Wednesday, September 30, 2009

ICE, WIND AND FIRE

Done and done! And I'm really pleased with how this one rendered. Each of the characters was designed separately. The blond is Greg Farris (as anyone who's read the book knows), the brunette is Alex Connor. The book is very descriptive ... not going to fool anyone here, if the characters were not properly designed.


Mel Keegan is also thrilled with the art, the character design, the color scheme ... it's just about everything the original 1989 version of the book was not! Think of this: 20 years, the author's been "seeing" this cover in the mind's eye, and finally it jumps up into technicolor, 3D.


This one was also done in several layers. The background is an image ... that really is Jamaica; though I couldn't swear to it being Montego bay -- I suspect it isn't! The characters were designed and built separately. They were then imported individually and posed. Then the whole image was rendered, and shipped into Serif X3 to have the overlays added.


The whole shebang will be shipped out as a 300dpi image, to a PDF document, which goes to the printshop, and the book will debut next month. (Incidentally, Serif X3 or X4 is the program that handles the making of the single-layer PDF required by the print shop. I have to say, Serif makes fantastic PDFs, with a fraction the fuss, bother, nonsense and expense of a lot of other programs that, frankly, can cost way too much.)


So, how about another "beauty shot" ... just because...


This is a pilot design for a novel called AD ASTRA, which is still in the work-up stages. The art is fine, but it's lacking "something." I'm not even sure what it needs at this time, so author Jayne deMarco and I are putting it away and we'll worry about it again when the book is finished.

These early posts were usually quite short, and when I look back at them from the vantage point of another year -- well, the art is simple by comparison with where I am at the time of this update. What can I say? Life is change, change either means progress or regress, and heaven forbid it should mean we go backwards. So instead of taking down the earlier posts for their simplicity (heaven knows, they're pretty!) I thoutht I'd gussy them up with some slideshows and, soon, videos, and invite you to browse! So check this out ... this is closer to where I am as I type this update in October, 2010...





Jade, October 1, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

FANCY DANCING

Here's another book cover that's quite eye-catching. It was done in three layers, and combined step by step. Layer one was the couple embracing. This was two clones of the Michael 4 charter which were imported into the same scene and dressed in blue jeans. Then one was made a little taller than the other, so they look different enough not to be twins ... and one was made blond, the other dark. I didn't have to worry about their faces, because they weren't going to show in the image. This was rendered:

And then it was run through a blurring process, and cropped:



This was then imported into a new scene as the background layer, and a character I always think of as my "Fabian clone" was imported and dressed and posed, to stand in the foreground looking like the wants to punch someone's nose! (This happened totally by accident, but when I look at this model, I can see Fabian Cancellara, the pro cycling star.)

Then the whole scene was re-rendered and shipped into Serif Publisher X3 to have its text objects added, and you're right back to the bookcover you started with.

Today I'm finishing the ICE, WIND AND FIRE cover art, and the finished version will be my next post. It's already looking delicious, but needs just a tiny bit of post-production work...

In the meantime, here's one I did a few days ago, for a Mel Keegan fantasy due next year:



And if you'd like to see where I am one year later, here's a slideshow of October 2010 artwork:




Please so browse around and watch the artist's progress! I was pondering whether to take down these early posts where the art is so comparatively simple, and I actually woke up to the word "comparatively." At the time -- it wasn't simple at all. I had figure everything out, and the purpose of these early posts was to record my journey from the start to the culmination. So instead of taking down the simpler art I decided to gussy up the early posts with slideshows and, soon, videos, and perhaps encourage folks who are just starting out to stick with it, never say die, and ... enjoy the process.

Jade, 30 September

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Magnolia Time



This one was done as a book cover -- Magnolia Time, which will be out early next year, from DreamCraft. It's not actually a scene, more or a photo-montage ...where the model (as drop dead gorgeous as he is) is completely digital. These models are imaged and created in the computer, where every last detail is tweakable ... yes, Virginia, even those. Or do I mean, especially those?!



The basic model is DAZ's Michael 4. But there, the similarity ends. What you do with the model is entirely up to you. Put it like this. Starting with the "base" you can model the character into anything from Woody Allen to Brad Pitt. The trick is, knowing how to drive the software.



So this one became a book cover (see left), with post-producion work done in Serif Publisher X3. It's clickable, so you can get a larger view.


What am I working on right now? Well, Mel Keegan's ICE, WIND AND FIRE is rolling up to its 20th Anniversary reissue (jeepers, has it been that long?!) and I'm working on the cover design for the paperback. It's set in Jamaica, so obviously it starts with an image of the island. Then you import the base model twice ... during the next couple of days they'll turn into two different guys, but at the moment they're twins in the 3D interface:



Adventures in 3D, right?!


And if you'd like to see where I am one year later, here's a slideshow of October 2010 artwork:





Please so browse around and watch the artist's progress! I was pondering whether to take down these early posts where the art is so comparatively simple, and I actually woke up to the word "comparatively." At the time -- it wasn't simple at all. I had figure everything out, and the purpose of these early posts was to record my journey from the start to the culmination. So instead of taking down the simpler art I decided to gussy up the early posts with slideshows and, soon, videos, and perhaps encourage folks who are just starting out to stick with it, never say die, and ... enjoy the process.



