Monday, April 12, 2010

Designing sets in DAZ Studio 3



Creating 3D sets is one of life's pleasures. The more realistic the set you build, the more convincing the action taking place on it. The only downside is that the more complex the set, the slooooower it makes the computer, and the longer it takes to get a render. But sometimes it's really worth the effort.

For this picture idea I wanted something as photo realistic as I could get. I wanted something that was like a shot out of a movie ... "Did anyone see Errol Flynn come by this way?"

So I started with a Bryce sky -- incidentally, there is nothing at all in these images that is not digitally created. The Bryce sky let me set the weather conditions and time of day. It's "party, partly" type weather, early afternoon or late morning, and it's warm ... probably a bit humid -- looks like there's either been rain or there's going to be rain.

So far so good. Now ... props! This set is a mighty mixture. Wall and gate segments taken from DM The Gate. Then the tiled floor is the steps segment from the Cloisters. The arbor is just that -- the Garden Escape arbor. But the tree-seat and the tree its parked around are from Merlin's Oriental Garden -- so's the potted lilac by the wall. But the potted tree near the arbor is from DM Instances. The fountain and stone benches are from the Cloister. Planted in the timber planters by the arbor are some shrubs from the P-Nature Shrubs set. Beyond the wall are a half dozen trees from the Deluxe Trees set ... also the box hedges from the Garden of Galahad, and another half dozen shrubs from the P-Nature set. There's also the ivy-covered vase from the DM Instances set ... the barrel from the Western Brick-a-Brak set (you can't see it from these angles). And the trees in the distance are Foleypro trees, rendered in Bryce along with the sky.



Okay ... set complete. Now -- enter the hero! This one's a swashbuckler. It's Michael 4, of course ... wearing the Remendado skin map (and face ... reminds me a lot of Sean Bean, which I like, so I don't usually mess with it), and the Mon Chevalier hair, with one of their special texture MATS applied to get a color like plum sauce! He's wearing Remendado's tattoos, and the Leon Castiglia pants and boots and belt, with various textures set. Then, pose the character ... there's a wind in his hair, the shirt is off because it's warm and humid.

Then: lights. Believe it or not, I only used three lights on this! I kept the number of lights down because I wanted to simulate near-noon sunlight. The two lights above are gold and blue, and quite bright, with deep shadow maps set. Then there's a third distant light set in the ground not far in front of the swashbuckler's feet, simulating reflected light bouncing off the tiles.

Usually, it can be a task to get the scene bright enough, but this one -- I was turning the lights down over several renders -- they were too bright. The result is surprisingly photographic and realistic. I like this set a lot, even though it makes the computer sloooow. I'll be coming back to this arbor ... maybe in the moonlight, or at sunset ... nice!

Jade, 13 April
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