Saturday, 21 January 2017






Goodhour, Synapse Circuit Readers! 

Above: WebPlus X8


#Serif #WebPlus #WebDesign #HTML5 #WYSIWYG #Affinity #AffinityDesigner #AffinityPhoto #AffinityPublisher


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.

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!

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:

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.

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!

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!

Stay tuned!

Thanks for reading! 

Wednesday, 18 January 2017





Goodhour, Synapse Circuit Readers! 


#Serif #Affinity #AffinityDesigner #AffinityPhoto #AffinityPublisher


London, UK, January 18, 2017,
 It took ages for my Serif Affinity Designer Workbook to arrive and when it did I was very, very impressed! As a Graphic & Multimedia Designer by trade, I've felt a little guilt that I didn't master Adobe Illustrator, so when Serif announced the release of the Affinity Designer application I promised myself that I would give Digital Illustration a good go!

I had used the brilliant DrawPlus for simple logo creation, and I mean simple! Affinity Designer meant a new start with a new software concept. In a masterstroke move, Serif initially released Affinity Designer for the MAC to critical acclaim. Still, to this day, the MAC computing platform maintains its reputation in amongst the Graphic Design Industry and it was vital for Serif to garner a long overdue recognition for its professional alternatives to some Adobe software applications: PagePlus - we'll come to that in a bit; DrawPlus, and PhotoPlus. As a result, Serif has reinvented itself as Affinity! As stated earlier, the first Affinity product was Designer. Unlike Adobe Illustrator one was able to purchase it outright without breaking the bank; Affinity Designer retails at an amazing £39.99! £39.99, not monthly or annually. No. A one time only fee! Awesome! When Affinity Designer came out last year on the PC I bought it straight away - especially as it was sold for an introductory discounted price of £29.99!

And, just before Xmas, Serif released Affinity Photo for the PC at a discounted price also! I had to get Affinity Photo too!

Above: Affinity Photo


MAC users have been saying that Affinity Photo & Designer are PhotoShop and Illustrator killers, while this may be true for MAC users, the truth is that PhotoPlus and DrawPlus on the PC had slain PhotoShop & Illustrator many years ago! I have been using PhotoPlus and DrawPlus instead of the Adobe equivalents for the last 3 or so years! Adobe tried to make a comeback with PhotoShop Elements but Serif's PhotoPlus was more advanced in that it could output documents in the professional CMYK format. This has always been Serif's legacy - professional output. I have brought documents created with Serif products to print bureaus and always had great results!
Above: Affinity Illustrator

Serif is currently working on Affinity Publisher and a beta should be released soon. Now about Affinity Publisher...

PagePlus was, and still is, a great desktop publishing application but it was always lacking in the Digital Publishing steaks. For example, the video and audio players within a PagePlus produced PDF document looked terrible. Trying to do something that matches Adobe or Quark in Digital Publishing was an exercise in futility, sad to state. Before Adobe Flash got shot down in flames one could export InDesign documents as an interactive Flash medium.

It could very well be that Affinity Publisher will address Digital Publishing; the possibilities are vast! I envisage that Affinity Publisher could create executable HTML5 documents in the way in which a PowerPoint presentation could be launched from its native executable file; HTML5 is cross-platform compatible and therefore should present no problems in creating executables for MAC, iOS, Windows, and Android to name a few.

Can you imagine HTML5 documents that includes aspects like animations, page transitions, audio and video and much more besides? I can! Whether Serif delivers on it remains to be seen.

I am also hoping for PDF documents that include a great looking media player. The PDF slide player could be overhauled too! I don't know how hard it'll be for Serif to take PDF to higher heights as PDF is an Adobe technology. Would it be worth Serif's while to develop PDF? Would it be a good idea for Serif to create yet another media format? Other software houses have tried to create a media format only to crash and burn. Does anyone remember Scala? Scala was a dream turned into a nightmare. I bought one of its applications many, many moons ago... It was a multimedia product, like PowerPoint on steroids but there were so many bugs in it that it was never used. It had some great ideas for all its faults, though! It was a precursor to YouTube with Scala channels. These days, Scala is about kiosk displays. Ah, it was MM200 and it was a huge disappointment. Never mind...

