about to update to Win10

supposing the missing files download in time.

Found out I do need to increase the TDR value to get Substance Painter to export “production complexity” textures at 4096 resolution. The developers in the forums say the new value should be rather high.

edgechallenge_ravenous_testA This is a car paint material done following the guidelines in the “Layered BRDF” paper (rougher aluminium-like metallic reflection + heavily tinted varnish: even the reflection is tinted around 50%); but I think it could look better with a somewhat different approach (with the underlying metal being coloured). The shader is RadiumFabricPlus. The car model is a ShareCG freebie “Edge Challenge” by Ravenous.

angela_hair_test1 While browsing Michele’s steampunk resource links, I also found a free hairstyle and free clothing for Mankahoo’s free Angela figure. So I decided to see what could be done with her. And… wow. Yeah she’s Poser-rigged and rather “oldschool”, but I am actually considering getting her full commercial version one day (when I have the money) – because I really like the face (a base I found awesome for making very pretty characters) and expression morphs. I replaced the eyes with Arki’s EYEdeas, though, because I couldn’t be bothered to make an iris morph at the time. I realise that when it comes to clothing, Angela will be likely limited to a few scavenged freebies, dynamics and custom models, but hey, it’s the same with, say, Kirwyn’s K (apparently not available anymore, which is a shame; she renders fine to this day). I need to push myself into modeling more, y’know.

And when there are freebie providers like this releasing amazing stuff for G2F, you know I can’t be bothered…

75% Win10 downloaded.

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testing stuff

AnnCD_srgb So, I found out that to see G3F face bones, you have to turn invisible nodes on in the Scene tab params (I had no idea there could be invis nodes!). I then set to try out the whole expression thing, using Mjc’s cute Anna custom character morph with obligatory elven ears from the Starter Essentials set (dialed to maybe half their max because gods, that morph is WoW-based or something…).
Y’know, I was hoping the expression bones would be anatomy based (like: muscles), but they aren’t =( In other words, not much more useful for me than just dials. I think in muscles when doing expressions.
This got me thinking whether an anatomy expression rig could be approximated with weightmapped deformers. In theory, yes; but in practice… that’s an idea I will be toying with, but I’m historically slow, so don’t hold your breath.

Then, I was again trying to get realistic pale skin. I took the lightest values from this great article with a notoriously difficult-to-use representation of results, and tweaked them even further because, well, they don’t have real-world ‘type I’ skin subjects in the research. Isn’t that discriminating?! how dare they! LOOOOOOOOOOOL

Close, but not exactly “me”. Ah well. I’ll keep on trying.

The skin is default G3F skin, I just divide it by its base tone in my shader, so that most of it gets replaced by the SSS result. There’s only 10% diffuse overlay – it helps reduce possible RT SSS noises somewhat, and is barely noticeable.

As you can see – it’s a truism but well worth reiterating because I had doubts myself – highlights are indeed hard to notice on skin which is pale enough. Because it’s already rather close to white.
I even had glossy reflection enabled on her skin, which looked so striking in isolated previews (against black), but the final result is very, very subtle.
My shader does some basic energy conservation. If I turned it off, maybe I would get more highlights, but then her skin would noticeably emit energy. Not what I really want.

The metals are excluded from GI (they do not bounce light) because that lead to scary fireflies. I’m thinking of trying this with photonmapped caustics… could be a bit more interesting. Reflective caustics seem to add less time than refractive. But I haven’t done _that_ many caustics to truly tell.

The bracelet I modeled in my Silo+Hexagon combo following Luxxeon’s awesome Blender tutorial, and the specular is too high on it, I think.

The image is rendered to EXR in 3Delight 12, but what I posted here is a simple sRGB JPEG export from i-display. I can’t seem to get the correct glow in Krita’s GMIC version on my 32bit EXR; I can’t figure out how to highpass the luminance level used for the glow. I guess I should check out what Natron has to offer.

I rendered at 12 pixel samples – with all the glossy reflections, even though the skin is limited to 1 bounce and the metal might be as well, it took 36 mins on my laptop (I wonder how many hours that would be in Iray??). As you can see, it’s still a difficult situation to resolve cleanly with DOF – the metal floor is raytraced displacement, to boot.

The dress is Mec4D’s celebration freebie one, and I guess I should try making an optimised UV for small breast size.

And I hope y’all are still following Mec4D’s anniversary thread…

…as she keeps posting more and more awesome stuff, but I don’t know if I’ll ever render this, though =)

cath80s_grapes_bkgr I rendered the mullet hair with some other Cath products and freebies, and with the prototype of those custom eye meshes that I mentioned here before. It’s not entirely perfect yet, the morphs yet have to be done, but it’s still _something_. Maybe that’s just me and I’m imagining things, but I’d say I managed to get the shadow on the iris right. We usually paint it in, but in reality it reacts to light and isn’t symmetrical. Or so I see it in the mirror.

As of right now, these RadiumEyes accept Gen3 eye textures. Yeah yeah yeah, but I have a load of cool Gen3 eye maps that I wanted to use for other figures… now I can.

