Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Creating dawn light in DAZ Studio 3

Working with lights in DAZ 3D, and working with props, are two of the challenges that make it such big fun. When you think about it, everything in the shot is a prop, including the character! Michael 4 is a model too. It's the way lights and props interact that turn software and numbers into art. Look at the way the dawn light falls around the boy's face ... and if you have a look at the second of the two garden scenes, check out the way the shrub casts shadows on the wood, and how the icy casts shadows on the vases.

Dawn light is actually fairly easy to create. You want two distant lights, pink(ish) and blue; and position them down low, so they're pointing just about horizontally from the horizon. Then set up a third light, something like greenish or grayish, to simulate a little bit of reflected light from the ground. It all starts with the sky you're using -- that will dictate what color the lights are.

The sky for the dawn light shots was created in Bryce 5.5 (honestly, Bryce is at its most useful in creating skies. You don't often need Himalayan landscapes, but you need evokative skies all the time). I usually create the skies in widescreen, and crop out the bit I need. The skies are just about panoramic...

...for once in life something is easy to do, and very effective! I love Bryce for its skies. Used to spend ages trawling through my digital pictures, looking for skies that would crop out and modify. Now, I just take a few minutes and make exactly what I want in Bryce. And many times, the sky (or landscape) inspires the rest of the picture.

The hardest thing about working with loads of props is ... waiting for the computer to get through the work of moving or morphing something. The more props you load in, the slower and slooooower it gets. The garden scene is loaded like you wouldn't believe. The dawn light scene is just Michael 4, pants, boots, belt, shirt, toupee, helmet, staff, floor, wall, and sky. That's comparatively little, and the computer handles it fine. The top renders, though --! There must be about sixty props loaded in, plus lights. You need a lot of patience. Or a more powerful video card. Hmmm. Note to self: call Cherry Computers, and/or IT Warehouse...!

Jade, 22 April
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