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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June 21, 2007

Sale... on Now, and What I Bought

I got a Platinum club email today and there's a summer sale going on. You get sent to a forum discussion and the topic starter has the two links you want. I picked up some sets for around $0.97 each. Pretty sweet. I snagged myself the following: Zamara for Aiko3, Akira for A3, Fair Fae Hair, A3 Cazual, Cazual Styles, M3 Boot Pack, M3 Everyday Wear, M3 Everyday Wear 2. These should nicely fill in some holes I've been meaning to get to.

There were a lot of botanicals sets too. I don't know what use I would get out of them given the kinds of images I want to work on when I get a chance. However with such a plethora I can only imagine that it's excellent pickings for those interested. That's my say for today. Sorry about Tuesday, slightly too busy with the dentist and all.

June 12, 2007

I have Shadows! - Render Complete

I completed my render. This time I have a bit of a problem compressing it. I saved each of my chunks of the video as uncompressed frames into .avi format. Overall the complete animation is a whopping almost half gigabyte of Daz3D and Aiko3 goodness. Sadly at that file size, for a video lasting 7 seconds roughly, it's nearly if not totally unplayable. It moves along in super slow motion. The file is 460 frames total. I haven't bothered to render the first 100 frames of the animation, frames created by the motion file, which I got free from a site. Those frames are nearly motionless. I think, but don't quote me on it, that it took me 160 hours of actual rendering time to do the frames that I did.

What I have to do now is find something that will compress it but keep it looking good. Some of the programs I tried actually warped the width and height ratio, which to me is just pathetic programming. Scale, don't compress, if you must butcher! Anyway, the animation is everything I had hoped it would be. There are multiple shadows. Aiko passes by three lights, each casting their own shadow. The shadows march after each other and disappear as she escapes each light's influence. Meanwhile a light outside of the tunnel she's in casts another shadow for two that can be seen at the same time as she kneels down in front of the bars and lowers her head in defeat.

June 7, 2007

The Light Saga Continues

I uploaded two images of my first fairly good-looking results of adding the streaming light to the glowing ball. I'm at a real loss to understand what it is the noise displacement is supposed to doing. This is mostly because I haven't put too much effort into trying many compositions of noise. I don't know how thick to make it, or if it should be predominantly white noise on black background or vice versa. I used four different noise images. One with tight and heavy noise, and its negative (switching black and white to white and black). The other with less noise, and its negative. Rendering them all I saw no difference. Maybe the blank colour to noise ratio needs to be much lower than I have tried so far.

There is another issue that I want to work on to make these images better yet. The glow that I made, based it would seem on the transparency of the sphere, is totally uniform. It is the same right at the point of the glowing ball as it is at the farthest point of the glow. It's the same all the way around, from any angle. I have two ideas to try and combat this. My first is to make several layers of spheres to be varying degree of glow. I think this should require the transparency of the spheres to be additive since each is seen through the "interference" of the one outside of it, which might prove difficult. The other idea is to add cones of light to the outside of the sphere like one of those stylized suns. I'll see, but perhaps not too soon.

Here are the final versions of the two pictures...
My Own Light

June 5, 2007

Connecting Light with What Casts It

IndigoTea commented on my last blog. Here's a run down of what was said along with my attempt to put it to use. I made an attempt, which shows much promise, but at the same time needs work, based on how I went about it. I like the description of what I want as "streaming light"-sometimes the simplest words suffice, and a mild twist is all you need. That's what I want all right. Back to the comment. First you need a sphere bigger than the one that is to be the light source. This second sphere needs to be transparent. The suggestion for 3% transparency seems good. Then comes the part that I initially thought I wouldn't understand. However with Daz3D open it was a cinch.

In the advanced tab of the surfaces tool/window there are settings for something called displacement. The first step is to select your surface and apply an image for the displacement by clicking on the button that says none. Here we want a noise displacement (explained in IndigoTea's comment). Above that button once an image is selected there will be a bar for changing the displacement strength. IndigoTea's suggestion is 100% strength followed by -1.0 (minus) Minimum Displacement and 1.0 (plus) Maximum Displacement. I made all of these changes and rendered the scene. First problem, because I forgot how a sphere primitive is placed is that the point noted by the Translate numbers is the bottom of the sphere at the middle. Until the larger sphere I placed was transparent I didn't know it wasn't centred. So I lowered the Y Translate on the larger sphere. That fixed that. While the method is good, I need to work on my noise-displacing image before I really know if this is the only thing I need to do. Next time I'll tell you how it's progressing.

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Robert G. Male

Name: Robert G. Male
Location: Ontario, Canada

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