and Noel Watson, with more to be announced.Music, film, poetry and art lovers will join with music industry and media professionals to enjoy the best of the West in a diverse programme of delight.
A Community Interest Charity (CIC), Portobello Live! also represents the local community. The ‘It’s Behind You’ exhibition looks back over 25 years of the iconic Portobello Panto, neighbourhood music academy The Rhythm Studio will hold drumming sessions and beautiful harmonies from the Portobello Live! Choir open the festival.
Particularly relevant in today’s social climate, Rock Against Racism founder Syd Shelton will reflect on the movement which, 40 years ago, came to public attention through music and marches, or ‘carnivals’, inspired by Notting Hill’s annual event where many RAR artists had their musical and street-fighting apprenticeships. Also highlighting current social affairs, the Oasis World Choir, composed of refugees from Sudan, Syria and Afghanistan, will sing at the festival.
Once again, the watchword of Portobello Live! is accessibility, with one affordable wristband allowing entry to all acts and venues over two days. Under 16s go free. Aimed at preserving Notting Hill's rich and diverse artistic heritage, the festival provides a deserved platform for the area’s past and present music and cultural history. Venues are all within walking distance and include Acklam Village, the Cow, Mau Mau, Rough Trade, Westbank, Rum Kitchen, Maxilla Social Club and Book & Kitchen.
Ongoing support for this year’s festival is being provided by established sponsors and local patrons including Mick Jones (the Clash), actress Anna Chancellor (Four Weddings and a Funeral), film director Kevin Allen (Twin Town, Under Milk Wood), Don Letts (B.A.D., DJ, filmmaker and author) and artist Mark Wigan.
‘Not only is it great to be working alongside some of the amazing people and organisations who consider West London home; these important collaborations have presented Portobello Live! with the opportunity to expand and develop, as well as giving it greater visibility in the community,’ says Portobello Live! promoter, Micky P.
Goodhour, Synapse Circuit Readers! Did you have a good weekend? Have you calmed down over Samsung's great big reveal? Ha ha! Read on!
#Samsung #GalaxyS8 #GalaxyS8+ #Bixby #DEX
POST UNPACKED EVENT SAMSUNG GALAXY S8 & S8+
London, 02 April 2017 The thrill is gone for mobile phone press launches. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the recent Samsung Unboxing Event in New York on the 29 March 2017. But look: Deja vu?
Expectations management, that's the nature of the “leaks”. I get it. I understand. But these “leaks” detract from the impact of such a huge press event. Don't you want to be surprised?
The big reveal turned out to be the big confirmation. That said, I was very, very pleased with what Samsung has delivered. The Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus have gone down in history as the best designed smartphones ever! It's one thing to see the pictures and video of these awesome handsets, it's another to have it in your hands!
It's fairly early in the year but it looks like Samsung have won the Smartphone of the Year Awards already! It looks like the iPhone 8 is going to be pretty much the same.
The only point of disappointment, mild disappointment, is the camera setup. I was hoping for a dual camera or something different… But it remains to be seen what the camera app will bring to the table.
By the looks of it, Samsung played it a little cool, a little safe with the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus. Nothing overly spectacular in terms of technological advances that ushered in the Galaxy S4. Certainly nothing to tax the battery in the extreme!
The screens are set to 1080p by default and one has to manually switch to 2k. Some people seem to be upset with this default setting. But it makes sense to not have the display set to 2k when it's not needed. No doubt people will have the screen set to 2k all the time as this is what the standards dictate. However, I think it's a great idea to switch to 1080p to save battery consumption. You're not going to notice much of a difference when interacting with social media networks and surfing the web on the 1080p setting. Samsung calls this HD Plus.
I think many Android fans have it in mind that having continuous full on hardware power is best but when that power is doing nothing in the pocket then it's a waste. No doubt switching to 2k will be great for VR and 4k videos.
ALL HANDS ON DeX
If the price is right, I think that DeX will be a winner! Samsung had something similar to DeX in the form of a hub for the Galaxy Note 2 that for discontinued for some reason - possibly it was too advanced for it's time. DeX makes sense in this current era of inexpensive PC 1080p, 2k and 4k monitors.
Samsung have been in partnership with a few developers to take advantage of the version of Android that has been optimised for desktop environment. I would imagine that DeX could speed up the development of Android tablet apps. It's about time!
Should the DeX hub come in at under £200 then I'm sure that consumers will go for it in a big way! Can you believe that right now there are people out there with a Windows XP system that's struggling to be of any use? All such XP folk would need is a decent phone upgrade, the Galaxy S8 or S8 Plus and DeX. Problem solved! Yes, there are a limited range of apps optimized for DeX but that will change over time. I'm going to get DeX as I can envisage hooking it up to my TV setup for an even smarter TV experience.
MY EXPECTATIONS FOR THE GALAXY S8 AND S8 PLUS
It appears that Samsung is aiming the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus models at the average consumer that appreciates high-tech simplified and with sublime aesthetics to match.
There's enough power under the hood to please the hardcore hardware fanatics as the Snapdragon 835 system on a chip is one of the best there is. Samsung's own Exynos chip is practically the same as the 835!
While I don't think the Snapdragon 835 and the Exynos chips will smoke the iPhone A10 (and forthcoming A11), the respective performances won't have you thinking about the iPhone. I never think about the iPhone when using my Android handsets that includes the Galaxy Note 4 and the Galaxy S6 Edge. Premium Android handsets just do what they're meant to.
As a result, I'm expecting an all-round top performer in terms of camera, responsiveness and usability where apps are concerned.
I'm not on about the 80’s Sci-Fi Horror Thriller. I'm on about the ways in which you can unlock the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus models. You've got the fingerprint reader at the back that has been awkwardly placed next to the camera lens; then there's facial recognition that's been a part of Android for a good while now, and, finally, the iris scanner! In a way I'm surprised that Samsung didn't throw in a voice recognition unlock for good measure!
If you ask me, it looks as though Samsung are trying to outdo the forthcoming iPhone 8 as it is reportedly coming with a facial recognition unlock. And Apple may have worked out how to put a fingerprint reader under the screen!
The Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus were rumoured to come with a fingerprint reader under the screen but once you have an iris scanner would you care for a fingerprint scanner under the screen?
The facial recognition unlock could work for specific functions such as DeX. But the safest way to secure the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus models is the iris scanner, followed by the fingerprint reader, and followed by a password.
I think that Samsung have played it relatively safe due to the unfortunate issue of the Galaxy Note 7 battery. As I've stated earlier, Samsung has walked a balance between gorgeous futurist aesthetics and superlative technological advancement that can freak out some users. Look, the iPhone is successful because it's simple (and some would argue that it's boring too).
Samsung has managed to achieve the best looking handsets in the world that's married to technological advancement wrapped up in the guise of simplicity. That's not an easy thing to do. Again, what makes Samsung's Galaxy series of premium handsets stand out is the Synapse Circuit “All-Round” factor that other handset manufacturers can seem to match. HTC is a prime example, great designs but the camera is truly lacklustre!
