Sunday, September 18, 2016

DAZ Michael 4: gunfighter

Gunfighter on the frontier, in a post-apocalyptic scenario, "after the comet" ... book cover. This one gave me so much trouble, I almost dumped the whole project and started over with a new approach. The background was easy. It started life as a b&w photo of a town on a snowy road -- no problem there: colorize it; mute the colors; drop it into a soft Gaussian blur, according to the current trend. Then the fun part...

Pose Michael 4 ... no real problem, except the bloody gun prop refused to "parent" to the hand, (which means to stick in place and go wherever the hand goes, like part of the costume); so every time I repositioned the guy, and gun wandered off on its own and had to be moved independently.

The costume was no problem ... in theory. But I wanted to render this in LuxRender, to get a really top-notch result --

You guessed. What else? For reasons unknown, LuxRender wouldn't have a bar of the surface textures on the jacket and pants. They looked awful, even though the skintones and hair on the model looked pretty good. So here was the situation: raytracing was doing a horrible job on the skin tones, and LuxRender was doing a thoroughly nasty job on the fabrics. I blew off hours, trying to get Lux to play ball, but it never did. Soooo...

How to salvage all the work that had been done up to that point, and not wind up with a wasted Sunday afternoon???

Photoshop to the rescue ... well, Photoshop plus about two more hours' painting time What you see here has three layers: 1) the colorized, muted, blurred-out photo as the background; 2) the head and hair rendered in LuxRender; 3) the costume and prop raytraced. Then, the whole lot was painted together with every kind of Photoshop effect I know to make this work. I think I might even have invented a couple.

Ack. That was a hard job. The end result is worth it -- nice picture, makes a great book cover. But I wouldn't do this over again, even though I actually learned a thing or two. Some jobs are just too much aggravation. There must be an easier way to do this one -- though, if there is, I still can't see it. Anyway: job done here, and ... I'm going to do a nice, soothing fantasy next time -- something luxurious, and luscious, and drool-worthy. Work can wait.
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