Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A random chain of images suggests a neat story!

Bryce 7 Pro background; foreground in DAZ Studio;
finished with Photoshop overpainting:
"Archer in the Dawn"
Bryce 7 Pro alien landscape, finished in Photoshop 
LuxRender: portrait in low light
LuxRender: a science fiction pinup
Bryce 7 Pro: Crystal Buddha --
pure art, finished/painted in Photoshop.
Another grab-bag of visual goodies, all over the spectrum from fantasy to sf to pure art ... and as I look at a selection of images like this, part of me wants to daisy-chain them together to make a coherent plot! Am starting to think like a writer, probably because I've actually (don't faint) written a couple of short stories lately! And this is what occurs to me, looking at those images...

Welcome to an alien planet with an evolving culture advanced enough to have developed some very exotic longbow technology. It's a green and lovely forest world, with wide lakes and clear skies ... save for the spaceport area where the offworlders have invited themselves in. The indigenous folk are disgusted by the scorched-earth mess they're making. The spaceport city is under a dome -- the air is so toxic with the fallout from those heavy-lift engines, even the offworlders themselves won't breathe it by choice.

A hundred miles away the locals are faaaar from amused. Their high priestess has access to some very ancient, super-powerful magic/tech from deep in the planet. (Oh, and she's a babe -- that helps, right?)  There's a warrior chieftain who's keen to take the magic and inflict it on the offworlders. (And he's also a babe, which definitely helps, LOL!)

Now the plot really thickens: the offworlders and the locals are the same genetic strand. The local indigenous people are a magickal offshoot of an ancient Buddhist enclave who came out to this planet -- ooooh, three centuries ago, and were abandoned utterly when a virus native to this biosphere looked like it was going to obliterate them ... but one great scientist stayed behind to look for a cure and, discovering the "magic" in the deeps of the planet, stopped the virus.

For twelve generations peace and harmony reigned, before the damn' Earthlings returned to see if the contagion had burned itself out and the planet could be recolonized! Nice of them. Imagine their surprise to find a strapping, healthy population that don't want nuthin' to do with the mother world, because their elders -- being cured by "magickal" means -- are the original people who were abandoned 300 years ago, and still alive to this day, and so furious with the Earthlings for leaving them to die, they'd like to see every spacer from "back there" daubed with strawberry jam and staked out on an anthill!

The elders are talking themselves hoarse (and blue) at the negotiating table ... the young are ready to come out fighting. And thereby hangs to tale!

...hey, that's not bad. I ought to right this stuff down. Hang on -- I just did. Might be able to get an actual story of of this, along the way! Am enjoying writing very much, lately, and every time I see an image, or a pot-luck grab-bag of images like the above, can't help spinning plots...

Speaking of the images --

My favorite (duh) is the warrior chieftain, who was rendered in LuxRender with such fine results, it's mostly the hairdo, toupee, wig, that tips you off that this is a render, not a photo. Let's  take the head out of the shot and have a look at the actual render itself:

Photo ... or 3D render?!
...and one more thing we can do, to blur the line between photo and render is to drop the image into monochrome, and strip in a little bit of film grain:
3D render ... or photo? Same image dropped into
monochrome, with a little film grain added.
I do wish the hair props one can get for Michael 4 were realistic. More and more often these days, I find myself painting the hair ... which is sooo time consuming, even if I was brilliant at it, which, to date, I'm not. Still trying to find my way to full competence there. Practice makes perfect, I  know -- and I don't practice enough! Certainly, painting hair is a chore, and the "rub" is, if you get it 100% right, the result will be invisible. That is to say, people won't see the painting, just the hair.

Makes you run away back to Bryce and render something visually spectacular, where the fruits of your labors are visible, like the domed city from the above SF landscape:

Bryce 7 Pro: SF domes city
Every image, no matter which prog rendered it, lands in Photoshop and, often, Irfanview, for painting and tweaking before it's called "done" and displayed. Sometimes, I like to flip an image left-right, and do unspeakable things to the color pallet, to see what might happen. For the "Archer in the Dawn" piece, I wound up with a blue-green-mauve image I liked almost as much as the warm tones. That's Michael 4 again, obviously; the hair is hand-painted, as is all the vegetation in the foreground, plus the tree and birds. As always, the magic is in the details: it's the little things that make a shot "come alive." Take 'em out, and the actual rendered material is very "flat" indeed.

For the curious: the warrior chieftain is lit with just two lights. One is a very, very soft light simulating the sky behind him, while 90% of the light on the model is coming from the globe in the lamp. In Reality, which is the plugin bridge between LuxRender and DAZ Studio, you can select an object and turn it into a light source. For this piece, I wanted to to a low-light portrait, lit only by the light you can see in the shot. Nice! Same sort of thing in the SF pinup, the high priestess with the magic doohickey that's going to defeat the offworlders: the light source is actually inside the prop ... very nice result all around.

Now, what would the plot have been if I'd picked a different set of random images?!
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