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Posted: 10 April 2013 06:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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As a fellow comic artist using DAZ models, I know how much work it is to put together this kind of piece, especially of a length like that. Kudos to you!

I’ve been lucky enough to get my comics published through a Canadian publisher (ongoing sci-fi series, currently about 900 pages published, another 400 or so in progress) - are you looking at similar things for yourself? Do you hit up conventions and sell books from a table? That’s the next step!

How do you get yourself out there? I contacted DAZ when I got my publishing contract and was featured by DAZ in some promos here: http://www.daz3d.com/explore/user-stories/explore-shane-smith/ If you get no love there, a book trailer is never a bad idea!

Also, re: lighting and shading, it’s definitely possible to use DAZ and Poser to produce some really atmospheric effects without investing too much time. Mine is far from the best out there, but here’s a quick example from my current WIP:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/ylu796jtit27rng/max.png
https://www.dropbox.com/s/t338dx7g3s9nn7n/TheGamePreviewPanel1.jpg

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Posted: 10 April 2013 08:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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Great pacing and editing in that book trailer Shane,  and the music really set the mood.

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Posted: 10 April 2013 11:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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I have to say it, if you’re planning to sell it, I’d put more effort into making it artistically pleasing.  A comic is more than a story, it is a story told with art.  if the art is lacking, its missing the bulk of what sells it.

And without better lighting, that is, not really any at all… its just… preproduction at best.  Saying its not worth it is rather like saying your customers’ enjoyment of good art isn’t worth it.  It won’t sell as well as if it was done with better lighting.

I think the story is decent, but the lack of lighting screams “doesn’t know how to use software” true or not, and does your story a disservice.  I think it would better if you used even the simplest light (others have already posted tips here, so I won’t).

As someone who used an old, very crappy laptop until a few months ago, I understand wanting to cut corners to get faster renders. It’s why I also hadn’t started several projects that I wanted to try.  But i didn’t do them, because I wanted to give people a higher quality of work.

Just my two cents.

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Posted: 11 April 2013 07:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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FirstBastion - 10 April 2013 08:42 PM

Great pacing and editing in that book trailer Shane,  and the music really set the mood.

Thanks, that’s really nice of you to say! grin

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Posted: 11 April 2013 06:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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Hi,
Only, I would add that it is essential for an author of comics, oter one softwre “image editor”(the gimp, ....etc).
Now ... about styles toons or something, you can test this software:
http://akvis.com/pt/sketch/index.php

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Posted: 15 April 2013 11:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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I’ve tried recently experimenting with different lighting, but I just have a terrible time with it. Is there any ultra-simple way to set up special lighting? Personally, I like the art in the comic a lot. I just can’t imagine that people who aren’t DAZ artists are going to view it with the same critical eye.

Also, I’d like to mention that Max Rogers #4 is now available. The cover is an homage to the Army of Darkness movie poster! And here are some images from the comic.

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4_Cover_final.png4_Scene_01_-_019.jpg4_Scene_01_-_033.jpgScene_03_-_006.jpgScene_13_-_006.jpg
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Posted: 15 April 2013 11:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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While I know you are using DAZ Studio, you might want to consider looking at this product

http://www.runtimedna.com/ART-MATERIALS-Vol.1-Cartoon-Shaders.html

It can be used in any version of Poser from ver 6 up.  Just recently, Purplus was selling Poser 9 for around $30.

Yes, the product is a bit pricy but you can achieve many of the cartoon styles shown with minimal lighting giving you fast renders and easing system resources.

There must be cartoon shaders or styles for DS out there but I’m not familiar with them and I don’t know how resource intensive they are.

Stock poses are good starting points but out of the box, they are easy to spot.  Even small changes to the stock pose can go along way. 

The character’s hair and skin are too flat.  Add some anistrophic highlights to the hair.  No one sweats or get’s dirty in their century?  The women don’t appear to be wearing makeup.  That generally means shiny noses.

Despite the mesh design, the human body is not symmetrical.  You dominant side is slightly larger than you non-dominant.  Take a look at your hands.  I don’t know if DS can split morphs but if it can, split the morphs and make small adjustments between the right and the left. 

Small things but they can be big improvements.

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Posted: 15 April 2013 12:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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I appreciate the advice, though I’m not interesting in using a cartoon shader. I’d prefer to find an easier way of lighting with the same kind of image. Part of the problem I have with lighting is that it often changes the look of the characters in a way that I don’t like.

