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WIP Thread for New User Contest - April 2013
Posted: 03 April 2013 12:02 PM   [ Ignore ]
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New User's Contest - April 2013

Sponsored by DAZ 3D & Eva1


Are you new to the 3D World? Are you at the beginning stages of learning 3D rendering? Have you been around for a little bit but feel you could benefit from some feedback or instruction? Have you been around awhile and would like to help other members start their creative journey? Well then come and join the fun as we host our newest contest...

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

"Surfaces, Materials, and Shaders"

This month we will focus on learning materials settings, including how to customize these settings and how to apply a shader. We will be focusing on DAZ Studio, Poser, Bryce, and Carrara this month.

Intent: To create a scene in which at least one key item contains no diffuse texture maps.
There are various approaches you can take, including using a textureless item, or retexturing your item(s) using shaders or shader presets. By eliminating the texture you will more easily be able to see the impact of changes to various materials settings. It will also encourage you to think creatively about lighting and composition.

This month's sponsor is Eva1. Eva1 will be offering a special prize to the contest winners from her DAZ 3D store: http://www.daz3d.com/eva1

I will be checking in on the WIP Thread, as will the rest of the Community Volunteers, to try and help with anything you all may need.

For a list of the current contest rules, please see this thread: Contest Rules

For those veterans of the forums that would like to help, because this contest is designed for the beginner to learn from, we will be randomly selecting posts offering helpful tips and/or critiques to receive a special prize as well so whether you are a seasoned artist or an aspiring one, there is fun for everyone!


Closing Date: April 30th, 2013
[ Edited: 02 May 2013 12:58 PM by Frank0314 ]
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Posted: 03 April 2013 12:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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A brief FAQ

Some of the information here is specific to DAZ Studio...we'll be providing additional tips to users of Poser, Bryce, and Carrara as well as DAZ Studio throughout the month.

Q: What is the difference between surfaces, textures, and materials?
A: Surfaces or material zones are regions of a prop or figure that can be edited independently. For example, a human figure will have separate surfaces or material zones for various parts of the body. A texture is an image that is applied (mapped) to the mesh of the figure, giving it color, texture, patterns, etc. Materials are the settings applied to a surface. This would include the texture, but also things like glossiness, opacity, and bumpiness. Sometimes additional texture maps (such as a bump map, for instance) are used, but it's also possible to apply materials to an entirely untextured item.

Q: What is a "diffuse texture" and how do I remove it?
A: A diffuse texture map is the image that contains the basic physical appearance of the item's surface or surfaces. It's what you see when you shine a light on a matte or rough surface. If your prop or figure looks plain gray then it probably has no diffuse map applied. To remove diffuse maps from the item, go to the Surfaces pane and select the item's surfaces in the dropdown menu. Then click on the little square next to the "Diffuse Color" slider (depending on what you have selected, this square may either show a thumbnail of the diffuse map, or it may just be gray), and choose "None" from the dropdown menu. Note that applying certain shaders will also remove diffuse maps if you don't hold down the "Control" key (or "Command" on a Mac).

Q: What is a "shader" or "shader preset?"
A: My quick layman’s definition: something that controls how a surface looks and how it reacts to light. An example of one of the many things a shader can control is glossiness.

Here’s a more detailed definition, taken from the Glossary of Terms:

Shader: A computer program used to determine the final surface properties of an object or image. This often includes arbitrarily complex descriptions of light absorption, diffusion, texture mapping, reflection, refraction, shadowing, surface displacement and post-processing effects. In real-time shading languages there are two different applications of shaders: vertex shaders and pixel shaders.

Shading (“Shader” or “shading algorithm”): The mathematical process of calculating how a model’s surfaces react to light. A variety of alternative algorithms can be used for the task, including Phong, Lambert, and Blinn shading models. Shaders are often built up as node-based shading trees, with each node controlling a specific aspect of the process.
A high-level rendering algorithm that determines how a 3D model responds to simulated light. Sometimes called a “shader.” Strictly speaking, a shader or shading algorithm is a piece of computer code that is part of a material definition. For example, the Blinn shading algorithm generically describes how highlights appear on surfaces. However, many 3D graphic artists use the term “shader” to refer to an entire material definition, including all of its component parts such as bitmaps.