FINALLY… ARE THE GALAXY S8 AND S8 PLUS PERFECT?
Above: The price is right at £779!
I suspect that there will be some that'll say the speaker isn't as loud in comparison to other flagships. But we seldom use our handsets at full blast in public. And when you're at home the volume level is fine. Personally, I'd be more inclined to use a Bluetooth speaker to get more mileage out of music and video. At the same time, I would've loved to have seen Samsung place a set of stereo front facing speakers on one of their flagships!
The placement of the fingerprint reader is not the best; I'm sure users will learn to pick up the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus in a certain way that reduces smudging the camera lens - if they use it.
Is Bixby any good? Think of Bixby as a baby; it relies on people using it on a regular basis for it to learn and, consequently, get better. I'm going to give it a try. I think that the ability to control certain apps and the phone itself via voice commands is a welcome additional functionality. I also think it's a good idea to give it its own hardware button instead of making it activate through a voice command, “Okay, Bixby!” I'm sure that a voice commanded Bixby is in the pipeline. I'm quite sure that a voice activated Bixby could work on the bigger Galaxy Note 8 that features advances in technology to make a voice activated Bixby worthwhile.
I think that the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are pretty darned perfection! I'm after the Plus version!
MAGIX MUSIC MAKER £FREE REVIEW #DAW #Music #MusicMaker #MagixMusicMaker #FreeMagixMusicMaker #FreeMusicMaker This review of the free version of Music Maker is going to whet your appetite for the review of the Premium version that’s coming soon! In the meantime… Read on! In the Internet download for era, it is always a wonderful thing when you can download a legitimate software. MAGIX, feeling generous, has put out a free version of its brilliant Music Maker software and here’s the review… DEEP CUT As you might have imagined, the free version of Music Maker is heavily cut. There are only 8 tracks, 3 decent synthesizers, 425 sound and loops, and 8 effects. OK… It’s not so severe! The 2 demos sound great and it gives you more than an idea of what can be done with this minimal DAW. What I would have loved was to see in this free version is the return of the BeatBox drum machine synth! The BeatBox drum machine is what is known as an “Object Synthesizer” which is no longer present in the latest commercial versions of Music Maker. It’s a little sad, at least for me, because I loved the BeatBox! The BeatBox interface made it very easy to put beats together and I could utilize samples in it! But I do understand why MAGIX have removed the “Object Synthesizers”. It’s time to move on! Still, there is nothing to stop MAGIX from updating the BeatBox drum machine into a more traditional synthesizer in the future. Some people would argue that there is no need for an updated BeatBox as the commercial versions feature the Drum Engine and that there is an instrument that can be bought separately called Urban Drums for £29.99. The BeatBox I have in mind is nuts! Maybe, when I get some free time, I will design the BeatBox upgrade! Anyway, that’s enough about BeatBoxes! For beats, you can use the Vita synthesizer as well as add drum sample loops. Above: From the interface you can access more loops! LOOPY I think that this free version of Music Maker is great for composer that uses samples. However, I can’t help but to wish that MAGIX had provided a couple of tracks for VST instruments and effects. Well, that’s the composer in me! As much as I can compose with samples I do like to use my VST synths! However, in this day and age, many composers make use of a number of loop vendors online. It is so easy to purchase a sample collection in the prefered genre and utilize them in the 8 tracks! WHO? The free Music Maker is for anyone who enjoys computer music composition. It’s great for those who want to create background and theme music for their YouTube channel projects. It’s ideal for multimedia producers. It’s brilliant for ultra-creative composers who likes to push the envelope of what can be done in a minimal set-up! It’s very welcoming for those who want to get into making music on the PC without taking a risk. I would imagine that these sort of users would want to purchase any one of the commercial versions offering more features. If the latter is you, I recommend the Premium version. Review coming soon! If you like the free Music Maker interface then you will no doubt appreciate the Premium version! SCORE The free version of MAGIX Music Maker scores a Synapse Circuit Gold! Get music making right now! Thank you for reading! Synapse Circuit/Blue Gene
London, March 2016 2017 - Dreams do come true! WOW! It’s so funny… I actually dreamt this a few days ago! And there it is! AMAZING! If you didn’t know, MAGIX have acquired Sony multimedia software - namely, ACID! So, I was thinking, “It looks as though MAGIX could give away the basic version of its legendary Music Maker software…” And there it is! Gosh! A popular tool for musicians for over 20 years, Music Maker is now available for free for the first time.
Berlin, March 26 2017 – MAGIX proudly announces the latest version of Music Maker. Having provided this ideal creative workspace for digital music creation on the PC platform for over 20 years, this new version of Music Maker is now absolutely free for everyone. Perfect for the musician just getting started as well as the professional musician. Music Maker provides all the tools needed to record, produce and share your music. MAGIX makes this fully-functional version completely free and ready for download atmagix.com
Based on a modular design and an intuitive workflow, Music Maker makes it easy to record, arrange, mix, produce and share your music. Record external instruments and vocals, add and arrange loop-based musical elements, record and playback MIDI information, mix, produce, and then publish the finished product. The modern user interface with its drag & drop workflow make music creation easy and fun. A complement of professional music creation tools amp up production quality and inspire creativity.
Endless creative possibilities
The new, free, full-featured version of Music Maker comes with 425 sounds and loops, 3 instruments and 8 effects. It’s easy to add more sounds and instruments to the collection with just a few clicks. Integrated sounds, loops and instruments offer unlimited possibilities for creativity and experimentation with complete control over all aspects of production of any genre, from EDM and Trap to Rock bad Pop. Endless possibilities.
Music Maker has always enabled music lovers to get creative and win audiences over by producing their own songs in authentic studio quality. Now, with the free version of Music Maker, anyone and everyone can get started in the world of music production, develop or evolve their skills and make their musical dreams a reality.", Torsten Heise, MAGIX Product Owner and Music Maker.
MAGIX AG is an internationally operating provider of software, online services and digital content for use in multimedia products and services. Founded in 1993, MAGIX offers private and professional users a technologically sophisticated and user-friendly range of products for designing, editing, presenting and archiving digital photos, videos, music, documents and websites. MAGIX is the market leader in the field of multimedia software in Germany and in the most important European markets. It is also regarded as one of the most successful players in the US market.
MAGIX see.feel.hear.create Thank you for reading! Synapse Circuit/Blue Gene
Australian maker of popular computer optimization software, Auslogics has released its first product for Macs designed to simplify maintenance and extend computer service life.
Sydney, Australia – March 26 2017 – Auslogics Software, a leading publisher of innovative computer optimization programs, has recently launched a brand-new tool for cleaning cache and junk files from Mac computers. Auslogics Mac Cleaner promises to help resolve one of the main issues causing Mac users to replace their computers.
