Saturday, December 31, 2005
My three favorite new sites for 2006
There are three things I discovered this last year that I absolutely love.
The first is DAZ (http://www.daz3d.com/), a site dedicated to digital 3D art. Daz Studio (a Poser-like program) is free, and so are some of the models. The store is addictive, but I was lucky in that I joined the Platinum Club early (back when we had money) so that I can pick up things for a couple dollars every now and then.
This site has allowed me to explore an artistic side otherwise lost to those of us who cannot draw or paint. It's really, as the site explains somewhere, like setting up a studio session. You get to choose the models, setting, lighting, clothing, makeup... and no one argues when you put them into awkward positions and leave them there for a few days while you work on background material. Science fiction and fantasy scenes are as easy to do as historical or modern day work. There are anime-like settings, and even animation for those interested in going that far. Daz also bought the Bryce system from Corel, and have offered some very nice items to go with it as well. Bryce is still a bit over my head, though, and I haven’t had the time to really sit and play with it the way I would like.
There is also the forums, the contests, the challenges.... A person could devote quite a lot of time to this if they had it!
The second site is LibraryThing (http://www.librarything.com/), which is another very addictive site, especially for anyone who loves books. I hardly entered half my own collection before I had to go back to real life for a while, but I'm going to be back at it in 2006. You can find my library here: http://www.librarything.com/catalog/zette
LibraryThing includes all kinds of fun stuff like ratings, reviews, and tags for your websites. There are profiles of users, lists of books broken down by most popular, highest rated, most reviewed -- as well as lists of the largest libraries. You can search through other people's libraries and if you find things that you have, you can just drop it into your own collection. Or you can enter your books yourself. I found that ISBN works best, and the site goes off and finds all the info it can, including cover art. A new feature allows you to upload book covers of your own.
You can view libraries in many styles and orders. You can download the data (good for an Excel file!) and you can print out your library, including cover art.
There is one last site to mention: PreClick (http://www.preclick.com/). This is a photo organizing program. If you have a big collection (like say, some 20,000 pictures just from the last camera, never mind the stuff that needs to be scanned in, or the disks from the old camera....), this is a really great way to organize. But it takes time -- something I just don't have a lot of these days. You can copy sets of organized work off to cds, though, and I'm really looking forward to getting to that part. Eventually.