Digital Art Zone

 
   
1 of 2
1
Mass Producing Multiple Versions of the Same Character
Posted: 10 December 2012 09:33 AM   [ Ignore ]
Member
Rank
Total Posts:  202
Joined  2010-12-22

Hey all,

I have been working on a project that requires multiple images of the same characters. So, for example, multiple images of the same base character, but with varied hair styles, hair colors, and outfits. With a great deal of help from this forum, I have improved the quality of my renders while still keeping things real fast at 5-10 minutes per render, in most cases.

However, the sheer quantity of options possible in terms of character possibilities is starting to look insane using my existing strategies. What I have typically done is create the base character, then add all the options for various hair styles, hair colors, and outfits, and then render each combination as a seperate image. However, that still requires a staggering amount of renders.

For example, if I have 1 basic character as a starting point, and add 5 hair color options, 5 hair styles, and 5 outfits, I end up with 125 combinations! And my plan called for many more options than that…and those are just the basic character renders, not counting all the other images I was looking to create for the project.

I had hoped that some form of image layering would be the solution to my dilema, but that seems to require more work than I wanted to try to get everything to match up correctly.

Does anyone have any ideas for how to proceed with this project?

Thanks!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 December 2012 10:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Power Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  2302
Joined  2010-12-18

You can scale down the amount of variations allowed.

Trying to use 3D renders and layering them will lower the quality in most cases so I can’t suggest that.

If this was a 2d project you could just edit the color values for hair and clothes really easy, not a lot of work. But that doesn’t work at all for 3d.

Oh, and I really will tell you to scale down the whole project. Yes do it now. I can tell you are biting off a lot more than you intended to. I always suggest starting with simpler projects before going into bigger ones. Smaller projects will teach you want you can’t do or don’t want to get into with a larger project.

 Signature 

My deviantArt Pinup Gallery

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 December 2012 10:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Member
Rank
Total Posts:  202
Joined  2010-12-22
larsmidnatt - 10 December 2012 10:07 AM

You can scale down the amount of variations allowed.

Trying to use 3D renders and layering them will lower the quality in most cases so I can’t suggest that.

If this was a 2d project you could just edit the color values for hair and clothes really easy, not a lot of work. But that doesn’t work at all for 3d.

Oh, and I really will tell you to scale down the whole project. Yes do it now. I can tell you are biting off a lot more than you intended to. I always suggest starting with simpler projects before going into bigger ones. Smaller projects will teach you want you can’t do or don’t want to get into with a larger project.

This is probably what I will have to do, but I’m not eager to do it. This isn’t my first project of this type, but it is the largest in scale and scope, which is why I am starting to run into problems. If I lacked experience, I would probably just keep swinging at this thing and create a massive hole that I won’t crawl out of. However, I have enough experience to know what my workflow is like, and based on that it really isn’t looking feasible as currently designed, unless I can come up with a better way to render the massive number of combinations I am looking for.

Thanks for the response.

 

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 December 2012 10:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Active Member
RankRank
Total Posts:  284
Joined  2012-02-12

Have you already turned off ambient occlusion on the hair? I’m sure someone’s already mentioned that one, but that should drastically reduce the time spent.

The other thing is trying out different kinds of lighting to see what will give the shortest render times with acceptable results. Some lighting rigs drastically increase render time.

Have you considered separate machines whose sole purpose is rendering? That way you could set up your scenes on one computer, while doing multiple renders at the same time on other computers. Maybe you could set your content up on a network, then you wouldn’t have to install content more than once. This idea may not be possible since it may cost too much. It just depends on what your resources are.

Just brainstorming. You may have heard these ideas already. smile

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 December 2012 10:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Member
Rank
Total Posts:  202
Joined  2010-12-22
sikeus - 10 December 2012 10:19 AM

Have you already turned off ambient occlusion on the hair? I’m sure someone’s already mentioned that one, but that should drastically reduce the time spent.

The other thing is trying out different kinds of lighting to see what will give the shortest render times with acceptable results. Some lighting rigs drastically increase render time.

Have you considered separate machines whose sole purpose is rendering? That way you could set up your scenes on one computer, while doing multiple renders at the same time on other computers. Maybe you could set your content up on a network, then you wouldn’t have to install content more than once. This idea may not be possible since it may cost too much. It just depends on what your resources are.

Just brainstorming. You may have heard these ideas already. smile

Some good ideas.

- I have gotten my render times down to 5-10 minutes, which I think is about as fast as I am going to get. I have turned off ambient occlusion on hair, and used other tricks suggested here. I really doubt that I will be able to get things much faster without really killing the quality, which I feel is still decent under my current settings.
- Same for lights. I think right now that I am about at the right level of quality vs. render time. The only problem is quantity smile
- The seperate machine plan isn’t really feasible for me, sadly. I am hoping to get a new PC next year, but that is a long ways off.