In its official Environment FAQ document posted on apple.com, Apple states that the company expects OS X devices to have a 4-year life cycle. Although technically OS X computers are capable of lasting significantly longer, surveys show that a large number of Mac users feel that they need to replace their computer even before the 4 years is up. Other users may buy their Macs used and face the same issue soon after purchase. The issue that is quoted by users as one of the main reasons for them to look for a new computer is their old computer’s reduced performance, which is often caused by accumulations of temporary and other unneeded files.
Auslogics Mac Cleaner is released after extensive testing was completed to ensure the program’s effectiveness. The software is capable of freeing up large amounts of disk space, clearing unneeded files from various locations and noticeably improving overall performance. “When we polled Mac users, we were really surprised to discover how many people were actually frustrated with less than great computer performance and had no idea what they could do about it besides purchasing a new machine,” – says Anna Lind, the company’s PR Representative. “We put a lot of research and years of experience into creating Mac Cleaner – a product that will hopefully help thousands of Mac users to extend their computers’ service life, and what’s even more important, help them enjoy their well-running machines.”
A free trial version of Auslogics Mac Cleaner can be downloaded from the publisher’s website at www.auslogics.com. The full version can be currently purchased from the site at a special new release discount.
Founded in 2008 in Sydney, Australia, Auslogics Software publishes a wide range of innovative computer maintenance, optimization and security tools for home and business use.
Software from Auslogics is used by over 15 million people around the globe and is the tool of choice of many IT professionals and computer manufacturing companies. The company is a Microsoft Gold Application Development Partner.
Auslogics Disk Defrag has been praised as the best disk defragmentation tool on CNET and other online resources, as well as included in the 10 best free software programs of the year list by PC Magazine several years in a row. Thanks for reading!~ Synapse Circuit/Blue Gene
EDIFICATIONIt looks like Edifier have given a sermon in the purity of audio delivery! Could the Edifier CineSound B3 Soundbar convert you from the more well-known speaker manufacturers? Read on! SAFE AND SOUNDIn the box you get your standard cables RCA, male/female jack and optical. Plus you get a remote control with 3 presets: Movie, News and 3D. Finally, the CineSound B3 Soundbar is Bluetooth 4.0 compatible and you get a wall mount bracket! Great!
I love the Bluetooth 4.0 aspect as today's gadget obsessed person has a myriad of Bluetooth compatible devices.
There's a 10-minute standby that powers down after inactivity.
DESIGN & BUILD QUALITY
I've got to say that I have become a fan of the Edifier speaker design aesthetic. The CineSound B3 is wonderfully minimal; a sleek black line that should complement any wall.
At the right end of the CineSound B3 is an array of physical buttons arranged in a triangular pattern for your convenience. Nice. It's simplistic.
The build quality is solid and does not feel cheap.
I think it's fair to say that Edifier has established itself as a major player in the loudspeaker industry. Over the years I've seen Edifier grow from a computer speaker company to Bluetooth - covering mainly mobile devices and now expanded to TV/Gaming with the CineSound range.
As a computer musician, I would love to see Edifier produce affordable studio monitors.
The sound quality is, as I've come to expect from Edifier, very pleasing. The CineSound B3 has a nice clean quality from the off! The frequencies are well balanced; it's an all-round good sound for general purposes. Music comes across very well and it makes me wonder what could have been if Edifier had a few music modes (in addition to the Movie, News and 3D presets). However, it's a small gripe; if you play music from your smartphone via Bluetooth you can use an equalizer to get the best results.
The 3 presets, Movie News and 3D, do not disappoint. If you've been using the speakers on your TV/PC you'll certainly notice the difference! You might feel an inclination to slap yourself for making do.
I did notice a bit of distortion at full blast but I can't imagine why anyone would want to use the maximum volume setting as the CineSound B3 is plenty loud! There's an input for a subwoofer which is always a good thing, but on its own the bass has a very good presence. The bass isn't muddy like on some soundbars, going back to listening to music, this is why the CineSound B3 makes for a good all-round speaker unit.
The mid and treble frequencies are nice and crisp, hi hats and breaking glass sound realistic.
For the price, I think Edifier has done more than a good job here. As I've stated previously, the CineSound B3 delivers an all-round pleasing sound and presets are perfect in that they enabled me to movies, action movies that benefits from the 3D mode and the News mode levels out the frequencies to avoid distractions.
More expensive soundbars struggles to be this good straight out of the box. I was very happy with the sounds coming out of the CineSound B3.
It's pretty much a no brainer, if you're upgrading from the embedded speakers in the TV/PC monitor. If you're a dabbler in gaming the CineSound B3 is good enough.
I fancy myself as an audiophile and I'm satisfied with the CineSound B3 on a price to quality ratio. Yes, there are better soundbars out there but they don't come cheap!
If you've already decked out your living room with a huge TV and home theatre system then it could be that you're looking for a decent soundbar for TV in the bedroom, the CineSound B3 is it!
Those amazing guys at Reallusion never ceases to amaze, that’s why they are amazing! Every time I see a product preview/demonstration, I get blown away! To review Reallusion software is to be dumbfounded, excited and inspired.
San Jose, CA MARCH 22nd 2017 - Reallusion, the leader in real-time development tools launches Character Creator (CC) 2.0 featuring enhanced visual quality for 3D characters with industry standard PBR shaders, Image Based Lighting options, and a new Substance Material Generator to dynamically design high-quality 3D characters and appearances.
From the beginning, the free Character Creator tool innovated the character design process for 3D fully rigged characters with face and body slider morphs, interchangeable outfits, custom clothing design, facial lip syncing, character animation, content ecosystem and 3rd party export support.
The new Character Creator 2.0 (CC 2) comes with updated visuals for industry standard PBR shaders, allowing users to import PBR textures made with 3D paint tools like; Substance Painter, 3D Coat, or Quixel. Users can now export their Character Creator assets to iClone 7, Unreal, Unity, or Sketchfab with the same PBR visual quality.
The new Character Creator PBR shading system renders realistic metallic and roughness effects that match the same visuals in mainstream material applications likeAllegorithmic's Substance Painter. A variety of material channels that work in sync with image based lighting options result in a more accurate interaction between light and surfaces.
Convert Non-PBR Content
Users can convert their existing library of non-PBR content utilizing traditional shaders to the new PBR shaders easily, or they can manually work with selected objects and materials for single conversions, bringing new life to iClone's legacy content which can all be repurposed and updated using the multiple material channels in Character Creator.
Image Based Lighting (IBL)
The previous version of Character Creator offered a single light source, and the new 2.0 update now allows users to customize their IBL environment in Character Creator, while syncing the sky map to their IBL light with natural DOF effects and color tone. Achieve a more accurate preview of what characters will look like inside a 3D tool or game engine environment.
Appearance Editor & Material Generator
The latest update includes an advanced Substance (Appearance Editor) & Material Generator to create unlimited looks for clothing and objects with multi-layered materials like leather, wood, metals, stone, fabrics, and others. Users can incorporate embedded texture libraries to achieve a new level of realism that takes advantage of the new Physically Based Rendering system while procedurally generating custom variables for edge wear, gashes, paint peel, wrinkles, folds, scratches, grit, rot, rust, abrasions, decals, and patterns.