Now that Serif Affinity is hot news it has a shot at creating a proprietary medium that can span different screens and operating system platforms. Serif Affinity has come back for the future and could be the creator of a medium that Flash so very much wanted to be when Steve Jobs shut it down.


Sticking with Affinity Publisher, I had it in mind that Serif would incorporate the ability to output to web pages into it. The word is that Affinity Publisher will not have any web publishing attributes whatsoever! What??? That's crazy, right? This makes me wonder... It also looks like there will be no Affinity Web Designer either! If this is true then it is incredibly sad! Serif produced on of the best WYSIWYG applications ever in WebPlus! It would be a great shame if WebPlus and PagePlus couldn't merge into Affinity Publisher. That stated, Serif is enjoying a monumental high in its achievements that could encourage them to do something very, very special for Web Design, Digital Publishing, and traditional Paper Publishing!

2017, is going to a very exciting year for both Serif and its consumers. One other thing that I would like to ask of Serif for Affinity Publisher is the ability to create TrueType Fonts! There has to be a font designer onboard! I have always wanted to design fonts and it remains on my 'To Do' list!

In any event, WebPlus version X9 has been taken off the virtual shelf. You can't purchase it anymore! That is so, so very sad...

If my hunch is right then I think Affinity Publisher will have an option for web page design. Fingers crossed!

Serif has a legacy application for the editing and making of videos... Yes, you've guessed it, MoviePlus. And it looks like there will not be an Affinity version for the foreseeable future. This is a great shame!

For now, it looks like Serif is just concentrating on professional photo editing/manipulation and graphic design applications. Just imagine how brilliant a video editor could be? Imagine Affinity Movies that is what Affinity Photo is to videos... WOW!

I can understand where Serif is coming from in that the focus is revolutionary based professional photo and illustration applications but I can see that there is already a demand for an Affinity Web Design & Video Editing applications. I would imagine that the runaway successes, Affinity Photo, and Designer could mean that the web and video solutions are in development already! Who knows?

If I know Serif like I think I do, they'd want to have the equivalent for just about everything Adobe does. I think they will do it too - eventually!

Thank you for reading!

The Synapse Circuit website is in the making...

Best wishes,

Synapse Circuit aka Blue Gene

Monday, 16 January 2017




Goodhour, Synapse Circuit Readers! 

Can Samsung pull it off? 

#GalaxyS8 #Galaxy #S #GalaxyS #Android #Flagship #Smartphone


UK, January 17, 2017,
 I think that I am the only person who thought that what happened with the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was a good thing for not only Samsung but for consumers who want the best smartphone experience possible! Why? Here goes...

Samsung, as you know and may agree, has had the edge (pun intended) over every other Android premium handset. Samsung caught the ball and has been running with it ever since the Galaxy S. Oddly, Samsung's greatest competitor is Apple and the iPhone and its plus variant. You would have thought that other Android manufacturers would have benefited from the issues with the Galaxy Note 7 but it did not appear to be the case.

What did people do when they couldn't get a Galaxy Note 7? That's right, they went for the iPhone 7 plus. However, judging from the amount of iPhone 7 & plus units that ended up in the Computer Exchange stores here in London, it shows me that the iPhone is no substitute for a Galaxy Note! And look how long Galaxy Note 7 buyers tried to hold on to their recalled GN7! This was/is unprecedented. GN7 owners had to reluctantly give up their unit. So, I know that many, many smartphone enthusiasts are looking forward to the Galaxy S8. I want one already! The anticipation for the Galaxy S8 is out of this world! This, naturally, is a great thing for Samsung. The Galaxy Note 7 looked and felt perfect and the fortunate battery problems created a publicity that has had people constantly talking about Samsung and how they will redeem themselves. There is a lot riding on the Galaxy S8 and also the Galaxy Note 8.