Thanks for the good ideas. Maybe I will relook my settings again. The problem though is still just the sheer quantity of renders involved. Even if I am knocking them out in 1 minute, I am still going to be looking at hundreds and hundreds of seperate renders.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 December 2012 10:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Active Member
RankRank
Total Posts:  986
Joined  2012-02-04

Disclaimer: I don’t use DAZ to do my renders, I export to LuxRender.  So the following may not work.

While this idea won’t affect your render times, it might simplify queuing up the large number of renders you want to do.  Once you have your figure set up and outfit applied, switch to the timeline and for each frame, change the colors of the outfit to the variations you want.  You could also change the outfit out after you have done all the colors needed for each outfit.  You’ll end up with an animation sequence that isn’t really an animation, but a job queue of all your desired outfit and color combinations.  Then you can fire this off as a big render process and let it create all the variations without you having to babysit it.

 Signature 

My deviantART Homepage

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 December 2012 10:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Addict
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3368
Joined  2012-02-06

I think I agree with larsmidnatt. I guess the question is: what is your goal, and what’s the most efficient way to achieve it? Or, to rephrase this, what’s the way to achieve it with a minimum of effort…and that probably means keeping your combinations to a manageable level.

One suggestion: Your characters…can you limit the body shapes and skins? Say, have a male and female, each with a lighter or darker skin texture option? That’s just four characters that require clothing, with additional characters achieved through changing only the facial characteristics, makeup, etc. If that’s too limiting, you can divide it into lean male/buff male/lean female/buff-or-voluptuous female and still only have eight bodies to clothe. You’d then just have to match these bodies with the various faces you render, and that might be more doable than an exponential number of character+clothing renders.

Another suggestion regarding clothing: maybe start with a base outfit, with additional variations achieved through adding items of clothing and/or accessories? Much of this accessorizing can be done in postwork which would cut down on your total number of renders required.

With hair, I think you have two possible paths:
1. Do renders, but limit options drastically (three colors x three hairstyles, for instance)
2. Render without hair and paint it on in postwork. You can buy brushes for this…I think I’ve seen some in Renderosity.

Any way you look at it, it does sound like a huge undertaking…

 Signature 

Community Volunteer
Monthly New User Contests!

My tutorials and FAQs | My Gallery | My Render Thread
Visit my world… Tornalia.com | http://scottlivingston.deviantart.com

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 December 2012 10:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Member
Rank
Total Posts:  202
Joined  2010-12-22
cwichura - 10 December 2012 10:37 AM

Disclaimer: I don’t use DAZ to do my renders, I export to LuxRender.  So the following may not work.

While this idea won’t affect your render times, it might simplify queuing up the large number of renders you want to do.  Once you have your figure set up and outfit applied, switch to the timeline and for each frame, change the colors of the outfit to the variations you want.  You could also change the outfit out after you have done all the colors needed for each outfit.  You’ll end up with an animation sequence that isn’t really an animation, but a job queue of all your desired outfit and color combinations.  Then you can fire this off as a big render process and let it create all the variations without you having to babysit it.

...I never thought of that.

That might actually work.

Mind is semi-blown. You may have a solution here. It would still leave me with managing hundreds of images, but it will save me a huge amount of time if I can do batch renders with variations like this. Especially since each render doesn’t take that long, I bet I could knock out big chunks overnight.

I’ll have to try this out and see if it will work for me. Can anyone share any insight on this technique?

Thanks!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 December 2012 10:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Active Member
RankRank
Total Posts:  284
Joined  2012-02-12

I just had another idea. Let’s say you have the same character, same outfit, but different hair colors. You could render your first image out, say with brown hair. Then maybe you could keep everything the same, positioning, render settings, etc. But then you could turn everything off but the hair, which you’ve now switched to black. Render that, save it out as a png since that has a transparent background. Then take both images, and layer them in photoshop or gimp. The new hair color could be on top.

Or, perhaps you could render the original character out hairless, then render just the hair while turning everything else off, and layer that in photoshop. I wonder if you could do all the hairstyles this way?

I have no idea if it would work, since I haven’t tried it myself. But it’s an idea. It would take a lot less time to render out just hair as compared to everything in the scene.

Edit: As I was thinking about it, I realized that the transparency of the hair may cause problems rendering it out this way. What about turning off the parts of the hair that will be unseen due to the placement of the head? I think there’s a away to create more material zones on items, but that may be more work than it’s worth…

2nd Edit: Or maybe, to avoid the hassle mentioned in the above edit, you could render just the head and the hair out. That should take care of transparency problems.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 December 2012 10:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Active Member
RankRank
Total Posts:  284
Joined  2012-02-12
MadisonXF - 10 December 2012 10:42 AM
cwichura - 10 December 2012 10:37 AM

Disclaimer: I don’t use DAZ to do my renders, I export to LuxRender.  So the following may not work.

