Sunday, April 4, 2010

Bryce meets DAZ Studio 3: seamless fusion

The fantasy male nude ... in both Bryce 5.5 and DAZ Studio 3, simultaneously. The question is, how's it done?! And I promised to reveal all today, so -- here goes!

The project has two layers, basically: foreground and background. The background is made up of the sky, the ocean and the clifftop. I'm going to repost the background shot from yesterday, so you can get a clear look at it without the "clutter" of a beautiful naked gay and grasses, plants, what have you...

(If you need to see it full size, go back to yesterday's post and click on the picture -- I uploaded it at full size there).

All this was done in Bryce 5.5. You design a glorious sky ... you create a water plane and set the wave pattern, and set up the reflectivity ... then you need to create a bit of foreground "land."

The "land" is an object you create by clicking the "make mountain" icon, and transforming it with 1001 available tools, from a swatch of the Himalayas (the default) to a nearly-flat bit of land that's maybe twenty or thirty yards wide. You position this in the bottom of the frame ... you whack a texture (material) onto it so that it looks like mossy rock ... you click RENDER ... and go away for two hours! Seriously. It takes a loooong time to get a high-rez render.

The final picture is beautiful -- but when you export it, that's exactly what it is -- a 2D picture. So how do you get the models into it?!

There's two ways to do this. You could design, pose and "finish" the model in DAZ 3D and then export it, complete, as an OBJ file. Then this OBJ file is imported into Bryce 5.5 --

Downside: the model arrives in Bryce like a chunk of plastic. You can't post it or change it, not even an eyebrow. You're absolutely stuck with what you exported. That's not so bad, you think? Well, when you've positioned your chunk of plastic juuuust right, you hit RENDER ... and come back in two hours, and discover that some teeny detail is wrong. You correct it, and render another one (two hours), and ... so on.

Hmmmm. There has to be an alternative, right?

There is ... and it's sneaky. It's so sneaky, I've never even caught a hint of this from anyone else! Go back to your Bryce scene -- sky, ocean, bit of land. DAZ Studio 3 isn't the only program that will export an OBJ. Bryce will do it too. Light dawns??!

If you export your bit of land out of Bryce to an OBJ, and then import it into DAZ, and drop it into the bottom of the frame ... it behaves like the ground under the model's feet. The OBJ arrives complete with its materials (mossy rocks), and you set the sky/ocean image as the backdrop -- Eureka!

Now, you can do anything you want with the model in the foreground ... add all the costumes and props, and re-re-repose everything ... set up the lights ten ways ... and when you hit "render" in DAZ, even with deep shadow maps set for five or six lights, you'll get a render in about 3-10 minutes, depending on your computer. DAZ is delighted to import an OBJ made by Bryce.

So now you can be a perfectionist with every aspect of the image, because you can get a render in minutes. You can correct tiny details ... then come back and do as many versions of the scene as you want -- as if they're frames out of a movie.

So, the scene you're looking at here is made up of these elements:

Bryce sky
Bryce ocean
Bryce ground exported to OBJ
Ground OBJ imported into DAZ Studio 3
Loads of plants and grasses added as props
Michael 4 base model, posed ...
Jagger skin map (not Jagger's face, though)
Mon Chevalier hair made loooooong
The Hunter loincloth (resurfaced into cloth of gold)
Fantasy spear from the Spears of Destiny set
Six distant lights, with four deep shadow maps

...and that's it. It probably sounds complicated, but trust me, it's not at all. When you get used to the controls in both programs, you can have the images rendering in the background while you do other things.

Jade, 4 April (Easter Sunday)
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