PBR Playsets - A New Level of Smart Content
Accompanying the new CC 2.0 update are two new Character Creator Content Packs complete with character morphs, clothing, accessories, and updated PBR visuals. These new content playsets offer users the option of designing more than one look with the original assets, thanks to multiple preset options and customization. Now Game designers, and 3D animation teams can use these embedded bases to create thousands of accessories and clothes, while using dynamic texture editing to give new looks to all kinds of equipment.
About Reallusion: Reallusion Inc. is a 2D and 3D animation software and content developer. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, with R&D centers in Taiwan, and offices and training centers in Germany and Japan. Reallusion specializes in the development of realtime 2D and 3D cinematic animation tools for consumers, students and professionals. The company provides users with easy to use avatar animation, facial morphing and voice lipsync solutions for real-time 3D filmmaking, and previsualization for professional post production. Reallusion's core technologies are widely used by trainers, educators, gamers and filmmakers providing them with standalone movie studio packages.http://www.reallusion.com
Those amazing guys at Reallusion never ceases to amaze, that’s why they are amazing! Every time I see a product preview/demonstration, I get blown away! To review Reallusion software is to be dumbfounded, excited and inspired.
Here’s the Synapse Circuit review of CrazyTalk Animator 3 (Pipeline Edition). PINCH CrazyTalk Animator is a 2D animation software that has to be used to be believed! Think about the time it takes to create one episode of your favourite cartoon series. Well, within an incredible short space of time, you will be able to create your very own cartoons! If you are looking for a way to start realizing your cartoon animated ambition, look no further. If you happen to be an experienced artist/illustrator and want to create and animate your own creations, CrazyTalk Animator 3 Pipeline is definitely the software for you! It’s available for the PC and MAC platforms. I reviewed the PC version. You will be pinching yourself using this awe inspiring animation software. EVOLVE Me? I have zero talent in creating animation but after doing the tutorial, I feel that I can be creative as there are usable templates that features characters and props. What’s more, is that I can animate just about anything using photos and scanned images. I can create a vocal recording and the automatic lip sync makes light of characters appearing to talk in sync with the recorded audio speech. You can also use Text-To-Speech WAV files and CrazyTalk Script. The Facial Animation facility is just nuts! I have used previous incarnations of CrazyTalk and it is truly astounding how the software improves with each version; just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, it does! Reallusion makes creating 2D animation easy and painless! I would recommend going for the Pipeline version as it packed with features and additional characters and pros. Plus you can download more via the Pipeline! INUSE Bear in mind that I am not yet an illustrator, I am confident that given a bit of time, I will be able to create like the professionals. I mean, just look at how simple the Hello Kitty character is drawn and how iconic she is! I am currently learning to use Affinity Designer by Serif. Affinity Designer has replaced DrawPlus. So, if you have DrawPlus or Affinity Designer and you happen to be talented at illustration and character creation, then Reallusion CrazyTalk Animator 3 (Pipeline) and the aforementioned Serif illustration software is a marriage in Animation Heaven! That said, if you happen to be Photoshop or equivalent based then you should be able to create brilliant animation with photos. You can create your own style! There is always room for more animation artistry. CrazyTalk Animator 3 Pipeline edition is so very, very easy to use. If you are, like me, not very good at animation you can just drag and drop predefined animations in the Content Manager. CONCLUSION Reallusion CrazyTalk Animator 3 Pipeline Edition is the pinnacle of 2D animation software, no other animation software is as easy to use and is as cost effective. There is a strong tutorial resource on the Reallusion website: www.reallusion.com I strongly recommend that you do the tutorials as they are easy to follow, step by step instructions that will allow you to become familiar with the interface and how make the most of the software! You could be creating fantastic cartoon animation and become a YouTube content creator! WOW! CrazyTalk Animator 3 is capable of professional results, outputs to HD and 4K. The beauty is that it is within reach of anyone who can find a use for it:- Professional Animators TV/Film Presentation Creation Designers Educational Institutions & Animation/Media Teachers YouTube Content Creators If your project could do with some unique 2D animations then this is your one stop solution! The PC I used is an 5 year old AMD quad core based, just imagine what can be done with a PC of today’s insane specifications! Just add a USB audio recording device and you have a studio in which you can have vocal actors voicing your characters! This is why PCs are still relevant today. Sure, they aren’t selling as much because most households have access to Social Media and the Internet via their mobile devices. But if you want to do something creative on the PC such as real professional animation, Reallusion CrazyTalk Animator 3 is the way to go! I am looking to get an infinitely better PC soon! I have some ideas… Sssh!
SCORE Reallusion CrazyTalk Animator 3 Pipeline Edition scores an effortless Synapse Circuit Double Platinum! Get it now! You’ll hate me for about a week because I can guarantee that you will be pinching yourself. You will be pinching yourself at how wonderful the interface is to use and with the results!
Yeah, yeah… More “leaked” Samsung Galaxy S8 & S8+ are surfacing. I suspect that these leaks are done on purpose to give us not only a taste of things to come thus keeping our interest but also to bring our expectations down to Earth!