While this idea won’t affect your render times, it might simplify queuing up the large number of renders you want to do.  Once you have your figure set up and outfit applied, switch to the timeline and for each frame, change the colors of the outfit to the variations you want.  You could also change the outfit out after you have done all the colors needed for each outfit.  You’ll end up with an animation sequence that isn’t really an animation, but a job queue of all your desired outfit and color combinations.  Then you can fire this off as a big render process and let it create all the variations without you having to babysit it.

...I never thought of that.

That might actually work.

Mind is semi-blown. You may have a solution here. It would still leave me with managing hundreds of images, but it will save me a huge amount of time if I can do batch renders with variations like this. Especially since each render doesn’t take that long, I bet I could knock out big chunks overnight.

I’ll have to try this out and see if it will work for me. Can anyone share any insight on this technique?

Thanks!

I haven’t used it yet, but luxrender does have a reputation for taking longer. Renders that take hours as compared to minutes aren’t uncommon, but that automation sounds awesome for your purposes.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 December 2012 11:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
Member
Rank
Total Posts:  202
Joined  2010-12-22
Scott-Livingston - 10 December 2012 10:40 AM

Advice…

Good advice, and is basically what I am doing already, although I am not looking to do any postwork, really. Too many individual images for that.

sikeus - 10 December 2012 10:49 AM

Layered Images.

As I mentioned, I have experimented with doing layered images, with seperate hair or heads or something. Unfortunatly, it doesn’t work as well as I would like, at least not at my skill level. Maybe there are better ways to do it.

sikeus - 10 December 2012 10:53 AM

I haven’t used it yet, but luxrender does have a reputation for taking longer. Renders that take hours as compared to minutes aren’t uncommon, but that automation sounds awesome for your purposes.

I have never tried it. Unless I get information telling me otherwise, I think I will plan on doing a test batch in Studio to see how it works out. It has been a long time since I have played with using different frames / animations, and I have never done it for something like this. Should be interesting as an experiment and possible solution.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 December 2012 12:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
Power Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  2302
Joined  2010-12-18

So you said 1 base character equaled 125 combinations. But that is just one character, one expression/pose. How many poses, expressions and characters do you need? ANd will they all have 5 hair colors, outfits and hair styles?

 Signature 

My deviantArt Pinup Gallery

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 December 2012 01:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  13589
Joined  2003-10-09

You might look at pwCatch - one of the options with that is for the surface to show the background, which would mask off the parts of the hair or clothing that are behind the figure. The results might be more readily layered since you wouldn’t be having to erase portions yourself.

 Signature 

DAZ Studio Frequently Asked Questions

Index of free DAZ Studio scripts and plugins list

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 December 2012 01:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
Addict
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2552
Joined  2004-04-25

What are your client’s specifications? 

For lighting, you might want to take a look at this product

http://www.daz3d.com/shop/sales-promotions/daz-originals-environments-props/speedlights-outdoor-light-set-1

It’s designed for speed rendering. 

If you don’t need shadows, turn them off.  This will also cut your render times down.

Dreamlight has an older video tutorial that can show you how to render your scenes and assemble them in your image editor.  Granted it’s for an older version of DS and uses Dreamlight products but can give you some ideas

http://www.daz3d.com/shop/making-of-the-raptors-in-daz-studio

 Signature 

“...not world enough nor time…” 

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 December 2012 02:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
Power Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  1160
Joined  2006-08-31

If it’s just a matter of producing all the combinations of 5x5x5… have you considered scripting to set up and render the scene?

 Signature 

Previous post count: 2678 Downloads Hightide Mark: 1708

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 December 2012 02:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
Addict
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2742
Joined  2007-12-25

I know you said you want to avoid postwork, but I thought I’d mention that I’ve had some luck with a “green screen” method. For example, I put hair on a figure, but I turn the entire figure white, then set ambient to 100% pure green, and I put a plane behind the figure with the same green settings. Now I have a “paper doll” version of the hair, and I can easily clip out the green. (Gimp has a very nice “color->alpha” feature for this.) If you go this way, use png output and keep your render size exactly the same each time, without changing the character pose, and you’ll be able to layer the parts by matching up the edges of the render frame.

You might also want to look at Send In The Clones. http://www.daz3d.com/shop/send-in-the-clones-ds4-pro That lets you pull in multiple variations of a figure, e.g. applying different poses, clothing, etc. to each copy of the same figure.

The animated frame method sounds very clever to me, though.

 Signature 

Shop Zigraphix @ DAZ3D

Profile
 
 
   
1 of 2
1