Already, the hype train for the Galaxy S8 is gathering a hypersonic momentum! Me? I would regard myself as a seasoned pro when it comes to Samsung premium handsets. I am not interested into the hype. I am done with all the hype for the Next Big Thing.

I don't know about you but I am expecting Samsung to revolutionize the Android market yet again! Let's face it, Samsung has never quite destroyed the iPhone. Don't misunderstand me. I am not interested in an iPhone vs. Galaxy S and Galaxy Note debate. You love what you love and some of you even have both an iPhone and a Galaxy S or Note model. What I mean is that I want to see a SoC (System on a Chip) that can push in ways we've seen the iPhone can. The SoC situation is not really a Samsung problem... I think the SoC design for Android is down to Google. I want to see Samsung on top of the multitasking and best use of RAM issue. Google really needs to look at enhancing Android some more and to design a more versatile and powerful SoC.

Design-wise, I have faith that Samsung will produce a stunning handset. Camera-wise, I am hoping for an even stronger contender. The camera is the main reason for buying a premium Samsung handset and I have always been pleased with the results whether it be a still photo or video. I have also been pleased with the processing power - to a degree. The RAM management has always been a source of contention. Lag can still be an issue and I do not think this should be the case on such a premium smartphone; not from Samsung!

So, to hell with the hype and yes to the eventual reality of the Galaxy S8 that could come by March or April this year.

For a good while now, I have been hoping to be persuaded by a different Android manufacturer to entice me away from the Galaxy S and Note for my main drivers. I have pretty much given up on HTC as, for some reason, they can't deliver a great camera experience. I almost went for the front-facing speaker design that came with the M8 but the camera ruined the deal for me.

LG... I have to say that LG has come very, very close to a handset that made me think about giving up a Samsung Galaxy S or Note. I do appreciate LG's G and V series.

Lenovo-Motorola has come up with some great handsets i.e. the Moto series in 2016 were very, very good but not as great as they could have been. Again, I think it was a case of the design. I was surprised that Lenovo-Motorolajettisonedd the front-facing speakers design for the Moto range. Why, Lenovo-Motorola, why?

Huawei, has done remarkably well with the P and Mate ranges. I love those designs! But the handsets are lacking a little.

Of course, there are many, many more manufacturers that I haven't mentioned and that's mainly because, here in the UK, we get a limited range of handsets.

It remains to be seen which manufacturer will produce a handset worthy of sharing the same platform of the Galaxy S and Note this year.

Can Apple produce an iPhone 8 and plus that would make traditional Samsung buyers become unfaithful? As you know, the iPhone does not appeal to me. However, the operating system, iOS, is getting better with each new handset... I do fancy those music making apps! So, don't rule it out!

Bring it on!

Thank you for reading!

Yes, the Synapse Circuit website is being redesigned! It should be online shortly! Stand by!






Goodhour, Synapse Circuit Readers! 

The Tech World hasn't been the same without his writing! 

#SynapseCircuit #Synapse #Circuit 
#BlueGene #Blue #Gene
Recovery from illness...

UK, January 16, 2017,
 Blue Gene, the man behind some of the most entertaining Tech journalism is back! Gene was forced to bow out of the Tech Writing game due to prolonged illness.

Here are some words from the man himself...

It's great to be back! I have missed writing about my favorite subject, Tech! It must be a year now since I last wrote anything substantial. I have missed testing products, giving my opinions and predictions.

I became seriously ill and I had to take a break from writing. I have been working hard at rebuilding my body. I am thinking of writing about that aspect of my life at some point. We shall see... But in the meantime, I am keen to get back to what I love doing which is to write about Tech - product reviews, news, opinions, observations, etc.

It is wonderful to see, via the stats, that you are still reading my articles! Thank you! It means a lot!

You can expect me to be back on the Tech pulse!

Best wishes, 

Blue Gene aka Synapse Circuit

Tuesday, 19 April 2016


Goodhour, Synapse Circuit Readers!

