I started in this hobby in February of this year, and in that time I’ve apparently racked up around 400 renders (and that doesn’t even include the ones I completed but didn’t save). I still consider myself somewhat of a newbie, and I certainly have much to learn—but there are a number of renders that I’m proud of, and I’ll be sharing some of my favorites in this thread. To start things off, I’ll cover the past eight months in retrospective, one post covering each month. After that point, I’ll add new renders to the thread as I produce them. All were done in DAZ Studio 4 or 4.5 (unless otherwise specified).
So here’s my one fairly good render from February. I was playing around with the Fiery Genesis tutorial and with a few of my first purchases here, including the Genesis Starter Bundle (which gave me the Evolutions morphs and the Troll), Chablis, and Caleb Hair. Things I learned in the process of making this image are how to parent prop hair to a figure and adjust it to fit (well, it’s not perfect, but all things considered I think the hair looks pretty good), how to mix and match morphs and textures, and how to tweak poses (sort of…I used a Basic Female pose, and rather than moving her arms to extract them from Chablis’s ample chest, I just gave her a breast reduction). I had my first experience struggling with seams and pokethrough, too. Believe it or not, this was rendered in OpenGL, not 3Delight (because I didn’t know that with 3Delight, in order to use a background image, I should use the jpg format rather than png). Despite the good result, I haven’t used OpenGL much since then, because it often crashes on me.
This was also my first custom-dialed character (I started with Chablis but played with the dials—as I recall, I bulked up her figure a bit, reduced her breasts, and added just a touch of the Troll head). Custom-dialing quickly became my favorite 3D activity.
Here are a couple of renders from March. As you can see, this month I was experimenting with depth of field and still struggling with putting a cohesive scene together (I often had trouble determining what to put in the background, and there were some odd gaps sometimes). I also continued customizing characters (here you can see the Ronin character applied to Genesis Basic Male instead of the M4 shape, which I still didn’t own…and the character in the other image is a blend of Stefan and Naoki, again applied to Basic Male). Another thing I was learning about was shaders—I retextured the Genesis Bikini bottom with a camo shader preset from the MachPack (which is one of my favorite products, by the way). And of course, most of my renders this month were little more than experiments plus opportunities to play with some cool new toys I picked up during the March Madness sale.
Aww, you guys are making me blush! Thanks for the kind words.
On to April…this was the month in which I started to feel comfortable with the software and the process of rendering. My skill set, and my runtime, had reached the point at which I felt I could start doing the kind of work that I want to do (mainly character illustrations), with at least adequate results most of the time. I started working on five different characters this month.
The first image below shows Elivia, one of my fantasy characters, and the first character portrait that I considered a (more or less) finished product.
The next image was my first project to feature an extensive amount of postwork. The character is a mix of the V3, V4, and V5 shapes. I was quite proud of it at the time, although there’s a weird texture stretching issue (I vowed to fix this in postwork…I got some good advice on how to do it, but it hasn’t happened yet).
The third image is a quickie render that I did after acquiring AprilYSH’s wonderful Gia Hair. I’m including it since I really like the look and expression of the character (though I’m not really satisfied with some of the other aspects, lighting in particular).
Finally, I’m including one of my two entries in the (informal) Dial Your Own Aiko 5 contest. I had a blast with this contest and the subsequent Hiro 5 one…which I’ll discuss in the next post.
Now we come to May…the chaotic and eventful month that started shortly after the release of Michael 5 (I picked him up on May 1—the Michael 5 Pro Bundle, one of my favorite purchases) and included the opening of the new DAZ website. This month I really started getting into contests. I entered the Dial Your Own Hiro 5 contest and was a finalist. I also made a render for the Lantios birthday contest, and started working on an entry for the New User Contest, but never finished.
Next is my Lantios contest render…the theme was “18th birthday,” and I created this render as an exploration of the transition between childhood and adulthood. The nine Genesis figures are aged roughly two years apart. They are all custom-dialed characters (the younger ones are modifications of the Basic Child shape, the ones on the left are based on Michael 5 with some David 3 and other things dialed in, and the ones in the middle are blends of these shapes in various ratios).
Coming off of these two projects, I wanted to make a David 5 character by mixing D3 and M5, and the result is the fourth image below (no postwork, as I recall). I was pleasantly surprised how well it turned out (the lighting was the preset that came with the Chablis character, if anyone’s interested—it’s a really good light preset). For more Gen 5 Iconic Character renders, see this thread: http://www.daz3d.com/forums/viewthread/829/
Finally, a work-in-progress render of my character Mirian. She’s one of the main characters in my (as yet unpublished) fantasy novel. I’ll probably periodically revisit this character and several of my others.
Here are a couple from June. Don’t have much to say about them, so instead I’ll repost my self-introduction from the old forum:
I’m Scott Livingston, an aspiring fantasy writer and illustrator from Ithaca, NY. I’m totally new to 3D, and don’t have much experience in other visual arts, either.
