Saturday, April 7, 2012

3D Heaven on a Virtual Stick

click to see all images at large size ... please do click!!

Render heaven. And today, it just keeps getting better. Having misplaced a bunch of files, I was reduced to hunting through my hard drives (4TB of them) in Search and Rescue mode, and I stumbled over a boatload of old project files that I haven't seen for so long, I honestly thought I must have deleted them. Joy! There they were, in a folder I'd forgotten about -- which gives me the chance to revisit some oldoldold projects and re-render them with current skills, hardware and software.

If you've been following this blog for long enough (or have played about in the fertile soil of the archives, you'll probably remember the originals of the above ... and if you need to be convinced of the difference made by 18 months' worth of extra skills, and a whole new 'puter with masses of RAM, and eight processors, well, take a look at the detail shots: 

So, what did these renders start out like? Well ... way back when, my computer would just crash to the desktop if I tried to raytrace anything much at all, and I was "working n a keyhole," because big images would also crash the system. So the best I could do was to get creative with the "deep shadow map" system of rendering, and that's what was used to create the originals:

The originals are quite nice pieces ... but the new hardware, software and skill suite have made such a world of difference, you're asking yourself, where do you go after this? The answer is -- you take the whole thing to the next level...

I was at Renderosity an hour ago, looking for some brushes I need to do a couple of jobs (found them ... will be checking out there when I finish this post and get it up), and what should pop up but a banner ad for Reality 2.1 ... and you've probably heard me drooling over this. Reality is the "bridge" between DAZ Studio and the Lux render engine. It hasn't been available for a long while, and I've been waiting, waiting, for the version to come out which would bridge DAZ Studio 4 Pro with Lux ...

It just did! Take it to the next level? Look at these next images -- not my work, guys; they're from the Reality webpage, and as usual, to see the real quality, you need to see them at large size. Check these out:

So, right after I check out of Renderosity with my Photoshop brushes, I'll be on my way to The Reality Webpage and I'll be buying, and downloading, reality 2.1. I already have the installer and serial number for DAZ Studio 4 Pro, and in the coming weeks I'll be in varying degrees of Seventh Heaven as I learn my way around all this. There's a learning curve -- in fact, the Reality wepbage has a video that shows the user interface and the kind of stuff that's up ahead. I see how it all works. 

Oh, yes, I can see the sense of this -- makes a lot more sense to my own brain than Poser, I can tell you, and it shouldn't be dependent on being installed on my boot drive, which Poser demands, if you want the base models to install (and what can you do without them??).

If you compare even my best renders today with the full-size images being rendered in Lux via Reality, well, you can see a dimension of difference in the luminosity and translucence of the skin tones. That's what I've been after for yonks now. Chasing the impossibe in DAZ, with its 3DLight render engine (which won't cooperate), I've learned a heck of a lot. In fact, I've learned exactly where the limitations of the system lie. I'm looking forward greatly to Reality/Lux, and I think I can actually wriggle around the need to figure out Poser. What troubles me about Poser is the sheer amount of time it takes to do anything at all. It's practically prohibitive. The interface is so cumbersome and confusing ... which is the same criticism I was making about the new DAZ Studio 4, with what I called its "Daffy Duck interface." My Plan? Do the work in Studio 3, like greased lightning ... open it in Studio 4, which has retro-compatibility -- this was one of the first things I checked: it opens Studio 3 files just fine; and then bridge out to Lux for the final render. So --

Like I said, 3D Render heaven on a virtual stick! Happy happy, joy joy!

Jade, April 7 (Happy Birthday, Doctor Mike ... and also Jackie Chan!)
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