Scott Livingston's Render Thread

Scott LivingstonScott Livingston Posts: 4,100
edited December 1969 in Art Studio

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.

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Comments

  • SpyroRueSpyroRue Posts: 4,931
    edited December 1969

    YEY! Scott has joined the party :cheese: Cool render man!

  • Scott LivingstonScott Livingston Posts: 4,100
    edited October 2012

    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. :)

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    Post edited by Scott Livingston on
  • michaeltoomichaeltoo Posts: 120
    edited December 1969

    Hi Scott,
    great renders for someone who started in Feb of this year yours certainly hang of it. 400 renders and counting, way to go! :-)

  • JaderailJaderail Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    Scott is my Idol. I will be following all this. He will be very good if not Great before I even figure out what all my menus are for. :cheese:

  • Scott LivingstonScott Livingston Posts: 4,100
    edited October 2012

    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.

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    Post edited by Scott Livingston on
  • IvyIvy Posts: 1,693
    edited December 1969

    nice set of renders :)

  • Scott LivingstonScott Livingston Posts: 4,100
    edited October 2012

    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.

    The first two renders below are characters I created for the Hiro 5 contest. You can find the formulas in the forum archive: http://forumarchive.daz3d.com/viewtopic.php?t=189443 (and the Aiko 5 contest thread is here: http://forumarchive.daz3d.com/viewtopic.php?t=190303&view=next).

    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/discussion/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.

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    Post edited by Scott Livingston on
  • Scott LivingstonScott Livingston Posts: 4,100
    edited December 1969

    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).

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  • IvyIvy Posts: 1,693
    edited October 2012

    nice bunch of renders Scott. keep up the good work :)

    Post edited by Ivy on
  • Scott LivingstonScott Livingston Posts: 4,100
    edited October 2012

    Thank you, Ivy! :)

    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/discussion/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.

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    Post edited by Scott Livingston on
  • Scott LivingstonScott Livingston Posts: 4,100
    edited October 2012

    My best renders from August:

    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.

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    Post edited by Scott Livingston on
  • Scott LivingstonScott Livingston Posts: 4,100
    edited December 1969

    September's renders:

    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).

    3. A render I made for my hair tutorial (http://www.daz3d.com/forums/discussion/5646/)

    4. A revision of my Aiko 5 character (see here for details: http://www.daz3d.com/forums/viewreply/100024/)

    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"). :lol: 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.

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  • SpyroRueSpyroRue Posts: 4,931
    edited December 1969

    WOW Scott These are just fantastic!! You're really inspiring me to make some more characters don't you know lol They are all so unique and very well created Well done Scott, Spyro's very impressed!

  • JaderailJaderail Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    I told you folks Scott was my Idol. Understand now?

  • Scott LivingstonScott Livingston Posts: 4,100
    edited December 1969

    A few recent renders.

    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.

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  • JaderailJaderail Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    Very interesting stuff, I'm stuck on one render myself, but I like this.

  • Scott LivingstonScott Livingston Posts: 4,100
    edited December 1969

    A couple more:

    1. This character is 10% each of: A3, S3, S4, S5, V3, V4, V5, Basic Female, Basic Child, Faerie (Creature Creator). Not sure what to call her...she almost seems like a Stephanie 6, doesn't she?

    2. This character uses the same formula, with the following character head and/or body morphs applied: Addison, Candace, Keira, Naoki, RileyS5, Feminine Touch, Valea’s Summer, Priestess, BenjaminM5, JamesM5. Some of these were dialed in a negative direction. I think I'll call her Nadia. She kind of has a Halle Berry look, but that wasn't intentional.

