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.

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Spell casting woman.


R.M.T.P. Co.


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November 17, 2008

Come Over to the Light Side

Somewhere along the line I came across comments or a short tutorial dealing with inverted shadows. Thatís right, shadows of light rather than darkness. You must wonder why youíd want such a thing. Itís rather striking when seen in action. How do you make these weird shadows? It starts with a light of course. The best choice is a Spotlight because the area it affects can be altered. It can be used to illuminate specific objects. First, add a Spotlight to the scene then scroll down to the bottom of the parameters. Double-click the word Intensity above the control to turn the light brighter or dimmer. This opens a small menu where one of the options is for Respect Limits. Click it to No to turn the limits off. Now you can turn the amount of light to a negative number.

Other lights are necessary in the scene because of the side effect to using this trick. The Spotlight spreads darkness over the scene rather than light. This in itself could be put to several uses. The current use I intend is affecting the shadows. Once the Spotlightís Intensity is turned to -100% I turn on the Deep Shadow Map for the Spotlight. Once rendered the shadow is actually a patch of light. My gallery picture "Breaking Through" shows one of these light shadows. I quickly put that picture together using one called "Agent Connie Stark: Party Girl" from a non-Artzone gallery I maintain. I also have "Agent Connie Stark: Woman of Action". The pose is very important in these pictures or else the shadow lacks definition. I have much more I want to do with this trick.

Music: These Colours Donít Run by Iron Maiden.


November 10, 2008

Haunted Triple Play

I've put three more ghostly images in my gallery. Here's a quick run down of the effects and alterations I made. The first image is called "Vacation Surprise". It's a pretty straightforward out of focus ghost. The second one "Breaking Through" has a more interesting construction that followed an unusual process. In PaintShop I made the usual Diffuse image greyscale, then inverted the colours and superimposed the figure as a layer over the full render of the scene. I set the layer's opacity to 55% and this gave the ghost its pastel fading appearance. Then I used this Diffuse image on my plane and rendered an even more transparent ghost. The floor was blurry but I fixed it in PaintShop by cutting out the floor and pasting the rest onto a clean render of the empty scene.

My third piece today, "My Possession", involves a devil-horned skeleton. There is a point light inside the skull to make the eyes and mouth glow red. The Diffuse image for the ghost plane has a tiling effect to make it appear as a group of ghost particles absorbing into the victim. The Opacity image followed the usual procedure. The plane is submerged partially into Michael. This doesn't quite duplicate submerging the actual skeleton, but at the right depth it approximates it nicely thanks to the 3D skeleton's posing. I enhanced the red teeth and outer mouth structure in postproduction with gamma correction and a brightness increase. I enhanced the horns in the same way, but also added an Edge Enhance to bring them into sharper focus. I think that's enough ghosts for now.

Music: Ghost of the Navigator by Iron Maiden.


November 3, 2008

Ghosts Manual

Last time we looked at making ghosts on a plane Primitive. A Color map, actually a Diffuse Color map, and an Opacity map made translucent, true-colour ghosts. After more work it appears that the rendered image picks up unwanted glare. To fix it requires setting the Lighting Model control of the planeís Surface to Matte, regardless of the Diffuse Color map used. Further, changing the Diffuse Color of the plane needs to be done last after the scene has been lit. The colour added to the plane will look different under different lighting schemes and it will also change between preview and rendered images. Pale colours are practically a requirement without overpowering the original colours of the map. Some colours may not even change anything.

Iíve put a new picture in the Grotesquerie titled ďYou Did This!ĒThis picture is an example of a clean ghostly figure. The only alteration beyond those discussed last blog and thus far today was a tweak to the Diffuse Colour to match the ghost for the lighting conditions in the scene. The colour used was a very pale shade of green pushing toward yellow. This colour cut through the blue of the lights as well as gave the ghost a slightly yellow glow without moving too far from the planeís original colours. The changing of the colour is something of a balancing act where it is very easy to totally overwrite the intended colours of the ghostís map. With less of a time constraint looming overhead I hope to come back next week with a couple of examples of other ghostly tricks building on what Iíve done.

Music: Madness Strikes at Midnight by Stratovarius.

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Robert G. Male

Name: Robert G. Male
Location: Ontario, Canada

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