Learning Dark Arts

Come learn the art of 3D computer generated art and animation. This blog deals with the lessons learned and the art created by Robert G. Male using DazStudio from Daz3D. Also covered are the ancillary software, tools, techniques, and processes needed both before and after rendering in the 3D software.


Spell casting woman.

R.M.T.P. Co.


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January 31, 2007

Simple Pleasure or Dramatic Discovery?

Last night I was doing something that to me is just amazing. I opened up Daz, and set up Aiko 3.0 with the skin map and a full body suit, and some nice reddish/copper-colour hair. I left Aiko in the original pose and zoomed her out to a fair distance. Now here comes the fun part… I went to the File Menu, I selected Import, I changed the file type to BVH and applied a file… and something miraculous happened. Well, not immediately. I had to open a tab that I have never used before and press a button on it, then collapse the tab. Before I say what tab it was—in case people aren’t aware of what I imported, don’t want to ruin the surprise let me get back to what she did. Aiko walked across the screen!

I’m sure there are people out there groaning that I’m so amazed at such a simple thing. Thing is, I’m sure I’m not the only one who hasn’t done it before. The tab I opened was Timeline. I tripped over it in the past and knew immediately what it meant, but never put it to use yet. Here at Artzone all we generally see are still pictures from our renders. I think this means people out there could be unaware that Daz does animations. Of course now, like with my getting the pictures out at a decent size, I have to figure out how to get the animation out of Daz as either an animated “.gif” or an “.avi”. Still I’m extremely happy with myself, even if I didn’t create the motion file myself. Now to just get it out so I can show my non-Daz friends.

January 30, 2007

What’s In a Name?

Carrying on from yesterday I thought I might talk a bit about naming pictures. If there is one place I allow myself a little self-admiration it is for my titling. Take for instance the picture I mentioned by name yesterday, “Blood Trees Invade”. A simple enough name, but what does it mean? I made the red of red autumn leaves on a couple trees pop compared to the browns and yellows of the surrounding trees. I made the darkening sky behind it pop too with it’s blue, though I mitigated that some with dimming, and with dialling down the contrast. The overall result was to make these red trees the point of interest in the picture. The result is surreal too, but that surreality I felt was confined. That meant one of two things to me. The trees were either supernatural or extraterrestrial. For me to dub them supernatural I would have required an extra oomph, like the trees glowed. Don’t let the “Blood” bit throw you.

Not having any idea what to call something initially is a good thing sometimes. It is best if you have to stop and think about it. I had a photo of the sky between two buildings where a line of clouds hovered just above the tree line of a nearby bush (I never know what else to call such a small forested area other than this local-seeming name). That part of the image is just the lowest section of the photo. Still, despite this, it was an obvious focus and the reason I took the photo in the first place. To draw this out and to unveil my reasoning I called it “Cloud Freeway”. Another picture, of the local meeting hall and library I gave a new depth of thought, I believe, by calling it “Ye Olde Hall”. Another picture I drew a real blank on what to call it so I did the obvious and I called it “The Darkened House”. Not much of a name perhaps, but it does give me a wonderful story idea for it. Sometimes the depth, the greatness of the title, isn’t in what it does for the picture, but what it does for the mind.

January 29, 2007

My Pictures and Lighting Issues

This is something of a retread to the people on my friends list, but I thought I would talk about it here for general public consumption as well. Last night I uploaded some pictures to my public gallery. I figured any interesting photos or anything I made that isn’t a copyrightorial conflict was fair game. Out of the photos I selected a handful that I thought were evocative in some form. I just took the photos around town on one of my jaunts when the weather was nicer. At this point in time not all of my digital photos turn out. Some are downright blurry thanks to issues involving shutter speed versus light levels. The camera’s flash—light not memory—alleviates the worst of this problem but it also completely messes with the lighting conditions.

If anything is important to me in a photo it is the lighting. Lighting is mood, lighting is time and place, and lighting is contrast. I don’t know if I would ever take on a job as a film director, but if I did one of the most important things for me would be the lighting. It’s from the horror aficionado in me, but I digress. One of the photos I edited had just an excellent dim lighting condition and I managed to avoid the blur. However I decided to tweak the picture before putting it up here. There were a couple trees with their autumn leaves a nice red. In the dim light the colour was muted. I decided to tweak it by going into the settings for hue, saturation, and lightness. I rammed the saturation bar to the max and added a little more “light”, and then I did just the saturation again. The result is “Blood Trees Invade”. Check it out.

January 28, 2007

Plans and Beating around the Bush

I think I am going to take a more familiar approach to make myself some pictures for my gallery here. All I need are some head models from Daz and the rest will be cut and paste work. Though I do also have another idea involving a car, a head and shoulders, and particular piece of scenery. It’s all about the elements. I think I made an intentional funny concerning Adobe Photoshop Elements although I’ve never used it. I’m still using a really old copy of Paintshop Pro. Still the idea is the same. That means I’m still mostly putting the elements together all in one layer. I can create multiple layers, but trying to work with them with such antiquated software ranges from mind staggeringly aggravating to near impossible and turns a quick job in hours.

I guess I might in the meantime put up some of my photos until I get some composites made. I don’t know how interested anyone will be in my photographic style given I don’t know if I have much of a style. I’ve taken the photos with other things in mind for the most part. Such things include capturing particular architecture, trying to get a certain kind of lighting, and reminders of the sorts of things I want to include in a story. That reminds me. I have a couple sets of photos that I have to scan that were taken from before I got the digital camera. I went out and took a whole slew of pictures of a run down abandoned house. No, I didn’t go into it. I know better than that. I just traipsed around the outside.

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Robert G. Male

Name: Robert G. Male
Location: Ontario, Canada

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