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The Wonderful Dynamic Puzzle of 3D (or, What’s my Work Flow)
Posted: 03 May 2013 08:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 91 ]
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For anyone that uses Uber products and haven’t been to his YouTube videos lately, it’s well worth going through again. I just did and picked up a lot of stuff I forgot, and even more I didn’t fully understand the last time I went through them. Here’s his website for quick reference to documentation.

And on a related note, here’s pwSurface, pwCatch, pwToon, and pwEffect. There doesn’t seem to be one for pwGhost. I haven’t found any video tutorials on them.

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Posted: 03 May 2013 08:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 92 ]
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For anyone looking to learn more about HDRI, The HDRI Handbook looks to be a good resource. I haven’t checked it out myself other then what’s at the site and some other resources that referenced it, so if anyone picks it up and goes through it, let us know what you find and any great hints you might care to share from it smile

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Posted: 03 May 2013 08:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 93 ]
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I believe I was the one that originally coined the term ‘Booleans are the spawn of the Devil.’

Well, it looks like there is a program that has risen them from their dark roots to give them the almost heavenly aspect they promised but was a lie in the past. Said program outputs a 3D mesh that looks very nice from all of the examples. I haven’t had a chance to play with it yet , so I’m keeping it to myself till I do.

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Posted: 05 May 2013 01:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 94 ]
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This example is in response to the current search for skin and eye settings. The concept behind this particular example is that if we start off with the basic genesis female and can get her to look the best we can, it will help us towards making more advanced skins/shaders look good.

With DS 4.5 the default genesis comes with HSS which iirc, used to be the default DS shader. The default genesis therefore gives us a good start.

Here we see it with default flat lighting.

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Posted: 05 May 2013 01:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 95 ]
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Normally I adjust the shaders and then the lighting, but in this case we want to see specifically what the differences are from the base under the same lighting so in this image we see the default image with a light set. The light set is all set to generic white as we don’t want to influence our results at all. The ambient is a UE at 35%. There is a 3pt light setup with the main set to 50%, raytraced shadows, fill at 10%, no shadows, and back at 20%, no shadows. Main is lined up almost directly with the characters eyes, back opposite camera, and fill appropriate to fill in for main.

A note on this, one of my goals on skin is to get good dimensional characteristics, have it look like skin, and not loose the detail. Many of the guidelines people put up about skin end up blowing out all detail and for me that is unacceptable. So, I play with my settings to get as much depth to the skin as possible, while still retaining things like freckles, realistic looking pores (vs something that looks like it had too much cake makeup applied,) etc..

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Posted: 05 May 2013 01:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 96 ]
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Well, the skin evened out some nicely, but the eyes and other areas went flat. The specular was set to a blue grey which was changed to 2 spec at different levels of pink, light and lighter. Fresnel was turned on and adjusted, sss also. Eyes had quite a bit of work done to them, with 2 levels of specularity to most of the surfaces to create the gloss with highlights. The reflections are the actual lights in the scene.

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Posted: 05 May 2013 01:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 97 ]
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There are a couple things I would tweak on this still. The lips edge.. not sure what exactly is causing it but would blend it a bit better. The inner ear, too red, but that I believe that is the base texture. This image is using the base maps that come with the default genesis female. I would expect these (general) settings to do much better with another set of mats but I will test that later.

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Posted: 05 May 2013 07:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 98 ]
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A Quick one, Old West Mercantile Interior:

Out-of-the-box

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Posted: 05 May 2013 07:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 99 ]
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And, with UE2, Sun Distant, camera adjustment, and shader tweaks.

[Edit] Due to the posts that follow this example I thought I’d post some of the specific tweaks I made to this image (not one to add fuel to the fire ;p )

First, the ‘metallic, glass, skin’ categories are only available with the default DS shaders and basically are a group of settings on how to handle light, which is why the are under ‘lighting model’ in the DS shader surface definition. More specifically, it refers to how the surface treats things like specularity and reflection. If one converts to another shader like UberSurface, they loose that definition ‘shortcut’ and are left with all of the components that make up the category to adjust on their own in more detail then the category provided. That is, the category of skin vs metal etc.. are just conveniences, not anything hard and fast. I won’t go into the specifics as it would get long winded so we’ll have to do our own research here. But, I will point out that metal has a much more gradual ramp to blown out then plastic. Either one will blow out to white eventually, so the whole white vs non white highlight is misleading.. add enough color and guess what you get. It’s more, how fast do we get to white. Wood has a wide variety of specular properties, and does not go to white specular in many cases.. go around and look at different types of wood under different types of situations (one of my hobbies is woodworking and furniture refinishing.) In this particular instance, I left the wood to the default ds shader and used ‘skin’ because that is the lighting model I wanted this particular wood to follow. Forget the rules, use your own eyes, does it look good to you or not (no right or wrong answer here.) The glass I converted to US as the default DS shader wasn’t getting me what I wanted. The stock on the shelves are a mix of shaders which tbh were a quick fix sort of thing because of being in the background and not wanting to spend a lot of time on them at the moment for this image.

