Last updated 04/07/2015
Restarting the Black Is Beautiful thread from the previous forum. Starting out with a revised version of the resource lists from the other thread. Dead links pruned and new stuff added. Separated things out into categories which also includes a “Vendor” category for some who have a sizable number of products (as opposed to listing them individually). I’ll try my best to keep this updated and certainly let me know if you think things should be reorganized. For instance, I specifically added afrocentric hairstyles as opposed to everything that could validly work but if people want more in the list then that’s no problem. I also eventually plan to alphabetize things.
Original Thread (archived): http://forumarchive.daz3d.com/viewtopic.php?t=147544
Render discussion and suggestions:
From Fisty on the previous forums:
In your opinion, does darker skin need more lights to stand out more times than not? I notice your girl POPS. Many times my characters faces are barely shown
I don’t think so, really.. I actually added a good deal of grey to the diffuse color ‘cause the lights were making her a bit too light for my taste.. it’s the same basic light setup I use for almost everything unless it’s a really complicated scene.. sometimes I will start with it and drop the fill light in favor of uber environment if I think the picture needs AO to look right, in this case it didn’t.
I make a distance light and apply active viewport settings from my main camera, I look through that new light and move it slightly to a side and up (which side determined by where the face is, try to position it so it’ll get the glint in the eyes) I set that light to 90-100% intensity and cast shadows. I make another distance light off the main camera and move that one down and to the other side to be a fill light, it can be left off if you want to use a low intensity uber environment light instead, I set it at 20-30% and not casting shadows. (if I do uber environment instead I use the plain white one at like 30-50%, have to test render that to get the intensity right, doesn’t seem to be a perfect number). The third light I look through the “back” camera and create a distance light with those settings, then I rotate it very slightly to the side opposite the main light. That’s the rim light, I usually turn that one up to at least 150%, I had it at 200% for this last render and I’ve gone as high as 500% on it for special effects like if you use a coloured light.) I turn shadows on for that one too, though have to be careful with what is behind the character, I had to turn off shadow casting for the green backdrop thing so it didn’t block the rim highlights. I find it a great help to click off visibility of the main and fill lights (the little eyeballs in the scene tab) temporarily after adding the rim light to check how it’s hitting the edges, saves a lot of test rendering.
A number of other posts also noted that the culprit tends to be specularity settings as opposed to the actual lighting in the scene. Darker skinned characters tend to need the specularity on their skin turned up a little more or a dedicated spec light should be added to the scene.
KerWar’s settings for converting a lighter skin tone to a darker one: http://www.renderosity.com/mod/gallery/index.php?image_id=2145237&user_id=303046&np;&np;
Similar conversions from wancow: http://wancow.deviantart.com/art/African-Skin-Example-Shahana-Character-306497356
Discussion of material settings for darker skinned characters: http://www.daz3d.com/forums/viewthread/13065/
Decent Lighting the Easy Way - While not aimed at darker skinned characters in specific, still a decent tutorial and at least one of the examples uses Benjamin M5.