Am I excited about the new look? Well, no, to be honest. Samsung makes some serious premium handsets. The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge especially are the pinnacle of smartphone design. The Galaxy Note 7, which is making a comeback in developing markets, was the best-looking handset of 2016 and it beats anything else on the market. Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate designs from other manufacturers such as Huawei, Lenovo-Motorola, LG, ZTE and a few others but Samsung is out there for imbuing the designs with great functionality. Some real thought has gone into the design. INNERSPACE That said above, I leave some space in the back of my mind for the element of surprise. The Galaxy S3 had a wow factor when it was first launched and it took until the Galaxy S6 Edge for me to be wowed again! Mind you, the Galaxy Note Edge was quite an awe inspiring handset. You don’t see many of those anymore! If anything, I am more excited about the innards… The meaty combination of CPU, GPU, and RAM. At the moment it seems that Samsung has a standard formation of the fastest processor available, a decent GPU for the games and 4GB RAM. Many tech pundits push the “6GB RAM” because that is what they hope and want to see on a flagship Samsung Galaxy S handset and I am sure that these pundits will do the same for the forthcoming Galaxy Note 8. Anyhoo, due to the recent “leaks”, it does appear that Samsung will be sticking with the above hardware formula. The proof, as always, is in the pudding. There are many claims regarding the Snapdragon 835 and those claims remain to be seen. I don’t take those claims too seriously as the Snapdragon CPUs performs reasonably well and fall short of the hype in comparison to the iPhone CPU. Maybe this time the Snapdragon and RAM will delight hardware freaks, like me, with a blistering performance. The next piece of hardware is the camera, it looks like it is going to be another 12MP main camera with an 8MP front facing shooter. Let’s see what the lens and software are all about. Galaxy S and Note cameras have always been very good, definitely above the average Android camera. The camera on Google’s Pixel appears to be a top camera on any smartphone. But most of the premium Androids are very competitive camera-wise; there’s little between them. I am curious as to what Samsung has in store where the camera is concerned. inDEX Well, it remains to be seen if users will be able to use the Galaxy S8 & S8+ like a computer by hooking it up to a dock. There was a similar dock for the Galaxy Note 2 and I don’t know why this idea, which looks to be called “DEX”, hasn’t been a feature from the Galaxy Note 3 onwards. I think being able to hook a full 2K monitor to the Galaxy S and Note ranges of handsets is a great innovation. DEX makes a lot of sense for many consumers who just want to access the Internet and Social Mediums. No, this will not be yet another nail in the coffin for desktop PCs as that particular format has become a device for hardcore gamers and multimedia producers. And the tablet has kind of fizzled for the moment… I think that there is a market for tablets still, but it looks as though manufacturers aren’t ready to push them just yet. The Android tablet game is a long one… I think the iPad has peaked. Microsoft Surface tablets are more desirable due to being able to install full software as opposed to apps. Android seems to be in a bit of a stasis where tablets are concerned. But you can bet that Samsung will be showing off a new Galaxy Tab at the Mobile World Congress in a few days time. Yes, I would use DEX if it were a reality! STORAGE Again, no surprises there… 64GB storage is a standard with Samsung and that is definitely enough for storing apps, pictures, and video. I personally have the tendency to use the internal storage for apps and external for my photos and videos. Maybe there will be a 128GB version but I seriously doubt it as there will be a microSD slot. BATTERY I am not expecting anything beyond a 3200 mAh battery. I would also imagine that there will be a battery extension case from Samsung. EXTRAS&ACCESSORIES The usual tech pundits still have it in mind that there will be a fingerprint reader built into the screen. I doubt it. By the looks of the sensors on these “leaked” photos of the Galaxy S8 & S8+, the iris scanner will be the way to unlock the handset. Why would you then need an additional fingerprint reader? Either my eyes will do it or a password in the event of a condition will prevent the iris scanner from working. It could be that one of the accessories is a specially made S Pen for the Galaxy S8 & S8+ which would make sense for those who were hanging on for the Galaxy Note 7. I don’t see much by the way of accessories other than the usual windowed and non-windowed cases, battery extension cases, and wireless charging pads. BIXBY Yeah, well… I can’t say too much on that… Personal assistants are novel and they are still in development. Siri is trailing behind Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. Microsoft Cortana is getting there… I predict that Bixby will be an overhaul of the S Voice which wasn’t bad but it wasn’t that good either. I had to switch of the S Voice on my Galaxy S6 Edge as it would become active sporadically and sometimes wake me up in the middle of the night! It looks as though the S Voice has gotten a new AI engine through the acquisition of VIV, the technology behind Siri. CONCLUSION I think the Galaxy S8 & S8+ are going to be an incremental improvement over the Galaxy S7 Edge. We are not going to see anything that’s way, way ahead of its time. I think the overreaction to the Galaxy S4 has had Samsung pull back on those innovations that other handset manufacturers have come to utilize in a piecemeal fashion. What we are going to see is another beautifully designed handset that will continue to set the bar for great functionality! Will it beat the iPhone? That’s another article… Thanks for reading, Synapse Circuit/Blue Gene
WOW! It has been a while since I have reviewed Movie Edit Pro… In my most humble opinion, MAGIX has always delivered on professional quality for more than a reasonable asking price. I have had the pleasure of seeing the first MAGIX video editing program emerge from the brilliant Music Maker digital audio workstation way back! See? MAGIX had a video production suite, albeit a little basic, in an easy to use music making software. Here we are today with Movie Edit Pro Premium… Here’s my review… MALLEABLE In one word, “malleable” pretty much sums up Movie Edit Pro Premium. It is aimed at just about anyone with an imagination and a desire to work with video, producing something worthwhile. Events Videographer - Weddings, Christenings, Presentations, Live Music, etc. If you are starting a video production business aimed at social events then you’ve saved a good amount of money on the video editing software alone! Thus leaving you with a bit more to spend on hardware. If you are thinking, ‘After Effects’ well, stay tuned… YouTube/Vlogger - You may have ambitions to become the next YouTube sensation or upload videos to your own website. Movie Edit Pro Premium will do it for you! Pre-Production - You could be developing an idea for a film/movie and/or TV show/theater play, Movie Edit Pro Premium is self-contained to deliver. Documentary Producer - With today’s smartphones and concealable video recorders it is so very easy to be the producer of riveting documentaries. Bear in mind the legalities of filming people without their knowledge. You don’t need fanciful fades and wipes to distract from the core message of the documentary. Music Video Director/Producer - If you want to make simple but professional looking music videos on a shoestring budget then look no further! The point I am making is that we fancy ourselves as some - if not all - of the above. At £89.99, Movie Edit Pro Premium is within reach of anyone who wants to have a go at professional video production without robbing the bank! WHAT’S NEW There are movie templates for certain types of genres such as action, drama, documentary, etc. It shows the kind of shots you should be videoing, what should be in the frame, etc. And the edits are in synch with the music soundtrack. This is brilliant! Then there are some intro and outro animations of the kind that you would expect from After Effects. You can edit the intros and outros titles by the way of choosing a different font and stylings such as a drop shadow and outline, as well as the colour of the font. What’s there is pretty limited but you can download more animations from the Catooh website cost effectively. You can, as you may know, get many stock videos for free from various websites but they often lack the polish to look convincingly professional. You get what you don’t pay for. And then there stock video sites that have great looking material but it’ll cost you a pretty penny! Still, what’s there is very good for someone starting out on YouTube; this person will be very appreciative of the intros, outros, and movie genre templates. In addition, there are some Dynamic title effects. If you have ever used Movie Edit Pro before, you will know that it comes packed with third party software for titling, image stabilization, colour correcting/matching and an animated globe to present travel routes and a whole lot more besides. These attributes are aimed at the happy amateur, if you are a professional video producer you will recognize that Movie Edit Pro Premium 2017 has what you need to produce videos that will be taken seriously. ROCK SOLID Movie Edit Pro Premium proved to be incredibly stable and did not crash throughout my tests. The videos played without stuttering and dragging videos to the timeline was a fluid experience - even though I had programs running in the background!
I find the interface lends itself to mostly painless video production. ISSUES There are a few issues that stood out… You have to be sure to deselect video clips after previewing them because the interface doesn’t recognize when you’ve hit play on the timeline to play/preview the main edit. It was a source of irritation. The intros and outros are configured in a way that you can’t drag and drop them onto the timeline as you go along. If you want to add an intro, you have to first ensure the edit has a duration beyond 3 seconds. And to add an outro, you have to render the video edit with the intro first, and then bring in that render in, perhaps another project, to add the outro. This can be a pain if you have changed the title typeface and other attributes such as outline, typeface colour and so on. And some of the effects aren’t as clear cut as I would have liked them to be. It would have been an advantage if there was a way of previewing some effects with example videos. Oh, you have to purchase an MP4 license extra! It’s a small cost, but after you have downloaded all the extra materials you just want to feel secure in the knowledge that you have everything and that you are good to go off the bat!
