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 28, 2008

Wish List Raid

Back in the middle of the month I invested in my 3D future and I raided my Wish List at Daz3D. I had collected a large number of Platinum member reduced items at $1.99. You have to love that kind of deal. I insist. : ) Not to brag unnecessarily but wow was it a cartload, literally. ; ) I bought a bunch of stuff revolving around the "Millennium Environment" and the "Multiplane Cyclorama". There are a couple winter scenes sets, a couple beach sets, then there are some creepy scenes like "On A Certain Night" and "Hunter's Moon", and there's the "Magic Falls" and "Mystic Hollow", and "Forsaken Vale". In addition, for added variety and oomph I nabbed the "Woodland Realm Playset" volumes one and two. Also for creepy oomph I bought "Lisa's Botanicals - Creepy Trees" sets one and two.

I also of course had to buy "The Graveyard" and some "Ancient Trees". Then I moved indoors with "Dream Home: Master Bedroom" and its "Dream Home-Eclectic Master Bedroom" add-on. I bought the "Tomb of Helena", but I really want to use it as the inside of an old movie theatre foyer. Thinking ahead to another story I'd like to bring to visual life I bought the "Royal Stairs" and "Rustic Look for Royal Stairs", and "The Ballroom". Then I got my gothic on with the "Gothic Construction Kit" and "Gothiquesque for The Study". I also let myself be tempted by "Under the Bridge" and "Ruined Bridge". Finally I rounded things off with "Sam for V4", "Bijin Jigoku for A3", "Calendar Girls for V4", "Kioku" and "Kioku Styles", and "Provocative for Victoria 4".

Music: Trouble Again by Quiet Riot.

January 21, 2008

Crystal Clear

I want to start off by thanking Luc for his help and comments on my picture "Transparent Problem" that I blogged about last week. Now I want to talk about what I learned from him. It takes two images to make a transparent object in Daz3D. First you have to put your main image onto the surface as the Diffuse colour. I figured that out easily enough. What I did not know, and maybe sadly should have, is that you also need to put your image into the Opacity control as well. Still I do not feel bad about it because that is not the only step required. The image you put into the control for the opacity has to meet some specific criteria. Let me tell you about those requirements.

The opacity image has to be black and white version of your Diffuse image. For my current purposes I did that literally. However for different effects it is more precise to suggest that you use greyscale. As Luc told me, certain parts have to be certain greyscale colours. The parts of the image that are totally white in the Opacity image will be the parts that appear as normal when everything is done. The parts of the opacity image that are black will not appear; they will be the transparent parts. Pieces that are varying shades of grey will have varying degrees of opacity based on how light or dark they are. The Opacity Strength in the surface window is 100% for my image. You can find it in my gallery under the name "Magic Circle with Transparency". I have added my figure back in, with clothes, but left other elements out so it is safe to view for everyone.

Music: Neither Can I by Slash's Snakepit.

January 14, 2008

Cubists Didn't Have to Deal with This

Well, I set out this weekend to solve my dilemma about putting graphics onto a primitive and not having them stretched all funny. I took an image that was 250 pixels by 250 pixels. A cube primitive seemed the best object to start with. A cube has six sides to it, the four panels that surround it and a top and a bottom panel. The first thing to do then was to create an image that was double the height and three times the width. Or of course it could be three times the height and twice the width. I did that in my handy dandy old version of Paint Shop Pro that I've had forever. I put my image in the bottom left corner in the hopes of making it the facing image. This worked out well. There is still a bit of an issue and I didn't have time to sort it out.

Though the image was twice the height of the original I ended up with bleed over from one face of my cube to another. This might be a matter of the extra pixel width of one half or another. In my expanded image I had multiple colours panels to fill the other 5 of the 6 panels that would make the cube. The one colour bled over the edge onto the face of the cube with my image. In the interim and because I need more than just a "flat" .jpg image for the surface to be added to the cube I turned to transparency to solve the bleed over issue. I need to make my magic circle for the image I'm creating and it has to be transparent in spots so that the floor shows through. In Daz3D I found I couldn't use a .gif for a surface, so to retain transparency I turn to the .png format. This gives me another problem which you can see in this image called "Transparent Problem". Any ideas how to retain the actual transparency?

Music: Like a Knife in the Back by Twisted Sister.

January 7, 2008

Creating Dark Magic

Happy New Year! I'm back from taking it easy, and I think I will blog here on Mondays so that I have time over the weekend to work on things before I talk about them.

I have been working on a new picture titled, "Just a Casual Spell Rev.1" (Nudity)(Controversial). You should note that if you are interested in what I am doing with it, and the questions I think I will need to ask, that I am marking the picture for Nudity--a given what with the actually full nudity--and Controversial because there is no actual violence in it, but may be disturbing in an after the fact kind of manner. To untangle the messy web I'm weaving let me tell you about what the final picture will be once I'm done. As I said in December I started to make a picture to be a new cover for a print edition of my short story collection "Cast What You Will, Get What You Deserve". For this I started with an image central to the first story. This immediately prevented the picture from being on the cover due to the aforementioned nudity. Still I wanted to make the picture, and maybe others integral to the book's other stories, but that will be later.

The completed picture "Just a Casual Spell" will be a scene from the story of the same name. There is a nude female model, kneeling on the floor in an attic space. I already blogged about getting the kneeling correct by turning certain limits off. She is kneeling within a magic summoning circle, the inside of which is sopping wet. There are burning candles. Aside from kneeling she is moving her arms about and chanting a spell. I have picked what I think is a good pose for the somatic component of the spell, and for the face. This brings us to the controversial bit, the key material component of this dark and evil magic. (Yes I know you may or may or may not know the terms somatic and material components from AD&D.) The spell being cast requires, lets just say simply and politeness, a skeleton of a newborn. This is hard and heavy horror I'm talking about--believe me this is candy coating the story. Thusly, I have a skeleton scaled down in size. You might recall my blog about the giant millennium baby model, which failed to help me with an accurate size.

I'm dragging on a little longer than usual, I know, but I don't mind if you don't. If you want to see the picture, go ahead and look. So far I have my model posed, and my skeleton set to a good size, and in position. I think what I will do is ask for two things of anyone looking to help (and not appalled by the subject matter). First does the size of the skeleton and its positioning look all right compared to my female model? Second, what is your suggestions as to what set I should use to make the attic space? I am thinking of using bits of the House of Mog Ruith set. I want hardwood, old-looking floors, and I may cobble the ceiling together a bit from the set. I'm not afraid to composite things together in postproduction if I get the scales right in Daz3D. There you are, there's my project and where I'm headed.

Music: Blood Bound by Hammerfall.

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Robert G. Male

Name: Robert G. Male
Location: Ontario, Canada

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