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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May 26, 2008

Time Eater

Well, I ordered myself a new computer. A nice quad-core with 3 Gig of RAM and a really big hard drive (how big is it? LOL), a bigger monitor--which had better not be a lemon this time (Acer sucks!)--and Windows Vista. The whole thing was prompted by the rotting of a piece of my current hard drive, so who knows when the rest will go. Never mind, the thing is as slow as molasses and is old enough to likely be unable to take a new hard drive. I should be excited, but its pricey compared to this old junker, which I didn't spend much on in the first place. Nothing but debt (instead of net). It's not like I can do without a computer if this one goes kaput. Still, I have high hopes for when the new one gets here. Like, ooo, rendering animation in Daz. That's where the next bit comes into play.

One of the important things to do to the new computer is to put all the software back on. What a nightmare! I fully expect installing all my Daz bits will take days literally, of just running installs and clicking the 'Next' button more times than human sanity was meant to take. Already in prep I've set aside other files that need to be transferred to the new computer, files that I did not back up when the drive rot hit on Saturday (so much for any fun Saturday night). That was a bit of a chore. I have folders with subfolders upon subfolders, so that things are supposedly easy to find. Yet things aren't so easy to find because some folders subdivided in ways I shouldn't have let them. I had kept track of a number of files by keeping them open in a tabbed program, but I killed the tabs renaming the folders that were archived. Oops!

Music: Believe Me by Moist.

May 12, 2008


Today while out walking to the lake (Erie) and part way around it, I found myself thinking about reflections. I came to an instant conclusion, and that was inserting the images to be reflected below the surface, whether that be under a water plane for a lake, or just inside a room for a window. These reflected images need not be added into the picture in Daz, though if there are to be other things below, or past the surfaces then the inserts would have to be in Daz, and would have to be transparent to some degree. What I do not necessarily know applies to the window scenario. How should the image to be the reflection be altered? It can't just be put in or it will look like whatever it is, is just there inside the window, and not reflected in the glass, even if there are crosspieces on the window.

Even for a mirror I do not know what should be done to make the image look like it is a reflection in the mirror, even though in this instance the difference is perhaps negligible. I think for a mirror's reflection maybe a slight washing out of the colour would be appropriate. I just happen to have a picture I rendered where I then inserted a reflection into a mirror. It's here and I've named it "Afternoon Reflections" (Nudity). The reflection in the mirror was added in postproduction using a render from a different camera within the scene. It may not actually reflect reality as I moved it around to reflect exactly what it was I wanted to reflect. The difference in the lighting is only because that is the way it worked out in the scene with the lights I had set. I think it might work in this case to make it appear to be reflection. What does anyone else think?

Music: Chemical Wedding by Bruce Dickinson.

May 5, 2008

...And Spinning, Always Spinning

I still haven't gone to the forums. I still need to find out how to make objects into a 'skeleton'. I was trying to create an elliptical orbit for a planet for use in my planetary systems. A friend of mine gave me the following advice. He said that I should set an initial circular rotation. Then add a smaller rotation off of that point. The secondary revolution should move at three times the speed of the normal rotation. The whole thing could be offset from the rest of the circular rotating bodies. Most elliptical orbits are off-centre I guess. Certainly they will be if I include celestial bodies such as comets. Now that I am thinking about things again I suppose I could also do meteor belts, though independent motion of individual meteors might be crazy difficult or time consuming.

The reason I want to do a skeletal system with these planets on their planes is so that I can put together my own BVH files--motion files. To that end I looked at a motion file of a human figure walking. It took some doing, but I determined how many motions there were going on in a frame. The trouble was the file included not only joints, but also end points (I have no clue why), and then when that is all sorted out there was left over data, which not surprisingly, is the movement within the scene itself, as opposed to movements of the body. If I can build my own BVH file I can fill it out sooo much easier in a spreadsheet. Then I could try to make this elliptical orbit as described above. I tried to do it quickly with sweeping motions and a small number of frames but the in-betweening was bizarre and it went around way too fast.

Music: Long Way Home by Royal Hunt.

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Robert G. Male

Name: Robert G. Male
Location: Ontario, Canada

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