Do you love the arts? Do you live in London?

#Edifier #Cabaret #PerformingArts 
Edifier, leading manufacturer of quality, contemporary audio systems is proud to announce their sponsorship of Portobello Live... 

UK, April 19 2016
 Edifier, leading manufacturer of quality, contemporary audio systems is proud to announce their sponsorship of Portobello Live. Now in its second year, Portobello Live! returns to West London on 1st and 2nd of May with an exciting mix of music, cabaret, spoken word, performance and art.

Edifier has grown from a small team of audio enthusiasts to an internationally recognized leader in audio solutions where customers from over 70 countries now enjoy their products. Edifier is committed to creating a responsible business and giving back to the society. The company believes in inspiring and encouraging musical talent and have set up the Edifier Music Program to support the discovery and development of new talent to help them realise their potential.

“We are delighted and proud to be accepted as a sponsor for Portobello Live!,” commented Audrey Anne Felix, Edifier Marketing Director. “Events like this allow everyone to come together and unite in their love of music and the arts. Edifier’s motto is A Passion For Sound – West London will rock on 1st and 2nd May!”

See you there!

Watch out for the relaunch of Synapse Circuit!

I'm coming back, Baby!

Synapse Circuit



Goodhour, Synapse Circuit Readers!

It is so wonderful to see you all again after what seems like ages! What can I tell you? Stuff happens and has kept me from doing what I love doing which is write about Tech!

I just want to thank for continuing to read my articles in my absence! THANK YOU!

Whilst I have been away I have had time to rethink! Synapse Circuit will come back stronger!

Watch this space... The official website is being redesigned! I, Blue Gene, Synapse Circuit relaunch very soon!

All the best to you!

Blue Gene / Synapse Circuit

Monday, 10 August 2015



Goodhour, Synapse Circuit Readers! It’s great to see you as always! Yes, it has been quite a while. I’ve just finished lending a hand on a friend’s project and now I am taking a little break to recuperate.

I am a little behind schedule but rest assured that I will catch up with y’all soon!

In the meantime here’s some news...

#Reallusion #iClone6 #3DAnimation #NFTS

Los Angeles, Calif., August 7th, 2015 — Reallusion delivers disruptive innovations in 3D animation during the 42nd annual Siggraph Expo August 11th - 13th. (booth #236) 
See real-time demos of iClone 6 animation, Character Creator and the iClone Live Motion Capture System featuring the Noitom Perception Neuron.

1. iClone 6 Animation Pipeline updates to animate and deliver characters and content for Unity, Unreal & Autodesk Stingray game engines.

2. iClone Character Creator launches an on-demand 3D character designer application to build-up custom characters from scratch with dynamic morphs, ethnicity, aging, skin, conforming cloth, cosmetics and fabrics. Characters are fully rigged and ready for animation and lip-sync in iClone, game engines or other 3D tools.

3. iClone Live Motion Capture System with the revolutionary Perception Neuron enables any size studio to leverage the power of motion capture that disrupts the normal price-tag of mocap.  The iClone Live Motion Capture System imports any character rig and characterizes it to iClone so your motion performance can be seen on any rig, in real-time while you perform.
Reallusion 40 second video:

iClone 6 Animation Pipeline:
The iClone 6 Animation Pipeline featuring the all new 3DXchange 6 completes the chain to import, animate and export content from iClone to any game engine or 3D application.  iClone 6 has a completely redesigned QT user interface, Nvidia PhysX for soft and rigid body physics, Allegorithmic Substance for dynamic materials and direct access to fine rendering with the IndigoRT render engine.  3DXchange 6 enhancements include new scene preview modes, updated 3D Warehouse compatibility and export capability for FBX and OBJ.  The ability to create, animate and populate your films and games with characters imported or designed and animated with iClone 6 make it possible for indies and pros to quickly generate characters and animations for projects in Unity, Unreal, Autodesk Stingray or 3D applications. 

