Thursday, December 31, 2009

Gay heroes from the cult classic ... on New Year's Day!

The gay heroes are of course Jarrat and Stone ... the cult classic is the NARC series ... and no, you haven't (yet!) missed something fantastic on tv -- an incredible gay sf movie didn't (yet!) blow by you unnoticed. The characters are from the series of books by Mel Keegan, but the more I render these guys in 3D, the more I work with them, the more I drool over the idea of a movie.

And I know it's impossible, because no one would spend that kind of money on a gay movie. But it's a nice dream ... and it has a epilog. The software to do an "animated fan production" is landing on the desktop. You've only got to look at what I'm doing in the very early days (been doing this about five months) with the absolute entry-level version of the DAZ Studio 3 ...

You know there's one (could be two) more level(s) of DAZ above this one?! The Advanced level is out of sight. Check out the video:

Ye gods. Now, I'm nowhere near being up to speed with the first level version of the program! I looked very briefly at the animation controls, and then decided to start with baby steps and learn all the other stuff first. I think I'm about 50% of the way through what you need to learn with working with the models and lights, working in the x,y,z environment and what-not.

Next comes the deformers, and ... a whole lot more. Like creating my own textures and applying them, for a start! I'm just starting to feel my way into this part of it. Another couple of months, and I could look at animations -- if (and it's a big if) my computer will handle it. I'm not sure it will, so ... before the animations comes the new video card, and the new operating system (because Vista sucks, and I want Windows 7 as soon as they've shaken the bugs out of it ... when did they stop calling that Windows Horizon? I lost track).

And then comes the lure of the fire, smoke and fog effects ... and ... and ... and I think I need a 64 bit system.

Anyway --! Let's learn to ride the bike before we start drooling over the Lamborghini But you take my meaning...!

Getting back to today's renders: what you have here is literally two frames out of the movie; two sides of the same conversation, where Jarrat and Stone are setting up or winding down -- the action is not actually going berserk, and for once they don't look like they're carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders!

In fact, the other day someone asked me why they look like they're fighting world war III every time I render them -- and the reason is because they are fighting something along those lines! In the books, the Angel War is one of the biggest things that every hit mankind.

So here you have Jarrat -- tanned and fair, the colonial who has that slightly "different" look of somebody whose genes have been drifting in the colonies; and Stone, with the Irish skin and the absolute-earthling genes, which you expect of someone who was born in London.

Both these characters were designed by Mel Keegan and executed by yours truly, and I like to pat myself on the back for the way they turned out. I, uh, did good!

The faces were designed using the Michael 4 Morphs++ pack. (Michael 4 is the base model; every character you see in these posts started life as your basic Mike.) I the Morphs++ pack you can change every characteristic of the model, down to the shape of his ears. Then you add the high-rez skin maps -- and of course I used two maps. Jarrat tans faster, according to the books, and comes back from vacation "honey brown," while Stone has to watch out for the sun, being much more "Euro-mongrel" and pale-skinned.

I've also been asked when I'm going to do an African, or African American, character -- and I would love to. I relished doing the cover for The Lords of Harbendane:

But this is a painting -- a real, genuine painting, not a 3D scene. I need to get an African or Afro-American skin map to make an African (etc.) character really doable. I mean, I can adjust the features on Michael 4 to African, and use the surfaces tab and lighting to change the skin tone, but ... that's a hulluva lot of work, and I'm busy like you wouldn't believe. So ...

Thirty bucks. This here is a skin map by the name of Rob -- what they call an M4 Elite Texture. This is the real deal, and when you really get into this work, you won't accept less. Thirty bucks. And five small words: when I can afford it!

If you've been following the blog, you'll also have noticed the huge change today: I redesigned the whole format. I was on two columns up until this morning, and the blog had seriously outgrown that template. So I spent several hours switching it out for the template I worked up for other content-rich blogs, and it looks quite something.

New Year's Day is getting some long shadows here on the other side of the dateline. Dinner is impending, and it's time I left the computer and devoted some quality time to the clan.

Happy New Year! Notice the 2010 date stamps on today's renders ... woohoo: it's 2010!

Jade, 1 January
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