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  • Scott LivingstonScott Livingston Posts: 4,100
    edited December 1969

    1. My entry for the October New User Contest: "Would you like fright with that?" I had fun playing with the Supersuit and its shaders (the red clown hair is a modification of the fur shader from the fantasy pack), with Mr. Sparky's Halloween food freebie (www.poserdirect.com)--which came out just in time for my fast-food-themed Halloween render, and other new stuff I had picked up during the Published Artist sale and PC sale. The king is Phoenix1966's Thomas. His beard and brows are from Mec4D's Neanderthal. He's actually wearing the Magus jacket, with a Totally Bazaar shader applied, and a modified Supersuit fur shader applied to the collar. The clown's skin and makeup are from Penelope for K4 by ARTCollaborations. I wasn't satisfied with how the lighting turned out, but otherwise I'm pretty happy with this one.

    2. The fur shader strikes again, in combination with SciFi Bunny and one of the face paint options from Penelope for K4. This was going to be my second October New User Contest entry, and/or my entry in RawArt's Halloween contest...but I didn't get it done in time and wound up abandoning the project. I may revisit this at some point...it amuses me. Depicted are a family of Raw Oagres getting ready for Halloween. Once again, the lighting was causing me major headaches...and the massive amount of pokethrough...

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  • Scott LivingstonScott Livingston Posts: 4,100
    edited December 1969

    This was my entry in RKane_1's normal character contest. It was selected as one of two runners-up. Basically a self-portrait, though it would up being a younger and somewhat more awkward version of myself.

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  • Scott LivingstonScott Livingston Posts: 4,100
    edited December 1969

    My first* play with the new Joanie skin for Stephanie 5. The character is base S5 with a few modifications to the head. I used the light preset from Chablis for V4 and Genesis...my favorite portrait light preset. Click to expand...I think this one is worth it. :)

    *all right...technically this was the second attempt...

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  • SpyroRueSpyroRue Posts: 4,931
    edited November 2012

    You are getting so good at this Scott! Love your characters, well done man! :)

    Do you have DA? (Deviant Art) I'd love to add you there :)

    Post edited by SpyroRue on
  • Scott LivingstonScott Livingston Posts: 4,100
    edited December 2012

    @Spyro: I've joined DeviantArt but haven't posted anything there yet...I'll put a link to my DA page here, once it's up and running.

    This was my entry in the November New Users Contest. It wound up coming in second place, which I am very happy with.

    This render began just as an experiment: an attempt to create a realistic, older Genesis character. I was inspired by the work that Zev0 is doing on his aging set, (see here: http://www.daz3d.com/forums/discussion/11534/) and wanted to see what I could accomplish based on the products I already own (the key ones being the textures from Aged for V4 and M4, the aged morph from SickleYield's conversion of the DieTrying morphs, and the hag shape from Creature Creator). As I was working on her, it occurred to me that she bore a certain resemblance to the avatar of one of our esteemed moderators. :) So I started intentionally moving in that direction, just for fun...

    Independently of this, around the same time (Thanksgiving Day) I was thinking of how thankful I was for the advice and support I've gotten from all the moderators, community volunteers, and other helpful people here on the DAZ forum. I had been working on two other projects for the November contest, but the one was looking unwieldy and on the other I was getting bogged down in character design (my favorite aspect of rendering) and hadn't even started to put a scene together. So considering all of the above, I finally decided to set those two projects aside for the time being, and use this one for the contest.

    So thanks to Zev0 and chohole for inspiring this one (incidentally, just yesterday I purchased Zev0's Face Weight morph set at Renderosity, and I'm sure it'll pop up in this thread in the future)!

    Aside from the products mentioned above, I used Light Dome Pro for the backdrop (not the lighting itself), 3 Raven Court, 5 Toadstool Lane, and Moon Gate for the set. I think the foreground ground plane is from DMs Courage Realm. The outfit is Onyx for Genesis Female plus the hat from Juggling Act for V4. MachPack and Totally Bazaar shaders were used on the hat, and Supersuit Fantasy Pack shaders on the boots. I started with lighting from Lantios Lights 2 but ended up making numerous additions and tweaks to it. Postworked in GIMP. The cats are Millennium Cat LE with textures from Content Paradise, and the crows came from CP also.

    After submitting it, I decided it might be cool if I replaced the cat in the lower left corner with the feet of a troll. Maybe I'll do that version at some point. :)

    The Troll Hunter
    (or, "I defeated the DAZ (Forum) Troll and all I got was this lousy club!")