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Posted: 05 May 2013 08:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 100 ]
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Very helpful thread!  Thank you for sharing what you have worked to discover, Gedd.  That goes for everyone who has contributed.  smile

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Posted: 05 May 2013 08:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 101 ]
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I’m glad you find it helpful. Jump in yourself anytime, the water’s fine wink

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Posted: 05 May 2013 09:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 102 ]
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Actually Helpful.  thnak you Gedd:)

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Posted: 06 May 2013 01:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 103 ]
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Hi Gedd,

I’m that annoying chick from wancow’s “3Delight Surface and Lighting Thread” thread, and I came to haunt you here as well. I’m really really sorry, but there are things that you aren’t doing correctly. I hope I can help. It’s not like I’m full of myself to the point of forcing my “opinion” on others - it’s just that it’s not an opinion. And knowledge is power. Please forgive me.

Gedd - 05 May 2013 01:17 PM

The ambient is a UE at 35%. There is a 3pt light setup with the main set to 50%, raytraced shadows, fill at 10%, no shadows, and back at 20%, no shadows.

I wrote that in wancow’s thread, but here I’ll repeat myself (and theSea):

All lights MUST cast shadows if you’re using SSS. IBL (UE or ahEnv or whatever) MUST use AO. Otherwise you’ll get light rays where they don’t belong.

SSS is raytraced in all the shaders we’ve got available so far. Raytracing is a technique that’s pretty sensitive to physical correctness of your setup - it was based on real optics.

Just think: you don’t want the backlight to bleed all the way through your figure as if it were transparent?

Especially if you’re using a SSS scale above 0.1 which already turns your lifesize human into a figurine, in the “eyes” of the shader.

// more on the scale in my first post in wancow’s thread… sorry it’s so long, but it was designed to be fairly useful, so you may want to consult it as well: http://www.daz3d.com/forums/viewthread/21611/P30/#318536 //

Gedd - 05 May 2013 01:21 PM

The specular was set to a blue grey which was changed to 2 spec at different levels of pink, light and lighter.

Congratulations, you’ve just created a metallic type of material with UberSurface. Please refer to http://www.manufato.com/?p=902 for ideas on setting up specular in a more physically correct way for dielectrics.

Yes I know it used to be fashionable, simply using the “metallic” mode of default “DAZ Material” for skin, but when you’ve got a better tool, obsolete techniques are just that… obsolete…

And skin’s main highlights are never pink. Honest!! They’re white. I would’ve adviced you to just grab a mirror, but this would only be real apparent if you’ve got oily skin… 

Gedd - 05 May 2013 01:21 PM

Fresnel was turned on and adjusted, sss also.

Is that the default UberSurface, not the paid-for US2? Then unless you’re using the Reflection node on your surfaces, Fresnel won’t do anything. It only attenuates the reflection strength in all the other shaders apart from US2. Check omnifreaker’s own wiki for US2:

“Fresnel controls now affect Specular for more realistic effects.”
http://www.omnifreaker.com/index.php?title=UberSurface2

“Now”. Never before. That’s one of the bigger selling points of US2.

If you don’t believe me, try a simple test: load a sphere, setup two lights: one to shine it right “in the face”, another a glancing backlight. Set them to specular only for more clarity. Load the default UberSurface onto the sphere and try enabling Fresnel and fidgeting with it.

It won’t help you neither make your “in your face” specular dimmer, nor make your glancing specular brighter (and this is exactly what Fresnel is supposed to do).

Then ditch the spec lights and enable Reflection. Set it to Envmap, for speed (and so as to avoid loading other objects to reflect raytracedly). Load an environment map for it, those from UE2 will do (just browse to their location and load). Now play with the Fresnel and see the effect!

And if you have US2, load it onto the sphere and repeat the specular test. You will notice the effect.

I’ve done these tests. I would’ve uploaded images, but a) I’m on a different computer right now, unfortunately; b) it’s better to see this personally, for youself.

Sorry again for being longwinded.

