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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July 31, 2007


I am working on a rather ambitious picture. I have one model/set that is massive in scale. I've struggled and lost before to do something with it because as well as needing really far away placed cameras it also seemed to take up an inordinate amount of the computer's memory and other resources. In fact it seemed impossible to move the camera far enough to even get a sense of what the set looked like. Well now that's over and I have a good angle, and distance and such, I am dealing with lighting the thing. Now here's where I'm having a bit of trouble trying to wrap my head around what I'm doing. I am trying to set the colours to make it a picture at sunset.

My first inclination was turning the colours of the lights to shades of red, orange, and deep/dark yellow. However this only acts like dousing a layer of paint of that colour on the set. It imparts the colour directly in a way that just doesn't feel right. This has required some fiddling around and thinking. I still don't have all the answers yet. However I have had some success in thinking what I can only call counterintuitively. I turned from what I consider hot colours to using cool colours. This gives me a proper feeling for the fading light. What it does not give me is that sense of the warm colour being the condition of the light. I'm going to go now, and see what I can do with some spotlights or point lights. Maybe dappling is more the key.

July 24, 2007

The Adventures of Atramentus™ and Scintellatus™ Part 1

I totally skipped Thursday's blog because I was neck deep in rendering some pictures. I may eventually put these pictures up here at Artzone but for the moment I have put them on a web page with some text elements to help fill out the story that these renders of the same scene (3 of them) tell, and well don't tell. Again I must tell you I used pwGhost for the effect. Handy thing that. Well worth every cent of the few dollars I paid for it, despite the aggravation the learning curve has caused me. I had two issues this time, one I can understand, the other just leaves me scratching my head as to the cause.

I was using blue mist as my ghost affect, though really it relies on the "clouds" controls if I remember the heading correctly. I set up two pane primitives, and applied the preset shader to them making one red and the other yellow. Looking directly at these fog panes everything was good. This is with the panes vertical compared to the camera. Turned horizontal to make "ground fog" nothing appears in the render. Colour me confused. My other issue was in one shot the angle, the closeness of the panes to each other, and the closeness to the camera made for badly pixelated "fog". To fix that I just moved the one pane away from the other. It affected the overall colour but I put it to good use in my "story". Check it out at... The Adventures of Atramentus™ and Scintellatus™

July 17, 2007

Love Me Them Ghostly Ghastlies

I've added a new picture called "Ectoplasmic Invader". Again it was pwGhost. This time it was the blue mist used on Aiko3 wearing the Mech-girl outfit. It's been a few days since I did the work on it in Daz3D so I have forgotten what the background setting is. I did very little lighting-wise in Daz, and most of it in my old Paintshop Pro. First up on that front, there was bringing down the brightness and contrast. Second was a touch up of all the colours with a Gamma shift favouring green.

Before I did the colour I had to give my freaky little friend discernable eyes. I blurred them to make them look good. Now, I'm not sure why but I could see the locks of hair from behind, unlike the usual good handling of layers by the pwGhost. It was for the best anyway as I blended them down and added a nice alien cast to the lower face. It's all good unnatural unwholesomeness.

July 12, 2007

Lost in a Fog

I had a small epiphany the other day, about my seemingly favourite plaything, pwGhost. The thought was lets apply the "Misty Blue" preset to a plane primitive and render it. Bingo, instant fog. Now, I don't know having seen real fog if I would say this produces good fog but it does produce fog for my pictures. I just verified a moment ago that more planes of this fog produces thicker fog. Additionally the fog panes need to be staggered by a bit of distance, horizontally for instance, to make more complicated or less globular fog patches. It still remains kind of curdled though. For the moment I won't knock it.

I have added three new pictures to my gallery. The first is Usandriel, again, but this time more as I intended the picture to be. The picture is titled "Foggy Balcony (Nudity)". The next picture is a photo that I took a few nights back when there was real fog outside the window. It is called, "Scathing Light". Then the last one is the final render I just did to thicken up the fog. I have titled it, "Unseen Fall to Doom".

July 10, 2007

Working with Transparent Figures

I was fiddling around with pwGhost and also trying out just making a character and all their parts and outfits and gear transparent. Doing it manually, just going into the shader and turning down the opacity of things isn't the best way to go about it. I ended up with a figure that was pretty scary all right but not all that ghostly. For starters you could see the eyeballs through the head, which was kind of freaky. I toned that down. However one large problem remains, and that is the hair on the figure's head and other things with a front and back to them.

There doesn't appear to be a way to make the back of the hair totally transparent and the front only partially. It's all one object. That is where the tools involved in the pwGhost are helpful because they can be applied in layers and certain layers like the face will make certain there is no need to see the back of the head for example. I do not know at this point if that same layer can be done manually or not. I haven't really delved into the help of pwGhost either to see what all I can do with it. I would like to make figures that are partially transparent without changing their basic colour to something else (aside from the nature that transparency changes them).

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Robert G. Male

Name: Robert G. Male
Location: Ontario, Canada

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