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.
Recently I received a free download of Stephanie 4 Elite Base. Along with it came presets, maps, a power loader, and
the Elite Human Surface Shader (more on this another day). I immediately set about using the figure. I loaded
Stephanie with the Victoria 4 Base morph injections included.
I ran through the different faces available and settling on one began to work with the figure. Very quickly I discovered a problem. I attempted to fix it and things only became worse the more that I worked with it. As you can see from the left hand, redheaded, version in the image to the right the figure looks less than stellar. First off the face is too masculine and was made worse by the stock Happy expression. The forehead is also too large and no amount of fiddling with the hair would fix that. At best I could lower the hair and crop out the bald head that would stick through.
The right hand, blonde, version is the result when I started all over from the beginning and used one of the morph injections I have for Victoria. It still required some hefty tweaking of the hair to cover up much of that forehead and diminish just how much head there is above the eyebrows. In the next image I've illustrated another problem that I perceived with the figure. Proportions of the different portions of the head aside I couldn't escape the feeling that the head was too large. For whatever reason I could not find a morph to dial down the head size and was forced to scale down the entire figure. I don't know how that happened and since then I found the dial, perhaps only added when I inject the V4 Morphs++. Instead I rendered two versions, one with Stephanie scaled smaller overall, and I replaced the head and hair with the smaller version in postproduction.
Mirrors are something I have dabbled with in my art. There are different options for creating mirror effects in DazStudio. There are of course reflections created by the render engine that are dependent upon the surfaces to which the reflection controls are turned on and modified. These require a good amount of light in the scene to be effective. In some cases it requires too much light and washes out the colours of the items reflected. This also requires postproduction work involving a render of the scenes with the lights needed to make everything outside of the reflection look good. In early December Daz3D offered the freebie Gothika Mirror (now $9.95). I used it to create the image "Alone in Reflection - Version 2" (Nudity), which has no post-production work for the lights, but does for the missing reflection.
This is compared to "Come Hither" (Nudity) where the reflection is entirely done in postproduction using a second render with the camera placed in the face of the mirror looking out. In this instance the reflection besides being manufactured is furthermore unrealistic because it does not reflect the actual image that would be seen in the mirror. While this makes for a false image it allows for a better view to be present in the mirror and to help avoid missing items like walls from being viewed in the reflection. A third option creates a reflection in the render by duplicating everything in the scene at a rotation of 180 degrees from the original. Like the second camera/render it requires toning down colours in the reflection because mirrors aren't true in all lights, least of all in photos.
If you look in the Battered Spleen Productions Store at the front and back covers of the issues of Killing Time - Horror E-Rag you will notice that back cover of one issue is the front cover of the next issue. This was done for expediency's sake as well as to give the appropriate tease as to what is included in the next issue as a story. When choosing the covers I have balanced a number of concerns, including what figures, items, and scenes do I have to use in renders. Sometimes just the right part comes along as one of Daz3D's freebies. So far most of the images have included female figures. This is because most of the freebies have been aimed at that figure demographic, which informed my buying habits as well. I have limited choices and ability to manipulate with male figures.
Another trend in the covers is that there are differences between the preview image and the final cover image of the next issue. This has been a matter of timing, though not totally. The coming soon images have been made using figures I already posed in other scenes, some of which you might recognise from The Grotesquerie at Battered Spleen. Once I have time in my schedule I manipulate the coming soon image to change it both for variety in my images and for a bit of a surprise. It's not much of a surprise, but I like to think it keeps people on their toes. Also, like the cover for Issue 1-2 the Killing Time graphic is offset to the right. This was done so that I did not have to render an image with next to nothing in the upper quadrant of the cover to make room for the title box.
Music: House of 1000 Corpses (theme) by Rob Zombie