Monday, December 31, 2018

New Year's Day ... The Magician (CG character development on steroids)

Happy New Year! Yes ... I couldn't resist signing off on something "2019" so ... remember The Conjurer character from last week? The one where I resurrected an old render, combined it with an Amberlight image I did last year, then plunked the result into Serif and worked it up as a show poster? Yes, that's the one. Soooo, I thought --

The conjurer is obviously a performer (hence the show poster). Let's organize a performance. The hardest thing was deciding what the act would be, and how to stage it. This is the old Dinokonda, with massively overdriven textures and a lot of painting. Also, the raytrace was put into Photoshop for loads of painting: you might be surprised, even shocked, at how flat, dull and boring the raytraces are. Didn't used to notice it, years ago, but lately, with the vast advances in CG work, especially on the desktop at hobbyist level, you do notice it. So ... Photoshop to the rescue, I guess. Gauss it, add grain, crush the shadows, burn the highlights a bit. The result is far superior.

Have also been playing with displacement mapping, as applied to hands:

That's not too bad, actually, but there's a limit to how far you can push a standard displacement map. I'm actually thinking of going back to basics and actually painting a displacement map that puts the veins in a human hand where they ought to be. Sure, you can buy displacement maps from the DAZ store, but they work out at over A$35! If I'm as smart as I think I am, I ought to be able to paint this myself. Worth the experiment, at least.

(Also, there's a limit to how close to the Michael 4 model you can bring the camera. This hand, here, was rendered at about 1000 pixels wide, and the you can actually see the polygons in the curved surfaces, this close up. There just aren't enough polygons in the old model for it to hold together. I painted them out and resized the image smaller, to get this quality.)

Very happy with these renders. Have definitely managed to get rid of the plastic-doll appearance that plagues the old renders. The trick of Gaussian blur and film grain seems to work every time. That's a relief! Am thinking of going back into numerous of the old project files, the really memorable subjects and redoing them. Get clever with the rework. 😃
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