Saturday, April 30, 2011

Let the raytracing begin!

Just about back up to speed ... and it all works! Almost everything is reinstalled and working nicely; the only thing that had a very nasty crash during installation was Corel Video Studio, and I've put that on the back burner for a while.

A few things still need to be installed -- Macromedia Director, for one. And here's one of the key reasons for rolling the system back and keeping it as it was: Macromedia hasn't been Macromedia since 2004! After that, they were bought by Adobe, and even the upgrades cost so much, it was hard to keep up with them. We started with Director 5 Studio, in about 1995, and even way back when, we paid $2,200 for the software suite that comprised Director, Extreme 3D, XRez and Sound Forge. Movie studio in a box. We kept up with it till Macromedia MDirector MX 2004, and -- thanks very much, Mr. Adobe, but after I've paid gods know how many thousands of bucks for the software, I don't want to pay another $1,200 for it, just because I was dumb enough to let the industry force/seduce me into upgrading to Windows 7!

Soooo... the restore has worked like magic. The computer isn't quite as blindingly quick as it was this morning, before it was loaded up with about 60 gigs of programs, but it's still very very fast, and short of having forgotten to copy over my Fonts folder (whimper), nothing was lost. Fortunately, I can get Dave to copy his Fonts folder over, tomorrow -- because it's essentially the same folder I copied over for him, when he brought home his new system when the computer we called Achilles died, back in November of 2010. That should cure the problem nicely.

So this afternoon I clicked on raytracing on several lights and held my breath. Nice. This is a basic raytrace -- no reflections are set, as yet. That experiment will happen tomorrow. Talk about holding your breath for that one!!

Here's the first render, as-is, with no post work of any description whatever:

That's Michael 4, wearing face and body morphs designed be me, plus the Matthias skinmap and the Hermes hair, the Sabby eyes, and not much else. The tattoos are handpainted in GIMP, right onto the skinmap, and then the skinmap is applied via the Surfaces tab. So far, so good. The background is a combo of couple of the images from a set of 2D effects I bought via Renderosity a long time ago. They were combined, saved as a JPEG and set as the background, with the figure posed and rendered in front of it.

Then the finished render and the background were re-composed ... and sorry, guys, but I have no idea how to do merge modes in GIMP. I imagine GIMP does this, but how, I can't tell you. Micrografx Picture Publisher Pro does this stuff at a click (but this is another program that won't run on new operating systems -- Micrografx was bought by Corel in 2001 and shelved. Most of the top-end functions were coopted into Corel Painter, which costs $699 ... eegads! Picture Publisher 7 cost twelve bucks on two CDs, ten years ago, and so long as you install it on the virgin Vista, service pack zip, it operate like a dream).

Then the composit image was shipped into GIMP for some overpainting with various .abr brushes, mostly from the Bokeh Lightsabre pack, by Ron (from DAZ).

The project let me test out DAZ, Micrografx, GIMP, Irfanvew and Serif, to make sure everything's shipshape. Yes!!

So, on the assumption that there won't be a problem rendering reflections, which there shouldn't be (experiment tomorrow!), that ought to be the last whining and winghing (how in the world do you spell that?) you hear from me for a looooong time. Let the renders commence!

Lastly, to folks who have been waiting on emails from me for a few days: thanks so much for bearing with me. The work load has been heavy, the ag factor has been high, and it's just taken a lot more time than I expected. However ... done! [smiley face emoticon ... which Blogger doesn't do, so please use your imagination]

Jade, 30 April
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