I’m also completely hooked after just a few weeks of playing with the software.
My main purpose for using Daz Studio is to create portrait-type illustrations of characters from my fantasy setting, Tornalia. Secondly, I’d like to use these characters in artistic illustrations, showing them in action or at least in context. My other goal is to create fun artwork for my kids, and maybe someday illustrated children’s books.
Visual inspirations include Brian Froud, Alan Lee, John Howe, Stephanie Piu-Mun Law, William Morris, John William Waterhouse, Howard Pyle, NC Wyeth, and of course the Daz galleries! (posted March 21, 2012)
...all right, maybe just a few words about these renders. The first one…I was kind of thinking of East Africa…Somalia, Zanzibar, etc. It’s called “The Prince of Azania.” The character’s skin is Benjamin for M5. I mixed Benjamin’s shape with a bunch of other things.
For the second one, “The Bird Man,” I was playing around with the Supersuit and applied a metallic shader to the Feathered Wings. The birds are from Content Paradise…only thing I’ve bought there (due to a sale and coupon that coincided, I was able to get the bundle, a $70 product, for $2).
And we come to July. It was a busy month for me, and a good one. I devoted most of my energy this month to contests, and it paid off with two honorable mentions in the Lemonade Contest (http://www.daz3d.com/forums/viewthread/2516/)—my first prizewinning renders! And not only that, some of my other entries are renders that I remain very proud of, even if they didn’t win anything. I had a lot of fun making them, and learned a great deal in the process, too.
The first two images below were two of my four entries in the Lemonade Contest, which featured renders themed on issues that the new DAZ 3D site had been having. The first render, “Step Right Up, Try Your Luck,” pokes fun at the pricing issues that plagued the Supersuit release (the Supersuit Pro Bundle was variously marked at each of the prices seen on the wheel).
The second, “The Impostors,” shows three characters in disguise as other characters by the same PA(s): Stefan as Doyle, Tamesis as Paloma, and Ashley as Braxton (for a while, the site kept displaying the wrong member name when you logged in). The actual contest entry had some text superimposed on the image…you can see that version on page 5 of the Lemonade Contest thread, linked above.
Next is one of my favorite works, “Ambush on the High Peaks.” It was my first New User Contest entry, and was based on/inspired by a book cover (Lloyd Alexander’s The High King, although not every edition of that book has the same cover art).
Finally, you can see a work-in-progress and the final render (with postwork). “GENESIS” was my second entry in the month’s New User Contest. Posing a character to match a reference image that you have set as the background is a powerful technique.
1. My original avatar, full size. It’s got a little pokethrough which I wasn’t too concerned about since it was going to be shrunk to avatar size, however, it looked kind of so-so after being shrunk, so I replaced it with the current one fairly quickly. I still think it’s interesting enough to include in this thread.
2. A larger view of the character (sort of a self-portrait) seen in my current avatar.
3. After waiting for quite a long time, I was finally able to buy Stephanie 4 for Genesis when she was unvaulted and returned to the store in August. Inspired by the promo renders for the original S4 base product, I mixed her Genesis shape with various others to create this image, which I call “We Are Stephanie!”
4. Finally, my entry in the August new user contest, featuring the outstanding Neanderthal character by Mec4D. It’s an alternate near-future scenario in which Neanderthals survived and Cro-Magnons (us) died out. I call it “The Museum of Primitive Man.” This is actually a lightly postworked version of my entry, with slightly darker, more vivid colors.
1. An homage to Lantios (I used some of his work as references, and of course used his Lantios Lights 2 in this image).
2. I made this during the PA sale also, to illustrate some products by Raiya, Valandar, Blondie9999, and Lantios. He’s a custom-dialed character with Naoki’s skin. See here for full commentary and formula for the hero: http://www.daz3d.com/forums/viewreply/93582/ (and scroll up for commentary on the Lantios homage render).
5. A render featuring three characters by Phoenix1966. I blended their morphs together a bit to create the impression that they might be brothers or cousins. They’re sharing some sort of inside joke (or, as the PA postulated in another thread, perhaps they “just came back from a good beheading”). From left to right: Doyle, Thomas, and Stefan. This was my first render featuring Thomas, who I picked up during the PA sale, and one of my first with Doyle. These two will probably pop up in many of my future renders. Stefan has been a favorite of mine since I first grabbed him in March.
1. A test render, mixing a human character (Thomas for M4 and Genesis M5) and a monster (Troll).
2. Another WIP: Genesis Toddler (applying various Evolutions, DieTrying, and Head Morph Resource Kit 3 morphs to the Basic Child in an effort to make a Basic Toddler)
3. “High Five!” James for M5 (Genesis) meets G2 James (representing Poser), rendered in commemoration of the new DSON Importer. This was rendered in DS4.5, though. I used EHSS and MachPack shaders on G2 James.