Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Riding beneath the ringed planet

And now for something completely different. Lately, I've been playing with fantasy (God of War, Quest for Gold and so on), and SF (Spaceport, Land of Fire and others), and I wanted to mix up the genres, see what happens.

Turns out, you're reminded of something like Firefly ... a space western. Or maybe it's something like John Carter of Mars. I dunno what to call it, but I like it! What I did here was to create an Arabian-Mustang crossbreed (shades of Hidalgo!) with a dappled gray coat, ice blue eyes, black mane and tail ... then add Michael 4, wearing a face designed by me. I added the Mon Chevalier hair -- but I made it white, not blond. And the costume is the belt and pants from the SF clothing set -- see the whole ensemble in the Spaceport render.

To get the background, I took a skyscape, cut out a 600x900 swatch of it ... opened it in Irfanview, turned up the green, turned down the red, to get a lovely exotic coloration. Even so, there ain't no ringed planets in the sky around this neck of the woods! So -- a quick Googler image search turned up a halfway right Hubble image of Saturn. Now ... import both images (sky and planet) into Micrographx Picture Publisher. Import the planet into the sky image ... resize it and skew it 30% counter-clockwise. It's still sitting their on a black mat, of course! What you do is change the "merge mode" till the black background vanishes, then add a feather to the "object" (the planet image) so you don't see the border.

Now ... the image should have been done, but I gotta confess, I still don't know how to set up the lights in DAZ, when you have two BIG models -- guy and horse combined. The default lights are just dark, and when you render the shot, even if the pose and all else are perfect, the shot you get is flat and dim. (I've put in the other renders, and the sky backdrop, so you can see what I mean. Sure, sure, if I knew how to set up the bloody lights, I could have called it done right there! But I don't yet, so ...

I rendered the image, and opened it in Micrographx Picture Publisher 10, and got to work on it in the Light Studio. I changed the lighting model to "omni" and then changed the area of intensity to highlight the rider; tweaked the contrast too; and then went into the Lens Flare Studio to add the, uh, lens flare. And the end result is sheer poetry!

Next thing I have GOT to learn is how to set up the damned lights, so I can generate the whole scene in DAZ. Mind you, doing the post work in Micrographx gives you the chance to get really clever and artistic...



Jade, 19 November

UPDATE: two years later, let's do this project over and see what happens...



On August 3, 2011, I was going through some old posts, and came upon this one. I thought, "That was a great idea, but it needed more skill than I had at the time to make it really go -- and also, more resources.

The original version of the post was done with VERY basic resources. Now, I have a great deal more in terms of 3D models, textures and so on to put into this, and I also have dimensions more skill...

This was the whole point of this blog -- to chart my progress from "close to day one" of starting out in 3D and CG, right through into work that looks like this:



See the new version of the "ringed planet" render here , where you can view it at full-size...

Jade, 3 August 2011
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