Saturday, June 1, 2019

Strange allies, IBL lighting, and open dialogs

Staying with yesterday's theme and recruiting two new characters (well, you'd have seen them before if you were looking at this blog 4 - 8 years ago!), here's "Strange Allies." The idea is, absolute opposites team up and go finish out the adventure. This actually works really well ... the Big Green Guy is built on The Freak, which is something like DAZ's "Hulk," except he wasn't green in the original model --

Changing to skin tone (color) of your character to any color you like is actually easy. Go into the surfaces tab and select everything except the eye textures. Set an appropriate diffuse color and you're done. Leave the eyes alone, but do go back in and make the lips and nipples a slightly darker and/or different shade. Since the rest of this guy is so green, I went bluer for the lips and nipples. Neat.

The main thing I've been playing with today, with various and hilarious degrees of success, is IBL lighting. That's Image Based Lighting, and I've never honestly understood it before. Then I stumbled over a couple of things. First, the best tutorial in this weird art that I have ever seen: he not only walks you through an interface to show you how it works, but explains the theory ... which was grand for me, because he was demonstrating in DAZ 4.10, and I wanted to use it in Bryce 7 Pro! So --

Bryce 7 Pro IBL Lighting experiment #1
As the caption says, that's not a fabulous image by a long shot, but for me it's a milestone: first time I have ever managed to do IBL lighting, and have it work, and ... I was in control of it rather than being taken for a ride! Whoo!

Rather than launch into lengthy (potentially boring) explanations here, for those of you who're artists, I'm going to pass you to the video:

That's the best ever ... now I know what the heck is going on! Also, I stumbled over a great archive of fantastic HDR photos -- free, thank gods -- which are used for IB: lighting. If you're an artist, and trying to get your head around this: sIBL Archive is where you need to be. It's an astonishing suite of images that give you every kind of lighting imaginable.

For the Bryce experiment, above, I used a shot of a desert highway with a bright, big blue sky. This is going to be interesting, because DAZ Studio 4.10, Bryce 7 Pro and even Terragen all use IBL lighting. If I can once get my head into this space, we can expect some seriously lovely images.

Speaking of 4.10 ... the dialog is open with DAZ Tech support, but it's taking a looong time. It's six days now, since I put in the ticket, and I'm only one small step closer to being able to load any of the new figures. Tech support works nine to five, Mon to Fri ... so you can only bounce messages back and forth 2-3 times a week. It could take a month to get Studio working properly. 😢

Having said that ... thank gods I still have Studio 3! I am playing in 4.10 to learn the chaotic, micro-miniaturized interface, but to actually do any work, I revert to the old standby. Right now, the only advantage to 4.10 for me, personally, is that its render time for raytraces is four minutes against 45+ minutes! But to balance that out, almost inevitably some of the content of the Studio 3 file I open in 4.10 doesn't load ... and though it is dead easy to load the missing content as OBJ files, these files seem to do something to the mapping on the characters, making Michael 4's skin go ... bonkers. So if a character "leaves his hair behind," he's going to be bald, and like it!

Ack. Anyway ... we soldier on.
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