For example, the Planetarium is a set piece that I use in issue #1, and it comes with it’s own lighting, but I hated the way it made the characters look. An example of this is the first picture below. As a result, I only used the lighting for far away shots of the set, and I opted to go with normal lighting as you see in the second picture. I just think it looks much better this way.

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Posted: 15 April 2013 12:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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icprncss - 15 April 2013 11:46 AM

While I know you are using DAZ Studio, you might want to consider looking at this product

http://www.runtimedna.com/ART-MATERIALS-Vol.1-Cartoon-Shaders.html

It can be used in any version of Poser from ver 6 up.  Just recently, Purplus was selling Poser 9 for around $30.

Yes, the product is a bit pricy but you can achieve many of the cartoon styles shown with minimal lighting giving you fast renders and easing system resources.

There must be cartoon shaders or styles for DS out there but I’m not familiar with them and I don’t know how resource intensive they are.

Stock poses are good starting points but out of the box, they are easy to spot.  Even small changes to the stock pose can go along way. 

The character’s hair and skin are too flat.  Add some anistrophic highlights to the hair.  No one sweats or get’s dirty in their century?  The women don’t appear to be wearing makeup.  That generally means shiny noses.

Despite the mesh design, the human body is not symmetrical.  You dominant side is slightly larger than you non-dominant.  Take a look at your hands.  I don’t know if DS can split morphs but if it can, split the morphs and make small adjustments between the right and the left. 

Small things but they can be big improvements.

I agree. I’d suggest this: a little dirt, dust and illumination.

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Posted: 15 April 2013 12:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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icprncss - 15 April 2013 11:46 AM

While I know you are using DAZ Studio, you might want to consider looking at this product

http://www.runtimedna.com/ART-MATERIALS-Vol.1-Cartoon-Shaders.html

DAZ Studio can use pwToon shaders, here in the store, to create very nice toon effects. But there’s no reason to insist on toon rendering for a comic book.

Regarding simple lighting, try this setup. It doesn’t slow down your render much, and will create a world of difference in your images.

1 - create one distant light. Point it from the direction of the strongest single light source in your scene. If your light source isn’t white, change the color of this distant light. Set the intensity of this light to what you think makes sense for the strongest light—if it’s sunlight, put it at about 80%, and angle high, though not straight overhead. If it’s a big glowing screen, 30% might be better, from the side. (If it’s a small glowing screen, use a spotlight instead.) Indoor ceiling lights in a light environment: 50-60%, straight overhead. Ceiling lights in an environment with dark walls: 80-90%. Turn on shadows for this light. Deep Shadow Map will work well enough for most images.

2 - Add UberEnvironment to the scene. Expand the size of the sphere so it’s not in the way of your camera, if needed. Set the intensity to fill in the rest of the lighting in the scene by subtracting the intensity of your distant light from 100, e.g. if your main distant light is at 80%, set UE to 100-80= 20%. You can adjust the color to match the main lighting colors of the rest of the scene, but you don’t need to go crazy with image based lighting—just adding UE will improve the scene tremendously, because lighting in a real scene bounces around and generally doesn’t come from just one direction. Set UE quality to 2 or 3 for a test render, set to 4 for your final render. Turn on Ambient Occlusion—this puts in little shadows where objects are close together. It’s amazing how much this helps the realism of your final render.

3 - For any hair in your scene, use UberHair shader and turn off Ambient Occlusion just for the hair. This will make renders much faster.

In general, if you post about a project here at the DAZ forum area, you’re going to get critiques of how well you’re using the DAZ tools. These will usually be very well thought out, constructive suggestions. If you don’t want such suggestions, you could try saying so up front, but it might make more sense to post about your project elsewhere, e.g. in a forum dedicated to comic book art. Then you can see how well that audience reacts to your work, which seems to be what you care more about. I’m not saying don’t post here—just that the kinds of comments you’ll get here will be like what you’ve seen already—kudos for taking on a large project… and your lighting looks kind of flat, etc. smile

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Posted: 15 April 2013 12:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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The first one is far more lifelike, however. If the lights were casting shadows the image would be considerably improved. Max looks like he’s actually in the scene with the planetarium, unlike the second one where Jupiter is really blown out compared to his face.

Lights in DS are easier to work with than in Poser because you can look through them in the viewport and move them around like a camera to see where they’re shining. They’re not too bad. You should check out some comic illustration books for examples of how lighting can make an image pop. Almost all of them will give some basic examples of rim lighting and such, and how they’ll change the mood of your scene. I agree for something like this it is very often a good thing to steer away from purely ‘realistic’ lighting. You’ll want dramatic lighting that really underscores the scenes, especially for particularly important panels.

