Friday, July 16, 2010

Fantasy art ... working with monochrome

Just some experiments today ... but darn, they're beautiful! I've wanted to try working with monochrome in 3 for some time, and the opportunity presented itself literally because I was stumped for something else to do in 20 minutes flat, which is all the time I had! I've always been fascinated by those cinematic special effects where the hero is having a melt-down, and either the hero or the rest of the world drops out into monochrome. There's a strange surreal feeling about it.

Also, monochrome has a charm all its own. The way Mel Brooks used it in Young Frankenstein was terrific -- all humor aside. The movie is so funny, you're laughing so hard, you have to see it two or three times before you notice how the black-and-white format was used to get effects.

Anyway ... here's the vampire Amadeus in a couple of locations. In the top ones, the character is in color the set is monochrome. That was easy. You just render the background separately and change it to grayscale in Irfanview, or whatever you use to do these things at the speed of light. Then ship it back into DAZ Studio 3 as the backdrop. Um ... duh.

The second pair of shots, though --!

Those are not photographic effects. This was done 100% in 3D. I could have Amadeus walk around in that set, and the set would be in color, and he would be in monochrome. What the heck did I do?!

Well, actually it was easy. I took the the garden-variety-rez Michael 4 skin map, opened the files one by one in Irfanview, changed them to grayscale and saved them back in a separate folder. Then I applied them to the Michael 4 model instead of the color ones. It, uh, worked. He's absolutely monochrome in a color world.

Then I added a few GIMP brush effects just for fun. The whole thing was just an experiment -- I wanted to know if it would work, and if it did, what it would look like. Actually, it looks great ... but I do prefer the color character and the monochrome background. Nice to know how to do it the other way around, though -- in case it was ever a necessity for some artistic reason!

Jade, 16 July
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