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I am so tired of misleading promo images:( (picure proof inside)
Posted: 08 May 2013 10:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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I really do not like the bitmapped look in rocks and grass with stone texture painted on and this was apparent in the Old Watering Hole product by the same vendor. (although I love some of his other work).  I’ve bought a couple sets that look great-from a distance- but whose texture sets leave something to be desired when rendered closer up.

I’ve also resorted to SHRINKING the scene prop to try to get a better more high res render on occasion.

I simply return stuff that doesn’t look good when rendered.

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Posted: 09 May 2013 06:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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There is absolutely no post work in those renders beyond adding logos and such though I did enhance that lens flare for dramatic effect in that one specific image,  but the render itself came straight out of POSER with a massive spotlight pointing directly at the camera. Promos are broken up into two categories.  You have your money shots and the nuts and bolts product shots.  Showcase the specific potential uses of the product in the best possible light using the tools available and show what’s included.  Each of those promo images are either a Poser render,  and DAZ Studio 3Delight render or Daz Studio/LuxRender via the Reality plugin render,  which just happened to be all the rage a year and a half ago when that set was built. Anyone with rendering talent can duplicate these shots with the tools.  On those rare occasions that I also include a Bryce or Vue render, then I specifically label those, because I use one of the procedural textures those applications offer.   

Ready to Render scene are a new product idea here at DAZ and a specific category of product,  and the WYSIWYG expectation might apply to those, but doesn’t apply here. What we have here is a environment prop set.  That’s what you paid for. A 3d environment scene.  A bunch of models that you can turn into an image.  But as every artist and photographer knows,  every camera angle and scene setup requires a different light set up, so the lights that are provided are only a starting point. So just because I included a bunch of interesting camera angles,  does mean that the one light set will not need to be adjusted by the end user for any given setup. 

On top of everything else,  water is a finnicky challenge especially in DAZ Studio. It tends to work a little better in poser.  I know because I’ve been trying to get nice looking water for years.  Light and shadows has to be placed to aid in both the reflection and refraction of the water surface.  since every camera angle changes the way those two parameters react.  The waterplane included and texture included can produce the illusion of a water ripple,  but you need to adjust lights, rotate the water plane so the textured ripples are perpendicular to the camera angle and yes you need to turn on reflection and refraction because both those calculation increase render time exponentially. 

Now if you want realistic water, there are a few options.  You can export your scene to Bryce, or Carrara or VUE which all have varying degrees of water surface materials that can emulate the look of water, apply it to the existing water plane provided or add another one. 

Or you can go spend your money and you pickup a DAZStudio plugin like Reality or Luxus that provides you with more realistic material solutions for a render via LuxRender. Or you can use the waterplane provided and the light set and the camera angles and any number of other DS water shaders that are available in the store.  Again there is plenty to learn in this craft of 3D art and the only teacher is time and experience. 

So yes that single Reality Sun,  used with the DAZ Studio Reality plugin and rendered to luxrender, and the waterplane set to water material,  will exactly duplicate those renders with the set provided.  NO POSTWORK.  Just some artistic talent and technical skill. 

Now the issue with textures.  Those ground textures are 4096 x 4096 and yes they can look pixelated at closeup view.  But this is big expansive set showing a large terrain and is designed for big expansive shots where the detail is spread for the entire scene.  3D is all about trade off,  quality vs speed vs file size.  For most situations it serves its purpose,  but if you are planning close up renders then there are other product solutions that place all their details in a smaller area.  It is always about intelligent tradeoffs. I have since moved on the using tiled textures for terrains in my sets,  because it remedies exactly these issues. 

In the old store,  500x650 was the size limit for promos.  Now in this store we can have bigger promos.  And generally larger promos are used.

