Friday, June 18, 2010

Textures for fabric, rock -- and human skin, in DAZ

The Arabian Nights in 3D ... think about it. Well, there's something halfway similar coming up on the big screen soon: Prince of Persia -- in 3D! Jake Gyllenhall has been a favorite of mine since waaaay before Brokeback Mountain. I saw October Sky years before Brokeback ... actually, it was the in-flight movie on a long, long flight. Image this: I actually enjoyed an in-flight movie and chased down the dvd years later! Makes a change, doesn't it? So -- Jake Gyllenhall in an Arabian Nights spfx/punch-up movie ... in 3D. I'll be off to see that one!

Movies aside, today's renders are all about playing with textures and colors and light. I love the juxtaposition of orange and either deep blue or purple. So I loaded up the columns from DM's Lair, and changed the textures for something like a deep orange sandstone. Changed the banners to something just as color-soaked. Pose my Sinbad character in the middle of all this, and change the testures on the clothes he was wearing the last time you saw him.

It's still the Lockwood for M4 shirt -- which the Indian boy was also wearing in one of yesterday's renders too -- new texture on this. I can really recommend this model ... marvellous quality throughout, and it loads fast in DAZ, without any nonsense). The sky was done in Bryce, and this provided the deep blue that gave me the inspiration for the rest.

The top shot in today's post is the only one that was raytraced ... if you're going to spend ten minutes on one render, make it a good one, right?

The interesting experiment today was with the displacement maps. The closer you get to an object (the trousers, for instance), the more likely it is to come up looking like a piece of plastic. Solution: slap a nice displacement map on it and crank it way up on the intensity. I've blogged at length about displacement maps -- there's a whole series of posts that make a great, loooong, tutorial, on this subject. Two posts in particular you need to see, if you're wondering how to make all this work:
...there's others, but those are the main ones. Enjoy!

Usually, when you think of displacement mapping you think of fabrics and stone and wood. But the closer you get to a FACE in 3D art, the more likely it -- also! -- is to start looking plastic. So try putting a displacement map on the character's face, too.

What you want to do it open your Surfaces tab and select Michael 4 - SkinFace. With this selected, you can then look under your Basic tab, and there's a dialog there that'll tell you instantly what texture is being used for the face. Notice what it's called. Then go back into the Advanced tab ... scroll down to "Displacement," and it's almost certainly going to say "none." Click in this field, and when the long, long list of textures used in the scene comes up, look for the same texture that's used for the facial skin. Select this, and then just drag the slider to get the intensity of "rough surface" you need to make the character's skin look real.

Have a look at the closeup portrait from this post. I did reduce the size of it a big, but even at 600 pixels wide (which is 25% smaller than it was rendered) you can see great skin texture on it. This works!

Were you looking for the adults only renders from this shoot? You know there just has to be a series of images that are way too explicit for this blog, so where are they?! Click here to see them ... and the usual caveat before you click: a flock of harpies appears to have made off with Sinbad's pants. The dear man doesn't seem to mind a bit, and the result ... stunning. Enjoy!

Jade, 18 June
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