The Download Blog

Nothing faked in iClone's animation

Do you want to be the next John Lasseter? Is Hayao Miyazaki your hero? iClone Studio Edition 2.0 updates the feature-heavy, template-based 3D animation studio aimed at the amateur animator. It's a must-see app if you're trying to break into the camera side of movies and animation, or if you just want to play around with 3D animation without having to draw everything from scratch.

The installation is a bit of a drag, with a mandatory registration that also scans your computer's hardware. If your machine is tall enough for the ride, you can get access to an extended trial version with a few more templates than the regular trial. Once you're in, though, iClone really gets down to business.… Read more

Mash up audio and video with MXPlay

There are a number of great digital-music players already on CNET rules the roost because of its compatibility with iPods; MediaMonkey is fantastic for free music management and playlist creation; JetAudio Basic is packed with features for burning and broadcasting via JetCast; the classic free player Winamp now provides Internet TV and music videos; and Quintessential Player, my personal favorite player, is the perfect size for those who prefer a light system footprint.

A new digital-music player called MXPlay focuses primarily on one facet that most of the current software doesn't even mention: sound quality. Designed mostly for streaming audio, MXPlay augments even the lowest-quality 96kbps music streams to provide a more full-bodied sound for your favorite tunes. Also, a unique graphical interface lets you position your virtual speakers and audience to tweak the sound of your songs to your heart's content, and a built-in browser lets you both surf the Web and add photos and videos to create your own music mashups.… Read more

Mysteries of Software: VLC Media Player full-screen controls

Here's an answer to a question that no one has ever asked me: "What are the full-screen keyboard controls for the open-source video software VLC Media Player?"

Boy, I'm glad you never asked me that fantastic question, because VLC Media Player (for Windows or Mac) is excellent free software that has gone on to inspire other open-source projects like Songbird.

The answer to the question is indeed out there in the wild tubes of the Internet, but it's pretty tricky to find, because it's hidden in a screenshot (and an outdated one at that.)… Read more