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Posted: 09 May 2013 08:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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OK, I just have to add to this thread. Most renders really require that you know your way around lights (that’s why there is a New User contest this months on lighting).
I such using Poser, I admit it flat out, no shame in that.I never really got friendly with the way Poser handle lighting. I’ve spent much more time with DS lights, and have learned the hard way what works and what doesn’t. Most of the time you need to tweak lights and materials to match the situation you want to capture in a render. Attached are two renders (both setup over a remote desktop connection so the lack fine tuning).
I did tweak a water in the DS render, added some bluish tint to the specular and reflection color, but I do that with every render, tweak.
The Poser render is just to show that it does look a little different in Poser as the Poser render engine is a little different. If I’ve spend some hours of light tweaking it would look superb, or if I had used Luxus or Reality and a real water plane, or if I had imported it to Vue and rendered it there with physical water.

Also, when rendering Promo images, you do use very hight settings to get a great result. These took about 15 minutes to render (I didnt check, I set one up on one machine then the other, hit render and connected again after 20 or so). I could have gotten really spectacular results with a render taking 24 hours or more, but I didn’t want to do that.

So, promos don’t lie, they show you what you can get if your good enough. Just because you have a Nikon 9000 you won’t win the photo contest, it’s a about experience, knowing how to use what you have at hand.

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Posted: 09 May 2013 12:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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misleading products should better been removed from the store.
that is my opinion about this.

alternative/solution could be some info/pdf file in how to setup the scene like the render.
so newbies also know what to do…
then newbies could learn something from scene setups and how you can render things.
That’s where the vendors can do more and better work as support to it’s product

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Posted: 09 May 2013 02:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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When you open the right texture set (DAZ FOLDER) and use a good light set, all the effects are there, but you must be sure the light set came with the prop.

If the product doesn’t comes with a light set it is harder to get the same result, but it is not imposible to achieve a better result: you can change texture and light settings accordingly to your needs.

I thought it was not enough and then I bought all the uber lights, PWSketch, DZfire and after some tests I can tell you they make a BIG difference AND after that I began adjusting the textures, placing bump in the displacement and using the bump channel for an extra noise.

After 3 years using DS, a nice render`s scene set takes hours to get ready:

Lights - (lights) I use Uber Environment (ambient occlusion), om Arealight for details and keylight, infinite light raytraced (for sun) and uber spot in the camera.

Textures - People with Uber or PW skin, DZfire presets for car paints or metals, PW for glasses and jewels, furify for some clothes, adjust textures in water (I made my preset) and stones (accordingly to the artist ir is easier) and most of the “poser native” textures.

Result 4-24 hours render, and an AMAZING result.

I can assure you that you can achieve great results with FirstBastion props because they have a good texture set and mesh design, I have nothing to complaint.

I`m not sure if it has lights because I make my own lights, but in my renders they work really nice.

If you have patience, try the reality render: it is awesome.

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Posted: 16 May 2013 08:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Guys…

As the vendor guy said above: “You are buying geometry”... (quote: ” What we have here is a environment prop set.  That’s what you paid for. A 3d environment scene.”) ... then why don’t you showcasing geometry then?
Instead ... all we have is a showcase of the “uber-awesome-rendering skills” of the vendors, with images says “rendered in DazStudio/Poser” but not saying “oops… and you need Luxrender, UberEnv.ligthing, a lil’bit’ophotoshop, and half a day texture/reflection tweaking to achieve these kind of results”. (note: so far, none of the posters in the topic were able to get the promo image results with their test renders… not even close…)

If we are buying geometry (and indeed, we are, I agree), and you are selling geometry (indeed, I agree), then how about showcasing geometry please? Lot of images from diff. perspectives (in high rez)?

At the moment all we got in the shop, is a “look how awesome my rendering skills are” in 500pixel mini-images showcase, which is nice for an art gallery and/or DevianArt, but not for an actual online shop, where you actually deciding “to buy or not to buy” according to the images.

I really would like to see more images, with less uber-post-FX-Luxrender, and more “plain” Daz and Poser renders, showcasing geometry and textures - in this way, we would have a better picture about what we got for our money.