Jade, 28 September

Friday, September 25, 2009

Jade's First Post



PRIVACY POLICY

This addition is being made to the first-ever post on this blog, to bump us into agreement with Mother Google, because on 17 May, 2010 ... close to Post 300! ... I just added Google ads into the margin. The Google ads are there to hopefully earn a buck or two for the starving artis ... um, duh. Why else would anyone put a Google ad box on a blog?! However, this statement is here specifically to assure you, the visitor, that I (Jade) collect NO information from you whatsoever!!! None. Zip. Zilch. Nada. So even if I were a seven-headed monster in artist's clothing, and wanted to use such information to bring about some nerfarious end ... there's no information to be used, so it's all null and void!! Seriously, people -- all humor aside -- privacy is as important to me as to you. No way in the world would I do anything to damage the privacy of a visitor to this blog, but this message has to be in place to please Mother Google, and here is is. Please consider yourself 100% safe on this blog, and ... enjoy.

____________________________________________
And now, with all that said, let's return to The First Post...!


The first thing I want to do, as I start this ... which is actually my first blog; can you believe that? ... is to say a big thank you to Mel Keegan for getting me into 3D artwork. I've been in digital art for ten years, but it's all about photography, digital painting, combinations of the two, and the startling effects which can be generated therefrom! 3D art is very different.

Update, May 2012:
It's astonishing to me to look back at the early posts! How far the artist has traveled in less than three years. Here's where I am today:





...and please do click on any of those to see them at full size. The work is still a sheer joy, but nowadays it's done in LuxRender, Bryce, Vue and Photoshop as well as DAZ. The synthesis brings a special magic to the art. Once again, I asked myself, should I take down the early posts, since they're in no way representational of my work as it is these days. And again, when I asked friends, they said that people who are trying to figure out how to do this stuff can learn a heck of a lot more from following the step-by-step approach of a blog that traces the looooong path of a learning experience. So the early posts are going to remain.

In fact, I started the blog because I wanted an indelible record of the progress (often plodding; always experimental) from "just got my feet wet" to, "just spent 40 hours rendering this in Lux, whoooo!" ... and as I look back over the close-to-700 posts, I'm so very glad I did this.

I do hope you'll browse my archives ... everything is exhaustively tagged, so if you're looking, for instance,  for the male nudes, all you have to do is click on that label in the cloud, and you'll call up the lot.

Enjoy!

Update, October 2010:
Looking back on the first few dozen posts -- the first few months in the lifespan of this blog -- how simple the art looks to my own eyes now! Here's an idea of where I am at the time of this update (October 20, 2010) ...



So the question was, should I leave the old posts up or take them down, or replace them with new content? Doctor Mike actually nailed it: people who want to actually make a start in CG art will get more out of the early posts, because the later ones are so technical, you have a year's catching up to do before you can understand what's going on in them.

So we're going to leave the early posts up and running ... by I'm going to gussie them up with slideshows like this one, and -- soon -- videos and animations.

With all that said, then, let's get back to the original blogpost:

Something had prompted Mel to look into 3D art creation software -- there are several packages on the market, from the most user-friendly and affordable (Poser, Hexagon) at one end of the scale to the Pro end (3D Studio Max and so on) at the other. Dame Fortune let Mel in a beeline to DAZ Studio 3, and since it's a hefty app which demands a heck of a lot of RAM and one hell of a video card, it wound up being run on one of the big systems at DreamCraft.



Looking over Mel's shoulder as the first forays were made into this creative realm, I saw what was going on, on the screen ... ooooooh boy. I was hooked. Instantly.

Mind you, creating great images came a week or two later! There's a learning curve to be climbed even in this app, and even though it's the proverbial cake-walk by comparison with the top-end progs like 3D Studio Max, don't let anyone tell you it's an easy climb -- well, not if you're going to know how to handle the lights, surfaces, materials, D-formers and all that stuff, rather than just buying existing models and posing them, and then rendering the shot.

So ... I got into DAZ Studio 3 in a big way in August, and I'm having so much fun with it right now, it's time to share.
I'm going to try to post every few days; and I'll also tell you what software was used for the post-production, and where to get it, and (!) how the work is done. It's a hell of a lot of fun, and as always, I want to share. So, thanks to Mel Keegan for getting me into this. In future posts, I'm going to be showcasing a bunch of covers I've already done for Mel's 2010 titles, and also for a new writer who's just signed with DreamCraft. Jayne deMarco will soon be quite well known in the GLBT realms, and I've had huge fun doing the covers for her first round of releases. So --
Welcome to Jade's Adventures in 3D!

And if you'd like to see where I am a year later, try this for size:



..these images are drawn virtually at random from the September 2010 archive. Nice!

Jade, 26 September


Update: August 2015

A lot of really nice "recent eye candy" is pasted up in the margins now, so it's not so necessary to get in here and share random images to whet your appetite and encourage you to explore the archives. But more and more lately I'm working in Bryce 7 Pro, so ... here's a few anyway!




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