Even if you only take the time to work on lighting for the most dramatic panels, that’s a good start, and I think you’ll get the hang of it after not too long. The great thing is once you have a nice rig for one scene you can continue to use it for other panels and only tweak minor things.

I agree with a previous comment that this does feel like a movie storyboard. I don’t mind reading it that way. Some parts worked very well precisely because of that, and I tend to flip through pages quickly as it is. I do think the pacing would be helped by some multi-panel pages and landscape spreads, however. It really gives the flexibility to contrast characters’ reactions, give the impression of a fast-paced battle, show amazing distance shots of a planet’s surface or an enemy armada, things like that.

EDIT: And yes, AO cannot be stressed enough. Even if you only bake AO into your textures, it will make the renders look quite a good deal better. It’s the sort of thing done for games so they have nice lighting effects but can still render in real time.

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Posted: 15 April 2013 12:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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Congrats on what you are doing!  It looks to be a tremendous amount of work! 

I am in the process of writing a few screenplays that I would like to make into 3D animated short films made with DAZ.  I am primarily a video editor, but I also have several friends that are musicians and actors.  So now I just need to learn everything I can about AniMate (or find some very talented people that want to collaborate)

I look forward to seeing your finished product.

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Posted: 15 April 2013 12:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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Your pic with the fire needs smoke and reflections.  All that glass and metal would reflect the flames and fire generates smoke.  Doesn’t Age of Armor have some atmospheric cameras?  Even the fog, particle camera set up from Stonemason’s Winter Kingdom would work.

Does Mood Master work at all in DS above 3A?

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Posted: 15 April 2013 01:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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What is UberEnvironment? And I don’t get what it means to bake AO.

And I am interested in these kinds of critiques. One of my concerns is that different lighting can make the characters look very different from scene to scene, and I really want to have a consistent look. The only exception I’ve made to this is with the GIS sets, as the GIS Lights product I bought made the set pieces look so much better that I couldn’t not use it. Here are some samples below. These shots each took an hour and a half to render, and I had to redo a number of them. And the full face shot of Cleo took four hours to render! And I just don’t care for the way Max’s face looks with these lights.

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Posted: 15 April 2013 01:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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galactica1981 - 15 April 2013 01:10 PM

What is UberEnvironment? And I don’t get what it means to bake AO.

And I am interested in these kinds of critiques. One of my concerns is that different lighting can make the characters look very different from scene to scene, and I really want to have a consistent look. The only exception I’ve made to this is with the GIS sets, as the GIS Lights product I bought made the set pieces look so much better that I couldn’t not use it. Here are some samples below. These shots each took an hour and a half to render, and I had to redo a number of them. And the full face shot of Cleo took four hours to render! And I just don’t care for the way Max’s face looks with these lights.

Consistency is nice, but for comic book media, it’s also highly detrimental. It means there’s no difference in tone between a life-threatening situation and a happy walk in the park. This sort of thing can really make or break a comic, and if every scene looks identical to the ones before it, readers will get bored long before reaching the end.

Look at popular comics, whether it’s the classics like Batman and Spiderman or the stylized manga artwork. Both of them use lighting to effect. Darkening moody scenes and brightening happy ones. The image itself can tell you what the scene is about without any need for dialogue to do it for you. That’s what the comic book medium is really about. It’s a visual book, and without those visuals it’s just a novelized slideshow.

Now, to address some of the issues you’ve been having. The reason you’ve probably noticed some severe slowdown is because of the hair. No doubt you’re using some form of ambient occlusion in the scenes, and that doesn’t play nicely with transparency maps like you get in Daz Studio hair. Naturally the full-screen one you’ve done would be a crazy example of that since her hair takes up a lot of the scene, and so would require more work.

However, as luck would have it there is a way to bypass this issue. Use the UberSurface shader on the hair (hold CTRL when applying so you can keep the maps) and simply turn off occlusion. The renderer will ignore the hair for the purposes of occlusion but still render it fine otherwise. You might notice a small drop in quality, but it will be easily counterbalanced by the increase in overall image quality with the lighting.

Another thing worth checking is your shading rate. If this is very low (less than 1) it might be worth raising it a little to find a more comfortable zone for rendering. If you’re using a less powerful machine, this is probably the cheapest way to get more out of it, though you don’t want to raise it too high or quality will drop like a dead pigeon. For my part, I never make this value higher than 1, but your mileage may vary.

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