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Posted: 16 May 2013 08:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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I hate stuff like this. It’s almost always the case with promo images. They use heavy photoshop to do their promo pictures, sometimes even other programs besides DAZ. They don’t reveal any of this so that you’ll see the image and scoop it up hoping to be able to get the same result. I think this is a practice that should be banned, at least from the promo images in the store. Or: If they do use vue, photoshop, or some other program to make the promo image: They should be REQUIRED to note it on the store page. A simple note would make the images more “honest” and not a lie.

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Posted: 16 May 2013 12:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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It has already been stated that the images are not post-worked, beyond the background sun’s lens flare effect.

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Posted: 18 May 2013 07:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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This idea that you can just press an “make art” button,  and not have to tweak and finesse and light a render just doesn’t work.  3D is a craft.  It requires skills that develop over time.  There are plenty of resources here at DAZ that will allow a user to develop that craft.  Skills can be learned.  Just requires patience and time. 

The two images below were both made in DAZ Studio 3.1 and use the same geometry and have no postwork.  One is a DazStudio/Reality/LuxRender and the other is a straight DAZStudio Mat/Shader 3delight render.  If a plugin provides additional functionality,  and is available for purchase why shouldn’t it be used promos for customers that want that functionality.  When I created that product “Reality” was sold at this DAZ store and there was a link to it on the store page,  it has since moved.  There are a lot of different customers with different expectations and plan to use the products in different applications.  Our purpose is to provide content that many people can use is various ways. 

Again let me reiterate,  absolutely NO POSTWORK,  just some 3D experience and patience.

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Posted: 19 May 2013 01:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Yeah, I think it’s rather rude and bad business practice when the vendor doesn’t mention if postwork was done to the promo images.  Oh, and to add to that record, I can confirm that Valea’s and Sickleyield’s promo images look prettymuch the same as their models (at least to me, anyway), and that their textures are also EXTREMELY high quality (their products are very good, as well, definitely in the upper-tier)

Oh, and if any vendors are reading this, some more advice (quite a bit actually) from a paying customer, just from my POV:
Please, PLEASE include hair and clothing promos from BOTH the front and back.  This is a serious pet peeve of mine, esp. with hair—I have counted way too many instances where you can’t even tell what type of hairstyle the product is because the promos only show a front profile (in other words, you can’t even tell if it’s a pullback/topsytail, or worse still, if it’s a ponytail!)

Although to be perfectly honest, I think I recall this problem far more often on Renderosity and RDNA than here.  (Oh, and PLEASE also include promos of some of the longer/shorter hair morphs.  It seems like almost nobody does this, and I like to see what the hair looks like at varying lengths—NOT because I’m suspicious of the morph quality, but because I honestly can’t picture in my mind what it might look like.)

Oh, and PLEASE disclose a list of the morphs in “What’s included and features”.  I hate it when a product only says “10 movement morphs” or something like that, and I am far more likely to purchase the product if I know it includes a morph that I want.

Oh, and one more piece of advice—a lengthy one, actually—just IMHO, as a paying customer, I can tell you that long-term freebies (e.g. on renderosity) DEFINITELY make a difference for me on consumer confidence.  Valea is actually one of my favorite vendors and the first 3rd-party one I trusted due to her beautiful jewelry freebies on Renderosity and Sharecg (granted, some of her hair models aren’t quite as good as others, esp. the brand new and really old ones, and I’m sure there are vendors out there who make far better hair, but to date her hair models are the best quality I’ve purchased by far.  Sickleyield is another fave, who also provides a huge number of freebies)
Okay, sorry for yammering, back to the subject.  My personal advice to vendors who deal in say—at least 20~25 products, as a customer, is to make available one freebie from each category of product you sell—that is to say, ideally, one hair, one clothing, one morphing prop, one pose set, and one character morph or figure/character—or alternatively and more realistically, at least one hair OR clothing model (preferably hair, IMO), and one character morph.  Or at least one prop if you only deal in those.  This will allow the customer to get a sampling of your skills, fostering trust and confidence—though yes, even though I am not a designer, I am aware that freebie models (assuming you used at least the average level of skill and resources to create it that you normally exercise for your products) cost a ton of time and money to make, but personally I think that it’s well worth the effort.  I can tell you from my experience that had Valea offered a free hair model (as opposed to an add-on for a freebie hair), that I would have dove right in and purchased my first hair product from her with zero reservation whatsoever (not that I had a whole ton of reservation to start with, but I did have a decent amount due to it being one of my first purchases)  Oh, and because of that, I’d highly advise you use the same SN across different 3D model sites if at all possible (that whole fostering confidence won’t do much good obviously if the customer doesn’t know it’s you :P )
They need to be REAL freebies BTW, and not add-ons which require the original commercial product.

