Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Creepy cloisters -- and a new Genesis 8 hero. Neat!

That's pretty good -- it took a lot of wrangling, but at least you can see where the work was invested! I'm actually very happy with this, and I'll be setting up this character to render again later. This one rendered long into the night, and when I got up this morning, it was done --

First, I started with a commercial backdrop which I could never have rendered in a year of trying with this computer. It's from the artist "Sveva," whom you'll find at Renderosity. I wanted something to get me into this quickly, with good results, a way to test the water before I start to invest tons of time in backgrounds. Good choice, here, it turns out. But Sveva's art was the wrong shape, so I kept the width I wanted and introduced a flat black "margin" at the bottom, adding about a third to its height. Then, I added the floor to run up to meet the backdrop ... slapped a battered-concrete shader onto it. Then, add the bench, and a stone shader on that ...

 If you reckon we're going a bit "shader happy" here -- uh huh. You have to, to get old (low-poly-count) props to look good in Iray. When they render wearing their own original (3DLight) maps, they often look nothing short of awful. Sooo ... when it came to the lantern, I redid the whole thing: frosted glass and cast iron. The result is rather good. Very happy with that part of the image.

The Genesis character gave me some problems, largely because I'd wanted to use the Rex character, who has the look of a Jamaican pirate. Unfortunately, the lighting in this scene is so low, the deliciously swarthy Rex rendered up so dark, you could barely even see him. So I swapped out the skinmap for something that would render in these lighting conditions, changed the face a tiney bit (rats: I do like the Rex face. We'll come back to him, and this costume, later ...)

The costume is a mix and match: coat an boots from Crimson Seas for Genesis 3, and the pants and belt from Badlands Gladiator for Genesis 8. The hair is Varun, set to brown rather than black; and I changed the eyes to a brown shade from the GP Character Eyes set.

Okay, now mess about with Iray lights. I have two on this, a distant (photometric) light, and a point light sitting inside the lamp. I also used the backdrop as the IBL environment light, set to about 0.5, I think, just to lift the picture a bit. Ready to render ... and several hours later I staggered through from the bedroom (am still soooo sick: throat, sinus and lung virus: pure torture) and figured it was "cooked"enough to go back to work on it. So --

Back into Photoshop to have the light rays added in, and some extra highlights and shadows around the bench, and the lamp-glow on the figure (which wouldn't render; hmmm). Also, a bit of digital grading in the character's face, to make it stand out a little more. With that done, I put the painted image back into Studio 3 (!) to add the foreground ivy -- which no amount of jiggery-pokery will make viable in Iray. The foreground ivy here is just a raytrace in Studio 3, which at least recognizes its old maps!

With that done, back into Photoshop for some "marginal shadows" which lead the eye into the picture and blot out a tiny bit of demarcation from the existing backdrop and the new floor.

Interestingly, the lamp had to be done as an OBJ import: nothing I can do with this set of props will make Studio 4 "see" any of them. Fortunately, the export out of Studio 3 to OBJ is dead easy, then it takes all of about five minutes to resurface whatever prop with appropriate shaders. No biggie.

Okay ... let's call this one a success. Complex image, very pleasing. If I can stay alive long enough (this virus has me on my knees. No joke or exaggeration), I'll do something with this guy this afternoon, and we'll have another look at him later today.

On the other hand, I might fall face down and come up for air on Friday! We'll see. Bear with me, guys!
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