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Line Art or Sketch Shaders
Posted: 09 August 2012 10:20 AM   [ Ignore ]
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It was my hope I could render a DAZ Studio scene directly into an illustration quality sketch, which requires no post work.
With my perfectly reasonable expectations, Poserworks’ pwSketch would seem to be the perfect tool for the task, save it does not support DAZ Studio 4.
So I have been patiently waiting for pwSketch to be updated for DAZ Studio 4 and now of course the upcoming DAZ Studio 4.5.

It seems any hopes, pwSketch would be updated for the current version of Studio or any future release, have been dashed upon the jagged rocks of product obsolescence, unless I want to forget Genesis and all its present and future abilities and stay with Studio 3 to do my rendering. I learned this from the Studio 4.5 Thread, “pwSketch has not (and will not) be updated because DAZ didn’t buy it when the others were sold to them by Poseworks.”
I am very curious why this happened. pwSketch’s seems to render a high quality realistic sketch.
I am sure pwSketch has no hope of raising from the dust of product obsolescence, unless the Poserworks folks take up the task of updating pwSketch. (I’m not sure this will happen. They have made no move to update the product and last post on their web site is from 2007. The site’s forums have been close and point to DAZ3D for all Tech support.)

With this reality now firmly affixed to life; which isn’t going to change unless there is (now put on your best Southern Evangelist Preacher voice when you read) “A Miracle of Product Resurrection!”; it looks like I am destine to be doing post work beyond cropping. Due to my belief that Pain is the mother of all invention, not necessity; for I look at the idea of taking a hundred or so images through any post work process to be as painful as say… shingles*; I am now on the hunt for a replacement for pwSketch, which works seamlessly in DAZ Studio 4.0 and future releases.

Brothers and Sisters, (ah… sorry slipped into the Preacher voice again), the truly ugly truth is: I have yet to find a shader package with a quality sample image, like those of pwSketch. I have not found one close enough to that quality to warrant putting cash on the table. Oh there there are a few line art shaders on other sites and one here, but their sample images do not impressed me. Most look muddy and dirty, or they lack the crisp clean edges of pwSketch. Just wander over to the product page and take a look.

Again it looks like I am doing post work, something I was trying to avoid like the Black Plague, and thankfully I am not trying to do animation. (Yet.) So what are my Post Work options with the ability to render an image into an illustration quality asset, for say a book.

The 5000 Kilogram Gorilla in this market is of course Adobe’s PhotoShop. I do own an older version (I believe 6 or 7**) and as I remember it has several filters for doing just the type of rendering I want. Using PhotoShop for this, would be like driving an 18 wheeler to the corner store to pick up a bottle of water, there is a lot more program than I need or frankly want to PAY for. That said, PS also has the ability to build a drag and drop workflow, which equals less Pain.

On the Open Source aisle: there is GIMP. This is the open source answer to PhotoShop’s image manipulation.
Like most Cheap Ba… “AHEM!” As I was saying, Like Most Frugal people, I have a copy of GIMP, but in truth I’ve never attempted to use its filters or do much more than a few simple edits. I mainly got it to do the occasional crop, Layer two PNG’s together for examples, or add text to an image on my PC. Most of that I could do in Paint (Windows) or Preview (Mac).*^

Between PS and GIMP there are a plethora of tools, we could fill pages with their names and links. Some of are only upgraded versions of Paint and Preview, and lack the ability to use Brushes (Besides their own) and have very limited Filters, believable Sketch filter not included.

In another thread someone suggested PostworkShop.
The price is not over the top and it appears to be a point and click interface to quickly apply a wide range of filters. It also has something akin to a Shader Mixer. A check in the plus column, it can import or use Photoshop Brushes. Another nice bonus, it is try before you buy with their 30 day free trial.
This looks pretty good, from ease of use and it appears it will give me what I am looking for, from the samples on their site. After I try play with this a little, I’ll tell you what I think. But using it bring me to a two step process, Render in DAZ Studio and filter in PostworkShop.

So I was thinking, I am stuck with only the two options:
1) Praying for pwSketch to come back from the dead, which is like praying Josh Weldon is somehow going to bring back Firefly.
or
2) Being stuck in Post Work pain, using the Gorilla, the GIMP or the plethora of pretenders.
It was about that time when a faint voice said, something like Ben talking to Luke in X-wing, “Haslor, there is a third option.”
I promptly referred to my very short list and didn’t see a Third option and ignored the voice.
I was about to make a call to my doctor about hearing voices, when I saw it, by its obvious absence.
My first thought was, “Oh No, I am not being sucked into that vortex of pain and regret!”

For those of you who do not see the writing on the wall, here it is: “3) Build a Custom Illustration Shader”
It is at this point where I pull out one of the oldest lines in my library of canned phrases:
I may be Crazy, but I am not insane! it is only slightly younger than “I may be crazy, but I am not stupid!”***
I am not saying it isn’t possible, we know it is because Poserworks did it with pwSketch.
Nor am I saying I couldn’t do it, I’ve build and programmed a custom computer to drill circuit board in a factory.
I am saying, don’t want to spend the vast amount of time not to build it, but to prefect it.
It would be akin to learning a new programming language, like moving from Turbo Pascal to C#. (Ah, wait, that is a big enough leap) Let me rephrase that statement, It would be like moving from Apple’s Objective C after years of programming in AppleSoft Basic. (That is better.)
Okay in truth, I’ve opened the Shader Builder and Shader Mixer and looked at all the little lines flowing from one connection on a box to a connection point on another box, thinking, “Okay that is Luminance and over here is..” And that is where I stopped, because of course I don’t want to program a custom built Illustration Shader.

So Why did I start this thread?
Maybe I’m trying to get DAZ3D to reconsider the forgotten purchase of pwSketch; which I’m thinking is as likely as the Seattle Mariners actually winning the world series.

Maybe I am trying to reach out to the Poserworks people and have them update their product.

Maybe to convince someone, who already knows their way around the Shader Builder to create something as good as pwSketch, for the rest of us. This is more likely than statement one.

And my last ditch hope? There is someone in the DAZ Studio Community who has a solution or can tell me I’ve missed something, as obvious as Mount Rainer on a clear day, while looking south from Seattle.

Suggestion and pointers will be gladly accepted.
Haslor

All those Footnotes, for anyone who really wants to known:
* If you have had shingles you will understand the true meaning of the Pain statement. If not you can substitute natural child birth or kidney stones, but I’ve been told both of these pale in comparison to shingles.
** This and a few other thing are left overs from my days as the IT Manager, handy man, and fill in Post Production Artist / Video Editor at an Advertising Agency. This is where I learned Post Production cost big Bucks and is a pain in the “Expletive Deleted” (See the TOS).
*^ Side point here, Apple’s Preview preserves a PNG’s Transparency while Microsoft’s Paint appears to strip it.
*** These both came about from my older brother or friends daring me to do something that was truly insane.

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Posted: 26 November 2012 05:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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pwShaders are another reason for me not to switch to DS4 ...

I use pwSketch for some of my children’s books:

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Aidana WillowRaven
website: http://WillowRaven.weebly.com ~ blog: http://willowraven-illustration.blogspot.com/
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Posted: 26 November 2012 09:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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If I remember correctly, it wasn’t that DAZ didn’t want to purchase it, it was that they couldn’t, due to a licensing issue.

Check out the threads on Manga Style Shaders by the talented bishounentaurus; some of the samples in the threads do very similar jobs to pwsketch.

http://www.daz3d.com/shop/manga-style-shaders

—Walt Sterdan

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