Fantasy Art WIP by Shortcut

ShortcutShortcut Posts: 65
edited April 2017 in Art Studio

Hi Everyone!

I'm kind of new here, and new to the 3D art scene, currently trying to learn how to draw by hand as well as create visual art on the computer. One of the steps is learning to use DAZ in the array of tools available. It's all a very steep learning curve, especially for a drawing dummy, and I've got a long way to go to reach the kind of impressive standards and beautiful works I've seen online, but hey, it's a goal :-)

This is a WIP thread/visual diary and I'd love to get tips/advice/thoughts from anyone, whatever your interest or skill in art, that can help me along in the right direction to achieving my goals.

First up, I've put together a basic first draft of a standard kind of fantasy scene with a dragon and mage. I've struggled with the lighting in DAZ to get to this stage, nothing seems to work for me. I've tried imagining how such a scene would be lit in a studio if it were possible, but I'm not sure whether that approach is appropriate in the context of the software, or if it's mainly my clumsiness with the light settings that is preventing the effect I visualised. I even tried some godrays from above, and while the effect is interesting, it created other problems for me. Initially I wanted the dragon emerging out of inky blackness, with fire surrounding, and the mage confronting the beast, dwarfed at the front. I aim to do some postwork to reduce the photorealism of the image. At the moment though, I feel it is flat and literal and lacks the depth I imagined. Surely it must be to do with the lighting? There are two spotlights, one high keylight from above left, and another from the side right as a fill, both roughly pointed at the dragon.

Appealing to other artists who are going through/have gone through this learning process, anything, not just limited to lighting, anyone could please please please suggest to kick me along in the right direction?

:-)

 

 

 

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Dragon_01_WIP.jpg
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Post edited by Shortcut on

Comments

  • I personally find when an image looks flat it's because no depth of field was used. Everything from a camera lenses to the human eye uses depth of field. If you hold your finger up at arms length from your face and focus on it, notice how everything behind it goes blurry....that's what depth of field in the camera settings does - blurs out things not on the focal plane and gives you DOF - depth of field 

    Right now everything is in focus even the red flames in the background. If the focal point is the dragon then everything not on the same plane as the dragon should have varying degrees of blur.  

  • ShortcutShortcut Posts: 65
    edited April 2017

    I personally find when an image looks flat it's because no depth of field was used. Everything from a camera lenses to the human eye uses depth of field. If you hold your finger up at arms length from your face and focus on it, notice how everything behind it goes blurry....that's what depth of field in the camera settings does - blurs out things not on the focal plane and gives you DOF - depth of field 

    Right now everything is in focus even the red flames in the background. If the focal point is the dragon then everything not on the same plane as the dragon should have varying degrees of blur.  

    @deathbycanon :-) Ah yes, the camera. I keep forgetting to consider those settings, which has an irony for me … it’s a solid tip, thank you!

    Rather than doing another render, I simulated depth of field in photoshop by applying a small Gaussian blur to the whole scene and then masking the bits I wanted to keep sharp. In terms of the camera focal plane, what I’ve done is not completely accurate, but it does create the illusion of greater depth. I’ve also played with masking on the fire so it appears to ‘wrap around’ in places rather than sit just as a flat background.

    Dragon_01_WIP2.jpg
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    Post edited by Shortcut on
  • IceDragonArtIceDragonArt Posts: 10,634

    Welcome to the Art Thread! Daz most certainly has a huge learning curve lol.  The second image is definitely an improvement over the first one.  I'm terrible at lighting but you are right its super important. One place that is a huge fount information is the new user contest forum. As well as the previous threads in that forum.  I spent my first year here (last year) and it shortened my learing curve by half at least. Still a huge amount to learn but they gave me a great understanding of the basics. There are links in thread over there as well for tutorials, etc for that months theme. 

    I will be watching with interest to see what you come up with and will chime in when I have something intelligent to say lol.