Q: How do I apply a shader?
A: The short answer is that you first select the item, then go to the Surfaces tab and select the appropriate surfaces to which you would like to apply the shader, then double-click on the shader to apply it to those surfaces. There are some tutorials available which provide much more detail on this process:
this one by Kraig Hausmann of DAZ 3D,
this one by R_Kane1 and Jaderail, and
this one by SGCBearcub, specifically for new users.

Q: What do all the various settings on the Surfaces pane do?
A: You can find a good introduction to the subject here: http://homepage.eircom.net/~neilvpose/ds-settings.htm We will be providing more information about this in the coming days and weeks.
[ Edited: 04 April 2013 07:48 AM by Scott-Livingston ]
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Posted: 03 April 2013 08:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I am definitely interested in attempting to participate this month as this is an area that I have trouble with. I have alot of shaders, alot of shader presets, I have that nifty fabricator and almost all of her other packs to go along with it but I have absolutely no clue how to use them, ZERO clue on how to retexture something & am hoping maybe this will help me understand how to fiddle with the settings as well as learn how to use some of the products that I have gotten over time that are sitting collecting dust because I, well, dont know how to fiddle with the settings and use them LOL.

I just googled Diffuse Texture Maps and so I think I understand its technical meaning but I don't understand how to use my new-found knowledge & apply it within DAZ 4.5 Pro to fit within the guidelines of this contest. So I guess I get to start this party off.... where can I go to read up on how it's done?
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Posted: 03 April 2013 08:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Aw, crap. Due to insane demands on my time this month, I wasn't planning on doing the contest, but this happens to be the area I wanted to focus on next. Guess I'll have to find time somewhere. Who needs sleep, anyway?
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Posted: 04 April 2013 05:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Oh, great topic for the contest. In it.smile
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Posted: 04 April 2013 05:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I'd like to enter. I've been trying to find the courage to join a New User Contest, and it just happens I added to my shader preset collection in MM.

OK, newbie question time. What's the difference between a shader and a shader preset? I'm guessing my shaders by Marieah and other PAs are presets? Are shaders what you make with Shader Mixer? I don't know how to use Shader Mixer yet, but if anyone can recommend an idiot-proof tutorial I'm willing to learn. smile
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Posted: 04 April 2013 05:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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sithkitten - 03 April 2013 08:38 PM
Aw, crap. Due to insane demands on my time this month, I wasn't planning on doing the contest, but this happens to be the area I wanted to focus on next. Guess I'll have to find time somewhere. Who needs sleep, anyway?
LOL Yeah sleep is over rated and a waste of time. wink
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Posted: 04 April 2013 06:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Jindi - 04 April 2013 05:58 AM
I'd like to enter. I've been trying to find the courage to join a New User Contest, and it just happens I added to my shader preset collection in MM.

OK, newbie question time. What's the difference between a shader and a shader preset? I'm guessing my shaders by Marieah and other PAs are presets? Are shaders what you make with Shader Mixer? I don't know how to use Shader Mixer yet, but if anyone can recommend an idiot-proof tutorial I'm willing to learn. smile


Same here, I don't know the difference between the two but would love to learn as well and you hit the nail on the head there with idiot-proof. Having no previous 3D experience makes it rather difficult to grasp alot of these terms and trying to draw the pictures in my head or link them with what they are supposed to go with and what I do. (hope that makes sense)

(here's to hoping this doesn't double post on me *cringes and hits Submit Post again* It did not go through the first time on my screen)
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Posted: 04 April 2013 07:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I updated the second post in the thread with a short FAQ and links to some helpful information...

