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.


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February 23, 2009

The Whites of Their Eyes

They always say to hold your fire until you can see the whites of their eyes. How white are they though, really? In "The Eyes Have It" bobatt posted (at Artzone only) another most helpful comment. Eyes have layers. You can see veins. There is a sense of other things going on within the eye. Also they are not made out of plastic or the like, they do not reflect everything. Each part of the eye does not reflect the exact same way. There is also the matter of lights being reflected in the eye different than the rest of 'scenery'. For most images a lot of this is not going to matter. Close ups though, these issues could be the difference between a nice picture and an amazing picture. I do not see that a lot of software will be able to handle this myriad of things alone, without help.

The first obvious subject to tackle to create the complexities of the eye has to be layers. Some of these layers will need to be created in pre-production, then there is assembly of them during production, and there will likely be some post-production work as well. First thing, you need the iris layer as discussed previously. This will include the pupil in the map, but the pupil will require a reflective layer in the render engine, thought it may serve as part of the same reflection for the iris. There should not be any reflections in this map. The white of the eye will not hold a reflection or it will be fainter than what is reflected in the iris and pupil. These are the starting considerations for making the most detailed eyes and reflections in them.

Music: Zombie Stomp by Ozzy Osbourne.


February 16, 2009

We Are the World... Not

It turns out that creating custom eyes out of sphere primitives is a simple process compared to trying to map a globe to the sphere. The first thought was to create an image map with numbers across it from one side to the other in rows. When applied to the sphere the hypothesis was that parts of the numbers at the edges would fold up or into each other and there would be a way to define where in the corners not to bother placing map image. This is not the case. A rectangular map of the Earth provided some surprising answers. These were the kind of answers that should have been unsurprising, except that they do not yield the kind of answers that were expected. If this is not confusing or totally meaningless hang on for the questions these tests have raised.

First off, the parts of the globe map at the top and bottom of the globe are stretched out. It is hard to tell at the top of the world because there is nothing directly at the pole land-wise--at least as far as the map on the sphere shows--check a proper globe for details. The Antarctic makes the stretching more than apparent. The question to make a planet map from scratch then becomes how to stretch out the caps in such a way that they collapse correctly on the globe. To do this requires an understanding of how and where to stretch. It also requires knowing where to add or take away thickness so that the mass at the pole when it is folded in on itself and distorted has no sudden sharp edge where one section does not line up with the other.

Here is the image "Global Map" showing the stretching and its results.

Music: Out Right Now by Material Issue.


February 9, 2009

The Eyes Have It

My quest to create eye maps for single sphere primitives has continued on since last time. After some experimentation it is apparent that certain ratios need to exist. The starting point of the experiment was a square map of the iris and pupil of the eye. I decided the sclera--the white part of the eye--should be a part of the full sized map for the entire eye. To achieve a normal looking eye requires the sclera part of the map to be significantly larger than the iris, which makes sense since the iris is in the front and the rest of the eye is the rest of the sphere to which the map is applied. The complete map must be twice as wide as it is tall. Changing that distorts the shape of the iris in ways ranging from making it elliptical, to appearing caved into, to folding the iris around one hemisphere.

This sorts out the final dimension of the map. Then comes sorting out what the difference in size is between the iris and the rest of the complete map. By comparison this was the easy part. The first ratio I tried was for the iris to be one third of the height of the complete map. Pi is 3.14, so rounding it off seemed a natural starting point. No further testing was required once I saw it in action with the width to height ratio sorted out. There is one other thing of interest though. If I put lines at the far left and far right and place the map on the sphere it creates a line in the back of the eyeball. If I put lines at the top and bottom of the full map a single dot appears at both the top and bottom of the sphere. This is important for my next consideration of mapping an image on the entire sphere.

Here is my image "Eye Map Experiment" to illustrate the process.

Music: The Edge by Vince Neil.


February 2, 2009

In the Eyes of the Beholder

First let me wish everyone a very belated Happy New Year. It has been too long since I blogged last. I want to start the year off right and jump right into the topic that I said I would. The saying goes that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Well as a fantasy gamer let me tell you that a beholder is a horrible sight to behold itself. All joking aside I wanted to get into the topic of making eyes using spheres in Daz3D. Itís not as easy as it might seem even starting with an existing eye map. For reference I needed an odd number of eyes and to not use a tonne of figures with everything made invisible except for one eye. The eyes appear in my Grotesquerie image titled "Lone Gappon". The creature I created required multiple parts, especially the six eyes.

The first issue in using so many eyes was spacing, which is why I turned to sphere primitives. As can be noted the eyes in the image look quite inhuman. While I embraced it in this image there are some kinks to work out. The first attempt I made used an eye map for Saylor as is. This produced two eyes on the sphere collided together and distorted. I then create my own surface map using only one of the eyes. As with the Saylor map the eye itself is in the bottom a long image with no space on either side. This resulted in the eyes that you see in the Gappon. I have been experimenting since then. Adding space to either side makes for an almost normal eye with distortion at the top( or bottom). Trimming excess from the top then or adding it to the bottom has varied effects. More next time, and examples.

Music: Murders in the Rue Morgue by Iron Maiden.

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Robert G. Male

Name: Robert G. Male
Location: Ontario, Canada

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