Friday, January 28, 2011

Michael 4 becomes Michael Vidal ... wow!

Just a brief post to keep up to date with things. This was supposed to be my day off, but stuff happened, so I got a break for a couple of hours rather than an off-day ... besides which, the temperature is hiking now. It's going to be 105, 107 degrees in the shade for the next few days, and honestly, that's not the weather for going outside for long, much less taking off for the wilds and trying to find a cool patch somewhere!

So there's a couple of things I'd like to share today, and the character above is one of them. I just got the stamp of "Wonderful" from Mel Keegan, so it's official: Mick Vidal -- Major Michael Wasim Vidal. The only thing missing is the tattoos, and I wanted to get the character designed before starting to paint skinmaps! If you remember from the books, he ought to be wearing the Delta Dragons unit tattoo on his cheek, and the Daku "open-headed ankh" on his chest. Now that the character is fully designed, I'll paint the skinmap specifically, and the next time you see him, he'll be in the full-on Delta Dragons mode. (In case you're wondering what goes on here, Vidal is one of the central characters from the Hellgate novels, which are quite a rush, and which it's my great pleasure to be illustrating for an upcoming website and multimedia presentation.)

The face and body morphs are designed by me; he's wearing the Marco skinmap, which is due for a tweak, to incorporate the tattoos; and that's the Mature Mark hair, which has been morphed way, way back from a "corporate suit" style into a military type cut. That hairstyle is very good to work with, because it has so many morphs, you can do so much with it. In fact, it's the same toupee you see on the Gene Cantrell character, though you'd never believe it!

Second thing for today. One of my New Year's resolutions was to really get my head around Bryce ... not let it take me for a ride. Well, the tutorial for the Bryde 7 Pro Materials Lab is over 240 pages out of a 1,300pp manual ... help! ... so in the short term I treated myself to the first of the Seriously Real materials packs, when DAZ was having a sale a few weeks ago. The result:

I'm so pleased with this, because I designed everything, down to the water and the sky ... and I know how I did everything, so I can do it again literally at whim. I've uploaded this at 1:1 size, so if you're also trying to wrap your head around Bryce, you can see it at Very Large Size, and maybe see what's going on. That's three separate terrains, plus a water plane, plus a custom-designed sky, and the only post work on it is the birds, which I zapped on in GIMP. I really am delighted with this -- the richness of the colors and so on. Nothing was changed after the render -- colors and all, that's just as she comes. And the coolest thing about it is (hee hee hee) I know what I did, the program didn't take me for a ride!

Join me tomorrow -- I want to show you a new book cover I just did for Fabian Black, and which is a bit of a dazzler the kind of art that just "happens," and you wonder where it came from...

Jade, 28 January
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