Tuesday, January 3, 2012

CG fantasy and ... check out this 3D water!


Happily 3D modeling in DAZ and Bryce, and painting in Photoshop ... having a ball doing the things I always imagined, but couldn't do before I opened the box that magically appeared under the Christmas tree. (We don't have a chimney, because we don't have a fireplace. I guess Santa must have teleported in. In fact, a guy of that girth must be teleporting down chimneys. Right?)

Above: the Raven again, and some very cool painting effects. Also very simple. But sometimes the simple things are the ones that work out the best. Now for something that was faaaaar from simple!

You might assume this was done in Bryce:


Bryce landscape. Is it? Nope. Well ... I guess you could say it's a bit of a hybrid, becase that is a Bryce sky I used as the backdrop, and the ground, the "terrain" was created in Bryce, before being exported as an OBJ Object. But the scene was built and rendered in DAZ Studio 3. I've uploaded it at full size, and I urge you to click on it, see the details -- and in particular, the water! But --

I also know that these pleas often fall on deaf ears, so here ... here's a swatch out of the picture, at full size, so you can at the very least see that water:


Yep, all done in DAZ, not Bryce, with just a tiny bit of overpainting in Photoshop (birds in the sky; grasses on the skyline). Any Photoshop painting on the water? Nope. So -- how was it done?

First, I created the "terrain" in Bryce, and exported it as an OBJ. This was imported into DAZ, and it was given a diffuse map -- a huuuuuge picture of grassy ground -- and an immense displacement map to ruck up the surface into loads of teeny tiny detail that looks like grass or groundcover plants. The terrain has mounds and hollows ... so I created a "primitive," a simple plane, which became the surface of the water. This was jiggled into place in the hollows ... I put an image of the surface of a lake on it; and an opacity map which told it to be transparent in wave-shaped patches; and a displacement map that told it to assume the shape of waves; then I told it to be glossy, or shiny, and highly reflective. I set rocks and boulders under the surface, to show through, then went along planting ferns and grasses and shrubs along the water's edge. The lights were a challenge: full daylight, very bright, but starting to get along through afternoon. The weather: fine, with a high haze. Several dozen test renders ... then set it to raytrace. And even with the new computer, it took about an hour and a half. On the old computer? It would have been a complete system crash before I even got the plants into place!

The good news: the new machine is powerful enough to render all that in the background, while I go on and do something else in the foreground:


Hand painted from a digitally-derived sketch ... I was trying to get a watercolor effect, and I'm not a hundred miles away from it. There's so many different ways to do this kind of work -- what I'm trying to do now is to get my brain wired up for freehand work with the mouse pen. Don't want to lay down some serious cash for a good one (Wacom) before the brain can handle it. So right now, I have an old Digitizer pad with a new Kanvus pen, running on the generic, plug-and-play drivers from Windows 7 ... you might not believe it, but it actually works, quite well enough for me to paint up a storm and get the brain wired up for doing this before I head off to Wacom's website and spend some silly money. 

I really am having a blast with art ... and I hope you're enjoying the results! Thanks for visiting, and watch out for a lot more, and some very new things, now that the capability is sitting on the desktop. (Thank you, thank you, once again, to my husband, who knew exactly what to put under the Christmas tree ... and he didn't have to squish down any chimneys to do it!)

Jade, 3 January ... 2012


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