Monday, May 7, 2012

Pinup Boy of the Hyborian Age



click to see at 1:1 size -- uploaded at pinup proportions

If sword and sorcery has a pinup boy, this is probably the guy ... and he's the result of about half a dozen experiments I've been running in the last couple of days. In fact, I'm fiddling around with skinmaps, hot on the trail of The Perfect Skinmap for Jarrat ... you all know Kevin Jarrat, right? Mmm. Well, I still haven't worked out the Jarrat skinmap, but along the road to getting something to work there, I stumbled over a whole bunch of discoveries. 

These, you're going to want to see, if not keep, at pinup size, so they're slightly compressed as JPGs, but I haven't shrunk the size down. The landscape format one is 1600 wide, which ought to suit most monitors. And this guy is well worth a look at that size. Check this out, at somewhere close to 1:1 ...





Okay, so what did I do? Do I know what I did, so I can do this again? Did it happen by accident?! In order of asking, "Mix and match and tweak; yes; and no." What you're looking at here is face and body morphs designed by me (as usual; I very rarely use a stock face or bod); he's wearing the Atlas skinmap, but with the JM Falcon bump map overlaid on it (!), and then I've tweaked every specular setting in the book, and raytraced it --

These are not Lux renders, because I don't have the time for Lux today. Also, I wanted to do several renders to see if the track I was taking was going to work. Rendering these at 1600x1200 took about 15-20 minutes each shot. Lux would have taken 12 - 20 hours for each shot,  so Lux is a (!) luxury you indulge in when you know, 100% that what you're going to do will work.

The luster/luminosity of those skin tones was not wrangled in Lux, it was done with specular settings. Now, Atlas is a great skinmap -- dusky yet filled with tonal difference, gradients and detail. I don't yet know how to make Lux handle dusky skin tones properly. I'm sure it will handle them, but so far, when I ask it to render anything other than a fair European skin, the results can get muddy ... you can find yourself painting on the skin to get a good result, and you shouldn't have to do that. But the thing about the Atlas skinmap is that it's absolutely matte. I mean, it's suede ... velvet ... no luster on it when it usually renders up in DAZ's 3DLight engine (I suspect that Poser's Firefly engine would do it better justice) ... whereas gloriously healthy skin should have a sheen, what I've been calling a "luminosity," right? Notice, I said usually. [sounds of gleeful chortling]

Lately, I've been achieving the quality of luster/luminority with a bunch of Photoshop overpainting  (and yes, I promise I'll show you how to do that convincingly -- I've been asked to do a tutorial, share what I've worked out lately, and I'd be delighted to: it's on the agenda). But once again, you shouldn't have to achieve these results with Photoshop cheats. The Futitive, which you saw a few days ago, was brought to life with lustrous skin in Photoshop -- but this pinup boy of the age of Conan? Nope. That luster is in the render ... and it was done by modifying the specular parameters. Yee haw. Seriously. I've made this work three times so far, and I knoooow what's going on here. I think I can do this at whim. [chortling again] The piece was finished in Photoshop with painting on the background, the lamp and so forth; and it was gamma shifted and color balanced, but one thing I didn't have to do was paint on the skin to make it gleam with health and vitality!

There's more of this guy ... plus, I've had a couple of very complex Jarrat and Stone pieces rendering (up to 18 hours each) through the nights, so join me tomorrow for a bundle of goodies!

Jade, May 7
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