CONCLUSION MAGIX Movie Edit Pro Premium is an undoubted must have for the budget conscious ambitious video producer. The extras that come with it is simply amazing when cost is taken into consideration; they, the extra plugins - if you will - appeals to all manner of users. If you have been on holiday and want to make a video out of the experience, the animated globe extra, Vasco da Gama 9 Essential, will be of great use - animations can be rendered in 4K too! There are titling effects by NewBlue to add a bit of polish to your final video.
The audio features are nothing short of excellent! You can easily optimize audio through a virtual mixing desk and master the overall sound as you would for a piece of music. MAGIX have done it again! Movie Edit Pro Premium scores a Synapse Circuit Platinum! Thanks for reading!
HEAVEN OR MOVIE STUDIO London, UK, February 21, 2017, Synapse Circuit waxes MAGIX!
VEGAS Creative Software Announces New Version of the VEGAS Movie Studio Family of Products!
Built upon the powerful core technology of VEGAS Pro 14, the new update to VEGAS Movie Studio provides the right VEGAS software for every user.
Madison, Wisconsin; 2/21/17 – VEGAS Creative Software announces the availability of the latest update to the VEGAS Movie Studio family of products, which includes VEGAS Movie Studio 14, VEGAS Movie Studio 14 Platinum, and VEGAS Movie Studio 14 Suite.
For the first time in three years, a new version of VEGAS Movie Studio delivers a family of products that gives both new and existing users the editing tools they need. Built on the same powerful technology as the award-winning VEGAS Pro, VEGAS Movie Studio continues to be an innovation leader in the world of video editing. With passion and energy focused on creating the most stable and powerful version of VEGAS Movie Studio ever, the VEGAS Creative Software team presents version 14. The VEGAS Movie Studio family helps everyone from beginners to advanced video editors fulfill their movie-making ambitions. Several new features and improvements, based on direct customer feedback, will excite current customers and foster the creativity of everyone new to movie making.
VEGAS Movie Studio 14 – What’s New?
New, modern user interface:
A cleaner, clearer design offers a clutter-free interface that makes the software quick to learn and easy to use.
Combine up to four separate cameras into one timeline event to makeMultiCamm editing a breeze. Play your project, and anytime you want a different camera angle, switch from one camera to another in real time with a click of the mouse.
Support for Hi-DPI Monitors
Take advantage of all the clarity and precision offered in today’s Hi-DPI monitors. As you upgrade your technology, VEGAS Movie Studio automatically adapts to the new environment.
The new hover scrub feature in the Trimmer window speeds the editing process. Scrub to find the perfect section of a clip, then drag and drop it to the perfect place in the timeline.
Vignette video effect
Add a timeless, classic look to your video. Create a border with a soft fade into the background that adds a touch of romance and mystery. The perfect effect for a special occasion like a wedding, anniversary, or holiday moment.
Special partners bring even more editing power
The Platinum and Suite editions come bundled with specially selected plug-ins from industry-leading partners NewBlueFX, HitFilm, MAGIX and SmartSound.
NewBlueFX: a powerful set of video effects and transitions
MAGIX: Music Maker software from MAGIX provides sophisticated, yet easy-to-use tools to create custom music tracks for your videos
HitFilm Tool Pack: Stunning Hollywood-style special effects
SmartSound SonicFire Pro: the fastest way to automatically create a customized music track that fits perfectly with your video
“VEGAS Movie Studio has been a leader in the video editing industry for a very long time, and version 14 proudly builds upon that legacy. The same powerful core technology that drives our industry-leading VEGAS Pro also powers the Movie Studio line. So, it doesn't matter whether you're just getting started or are taking on more sophisticated projects. Whether you just want simple, basic editing software or you want to start moving into more pro-level tools, there is a VEGAS Movie Studio product that's perfect for you.” – Gary Rebholz, Product Owner for the VEGAS software line.
The following VEGAS Movie Studio products are now available online and in stores worldwide.
VEGAS Movie Studio 14 - £39.99
VEGAS Movie Studio 14 Platinum - £69.99
VEGAS Movie Studio 14 Suite - £119.99
About VEGAS Creative Software
In May, 2016, MAGIX acquired the multiple-award-winning VEGAS Pro and VEGAS Movie Studio product lines, along with other video and audio products. VEGAS Creative Software stands poised to take video editing to a new level. Our development teams in the US and Germany are working on innovative solutions to old problems, and building tools that push the boundaries of what's currently possible. Our goal: to provide users at all levels–from video editing amateurs to creative professionals–tools that are perfectly suited to their needs and demands.
Colour: Black UNDERRATED This Alcatel budget handset has got to be one of the most underrated handsets of 2016! I can’t say that I have seen a review of this very, very good Android smartphone; I am happy to be in a position to write about it. The above spec is just about right for today’s market of low-end budget Android handsets, and what sets the Pixi 4, “6 apart is the 1.1GHz quad-core CPU, 1.5GB of RAM and a fairly decent 6” IPS screen. One of the biggest problems with low-end budget Android handsets since inception is the fact that they have been extremely underpowered. Sure, out of the box, such low-end Androids would perform surprisingly well for the money, that is until apps such as Facebook, YouTube, G+, and WhatsApp receive an update… Then the whole experience and concept of the “budget Android” slides downhill so fast that there is no flesh left on the body; such is the force of friction when going downhill and super-breakneck speed! Sorry, I do not play any games and I couldn’t tell you if you would enjoy playing CPU and RAM intensive games. I suspect that you’d be able to play some games that don’t require a huge demand on the hardware! The Alcatel Pixi 4, 6” is a very good performer when it comes to the base apps: Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, Chrome, PicsArt, Google Docs, to name a few. Well, at least those are my key apps that I use on an everyday basis. The aforementioned apps have been updated several times and they still function reasonably well and the response time is also reasonable. I am inclined to think that it is the 1.5GB of RAM that makes all the difference. I have had budget handsets in the past with 1GB RAM and the performance was horrendous - the handset was too thick to use as a doorstop! Oh, the dual core CPUs on those things were equally as useless! Alcatel got it spot on with the combination of a quad-core 1.1GHz CPU and 1.5GB of RAM. By today’s standards, I suspect that 2GB of RAM should be the base of the budget Android but I guess there will be some manufacturers that would try to get away with less - much less! Such handsets, as I have stated before, aren’t worth the money - no matter how much of a bargain they seem! Do not do it! AESTHETICS & SCREEN Well, I guess you could say that the Alcatel Pixi 4, “6 looks like a standard Android budget uniform design. There is nothing really special that stands out in its design. But it does look good, though! The bezels are quite slim at the sides and the top and bottom bezels aren’t too thick! The bottom bezel could have done with some backlighting to accentuate the capacitive menu buttons, still, you do get used to where the buttons are. The 6” screen is a delight! It’s got an overall good colour balance and it makes for a good experience when editing photos in PicsArt, for example. The one thing that makes the screen less than wonderful is the presence of bright sunshine; I struggle to see anything on the screen in direct sunlight. Well, this is where you will notice the budget aspect of this handset. CAMERA I would say that the camera is not too bad. The 8MP main camera does a fair job; I have been better 8MP cameras on other budgets handsets such as the Moto G, but the results are just about good enough for Social Media Feeds! I was quite impressed with the front facing 5MP camera for the purpose of taking selfies! The front facing camera has a flash too! Great! The video quality is pretty grainy via the main 8MP & front 5MP cameras, as with all cameras, the better the lighting conditions the better the recording will appear. I can’t say that I was impressed by the video quality. These days, it would appear that 13MP is the minimum for a good camera oriented budget handset in the price range.