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Posted: 06 May 2013 03:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 104 ]
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Hmm, interesting post, and a lot of good information. However, there are a few misconceptions I should clear up as well. One, I’m an artist first and foremost when working in this venue and there are no MUST for me. I read the rules, I test the rules. If I get the results I want breaking the rules, I break the rules. I happen to be well aware of the ‘rule’ of using shadows on all lights when using SSS. I just don’t happen to find it to be one I need to follow as my results when I break it are what I am after. I have not had a ‘problem’ with light leakage. Does that mean I haven’t had it? No, it just means that if there were any, it wasn’t an issue for me in my renders as I visually test what I am getting. I am not one to blindly follow rules or I wouldn’t be an artist. It was good that you pointed it out for anyone who is not familiar with that rule, and had I not already known of it I probably would have been very appreciative myself.

About dielectrics… hmm, well when I was an electronics tech in the navy we never used the term dielectric in that fashion. It had a very specific meaning related to an electronic device with specific properties as described in this wikipedia article. I looked at his article, and I’m glad you gave it, as it has some good information. I think it might have been better if he had used the term metallic and non-mettallic, or organic, or something else, but I may have a limited understanding of the term dielectric. Basically, the key being di as in two, re polarizing… I didn’t know skin could be polarized, at least not to the point that would qualify them for the term dielectric which in electronics at least usually has a very specific meaning.

As for the Fresnel. Yes, I’m aware of that also btw. I tested it using Fresnel and using the specular. The results in the end ended up being very similar and I probably should have pointed that out. Not similar with the same settings mind you, but after I finished with my settings. I went the route of Fresnel for a couple reasons. One, in my mind, the Specular settings were less in keeping with reality… skin does not have a dark bluegray specular highlight to it, end of story. As to the blue vs pink… I beg to differ here as well. I know it’s fashionable to say we have a blue cast to skin really, it’s not pink… well cut a piece of skin and shine a light through it. I’m familiar with skin, the layers, the melanin, etc etc.. and guess what, no blue except where there are veins. The second is that I do have US2 and plan to migrate things to that later, so this is more in line with that. Um, and I believe he made that change why? Because it was more correct. I did add a bit of (5-10% ish?) reflection to some surfaces because of this, it was one of my cheats, but most surfaces have some minor amount of reflectivity so..

I also happen to be aware of the metallic for skin debate that happened a while back. I do not use metallic materials for skin, although I do use them for some surfaces other then metallic occasionally due to the way they treat light and it being the way I wish that surface to be treated in regards to light by the render engine. When I do this, it happens to be because I have tested that particular render engine and found how it specifically appears to handle said definition. The minute one goes to a different render engine it would change. That in itself is a good reason to use that type of effect with some limits since if one were to take something defined using a metallic surface into something like Luxus which is trying to convert materials, the Luxus conversion would probably fail on this point so one would have to be aware of what was happening and fix it. I generally try to keep things as generic and cross product as possible, but I do tweak things for a specific engine and the results I find in that engine. These engines are not real life they do not follow all the rules as well as one might think or wish.

I see this trend where people read a lot of stuff and decide what things have to be based on things they read. I’m glad you brought this up, because I read voraciously. I’m a strong proponent of reading. I also believe in admitting when I’m wrong. But I also believe in testing things for ourselves. I personally like my results. You may not, that’s your prerogative. I also think it’s good to bring things into the discussion when they differ from other information we have at hand to sort things out. But, you evidently haven’t heard the number one rule, In art, there are no rules

I enjoyed your input, the tone might have been a bit more in tune with realizing people sometimes do things ‘against the rules’ by choice, and that’s ok. I’m not sure how one could be in a community of artists and not realize that.

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Posted: 06 May 2013 03:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 105 ]
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This discussion brings up a good point. I should probably put my thinking out on the table so people can take it into account when deciding to follow my advice or not.

I do believe in trying to understand whatever ‘rules’ are out there regarding something. In areas in life other then art I typically defer to following them even if they don’t make sense because I realize I may not understand it but there might be some good reason for it. In art, I believe in trying to understand them and work with them as much as they work towards bringing us to our end goal. If, after testing we find something that breaks the rules working better… break the rules. It’s art. When we do break the rules, we want to be aware of it and remember we did, because it might be we later change back to following the rules in that instance for some reason, such as the reason we broke them might be situationally dependent, or whatever reason we broke it in the first place might have changed. But to me, art is about understanding the rules and then breaking them anyways at times, going beyond them when necessary. I’m not saying this is right or wrong, it’s just me, it’s how I fly wink

One more thing in the ‘food for thought’ category. Sometimes we have to work not with what we think should be, but with what we are given.

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