Friday, April 20, 2012

Yaoi and other fantasies ... moonlight, lamplight -- and Lux



click to see all images at large size...

Ooof. I need more RAM. That's the next big thing on my artistic agenda. But here's a couple of pieces I'm really happy with, and the top one, which I call "Ronin to the Rescue," is a re-render and recomposite of a project you might recall from a loooong time ago, back in the days when I was rendering in a keyhole and couldn't raytrace much if I wanted the computer to keep itself up on its feet. You have got to see that one at full size, folks --!  It was a 90 miunte raytrace, and then a 30-layer Photoshop painting over the top of the best render I could get...

The second picture was about the same length of time in rendering, and then the painting was done in something like 15 layers. Result: pretty fantastic, actually. The original idea was that the courtyard where he's standing was supposed to be moonlit with a single lantern in the background, and it came out like this:


Then, on a whim, I actually decided to see how it would render up in Lux. Well ... I'm learning. I still haven't got a true grip on Lux, and the biggest bug-bear for me is the lighting. I'm just feeling my way, but this is worth a look -- it's very different from the raytrace:


It's actually lit with one light, and there's an enormous amount of Photoshop post work on it in the backgrounding, even though, when you see it at full size (please do) it's almost photographic. I'm really pleased with how the lamp came out, because (!) in the original, raw Lux render, the lamp is not lit at all. In fact, here's the raw render, just as Lux handed it to me after TWENTY HOURS of render time: 


That's actually a nice picture, and very true to the lighting that was set. Just one light, as I said ... why? Because I have next to no idea, yet, about how to properly light a scene for Lux, and it takes anything up to five HOURS for me to find out the lighting and/or textures I'd set were no good. So ...

I need more RAM. That's the only thing that's going to speed this up to the point where I can learn it inside of this year. However -- I'm guardedly congratulating myself for having figured out how to get the most out of the render engine which is native to DAZ Studio, so am having huge fun revisiting old projects, while trying to "nut out" the lighting for Lux. Right now, it's a question of ... how do I get realistic shadows to fall where I want them to, so that I can predict how a picture will turn out -- in other words, I can achieve the result I had in mind when I started, instead of getting something very different in a crapshoot of cosmic proportions!

Bear with me, guys, while I get this figured out, because the potential in Lux is phenomenal. The magic is in the fine detail...


...like his lips and teeth and eyelashes, and so on. The raytrace of the same subject is more striking at this stage in the artist's development...


...but only because it's properly lit! The detail ain't there. Teeth, eyelashes, lips, what have you. My goal? To get a fusion of the two: the detail of which Lux is capable, and the proper lighting I know how to do, to get nice results in raytracing. I'm figuring it out by a process of elimination: you make 24 mistakes and hit the jackpot on the 25th try, perhaps even by accident. Actually, this is how I learn. I'd love to say that I can learn from a book, or take a class, but the truth is, the info doesn't "stick" unless I'm hands-on and muddling. 

So: RAM is on the agenda! And till I get that organized, I'm going to revel in reworking some of the ideas I had a year ago, and two years. On that note, I leave you with this Yaoi fantasy:


...when you see it at full size you'd be forgiven for wondering, how much of it is 3D render, and how much is painting? There's a lot of painting in it.  A lot. Enjoy! Back soon with more...

Jade, April 20
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