Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Yaoi elf, the enchanted forest, and New Year's Eve!

The Yaoi elf comes to life -- big time! -- in a full-on 3D environment ... foreground, middle ground, background, the works. Today I've been playing with one of the cycloramas ... never got around to it before, but lately I've been pushing things a big, and see if my system can handle environments. This is a simple one, made up of 2D-style set dressings which you move around like props. Knock wood, my system didn't have a problem with it...

The heavy work comes in when you ask the system to load a street scene or something so highly detailed that every surface is textured, and everything you see in the scene, down to the last blade of grass, is a 3D model. Welllll ... this system is a quad core (4x 2.4 processors) with 6G of ram and 1.35T of hard drive space, but I don't think I have the graphics card to handle that. Not that I wouldn't like to!

But for the moment I think I might stick to faking it to a degree with this sort of cyclorama setup. The difference between a cyclorama and a proper 3D environment is the difference between a stage and the real world. On a stage you have a front-projection screen on which things can be (!) projected, and you stand set dressing in front of it. The effect can be fantastic, and extremely believable. The real world is ... 3D everything. Phone poles, trashcans, litter, broken-down garden fences ... the lot. Nothing projected, no two dimensional set dressing that the stagehands roll around!

Anyway, my system handled this (it's a Lenovo desktop, with a big flatscreen attached), so I thought I'd push a bit further and add a second character. Our elf has met a friend in the enchanted forest...

The Gypsy showed up ... I guess he and the bratty little dancer are camped not too far away ... this Gypsy clan (which Jayne DeMarco dubbed the "Zaparasti" -- and I like that!) have wandered into some part of Europe where you leave behind the cities, and where magickal times and magickal people just might happen.

The system did slow down when I added the second character, but it didn't stop. I deleted all unused props and got rid of a lot of lights that were turned off, and it kept itself up and working quite nicely. DAZ Studio 3 does love to fall over, even on a powerful computer, so the trick is to save the file before you change anything or load anything, or make major changes. That way, you just start it right back up.

Tricks of the trade, right? Speaking of which --

The first tutorial book is being proofed right now! It's about 20pp, and this one is the "get started" guide that'll walk you around the interface and give you a really good look at the foundation skills you need to make sense of DAZ 3D. The tutorial takes the form of a "hand holding stroll" through the whole project, from knowing nothing to rendering the image above. It's a "snack-size" manual ... loads in it, but not so much that you'll be overwhelmed.

Also, it's like no tutorial you ever read. It's a fully "organic" approach. More about this later. When I get it back from the proofreaders, it'll be available for download as a PDF, right here on this blog.

Here's a milestone: today's renders are the last I'll be able to sign "2009." It's New Year's Eve on this side of the dateline. The old year has six hours left before we pop the corks and they let off the fireworks on Sydney Harbor.

So ... Happy New Year to all, and ... see you next year!

Jade, 31 December

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