Above: The Alcatel Pixi 4, "6 camera results! Not bad, huh? The interface has some great settings - including HDR! The results can be gorgeous! A very good effort for the asking price!
STORAGE The Alcatel Pixi 4, “6 comes with a remarkable 16GB of storage and 32GB external storage via the trusty microSD card slot! I have always advocated that manufacturers of budget handsets should quit the 8GB option in favour of 16GB as a standard. I just do not see the point in anything less than 16GB! Thankfully, Android Marshmallow (6.01) allows the user to store and run apps from the microSD card! This move by Google to bring back storing apps to the microSD card is one of the best things they could have done for the Android platform! Kudos! This means a great deal to manufacturers wishing to create better budget handsets. 8GB storage on today’s smartphone and tablets is a joke! Alcatel has done themselves proud here! OVERALL CONCLUSION I wasn’t expecting much from this handset but it turned out to be very impressive. As a daily driver, it is almost perfect! Yes, really! Like most budget Android handsets there can be the occasional stutter and lag but it doesn’t detract from the overall experience. Of course, the Pixi 4, “6 is not meant to compete with Samsung, LG, Huawei, Lenovo-Motorola, HTC, premium handsets, still, it performs like a handset that costs more than its £120 price! You can get it cheaper on Tesco PAYG for £85 but it is locked into the Tesco network. You should be able to pick it up unlocked for around £120 or less. If you aren’t into intensive 3D gaming on your smartphone and you are in need of a handset powerful enough to get you through a day of Social Media Networking, YouTube, Email, writing the odd report, etc on Google Docs and taking photos and videos then the Alcatel 4, “6 smartphone could be right for you! The price is most reasonable and it could very well be a secondary handset to the main driver! The battery life is pretty good - a little above average. Again, manufacturers make great claims about the battery but in usage, it’s different story! With the Alcatel Pixi 4, “6, I could get away with a good day worth of taking photographs, video, Social Media Networking, browsing Google Chrome, sending/receiving messages on WhatsApp & Line and so on. When the battery goes down to about 15% it can hold its charge until I get home. Yes, I do rate the Alcatel Pixi 4, “6 very highly despite the 6” screen being marred occasionally by direct sunlight; I just had to angle the screen away from the Sun as you would! So, the screen is not a deal breaker. It would have been so much better if the screen was full HD! Come on, screen technology has gotten to the stage whereby 1080p should be the standard. Some handsets have gone full 4K already! I am curious if Alcatel will make a version of the Pixi 4, “6 for 2017; I think it would be another great handset! Just bump up the RAM to 2GB, go hexacore for the CPU, 13MP main camera and front facing speakers and I will be a customer! As it stands, the Pixi 4, “6 is a great budget all-round handset in that it does everything just a tad well. Again, there is nothing exceptional about it; it just gets the job done a little more than adequately. Budget handsets can be capable of more but, for the most part, manufacturers have a tendency to play it safe. Alcatel has stuck its neck out a little on this outing to make the Pixi 4, 6” worth having! Well done, Alcatel! Oh, I think it is important to let you know that I used Nova Launcher Prime by TeslaCoil Software to replace the interface. I tried the default OneTouch Launcher but, at least for my personal tastes, the Nova Launcher gives me a very satisfying experience. I almost forgot… The backfiring speaker is very, very exceptional! It is nice and loud, it delivers very clean audio at high volume! It is great for watching video content! Awesome! The Alcatel Pixi 4, "6 has got to be one of the best budget Android handsets of 2016 and is definitely worth picking up if you, today, are looking for a smartphone that will give you a good amount of power to get things done in an enjoyable and fluid way! Thank you for reading! Best wishes, Synapse Circuit/Blue Gene
London, UK, January 26, 2017, 2D & 3D animation pioneers, Reallusion is working on the continual evolution of its renowned 3D animation application, iClone. iClone 7 will include awe-inspiring features that will empower the independent studio and individual artists! Check these amazing attributes out: an industry-standard camera system, in-depth facial animation editing, morph animation from blend shapes , and real-time facial mocap. Can you believe it??? REAL-TIME FACIAL MOCAP!!! WOW!!! EXCITED It is always exciting to learn of a new iClone version because you just know that the brainy people behind the award winning software are going to push the envelope of 3D animation that much further. What's more is that Reallusion keeps the cost of iClone within reach of just about anybody who has the vision to animate and/or create stunning graphics. Many people want to get into 3D animation and graphics but very often the software is offputting due to some of the costs involved or if it is not the costs then it is the complexity of the interface. More often than not, you find yourself having to study a great amount of tutorial material before you get to do anything! Gosh! The industry camera system will make it so very easy to frame the scenes in the animation - just like the professionals do! With iClone 7, you can become your own Pixar studio! EMOTIONAL One of the many attributes that I appreciate about iClone is the collection of preset expressions for animating faces; it takes out a lot of the hard work in having to create animations for expressions from scratch. As stated above, there is a real-time facial motion capture that works from a webcam or even a video recording! That is simply phenomenal - especially as you know that the costs will not break the bank! From what I have understood, the facial real-time motion capture will be available as a plugin; but if you don't need it you always have the preset expression library. SEAMLESS What will delight many serious animators out there is that iClone 7 will have extensive compatibility with leading 3D software! See image below!
Yes, you have spotted support for Unity! So, if you have ambitions to create 3D game characters iClone 7 has got it all there!
BELIEVE Don't take my word for it! Watch it with your own eyes...
COMING SOON... Hopefully, it won't be too long before iClone 7 is available from the Reallusion website. That's www.reallusion.com
It looks as though iClone 7 will be with us in March 2017! I hope to bring you a review very soon! In the meantime, I am going to bring you a review of another Reallusion application, CrazyTalk Animator 3! So, stay tuned!
Synapse Circuit is back, Baby!
