Friday, April 1, 2011

Never chuck out your old project files!

(Click on these to see them at 1:1 size)

Gay heroes in science fiction. That has to mean NARC -- Jarrat and Stone. And behind the scenes I've been working off and on for months now, creating the art for the new NARC website, which will be launching soon ... around the time these novels go to Kindle, to celebrate the twentieth anniversary for Jarrat and Stone. Twenty years?! Yep. And of course the first novel, the cult classic Death's Head,is actually much older. The first version was written in 1986! It went through two more versions to reach the one which was published by GMP about 20 years ago, and the version which is current, now, is the complete and unabridged edition, waaay longer than the cut version which appeared in paperback all those years ago.

(If you don't know what it the world is going on here, but suspect you're missing something fantastic, just click here, and go to the "books" page, and check out the NARC series. And yeah, I know the website is long overdue for updating, folks! It's one more thing on my list of things to do -- the problem is, the list is five miles long. We're looking after four writers at this time, and there's a lot more work in it than you imagine!)

Anyway --

You might actually recognize the core of these renders, today. I did a version of this hangar scene a long, long time ago, back in the days when I was still learning how to control the lights, the camera. This blog has been a record of my progress from the simplest shots to some which are, lately, among the most complex shots people are doing with this software. (I'm not talking about the artists who are doing the vast landscapes, here. Those are done in things like Terragen 2, and Vue ... and this computer won't run the programs. I know this for sure -- I got into Vue last year and discovered that it's a heartbreaker unless you have a system which is the next level up form this puppy. Hmmmm ... maybe next year!)

But I guess he moral of this story really is, "Never chuck out your old project files!!" Because I was able to go right back into the original file for this one, open it up, and go to Take Two on it --

This might give you a chuckle. The file info on the original project file is (!) Christmas Eve, 2009. Whoot! In fact, here's the original post ... notice, it's dated December 23. This is because I'm on t'other side of the dateline from the US/Canada. In Australia, we're a day ahead of you, so my posts are always dated the day after what Blogger thinks.

The original render is darned nice:

...but it was a long, delicate job, because the background was a digital painting, not a 3D model, and the shadows were hand painted etc., etc.

Coming back to it today -- which is something I've wanted to do for months, and never had the chance -- I was able to load up the Starcarrier set, and then set the lights and have the software do the whole lot. Soooooo ... having made it a real 3D scene, I could then drive the camera around and stage the whole thing, show you a whole series of renders as if these were stills from the NARC movie.

This while scene is lit with just three spotlights, and there is no post work, none at all. These are the raw renders, just as they cooked.

Which makes me salivate to open up some more of the old, old renders and have another crack at them, using sets and props an costumes I didn't have at the time -- not to mention a year's worth of extra skills!

Jade, 1 April (See what I mean about the dateline thing?)
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