Tuesday, July 26, 2011

DAZ Studio 3, Photoshop and Serif Page Plus shake hands


Best-laid plans went right out of the window today when a job went ballistic on me, in the most fundamental sense of the word! (The term comes down to us from the early days of rocketry. A missile that was under proper guidance was fine and dandy ... when the ground crew lost control of it, gravity took over and said missile began to dance to the tune of the "ballistics," that being the weird science of how bodies behave in motion, under gravity. There -- another bit of useless information for you.)

Long story short, I had a job blow up in my face, and by the time I fought out from under the rubble and wreckage I had 1. a splitting headache, and 2. about one hour to do artwork today, and I'd already committed to doing the cover art for Mel Keegan's White Rose of Night, so -- today it's essentially just one piece, which is actually a book cover.

Here's how it looks with the text objects pasted up:


This one was a challenge -- so many iconic things in the book which could have dominated the cover ... Crusader knights at the charge; a black magician weaving sorcery; castles and Saracens; the deserts of the Middle East. Hmmm. Iconic as those images are, not a one of them is easy to bring to the digital canvas, and in the end I decided to "go iconic."

The background is "derivative," as they call artwork that's sourced from something existing. It's a sketch from a nineteenth century engraving, which was under- over- and every which-way painted, before being used as a backdrop in DAZ Studio 3. The character was posed in front of it with lights and so on, and raytraced. The render was shipped back into Photoshop for more overpainting, with some "noise" added to the image when it was absolutely finished. This was then dropped into Serif for the text objects to be added; then it was exported out of Serif as the final composit image.

The longest part of the process was the raytracing ... all that hair! That there is a twenty minute render. Michael 4 is wearing a face and body designed by me; that's the Samson skinmap and the Spartacos hair set to golden blond. The forearm armor is from Powerage's Supreme Armor, and the loincloth is from The Wood God costume. (If you're sharp eyed, you'll notice you saw the same costume on the archangel in yesterday's post. It gets better: that's the same face and body as the archangel! What I did was, change the hair from the Yannis dreadlocks to the Spartacos hair, and wouldn't you know it, archangel becomes Saxon knight, circa 1190.)

White Rose is equal parts historical, fantasy and erotic romance. In fact, it's the most sizzling-hot thing Mel Keegan ever wrote, and I often wonder what was on MK's mind when he produced this one. I actually asked, the other day, and was answered with blank looks and, "You have got to be kidding me, right? That was 18 years ago, I have no bloody idea what I was thinking at the time!" A...ha. Well, whatever inspired the book must have been hot stuff, because the result is a huge technicolor canvas which, uh, sizzles.

Just got an email from MK, who's thrilled to bits with the art...

Back soon with, hopefully, a bit more coherence!

Jade, July 26
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