Game developers using iClone Animation Pipeline & Unity
Indies are Saving time, Winning awards and getting Funding for their games.

* RGBird Games is a two-person game studio that achieved Steam Greenlight in less than 9 days for their game, “Mute”. RGBird uses iClone for 3D character design and animation.

* Pixel Ripped is a game created in Unity for the Oculus Rift and has achieved funding based on their wildly popular prototype.

iClone Character Creator - Dynamic Designer for Human 3D Characters
Reallusion’s latest enhancement to the iClone product family is the Character Creator, a new tool for total character design that generates fully-rigged 3D characters on-the-fly and ready for face, body and lip-sync animation.  Character Creator is a real-time character morph designer to build-up customized body-styles, skin, faces and a conforming cloth wardrobe.

* Part-1 Body Creation and Conforming Cloth
The Character Creator provides artists with an area-sensitive body gizmo to easily click-and-drag any body part to intuitively shape characters, as well as an extensive set of slider-based parameters to create a limitless range of character looks.  Characters can also be parametrically aged to transform any character from young to old automatically.  
The conforming cloth creates interchangeable, multi-layer clothing for use on any character while conforming to any body shape.  Add clothing and skin overlays with the aid of the integrated Allegorithmic Substance. 

* Part-2 Dynamic Textures - Ethnicity – Aging

The iClone Character Creator is offered as a plug-in to iClone 6 (early September 2015) and later as a Stand-alone application able to generate 3D characters for any application or game engine that supports FBX.

iClone Live Motion Capture System - Reallusion & Noitom Disrupt Mocap
Reallusion and Noitom, makers of the Perception Neuron mocap suit partner to disrupt motion capture with a solution that enables any size studio or indie to incorporate real-time motion capture into their toolbox.  Live motion capture is unique by letting you actually load your character, perform your mocap on that rig and see your characters perform live in iClone while you simultaneously watch and record your motions captured with the Perception Neuron.  The combination of real-time mocap with your actual character models decrease capture time with the ability to see your characters perform the motions and know when your performance was just right. For example, larger-scale characters like our Warrior, Trenton has a body-style and scale that is different from normal human form; with iClone you can embody your character and record the character’s best performance. 

* Video: iClone Live Motion Capture System

Clean-up is minimal with the Perception Neuron and iClone as your capture environment so your motions get where you need them quickly and without the need for extensive editing.  iClone adds the ability to combine motion captured with the Perception Neuron with other motion files by blending and editing via a HumanIK motion layer editor or by masking body parts when live capturing into iClone.  The Perception Neuron and iClone is ultra portable for capturing motion anywhere and supports wifi capturing that lets your motion artist move freely during their performances.  iClone supports any Perception Neuron configuration including the 32 neuron option which is capable of capturing motion from head to toe and all fingers.  iClone and the Perception Neuron mocap suit is accessible mocap and animation for game developers and filmmakers on any budget.

Reallusion Tools Pricing & Siggraph 2015 Show Special:
* iClone 6 PRO
List Price: $199.00 | Show Special: $99.00)

* Animation Pipeline Bundle 3 in 1
(List Price: 797.00 | Show Special: $399.00)

* Pipeline 3 in 1 plus G6 Bundle (G6 Clone Cloth & Morph Pack)
(List Price: $1,125.00 | Show Special: $599.00)

About Reallusion Inc
Headquartered in Silicon Valley, Reallusion is a leading-edge software developer providing cinematic animation tools for PC, Mac and mobile platforms. Reallusion’s pioneering storytelling technology excelling at character animation, facial morphing and voice lip-sync allows fast creation of interactive avatars for 3-D real-time filmmaking and previsualization for professional post-production. Their powerful yet easy-to-use tools make character animation accessible to both Mac and PC users of all skill levels. Reallusion’s development of core technologies and growing base of intellectual property firmly establish the company as power among emerging technology innovators, furthering their graphic and imaging embedded kernels to top-brand device manufacturers worldwide.

Thank you so much for reading Synapse Circuit