Sunday, January 24, 2010

Western Heroes ... the 3D way

And now for something completely different: Western heroes ... cowboys. In 3D. Yes. You know, I grew up in the golden age of the TV westerns. Everything from Maverick to Lancer to Alias Smith & Jones, by way of Cheyenne, Laredo and The High Chapperal, not to mention The Virginian and Bronco Lane! And I know I lost a lot of you on paragraph one! Bonanza wasn't the only western. I just wish they'd whack more of them onto DVD. I know they've done Maverick in the States, but you can't get it in Aus. (You can't get Highlander either, not even Season 1. Rats.)

The young cutie you see above is just the basic Michael 4 dressed in the Cowboy costume with the Tex textures added, and a couple of quickie backdrops imported. I have to say that the M4 Cowboy set is damned hard work. Seriously. This is not a model set I'd recommend until you get some experience under your belt, for several reasons. Getting the "fits" is not easy, and you need to know about morphs and how to actually get hold of a sleeve and turn it off ... and then you need to know the DAZ Studio 3 folder hierarchy inside out, or you might never find the Tex textures at all. They're in the wrong place. I went hunting to find them, and then wrote down the path so I stand half a chance of finding them again!

(If you've installed them and can't find them, try looking here:

Studio 3 > People > Michael 4 > Clothing > HMG Tex

... and that is NOT where they're supposed to install, going by the Read Me page.)

Anyway ... after one heck of a hunt, I found the textures. Next challenge: getting the hat to fit over a hairstyle. This also is not a task for someone who'd new to DAZ. You can do it, but it involves both stretching the hat and using the hair morphs to flatten out the style.

The style I'm using here is the Midnight Prince hairdo, set to golden blond, which gives Michael 4 a real "down home" look ... a nice lad, maybe 20 years old ... a peach ripe for plucking.

If you can wrestle your way around the hat, though, it's a very nice model; and the "duster" coat will also mix-and-match with other sets. Like, leathers and a katana, for the Highlander look. Also, "cowboy aviators" leap to mind. Add this hat to a character in jeans and leather jacket, and add a pair of sun glasses. Remember Tommy Lee Jones in Space Cowboys?

If you can FIND the damn' Tex textures, they do apply beautifully, though you don't see much till you put some lights on them and render them. To get this effect, I used a blue distant light turned down low to look like late twilight, and then a green point light low to his left and a cream point light off his left shoulder, to bring out the texture applied to the coat, and also bring his face up clearly.

A great thing about the hat is that you can tip to forward or back on his head; you can also change the size of it. Using it in combo with the Midnight Prince hair is a real challenge, though. It just doesn't want to fit over. You have hair showing through the hat. The Midnight Prince hair has loads of morphs and fits, but I haven't (yet) found a way to get around the problem by using the controls...

The answer is to use DAZ's own Deformers ... and that, guys, is a whole 'nother subject!

Jade, 25 January
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