I'm going to repeat one of the links here because it's a great introduction to the Surfaces tab and I encourage everyone to take a look: http://homepage.eircom.net/~neilvpose/ds-settings.htm (Thanks, NeilV 1, for putting that together)!

Here are a couple of renders that I made using no diffuse texture maps. The first one shows a morphed but completely untextured Genesis, lit with two colored spotlights and one UberArea light. Rendered in DAZ Studio using the included toon shader.

The second shows a couple of Genesis figures. I used a shader from the Supersuit Troopers pack on the happy face and one from Totally Bazaar on the sad face. The eye surfaces have a chrome shader (left) and a glass shader (right) applied (both come standard with DAZ Studio, I believe). The curtain (from DMs Kapelle) was also retextured using a shader from Totally Bazaar. I hid the bodies of the two figures by changing the opacity of every surface from the neck down to 0%.
[ Edited: 04 April 2013 08:12 AM by Scott-Livingston ]
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Posted: 04 April 2013 08:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Jindi - 04 April 2013 05:58 AM
I'd like to enter. I've been trying to find the courage to join a New User Contest, and it just happens I added to my shader preset collection in MM.

OK, newbie question time. What's the difference between a shader and a shader preset? I'm guessing my shaders by Marieah and other PAs are presets? Are shaders what you make with Shader Mixer? I don't know how to use Shader Mixer yet, but if anyone can recommend an idiot-proof tutorial I'm willing to learn. smile


The second post in the thread has been updated to include a full definition of "shader." You're right...all of the various options included in packs by Marieah and others (including Eva1, who is sponsoring this month's contest) are "shader presets." Many people use the two terms interchangeably, but technically speaking they are not the same.

From the definition:
Strictly speaking, a shader or shading algorithm is a piece of computer code that is part of a material definition. For example, the Blinn shading algorithm generically describes how highlights appear on surfaces. However, many 3D graphic artists use the term “shader” to refer to an entire material definition, including all of its component parts such as bitmaps.

That last sentence describes "shader presets."
[ Edited: 04 April 2013 08:42 AM by Scott-Livingston ]
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Posted: 04 April 2013 08:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I guess Scott will not be surpised at this render drop.

I know it says shaders, but Bryce uses something similar with it's material presets (ready made or you can roll your own), and I have used them on this bit of "Kit bashing" using parts of 3 different clothing sets to produce this, which is unified by the use of the same mat preset.
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Posted: 04 April 2013 02:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Thanks for the updated FAQ and examples Scott. I'm also taking a look at Neil's Surface Tab info right now.

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Posted: 05 April 2013 01:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Ok, count me in! I might challenge myself extra hard though and use Carrara, I've been meaning to learn their procedural shading for some time and been too focused on other things (or just too damn lazy, your choice), so this will shake off some dust!
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Posted: 05 April 2013 03:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Jindi, that sounds like an awesome plan. =)

Scott,

Thank you so much for posting the link with the information, it was a great help, but, moreso, thank you sooooooo much for posting your little FAQ because it helped me even more. Somehow after I upgraded to DAZ 4 Pro, I got my Genesis to load in with V4's Elite Lana skin and I had absolutely no clue how to remove that. I even had a nice long message written out here asking you what I needed to do. Your FAQ helped me do it in just a couple of clicks. I think I am going to have to PDF all of this to refer back to because my memory is so terrible anymore I will forget by the time next month rolls around if I do not work with this on an every project basis. Thank you again. I guess it is time to get started!

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Posted: 05 April 2013 04:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Scott, when you said one item that has no diffuse texture map does that mean if we have, let's say a skirt that already comes with a texture, we simply remove it and add our own via surfaces tab than adjust it to the light and whatnot?
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Posted: 05 April 2013 04:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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That is the Idea, as most items will come with a texture. You just remove that texture and create one of your own in any method you like. Shaders, new Texture maps or just Diffuse Colors are examples of what you can do. Many other methods also exist, not just those I mentioned.
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