I plan to support Gen4 mapping, but I have to figure out first which software I have would be the easiest to move UVs around in over an image template. I don’t like UV mapping much, I confess. I’d rather see if it’s possible to make custom morphs for Arkis’s EYEDeaz, to fix the issues I encountered with those.

I also think that if I ever release those eyes (I don’t know if there is any demand for that… they have advantages, but disadvantages as well: they don’t distort with figure morphs as they’re independent meshes, but neither do they follow morphs, so manual scaling/positioning is a must for characters), they will come with lacrimal morphs for G/G2 (as I said, the possibility of me using G3 for real in the foreseeable is kinda slim; I just got a bunch of original Genesis goodies with a 90% discount, haha). Lacrimals have always been whacky, even with default eye shapes; and they aren’t static IRL, they do react to eye movement, if slightly, so to really do a good job, it should be an ERC kinda morph, controlled by the eye rotation amount.

applying LUTs the easy way

LUTs are “look up tables” for colours. They’re useful in many many ways (for instance, a program I use to calibrate displays, QuickGamma, creates a LUT that loads with Windows). But for the sake of image editing, they can be used as “filters”.

Mjc posted links to a few interesting ones here in our 3Delight thread on the DAZ forums.

If you already have compositing software and know how to use it, you may have already tried to apply something of the sort to your renders. But if you aren’t a wannabe compositor, there’s an easier way to make use of them.

3Delight’s dedicated image viewer i-display supports LUTs and will export a JPEG of your image with the LUT applied. Just saving the image out won’t burn the LUT in, so make sure you use export as JPEG (Ctrl+J). The quality is good, but still, it’s lossy so you probably will want to apply LUT as the final stage of your postprocessing.

Choosing a LUT can be done via the menu (see screenshot) or with the Ctrl+U shortcut. Don’t forget to set colour profile to “custom” to see the LUT effect.

LUTload_idisplay

If you don’t have the free 3Delight Studio Pro, get it here. It’s the latest free version, so you can export your DS scenes to RIBs and render them via the standalone to leverage the latest improvements.

cathfreestuffLUTKodak Here’s an example quick render I made with Mec4D (Cath) birthday freebies (yeah that’s true, Cath gave the community several presents for her own birthday! Isn’t she awesome? Go check out her personal store and her DAZ store page).

The “clean” render is posted to Cath’s anniversary thread on the DAZ forums, so you can compare the effect of this particular LUT (the one whose name is shown in the i-display screenshot; I like it a lot).

Free HDRI stuff

Whatever you render in, I don’t think that you can do without HDRI maps in 2015. Even if you are 32-bit and strictly oldschool, you need reflection maps for your environment() calls, don’t you? =)

Remember that in 3Delight, you can light your scene with a giant non-convolved (=crisp) panorama, and it will be sampled all right, without any excessive noise. With the right shader, you’ll get lovely realistic shadows from it.

http://www.openfootage.net/?cat=15 – my favourite site with lovely panoramas; the licence is Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

http://www.hdrlabs.com/sibl/archive.html – a lot of beautiful stuff: not just panoramas, but also studio light type of HDR images (you can stick these into gel lights, for instance). The licence is Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0. I still don’t understand if noncommercial applies to rendered images or to the maps themselves, but in any case, it could be clarified with the site owners, if you do commercial work. I don’t.

I managed to get most of DAZ and Renderosity freebies in December…

…but as for other sites, I haven’t had time to check them out until tonight.

And I’m happy I found this:

http://thefantasiesattic.com/xmas/2014/2014.html

Remember a relatively recent post of mine? There is a limited-time freebie on the FantasiesAttic list which is a heavily freckled character! She’s free until Jan 5th, so those who share my fondness for freckles might consider grabbing her ASAP.

Then there is a big set of dynamic items for V4. You know I am not much of a Poser user, but the items are very nice. And besides… they are easily rigged for Genesis!

There’s also an assortment of neat little props in the RDNA Christmas giveaway; I’ll put here a link to Day 13 because, well, a fun figure from Tate is there:
http://forum.runtimedna.com/content.php?410-13-Days-of-Cranky-Christmas-DAY-13

Just in case – here’s a link to the Rendo giveaway recap, full of amazing stuff. I mean it. I will have to find out if the merchant resources offered are freebie-friendly, but even if they aren’t, they’re still awesome to have for personal use (and maybe if I ever decide to make a commercial character).

Speaking of freebie-friendly merchant resources, Helen at ShareCG has two new packs – one for V4 and one for Dawn. And a character texture set for Antonia. Anyone remember Antonia?

a bit of a review: DAZ3D “permanent” freebies

Okay, they aren’t truly and irrevocably permanent, of course, but as of right now, they are not the “weekly freebie” or some other explicitly-fleeting type of promotion.

There is (as of right now, again) an easy way to see them all listed:

http://www.daz3d.com/people?cat=2&dir=asc&order=price

So, if you’re just starting out, it makes sense to load up your cart with all of them… or maybe not. Let’s look at them more closely.

Continue reading “a bit of a review: DAZ3D “permanent” freebies”