that’s not fair =(

All those random DAZ characters like Lucas had their own sales. They had that free previous generation bundle incentive.

I was stupid enough to think that an iconic line like, y’know, Aiko would warrant a major event. With even better incentives.

Like fun.

She’s out as part of “March Madness” which hasn’t been truly mad in a while – and no special offers in sight.

Which sort of negates my previous willingness to get that pro bundle.

Continue reading “that’s not fair =(“


so that’s how you write a CV in hobby 3D today

A tutorial for those who don’t know how to use the basic features of SP. Probably nice for those who have hit a brick wall, although that does seem unlikely to me because Allegorithmic software is quite intuitive.

But the interesting thing is the product info. All the irrelevant yet dazzling details about the dude who wrote this tutorial.

The Bruce Dickinson of hobby 3D, no less.

And he probably graduated high school with a gold medal as well. Oh wait, he’s not Russian!

PS Those mysterious “‘intelligent self placing’ materials” – smart materials you mean? I wonder why the need to call them differently.


Perfectionism is evil. Y’all know me.

Basically, as it turns out, if we look closer, even with my iris morph Dawn’s and Dusk’s eyes don’t look as good as I generally want eyes to look.

// disregard the skin, I just turned SSS off for faster rendering //


What is it, I can hear you asking in a few of Mike Patton’s many voices. Well… it’s it.

Epic, isn’t it.

It’s the devil in the bump maps.

I guess I could look around and see what D/D characters I have, and whether they have better eye maps which could be used for the “promo”, since these issues with the default maps are probably something not many people will ever notice.

But in all honesty, this is all so imperfect. *sighs*

I guess I also need to package a pose file for fitting Arki’s EyeDeas to D/D.


this erm product offends me on so many levels…

…I don’t even know where to start.

Religious feelings? Check. I mean, metal is a religion, just ask around; DAZ are just lucky these scenes barely overlap. Or they wouldn’t be able to get away with all the profanation they are being able to get away with.

Feminism? No explanation required.

And this sort of meh floodfill texturing toooootally requires proudly mentioning Substance Painter. Laughable.

Yeah if any random DAZ fanboi is reading this, I can totally hear their “sour grapes” kinda thoughts. Well, anyone has the right to entertain whatever opinions they chose to blind themselves with.

I’m just lucky I never made that mistake that so many “published artists” did, solely relying on selling hobbyist 3D content for a living, and consequently never had to (pardon the {b; p}athos) prostitute my art.

PS Anyone else as annoyed as me with this “saving of draft failed” message MAJORLY getting in the way whenever connection is lost? Honest, I tried to find if I could turn it off and failed.


G3F shapes and smiles

All those late autumn and early winter sales that include giveaways often lead to new characters in my DS runtime. Which I diligently try to put to some use when I have free time.

So, how do I test characters? I try and make them smile. It’s a multi-dial expression, not a stock full-face one. And yet.

// disregard the shading artefacts on the hair, that was a combined pwSurface2 test //


So apparently Arabella 7 the vampire lady has lip implants.

And the other ladies have some lip elasticity issues as well (not showing the most scary results here):

Vickie 7

Well, that’s annoying. Thankfully, Genesis 3 has these “expression bones”. As I have already ranted about, these bones make no sense in terms of anatomy, but at least they’re a thing. So I tried scaling some of them to approximate stuff happening to lips during an actual smile (back to the Arabella shape):


Not exactly a perfect solution, but a step in the right direction.

I actually hope that Genesis 8 has better out-of-the-box functionality in that regard. I don’t yet have any official G8 characters, but I have a couple of custom morphs from the store. When I next have some time, I’ll check the situation.

can people be Bryce-incompatible?

If yes, then I’m definitely one of them.

See, I managed to crash the Sky Lab numerous times by doing rather innocent things (or so I thought). It’s… frustrating.

Yes, you can get an HDRI out of the Sky Lab in a fraction of time it takes to render a scene to HDRI, either in Bryce or in Vue. But there are so many hidden variables at play that it feels worse than going straight down into a Daggerfall dungeon without a recall spell.

For those less dinosaur-CRPG-oriented, I just grabbed a screenshot in Daggerfall Modelling showing (part of) the structure of a random dungeon. If you’re thinking “the hell is that”, well, you’re right. Exactly that.


So I guess it just wasn’t meant to be, in my case. But anyone else is free to try. It is even possible to get a decent EV range in your HDRI from the get-go by fiddling with the parameters.

I’d stick to Vue from now on, though. Yes it’s way slower (a 4096×2048 map takes around an hour to render on my machine, using just the Global Ambience model). But it’s way easier to generate realistic pretty clouds in Vue, if anything. So that’s definitely a winner.

What I can’t seem to squeeze out of my venerable Vue 9 Esprit is any sort of workable dynamic range. So Partha’s GIMP builds to the rescue… If you save the HDR that Vue spits out as an EXR file, you can open it in any of his GIMP 2.9 versions (I prefer the “colour corrected” one). We only want to increase the brightness of our sun, so we toggle the “quick mask” and paint the selection in the form of a single round brush stroke where the sun is. // you need to select the “quick mask” in the “Channels” tab and use white as your foreground colour // Then we disable the “quick mask”, go back to our layer and mess with the “Exposure” slider. It only goes up to 10, but you can launch it as many times as you need (and you can change the selection via the “quick mask” to get a glow around the sun, for example).

So, according to Picturenaut, in the case of this particular map, we go from a measly 3 in dynamic range up to 19. Check out the difference in how this map lights the scene. And also notice fireflies.

Most really good HDR maps will give you fireflies, unless you use a crazy number of pixel samples. If you’re one of those who like rendering overnight, then fine. I’m not like that.

So I finally introduced specular intensity clamping to my shaders. Here, the torus on the left has no clamping; the torus on the right, the ground and the cone all clamp.


Wowie once reasoned that 16 would be a good enough value that kills most fireflies but keeps most of the dynamic range for rendering to HDR. So this is what I used.

I’d say it doesn’t look half bad for a first attempt.

The takeaway:
Obviously you can use the GIMP trick to enhance just about any other HDR map you find too dim, not just the ones you render yourself. And while there are loads of real footage HDR maps out there these days, with Mec4D’s ones featuring very pretty locations and all Greg Zaal’s ones being free now, sometimes you do need a map that no-one else ever made.

today I learnt…

…that HDR maps exported directly out of the Sky Lab in Bryce 7 as EXR are kinda different.

The torus on the left uses the Cook-Torrance model built into 3Delight’s trace() shadeop. The torus on the right uses the Ashikhmin-Shirley one. Look closer, and you’ll see that the A-S model somehow thinks the skymap is grayscale, while C-T does not.

It’s not the best example, really, but it’s a fact. I’ll post a more noticeable one later.


My old skymaps I rendered to HDR “normally” are seen by both models as coloured.

I need to see if saving to actual Radiance HDR will change anything about the way Sky Lab exports maps (it’s significantly faster than having the whole scene render!!). Failing that – I’ll have to figure out what all those parameters mean and if they affect the export somehow.

I don’t even know the mechanism that may cause this to happen. Damn, I honestly don’t feel like reading through the whole OpenEXR specification.