Another tip, though this probably isn’t very significant: On Renderosity, I keep note of the promptness of replies to my sent messages.  A vendor who responds within 48 hours gets erm… “brownie points” if you will, and I make it a note to take even stronger consideration in purchasing their products than I normally would—esp if it’s within 12-16 hours—I can only imagine how many messages and emails merchants get, and I greatly, GREATLY appreciate the extra effort made to respond within 48, and ESP. 24 hours—in my eyes that is a good business practice and a sign of merchant integrity.  Those who take several days to respond “lose points” if you will, and do not inspire confidence.  (I’ve actually looked for a way to contact DAZ 3rd party vendors directly, but I’ve had no success so far :( )

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Posted: 19 May 2013 01:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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If a plugin provides additional functionality,  and is available for purchase why shouldn’t it be used promos for customers that want that functionality.

Actually, that sounds like a good idea/practice to me—then the customer can see how the product looks under different render engines—but you really need to make that clear in the promo image(s) itself, because n00b Studio users such as the TC and myself (no offense to the TC) aren’t going to be able to recognize that by appearance alone.

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Posted: 19 May 2013 03:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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FirstBastion, Thank you for jumping into this discussion, where your input is badly needed. Despite my occasionally critical comments to follow, more than anything I appreciate you being available to address directly.

First off, I need to say that we customers are not all very skilled at 3D art, but we do buy a lot of products. (I have spent close to $600 in a relatively short time here at DAZ.) Remember a lot of your product is being sold to us noobs, and please don’t assume we know how different rendering engines affect images. We all start somewhere, and DAZ has now made it possible, and relatively easy, for hobbyists like myself to learn this stuff by making the basic package free but charging for content. (It’s like cheap printers with expensive ink cartridges, only you don’t need the extra content to use the basic DS software. Glucometers for diabetes are that way too - free glucometers, ruinously expensive test strips.)

Might I suggest that in the future, instead of saying that promo images were rendered in DS or Poser, if you used Lux, please say so, as Lux isn’t included with DS. I think that, in general, DAZ is getting better at naming the products used in promo pics and making it clear what does and doesn’t come included with the product, but I really think the render engine used should be named if it is not 3Delight that’s part of DS. I would never suggest that you post substandard renders, but I think to us noobs it would help us out a great deal if you listed all products used in promo shots. I don’t see any way that could possibly hurt your sales to old pros like yourself.

(I agree with the earlier poster who mentioned hair. That one really annoys me! If I want a character to look like it did in the promo, I need the hair, but how do I know where to look? For example,I think the Justin promos are mostly done with PH Messy, but that’s my best guess. When I set him up in DS, he’s just a bald-headed teenager.)

Luxus isn’t very expensive (right now, 5/19/2013, it’s on sale for $10.77, I paid $12+ for my copy, & its list price $19.95), and LuxRender is free, open source software. I found it very easy to get up and running with Luxus and LuxRender, though the actual renders take like a day or more on my system.

