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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February 24, 2007

Only on Weekdays

Sorry folks, I've decided for sanity's sake to switch to only blogging on weekdays. See you Monday.

February 23, 2007

Bread of Our Lives

As I said I wanted to talk about the artist Don Brautigam today. Besides album covers Brautigam has a list of book covers to his name. One of those titles immediately stood out to me. Ramsey Campbell wrote a horror novel called Ancient Images. Somehow I was luck enough to snag a hardcover of it-sadly it is out of print and only available used in any format, many of them with different covers. The hard cover I have bears Brautigam's cover. This is a book I highly recommend if you trip over it somewhere for a fair price. The cover to me has always been a stand out. See the cover here.

This cover is another one of those wonderful instances where art brings an added dimension, a new aspect of life, to something that is already very alive in its own fashion. The crest that is the centrepiece of the cover is exceptionally creepy, and maleficent and baleful. I find the colour contrasts of this cover exceptional. The scarecrow is a spectacular half-defined splotch of darkness, which I love. The field that it stands in is also a nice change of pace, being a wheat field instead of a cornfield, though that is a constraint of the story. It's great that this phenomenal book has such a phenomenal cover.

February 22, 2007

Time Waits for One Disease

I thought I had run out of really excellent album cover art to talk about. Last night in a mood from some particularly music I pulled out a CD and discovered a cover worth talking about. It's maybe not super noteworthy art-wise, for the sake of its appearance or its quality. This is not to diminish the work of the artist, Don Brautigam. Actually, I think you'll be hearing more about him starting tomorrow. Similarly I must express the same caveat when I say that I'm more interested in the noted creator of the concept, Charlie-there is no last name given though I suspect it could be the drummer Charlie Benante. The band is Anthrax, and the album is Persistence of Time.

To cover the cover briefly there is the band's name floating over the title floating over a stone clock face sitting in the sand of a vast wasteland. Other clocks float in the air off in the distance and one is half buried further back in the landscape. The clock itself bears skeletal arms for the hands. The 12 o'clock position is a relief of a man kneeling in front of a priestly figure. The 3, 6, and 9 o'clock positions are each a skull. Below the clock there is darkness, and reflected in the darkness is the roundness of the clock but instead of its regular parts there is a reflection of the Anthrax logo. It says to me that the clock isn't important but the band is as far as persistence in time goes. What's more interesting is my interpretation of the clock. It represents death going on around the clock except for a brief time set aside in remembrance of all of those who died in the intervening hours. It is quite the message and like so many other things inspires a story idea in me.

February 21, 2007

If Life Gives You Blurs Make Blurenade

I have a possibly crazy project that I want to fiddle with at some point. I want to try and take a blurry photo and bring it back into focus. I have a few pictures that are blurred because of the long exposure time for the camera under the lighting conditions that I was shooting pictures. Hmm… I have an inkling that I mentioned this some time in the past. Oh well, time to revisit the thought I guess.

I know that the blur may be caused by motion in more than one direction. Perhaps it's even the result of multiple exposures of the same scene displaced by millimetres from each other. Then again, if it proves to be an impossible endeavour maybe I will make some lemonade out of the situation. Maybe I can take a couple of these shots and add a Daz3D figure to them. The idea would be that the blur is actual some kind of distortion, like the figure is moving incredibly fast, or perhaps travelling through time. I should do this regardless of my attempts to clear them up.

February 20, 2007

Speak and Be Silent

I am going to attempt to do my own lip-syncing animation with Aiko. Well maybe not syncing per se since it will be silent unless I somehow find an appropriate voice. I do have to sort out which of the mouth shapes and "sound" positions work to form syllables. However I hope to find a guide out there somewhere on how to do it. It will be either that or spend a lot of time in front of a mirror. Seeing as how I don't read lips or know much about that process at all, I don't know how helpful the mirror will be or how accurate the "translation".

I know there is lip-syncing software available for Daz3D-I've seen the banner for it I don't know how many times. I haven't ever followed the banner through to see what it costs even. I do not know how the plug-in works. I don't know whether it syncs it with audio files. I don't know if it syncs it with text files. I find myself asking the question, if I can get motion files from here and there for free, can I get lip-sync files in a similar fashion? I want to immediately answer that question with a no, but anything is possible. I'll see I guess.

February 19, 2007

No Shrouding Mist for Me

Before I posted my most recent picture of "The Deviless, Usandriel" (N) I attempted to add fog to the picture using my old antiquated version of Paintshop Pro. Sadly some of the add-ins are missing from the program. I've essentially copied it over from one computer to another about three times now since I lost the original disc. To make fog I decided to create a layer with partial transparency and slip in an image to create fog. I needed an image to do that. I went to Google images and searched for fog.

I tried three or four different images of fog. Needing to find fog that wasn't hiding anything complicated this. It would do no good to add mysterious trees or things to my image. I tried this, but it didn't work so well, it was just a solid bank with no differentiation to it. Very boring. The same results were yielded for images of mist. Then I had a bit of an idea, what about using clouds. Clouds have variations. I tried a couple of these images. The problems were twofold. First I had to find cloudbanks that fit the kind of moving and thickness of mist I wanted. Second I had to find cloudbanks without too much varience in dark and light. All of it was to no avail. As can be seen by the picture I posted, there is no fog or mist. I guess I will have to see if I can make my own clouds next time. It is a good process; I just lack the proper materials.

February 18, 2007

I Am the Earth and Sky

Elements Pt. 2 is the second of the two albums, done of course by Derek Riggs. Its cover is a stark contrast to the first cover. It is not any less spectacular, and in fact is much more highly detailed. A wooden man, a tree trunk given human form, whip-thin branches growing from his chest, tangled roots forming his legs tying him to the earth, holds aloft a white fleur-de-lis that glows with pure white light. He is earth and air to the first cover's woman of water and fire. A tree branch Möbius Strip circles this moss-mottled man. Leaves circle and spin around him in a flurry.

The leaves seem to be predominately maple leaves. I don't know what significance that is supposed to have. One thing I neglected to mention about the last album, which is true for this one as well, is that there is something going on with the art on the CD themselves as well on the insert underneath of them. The disc cradle, the bottom of the CD case is clear and there is more art there. For the first album there is an amber fleur-de-lis burning with orange flames on the disc, and on the under section the fleur-de-lis is black with inky flames. For Pt. 2 the fleur-de-lis is made of glass pressed leaves on the disc, and for the under art the leaves are black. The detail and thinking involved on this "set" is just stupendous.

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Robert G. Male

Name: Robert G. Male
Location: Ontario, Canada

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This scary book

available at Battered Spleen Productions™.

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This free scary audio book

available at Battered Spleen Productions™.

Learning Dark Arts is a presentation of

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