Thursday, April 15, 2010

Rendering problems, 3D characters, and ... stuff

Rendering problems caught me unawares today ... and I theeeeenk I might have juuuuust discovered the outer limits of what I can do with this processor (actually, there's four of them: 2.5 each in this brain box of this quad core).

The dancer assassin, one of my favorite characters, is reborn ... not quite the same (they never are), but close enough to suffice till I can figure out the the difference is and fix it. So far so good! So then I was looking at him and imagining a setting, and I'm thinking ... he's waiting for Leon. I know he is. So am I, but I can't seem to repeat the creation process of Leon to save my life! Here's the original face, which I love:

...and I desperately want to recreate that face. Think I can get close? Nooooo. Not so far.

If you're tuning in late ... I lot ALL my existing characters, including all the NARC and Hellgate characters, when the computer had to be reformatted. Oh, I saved all the files over onto several external drives, but now DAZ refuses to open any of the old scenes or projects, due to some problem of missing support files. The company's support team are helping, and I still hold onto a thread of optimism. But when I have the time I'm trying to recreate (resurrect) some of the characters I loved the most. This one, above, I liked so much, he even got a name: Leon...

The dancer-assassin was his partner:

And I know the new dancer-assassin is not 100% the same as this original. The face is difficult to recreate, and when you see it in closeup, you'll see how different it is:

But we're getting there. And I was thinking, this guy looks a little sad, and he's wauting ... he's almost certainly waiting for his partner (and he's going to have a long wait, because I can't get Leon right. Try again tomorrow). So...

I thought, he could be standing, waiting, in a garden. So I merged the character into the Garden of Galahad set. Did some nice lights, got some nice poses, good camera angle. Hit Render --

And spend a long while wondering what was wrong. Because no way could I get high-rez renders. If you have a look at the top two, you'll actually see that there are shortcomings in the render quality. And when it came to the closeup, right above ... the program gave me rubbish on the first two renders, and then kept closing!

Finally, it dawned on me what's wrong. I'm maxed out, literally, on the number of polygons which can be rendered on this machine, and keep any kind of resolution.

Harrumph. Okay, so I fudged it after that. What I did was, go into the closeup show and DELETE Michael 4 and all his accessories (hairdo, pants, dangly bits). This left only the garden prop and the lights. I hit Render here -- and this gives me the background. Then, hit undo, undo, undo, to get back the model and costume, in the exact-same pose and camera angle. Then, hit DELETE on the garden set ... and import the first render as a 2D backdrop. Then, hit Render again ... and it worked.

Sneaky, Jade, very sneaky. But I think I really have discovered that there is a point you can't go beyond! The Garden of Galahad set it fantastic, but they don't make the individual props available ... literally all you can do is click to import it all of a piece. So you can't load, for instance, half of it, or a corner of it. You have to take the whole thing. And when you put a figure into it, even a fairly powerful computer starts to hack up hairballs!

I know, I know: I need a more powerful system. Like a games machine, maybe. Well ... next year, perhaps! Christmas this year is all about a big-screen tv...

Jade, 15 April
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