Wednesday, January 4, 2012

CG art: Warriors of the Apocalypse

Here's something new: the armor on the Millennium Horse is a knockout.  Then I thought, why not take the Raven character, with the black raven's wings, and put the two together in a Gothic setting -- and have the winged avenger in armor too?

The horse armor is known as the Dragon Lord armor -- why, I have no idea, because it doesn't involve Michael 4 or the Millennium Dragon. But it's a cool name. To get it to look like this, I cranked the bump map settings out to max, and then added a "positive" value of 2. This gets all the ridges and delves and engraving to stand up. Looks marvelous.

The armor on Michael 4 is Powerage's Supreme Armor -- you've actually seen it before, but not in eons. Again, I cranked the bump map settings, and played with the specularity (ie., the glossiness of the surfaces) and the reflectivity.

The set is the Cloisters standing set, from DAZ (both the armor sets are from DAZ, too). You've also seen this, but I think it's been about a year since I used it! Golly, how time flies. The backdrop is a Bryce sky with lightning added in using Photoshop brushes...

The wings on the winged warrior are the Feathered Wings (ditto the market source), and again I did a lot of work on them to bring them up with this effect. I rather like the "mystic avenger" character ... making him anything but European or Caucasian, also adds a dimension.

There's about six lights on the warhorse scene, and about ten lights on the cloister scene ... and both of these renders were raytraced and then heavily painted in Photoshop ... but the painting is so subtle, you're not going to actually see it. I was basically painting with "inks," to bring up the contrast, shine, reflection, etc., in the armor. When you do this, you're using the brushes that lighten and darken parts of the image ... if you pick your airbrush setting just right, and load it up with the right color of ink, you can have it darken the dark tones and leave the light tones alone. Then you can do the reverse. Working across the same area of the canvas multiple times, you can get fantastic effects with this. It's also great practice for me, getting my brain wired up to use a really good mouse pen...

Have been looking at the lately, and drooling. Have you ever visited the Wacom site? Hmmm. Well, the one everyone talks about is Wacom Bamboo -- and this is the one I knew, myself, a couple of weeks ago. However, if you're dead serious about this, you'd be looking at their other range, the Intuos4. They're fantastic. They're expensive. Like I said, am drooling, but I don't know if I can afford the Intuos4! Will more likely stick with the Bamboo range -- and they really are the next generation up from graphics tablets like Genius, Kanvus and Digitizer. Right now I'm using a strange hybrid setup -- Digitizer tablet that has to be 6 years old, and a new Kanvus stylus -- but the Kanvus drivers won't work, for some reason, even with the Kanvus tablet ... so the tablet went back in the box, I pulled out the old Digitizer one, and fell back on the Windows plug-'n-play drivers. Hey presto. Perhaps not the ideal solution, but hey, it works.

The other thing I downloaded from DAZ, when I got the Feathered Wings and the Dragon Lord horse armor was Studio 4 -- free on the day; I understand it's usually fifty bucks or so. Have been dying to get the chance to load this up and play, but (whinge; whine; whimper) there's been work to be done, and there still is! Gimme a few days to get things straightened out, and then I'll be back, and tell you what I think.

Jade, 5 January
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