Sunday, January 27, 2013

Ice blue ... and summer rain





I'm in a science fiction mood today, and since I wanted to do a bit of work in Bryce 7 Pro ... and I wanted to work some more in layers, where various elements of a painting are rendered and/or painted separately and composited in Photoshop, I thought -- here goes nuthin'. I had a mental snapshot of an idea ...

If you're sharp eyed, you'll recognize the NARC armor, and you might even guess that this is the planet Aurora, from Scorpio. You'd be right! So here's how it worked:

Step one was to render up the landscape in Bryce:


That's the raw render, right out of Bryce 7 Pro. Not even any stars in the sky yet, much less any snow in the air. But the lighting conditions and mountain forms were exactly what I wanted, so the next step was to go back into Bryce and add the spacecraft:


So far, so good. The spacecraft is an OBP, which is the Bryce version of an OBJ. A long time ago I bought two whole packs of these in a Renderosity sale ... there are so many in the packs, I still haven't looked at them all. They lend themselves very well to work like this. Here's the raw render, begging to be overpainted in Photoshop... 


Stars in the sky, ice dust, engine flares ... nice. In and of itself, this picture is actually finished ... but I'd wanted this to be the background, so the next step was to import it into DAZ Studio to have the figure work done right on top of it...


...and there's the raytrace, just as dished up by DAZ. I set a red light and a blue light out of the frame at bottom right and top right, so they would interact and give the impression that something major is out of the shot -- a vehicle, a building. This also provides some color to an otherwise almost mono-tonal shot. And this is begging to go into Photoshop to have the last layers of painting added...


...colors added into the reflective surfaces of the space armor, and ice dust kicking up in the foreground; there's a light snow falling, and some red/green lens flare, which adds that extra little kick. Incidentally, this, above, is 1900 wide, which should be just about perfect for wallpaper for many monitors...

I used Bruce 7 Pro, DAZ Studio 3 and Photoshop Elements 9, and Irfanview for quick adjustments to brightness, contrast and saturation, on the fly. The armor is a composite of several different models. The .abr brushes are Ron's Fog, Ron's Bokeh Lights and Ron's Snow, all of which you can get from the DAZ marketplace. 

Meanwhile, on the other side of the desk, Dave is doing amazing things in Vue. I think Bryce is better suited to rendering alien environments, and I really enjoy this kind of work. Dave is doing fantastic things in Vue, and he has yet to really test the system since having his RAM doubled. The house move stopped everything dead in its tracks ... grrrr.

But we're done, finished, now, and everything is starting to settle in. In fact, some of the new plants we bought are so happy, they're flowering -- especially as we have some "Irish sunshine" right now. For most of the rest of the week there'll be a lovely, fine, cool rain. It's soooo nice ... and my dwarf hibiscus thinks so, too. Check these out:



I call these "Hibiscus in Summer Rain," and the flowers are absolutely perfect in these shots, since they'd only opened a few hours earlier. The rain is a welcome break for us, in South Australia, but I imagine our cousins in Queensland don't want to see another drop of it! As I write this, they're being hammered by storms, and the hotels on the shorelines in Brisbane and other places are said to be sandbagging, because the ocean is breaking right up to their front doors. Ouch. Dave and I had been thinking of a vacation up there to mark our wedding anniversary, which comes up in March, but ... nope. Instead, we're looking at going back to Mount Gambier, which we loved last year. If you've been following this blog for any length of time, you'll remember the images! Twelve Apostles, the Limestone caverns, the Blue lakes ... you remember. Yes, I think we're quite ready for another adventure! (Enough with the Tolkien references already -- want to know something dreadful? With the house move and all, we haven't seen The Hobbit yet! Later this week. Honestly.)

Jade, January 28 (public holiday long weekend, for Australia Day)
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