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    Post edited by Scott Livingston on
  • Scott LivingstonScott Livingston Posts: 4,100
    edited December 2012

    This is probably as good a time as any to announce that I'm taking a step back from this hobby--don't worry, I'm not leaving permanently or even temporarily...it's just that I've come to the realization that I need to be spending significantly less time and money here, as it's starting to impact other aspects of my life in ways that I'm not happy about.

    With a heavy heart I've left the Platinum Club for the same reason that I joined it in the first place--doing so will save me a lot of money. The plan going forward is to spend a lot less time in the store and in the commercial parts of the forum, and the same amount or slightly less time rendering and in the art-related parts of the forum. So I'll definitely be seeing you around...just maybe not quite as frequently.

    My hopes at this point are to focus my energies on improving my renders rather than expanding my runtime, to start writing again, and maybe to have some spending money for PA items when March Madness rolls around.

    Also, on a perhaps happier note (and admittedly somewhat conflicting with the general theme of this post*...), I'm planning to sponsor a contest of my own in the (possibly near?) future. It will be a character creation contest, with small prizes for the best character portrait; best likeness of a celebrity, public figure, or famous fictional character; and most creative or inventive formula. If anyone is interested in co-hosting/co-sponsoring, feel free to PM me. So that's something to look forward to, and I'll keep you posted as plans develop. :)

    *Not entirely in conflict though, as I see it as part of my ongoing transition from an obsessive 3D consumer and dabbler to a serious 3D hobbyist/illustrator and occasional shopper.

    Post edited by Scott Livingston on
  • SzarkSzark Posts: 8,762
    edited December 1969

    I hear you Scott. I think over the last 6 months I have rendered less, bought less and generally not bothered with putting the effort it. So instead of churrning out render after render I am working on one big image which will take a good few months to do..it is a big one. I said to myself a while ago that I will use what I have got and to learn more about techniques instead of filling my library with stuff I may of may not use.

  • SpyroRueSpyroRue Posts: 4,931
    edited December 1969

    Yeah... There needs to be a good balance between expanding the runtime and developing the skills to use what you have. It's easy for one to be obsessive in expanding the runtime, and loose the time to actually make use of it all. I only buy if it's something I need, and something I 'Know' I will make use of it.

    And then there is also a balance that needs to be upheld between art production and social life... Spend too much on one, and the other fades away. Many artists loose their skill by giving all their time to social, but then there are also many who spend too much time on their art and neglect social activities (I've been the later to be honest)

    Hope to still see you around my friend. You'll find your balance :)

  • SzarkSzark Posts: 8,762
    edited December 1969

    Well I am lucky I don't have a social life.

  • SpyroRueSpyroRue Posts: 4,931
    edited December 1969

    Well yeah, that makes me lucky too :-P

  • Scott LivingstonScott Livingston Posts: 4,100
    edited December 1969

    Thought I'd share this one, even though it's not as polished as most of the renders in this thread. My first time using Gregoria Hair...it's gorgeous, but sure takes a long time to render! (I forgot to check the settings before clicking "render" and...70 hours later...here's how it turned out).

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  • SpyroRueSpyroRue Posts: 4,931
    edited December 1969

    My god, 70 hours?!? damn. I would have canceled after 8. Always ensure you tailor the render settings to each render lol

    But looks wonderful! Well done man, my first thought was its almost like Garibaldi hair. Looks great :)

  • Scott LivingstonScott Livingston Posts: 4,100
    edited December 2012

    Thanks, guys! :)

    By the way, I finally started a gallery at Renderosity and have uploaded a new image there. My plan is to continue to post most of my better renders in this thread, but the ones that I think would be more appropriate for Renderosity will go there instead. Then at some point soon, I'll have a DeviantArt page which will feature selected images from this thread and from my Renderosity gallery, plus any non-3D illustrations.

    http://www.renderosity.com/mod/gallery/browse.php?user_id=732031

    Post edited by Scott Livingston on
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