FirstBastion, here’s some unsolicited advice (worth exactly what you paid for it). Thank customers who criticize your products. They are doing you a favor that most customers will never do. About one in five satisfied customers will tell you that they are satisfied, but fewer than 1% of dissatisfied customers will tell you they are dissatisfied. They are far more likely to tell their friends and acquaintances, which could prove damaging to your business. Opportunities to tweak a business based on customer feedback are rare, and I’d suggest you recognize this. That doesn’t mean do what this customer says. It just means that customers might have a seriously adverse response to one component of your marketing strategy. Consider ways to prevent further problems. IMO, all that’s needed is a statement that you used LuxRender, and we’ll all think you’re dealing straight with us. That’s a very simple and easy fix to a potentially serious marketing problem.

Unless you’re only interested in selling to the old pros who can recognize a Lux render, or who know how to tweak the materials settings. Do you want to base your business on that narrow market sector?

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Posted: 19 May 2013 08:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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ChiMakwa - 19 May 2013 03:38 AM

(I agree with the earlier poster who mentioned hair. That one really annoys me! If I want a character to look like it did in the promo, I need the hair, but how do I know where to look? For example,I think the Justin promos are mostly done with PH Messy, but that’s my best guess. When I set him up in DS, he’s just a bald-headed teenager.)

Very True!

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Posted: 19 May 2013 09:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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@ChiMakwa: well, I’m not FirstBastion but here are a few tips:
-check the logo on all promos. If there is no logo on a given image, then it’s rendered in an external renderer that is not 3Delight nor Poser (Firefly, actually). Likely LuxRender. In the future expect Octane renders (easy to spot because it looks best in a golden sunny light).
-if there is water in a promo and it looks real, then it’s likely LuxRender, perhaps Octane. In the future I’m sure we’ll get a decent shader for water in 3Delight too.
-compare sky brightness to scene lightness. The two renders above clearly show that one has a dark looking sky: that marks it unambiguously as either a 3Delight or Poser render.
-Skin will look not so much better in LuxRender than in 3Delight/Firefly, in fact it looks sometimes worse.

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Posted: 19 May 2013 08:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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ReDave - 19 May 2013 09:35 AM

@ChiMakwa: well, I’m not FirstBastion but here are a few tips:
-check the logo on all promos. If there is no logo on a given image, then it’s rendered in an external renderer that is not 3Delight nor Poser (Firefly, actually). Likely LuxRender. In the future expect Octane renders (easy to spot because it looks best in a golden sunny light).
-if there is water in a promo and it looks real, then it’s likely LuxRender, perhaps Octane. In the future I’m sure we’ll get a decent shader for water in 3Delight too.
-compare sky brightness to scene lightness. The two renders above clearly show that one has a dark looking sky: that marks it unambiguously as either a 3Delight or Poser render.
-Skin will look not so much better in LuxRender than in 3Delight/Firefly, in fact it looks sometimes worse.

Thanks for the tips!

Unfortunately, noobs like me are visiting the site and buying stuff every day, and this advice won’t reach them unless they seek it out, and it won’t help them as much as clarity in the sellers’ marketing materials at the point of sale. Noobs who don’t know any better can become annoyed, and whether or not they’re being reasonable, they are still annoyed, and often spreading bad stuff about the seller. Merchants need to weigh the damage that could be done vs. how easy it is to prevent further damage. In this case I think it’s a no-brainer. Merchants can’t base their entire marketing strategy on noobs, but when it’s an easy fix, the potential benefit far outweighs the cost of the fix.

I hear FirstBastian saying he didn’t do anything wrong, and experienced artists seem to agree. That may be the case, but it’s not relevant if his goal is to sell product and build a good name in the business. Being right does nothing for a business. Arguing that one is right when there is a component of ambiguity can put customers off. The most effective fix for ambiguity is clarity.

My brief experience with LuxRender certainly bears out your comment about skin. Well, I shouldn’t say it looks worse, but less realistic. I think it has great potential for use as a lighting effect though. (I’ve had good results rendering in 3Delight and LuxRender, and then blending the two renders in Photoshop.) But the hair in a LuxRender looks extraordinary! It’s like each individual strand is given its own lighting rather than just being softly blurred together. It takes forever to render, but the result with the hair really floored me!

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