Friday, January 25, 2019

CG fantasy, playing in Bryce, and a digital watercolor

CG fantasy: "A Vow of Vengeance."
Uploaded at 2000 wide: please see at full size!

An extremely complex render -- a two hour raytrace, before we headed into Photoshop to bring it to life ... and the background was done separately (duh) in Bryce 7 Pro:

Bryce 7 Pro landscape: Savannah sunrise. Please see at large size!
In fact, it was the Bryce render that suggested the CG character work. I did the landscape as a project -- trying to force Bryce to give me photorealistic results, which of course it absolutely refuses to do, no matter what tricks I pull, or whose tutorials I follow! So the question you're asking is --

How much of this one is Bryce, and how much is Photoshop? And well you may ask!

The raw Bryce 7 render is fine ... it gives the impression of being about a half hour before sunrise. No matter what I did, I couldn't get it to render brighter colors, so I gave up in disgust and took this, the best I could get, shoved it headfirst into Photoshop and painted it up! Ta-da! The sun rose.

Which of course makes the more savvy viewer ask, how much of the character study is DAZ Studio, and how much is Photoshop?! Well, okay...

You'll need to view this at full size to really see the dullness of the original raytrace. The painting is just ... better. It's all highlights and dawn sunlight and what-not. But the raytrace isn't bad. I did a lot of painting on the character, because DAZ gave me muddy shadows as soon as I turned on "soft shadows," so while I was in there I decided to give the dude freckles and tattoos good measure.

I like this one: a very satisfying, as well as complex, piece of work...

But I have to admit, Bryce is driving me nuts:

Top:  Atmospheric controls. Check. Got it. Middle: Fair enough ... but its another alien planet. Doesn't look like Earth to me! Bottom: "Reef at Low Tide." Not bad, but not great ... and this thing rendered all night. Ack.

In sheer frustration, I threw up my hands and went back to watercolors:

Digital watercolor: Woodland Path
Again, you need to see this at larger size to be able to see it, but for those who are interested, I'll include the rubbish image that was the source photo:

Isn't that awful? I almost threw it in the bin. I used to chuck out shots that came out like this ... there's a couple of faults in my camera: it no longer calculates exposures properly, and the auto-focus is off. Also, it's impossible to use the mode selector ring, which just spins around and never selects anything. Harrumph. Need new camera. These Fuji Finepix models cost so much to repair, it's cheaper to buy a new one. 

I was also interested to process some of these into B&W to see what they come up like ... as if they're stills from a movie made back in the 1970s:

...and that's not bad. I rather like monochrome. Very little is done with it these days, but it has a charm all its own.

Yes, I'm making the most of a cooler day today! The hot weather comes back almost at once, and I'll disappear on you again: can't work in this kind of heat:

That works out to 116 F degrees in the shade, and the best the a/c c an do is keep it down to about 98 F in the house, because it's around 150 F in the roof cavity right over your head. It's enough to cook your brain, and it will certainly cook your PC!  So ... lots of art today, while we're in the cool lull between the heat waves! Enjoy. 
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