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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September 21, 2009

Rust Decays the Spleen

Recently a tutorial came to my attention through Twitter. It was for text done in metal shades and corroded. It used functions in PhotoShop that I do not have access to in my old version of PaintShop, and are not present in free programs like GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP). I set about duplicating their effect as best I could. What I have come up with is slightly different, but I hope just as impressive. Here it is.

Example 1

Start with a black background and make an X of five white circles, just like the 5 on a six-sided dice. You can do this by putting circles onto the corners of a square and one in the middle as in 1). Using the rectangular select tool cut through the middle of four outer circles until you have what looks like a four sided cog just like 2). Trim the image down to the selected portion. Scale this cog down to about 9 by 9 pixels--adjust size as necessary for the size of your text that looks best--as in 3).

Example 2

In a separate image lay down your black text on a white background. A plain font like Arial works best given the next stages and to make the holes look best. Take your magic wand tool (or select by colour tool) and select your text. Cut and paste it into a new image. Now take the wand tool and give it a feather of 5--so it grabs five pixels outside of the selected letters. Now delete this over sized selection making sure your background colour is black. This makes the letters larger. Paste back the smaller letters and put them in the middle where they used to be. Keep the selection on these smaller letters within the larger letters.

Example 3

Take your paint tool and set it to paint a pattern. Select your small 9x9 cog as the pattern and paint the smaller letters. Now take the magic wand again, with the feather turned to zero again and select the letters. This should grab the outer border and all of the hole filled part that is black. Don't have the colour tolerance set too high on the magic wand. Now you have your text with holes in it and a border around it. It should still be selected. Now take the Airbrush or Spray Paint tool. Set it to a size of over 100 pixels but less than half of your entire text section. Set the density of paint drops to anywhere between 10 and 30. The opacity should be about 50%. If there is a figure for Hardness set it to 60%. The colour should be a dark gold colour with RGB 128 128 0 or in Hex #808000--you may want to make it darker than this but with a colour replacer you can adjust that later. Lightly airbrush the text in stages until it looks a mottled gold and black. It shouldn't be too "colourful". Then change your colour to a dark red colour with RGB 130 0 25 or in Hex #820019. Airbrush the text again lightly in stages until you have the kind of rust colour you are looking for.

At this point you can alter the brightness and contrast of the entire image--you can leave the selection tool on--until it looks good. Now, you can take your colour replacer tool and change the white background to a darker colour that compliments the rust colour. Grey is best. The background can be changed to RGB 192 192 192 or in Hex #C0C0C0--or RGB 64 64 64 or in Hex #404040--for best results. Invert your selection now so that everything except the rusty text is selected. Set the colour tolerance for the Colour Replacer to about 172, this should remove any white bits in the holes of the metal. The rust colour and the text in general should really pop now. Remember to adjust that gold colour if it's still too bright.

There are two ways to go now. First with the selection of just the text and not the holes--invert again from how it was in the last step--and create a Drop shadow if you want one. Otherwise if you want you can turn off the selection now and instead select everything that is not the text or the holes. This is for painting blood on this rusty metal text. The blood is put on with the Airbrush tool with a density of about 35. The colour should be a medium red with RGB 192 0 0 or in Hex #C00000. Darken the blood colour as desired. Put it like large splotches, or as desired. Since the holes are not selected blood will get in the holes. This may not work so well with the drop shadow included as well. If you want both select the text with grid, but not holes, and paint the blood only on the text, not through onto the drop shadow.

Example 6
See more examples of this tutorial's results.

Music: Afraid to Shoot Strangers by Iron Maiden.

September 14, 2009

Guest Art Bloggers Wanted

I am looking for bloggers, who create art, to write articles for this blog in October. If you're interested in reaching a larger and/or different audience contact me. Show me your own site and/or blog. Give me an idea what you'd like to write about in your article. The articles can be with respect to Daz3D, 3D art in general, 3D animations, photographs, paintings, sketches, and other art forms. Not familiar with my articles? I discuss techniques, the creative influence behind the art, CD covers, role-playing game art. You could write about your design aesthetics, what you try to convey with a piece of art, the stories told by your pictures, animation or photography. You may include images to be linked to in the article. Due to technical limitations I cannot accept animations. Thank you.

Some conditions apply. This blog is posted to my Artzone account and to my Learning Dark Arts blog site. I have full discretion to reject proposals or ask for re-writes if I feel they are warranted. I reserve the right to make edits for spelling and grammar that you might miss. Aim for an article no more than twice as long as I tend to post--let's say about 500 words max. Please suggest tags for your article, but I reserve the right to modify them to make use of my own available tags or to even make up my own. I will add a brief introduction at the start of the posting.

These articles are at worst PG rated. That said some of the art available, with a suitable warning attached, is R rated. Please no NC-17 art. For Learning Dark Arts the follow are acceptable: nudity, violence, blood and gore, and what may be considered disturbing imagery. Of those only nudity is acceptable for Artzone--sorry if that is your desired audience, but I have to abide by the rules and my own allowances for what I post there. The following are NOT acceptable for either site: lewd poses and pornography (sort or hard core), imagery that may be considered racist, discriminatory or bigoted, excessive guts and gore.

You may repost your article elsewhere 3 months after I post it, and you retain the copyright to the articles and images but extend me the right to display your article for as long as I maintain any of the sites it is posted on. Finally I reserve the right to create a follow up post on your article at any time and reference your original on my sites. You must let me display copies of the images for your article directly on both sites (if applicable) for as long as I maintain the sites. Please send me the images or links from which I can download them. I will host them myself. By submitting an article and images--when asked to--you agree to these conditions.

Music: Sacred Cowboys by Bruce Dickinson.

September 7, 2009

Happy Labour Day 2009

Note: For my blog Inchoate Ascendant™ I am taking the final Friday of the month off. The Monday following that I will be taking off from writing and posting this blog. Sometimes that will be last Monday in the month. Other times it will be the first Monday of the following month.

There seems to be a lot of holidays around now, don't there? Since this is one for both sides of the local border I thought it only fitting to not work too hard. That said, here is a special holiday image.

Music: Forever is Today by Stratovarius.

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Robert G. Male

Name: Robert G. Male
Location: Ontario, Canada

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Suggested Reading:

This scary book

available at Battered Spleen Productions™.

Suggested Listening:

This free scary audio book

available at Battered Spleen Productions™.

Learning Dark Arts is a presentation of

Battered Spleen Productions™