Thank you for reading! See you again soon! Synapse Circuit/Blue Gene
UK, January 24, 2017, I never lost faith in Samsung. At the time I took a short break from writing I had to witness what would have been the best phone of 2016, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, literally crash and burn, in relative silence - this online magazine, Synapse Circuit, is my main voice of The World of Tech! OVERREACTING Sure, it was so very unfortunate for Samsung to have had such a terrible mishap. Did the media overreact? Well, look at it this way: the most desirable phone in the world suddenly became unavailable. Is it any wonder that Technology Lovers would be so disappointed that they reacted in the way that they did?
I am due an upgrade and the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was the only phone to upgrade to; I was very disappointed. However, through my disappointment, I realized that this was just a small setback for Samsung. When you push technology Samsung does then something can go wrong from time to time. Batteries catching on fire and exploding is not just a Samsung phenomenon; exploding batteries can and has happened and will happen again to any manufacturer.
DESIGN FLAW? I will always maintain that many of today's smartphones have one design flaw... They are too thin! As a result the battery is compromised somewhat. All you have to do is put your handset in your back or front pocket and bend. The handset will bend and it puts a strain on circuit-board and, of course, the battery. You could be one of the unlucky ones to have compromised your phone's battery through placing it in your back pocket; the battery could explode due to the lithium and other chemicals being exposed. Such as explosion could happen without the battery being placed on charge.
Exploding batteries have happened to iPhone users too - as well as other brands. It just so happens that people take more notice if this happens to such a popular brand such as Samsung.
Battery technology is very, very slowly evolving compared to the other components. I do think that manufacturers should make smartphones whereby the battery can be replaced. I would have thought that there would be more money in selling spare batteries.
GALAXY NOTE 8 Some Tech pundits had the Galaxy Note line dead and buried but I figured that the Galaxy Note line of smartphones is too massive to bury. It's the equivalent of trying to bury the Eiffel Tower in sand using a single teaspoon to either dig a hole large enough or to cover it. The Galaxy Note series is an industry unto itself.
You saw the amount of technology that went into the Galaxy Note 7 that it makes you wonder about the forthcoming Galaxy Note 8! When the Galaxy S8 drops it is going to make yet another impact in the mobile industry. And when the Galaxy Note 8 is ready... WOW! I think it will revolutionize the mobile industry like the first Note did. THE GALAXY GAUNTLET Look, since Samsung threw down the Galaxy S & Note gauntlets to manufacturer has beaten Samsung outright. A few have come close but, arguably, no manufacturer has been able to beat the Galaxy & Note from inception. Not even the iPhone plus variant. This year, I think it will be another close call between LG, Lenovo-Motorola and Huawei. I think we might just get few surprises from the Chinese based manufacturers. That said, I do see Samsung finishing 2017 as the King of the Smartphone World. Above:The Snapdragon 835 SoC is smoking the iPhone A10 but that can change with the A11. But if Samsung manufactures the Apple A chip then surely they ought to know how to make chips that can surpass it, no?
Again, I am very curious about the CPU, SoC (System on a Chip); will it be able to be as fast as the A11 chip in the forthcoming iPhone 8? No, I don't hate Apple or the iPhone. They are simply not for me. But as a Tech Lover, I want to see Android fly on the next flagship from Samsung and any other manufacturer. IN CLOSING Yes, I would want a Galaxy S8 & Note 8. I wouldn't hesitate for a second. Samsung has something to prove and that makes them eager to push mobile phone technology further than any other manufacturer. With the battery lesson learned, I don't think we have anything to worry about - if you, like me, are a Samsung user! Thank you for reading! Synapse Circuit!
#Serif #WebPlus #WebDesign #HTML5 #WYSIWYG #Affinity #AffinityDesigner #AffinityPhoto #AffinityPublisher A SAD DAY FOR WEB DESIGNERS...
London, UK, January 21, 2017, At last! Yes, I finally managed to install Serif WebPlus X8... I received my copy of this legendary WYSIWYG web design application quite some time ago but I fell ill and didn't manage to have a play with it.
X7 WebPlus X7 was something of a strange update for Serif. It felt incomplete in some ways; one aspect that fell short was the HTML5 video player. Users had to purchase a premium version of the HTML5 player in order to remove the logo watermark. That was uncharacteristic of Serif as they keep their applications gimmick free. Not much had changed from X6.
Although WebPlus X7 was flawed it was still a very, very usable application for web design. I honestly think that WebPlus is a better application than Adobe Dreamweaver. Dreamweaver started off with great promise but it soon turned into frustration-ware; I remember having to search through a load of third party plug-ins to extend its capabilities. I was frustrated most of the time because I thought that a majority of the extensions should have been implemented by default instead of badly programmed downloadables.
Once I discovered WebPlus I appreciated its simple interface and how it enabled fast productivity. I didn't look back. And because I didn't keep up with Dreamweaver it meant that I was essentially saying goodbye to professional web development. Good riddance! It so irks me when the Design Industry blanks a great application that is WebPlus because it doesn't have the Adobe name.It is stupid!
X8 After playing around with version X8 I can say that Serif made a significantly better effort! The video player is great - even though you could add a custom HTML5 video player by using jQuery HTML5 solutions. Check this out: http://jplayer.org/
The audio player is jQuery but somehow Serif didn't create a means of customizing the interface. That is a shame as you are stuck with the 'Pink Flag' player. How hard would it have been to create an interface to customize the audio player?
The interface has improved to make productivity even more efficient. I like the 'Task Monitor' that basically tracks your progress and warns you of any mishaps in your design such as an image overlapping text, etc? You can also see tutorials to help you add components and content to your website.
THE GOOD, BAD & UGLY What I find with WebPlus X8 is that it is great for happy amateurs and small businesses; it'll do the trick! But the bad thing is that it is not using PHP for databases and forms. The ugly, Serif no longer supports WebPlus X8. You cannot buy it as part of its collection of legacy applications. No! Uh-uh! You can only purchase the following from the Serif website:
PagePlus X9 - Affinity Publisher; beta coming this year. When? TBA! It remains to be seen if Affinity Publisher will extend its digital output to include web pages and/or HTML5 apps for Android, iOS and Windows.
DrawPlus X8 - Affinity Designer. This is a great awesome alternative to Illustrator! It is a surefire winner! I am studying the Affinity Designer Workbook as I want to get into Digital Illustration in a big way!
PhotoPlus X8 - Affinity Photo. Hailed as the "PhotoShop Killer", Affinity Photo has taken the digital photo editing and manipulation world by storm. I am currently studying the online tutorials for Affinity Photo; it looks very comprehensive!
CraftArtist - It looks as though Serif won't be putting out an Affinity equivalent; that said, I don't see why it CraftArtist couldn't become a plugin for the Affinity range as it would encourage people in Arts & Crafts to get to know photo editing/manipulation and desktop publishing (once Affinity Publisher is ready).
They are all great value at £19.99 each!
HEADSUP There are other great WYSIWYG web design applications out there such as Incomedia WebSite Design 13 and Magix/Xara Web Designer. Hopefully, I can bring you a review on those applications very soon!