Saturday, August 28, 2010

Working with cycloramas in DAZ Studio 3




When you're "shooting a scene," you change the camera position over and over ... and if you're using a static background, even a good one, one thing makes the sequence look false: the background isn't changing. And the human brain knows that if you change the perspective of the foreground, the background is going to change!

The shots above were done on the Fairytale Story environment set -- and as the camera position changes, yes, you do see the background move. Which doesn't do you a hell of a lot of good, if you're shooting in an environment of your own creation, because there's a limited number of environment sets out there, and you won't get exactly what you want, and they could get a bit expensive.

So you want to be able to use a bit of stagecraft ... take their images off the cyclorama, put your own on, and start over. Right? Right. So it'll go something like this: 1) strip out the default backdrop; 2) put your own on; 3) load up some good props so you "can't see the join" where the cyclorama meets the stage. And it's exactly like a stage:


Okay, brilliant. So far, so good. The question is, how do you do it?

Notice in the three cinemascope shots above, I've stripped in one image three times on the big semicircle of the backdrop, and I put a big, loud pattern on the ground. The ground is called the Terrain. You need do go into your Surfaces tab, find the cyclorama and fiddle about till you track down the names of these items. Here's a broad hint: they're going to be called something like Scenery Left, Right and Center, and Terrain! It ain't rocket science.

Now, replace the default images with something obnoxious, so you can SEE what they are and how they work. Eureka!

Now, you need your own images to slap on in their place. So...

I started with an old Bryce backdrop I made eons ago, and worked from there...



From the screen captures above, you see how it works. Whatever you use as your source materials (photos, paintings, a combination of the two), you have to have enough left-to-right material to make a wiiiiiide shot. What I did here for the sake of quickness was to create a seamless repetition of the one background, but if you had the time, and the purpose, you'd create a fantastic backdrop that went from the woods to the mountains etc., so you could pan all over it. And this is how you'd do it: in segments.

When you get the super-wide shot all put together, they you have to cut it into THREE pieces. Left, Right and Center. Penny drops! Yep, these are slapped onto the cyclorama's thee component pieces.

For this chore, I used Serif, which gives you the ability to be incredibly precise in your masking and cutting. It's The Best for this, no ifs and buts.

You save the three pieces where you can find them in the DAZ Surface panel hierarchy, and you put them onto the cyclorama. You plop something suitable onto the ground. You're almost home, now:



In the last shots here, I'm switching back to the normal 2:3 aspect ratio for the images and driving the camera around ... and the background is moving properly. Also, I'm resetting the lights, as Red Riding Hood messes about in the woods till the sun is setting and it's coming along to night. Silly girl. Looks like she ain't going to make it to Grandma's place in this version of the story, either!

And, in a nutshell, that's how you do your own cycloramas, in DAZ Studio 3! Having static backgrounds has been bugging me for a while. Having that question resolved is great.

Jade, 28 August
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