  • ShortcutShortcut Posts: 65
    edited May 2017

    @Ice Dragon Art Thank you! Any chiming in is appreciated, I'm not fussy. :-) I started over in the new user contest forum, but work caught up and demanded so I dropped off for a while there, but I'm back into making small steps. If I have time I'll join in again, it was nice to participate :-)

    Apart from making the dragon render look less photoreal and more play with lighting, I think the experiment has run its course for the time being. I'm not terribly patient when it comes to my own work and if I'm struggling to make significant progress or changes I'll shelve it for another day till I have a bright idea. I'm mainly practicing and developing technique, getting my head around what can be done and the effect it has on the render, and exploring postwork.

    And so, attaching another work including the original render it is based on. There is some obvious postwork on it to achieve the final look, added a sun and it's reflection, used some overlays I discovered through DAZ, some blending, dodge/burn and so on. Colours look duller online because of the sRGB profile, but I'm working on the main file in the full Adobe 1998 gamut to try printing and it looks a little more vibrant in that version.

     

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    Post edited by Shortcut on
  • ShortcutShortcut Posts: 65
    edited November 2017

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Back after a long break and playing with DAZ. I've set no goals, just seeing where experimenting and fun takes me. Continuing along the fantasy themes with an elf character (you can't see her ears, but she is an elf, or strictly speaking, an elf-like character). Postwork in photoshop to make her look a bit toonish and snow is from some brushes purchased via DAZ. Other things like vignette and gradient background also added in PS. Simple stuff while I keep learning how to blend etc.

    Archer_01.png
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    Post edited by Shortcut on
  • LinwellyLinwelly Posts: 3,325

    welcome back, you have a nice collection here and I like your experiments with postwork. that archer looks cozy warm in her coat. I'm a bit consued about where she looks though, its not to her aim and not at the camera (observer) which makes me wonder where does she look  :D

  • ShortcutShortcut Posts: 65
    edited November 2017

    @Linwelly

    Thanks! She's actually looking at the camera, which was intended with the "point at" selection in the figure parameters. Trying other versions with her not looking at camera etc. Just experimenting. I had some fun with this theme looking up archery grips and how to hold bows and so on.

    Post edited by Shortcut on
  • LinwellyLinwelly Posts: 3,325

    he, yes all this bow grip posing tends to lead to endles discussiof of this and that expert who knows exactly how its done, to me that looks really well done.

    The point at thingy with the eyes is something I stopped trusting. I had the weirdest results with that. sometimes it works good with creating a small primitive ( sphere) and make the eyes point at that and the position it a bit behind the camera but mostly I do it by hand spot render to see if they really give me the feel to look at me and if needed repeat

  • ShortcutShortcut Posts: 65
    edited November 2017

    @Linwelly

    Thanks for the tip, I might try pointing at something just near the camera rather than directly at it as you suggest. She seems to be looking higher than the camera rather than at the "lens". Might be accentuated too because she's looking out of the corner of her eye.

    On bows and archery grips, it was interesting to discover how much variation there is and how deeply technical it gets. The history of bows and arrows is fascinating. Her "thumb draw" is not quite right if I understand it correctly. Her fingers could be slightly more curled and the thumb more strongly gripping the string. At the moment it looks like she's gripping the end of the arrow, which is not how it's done. The arrow shaft should not be gripped at all by the fingers drawing the string. It would be great if I could add a jeweled "thumb ring" or similar to the render too as a nice little extra detail. lol I think near enough is good enough though for the purposes of my little experiments in rendering and photoshop. I'm not aiming for 100% technical and historical realism, even though it's great to learn about these things.

    Edit: the arrow is also resting on the wrong side of the bow lol :-)

    Post edited by Shortcut on
  • IceDragonArtIceDragonArt Posts: 10,634

    Really like that archer, even if there are minor technicalities with the bow pose lol.  Glad to see you back!

  • SaphirewildSaphirewild Posts: 3,432

    Your poor Elf like lady is rather confused I think with her arrow being on the wrong side and where her eyes should be looking but all and all it is great render indeed!!

  • ShortcutShortcut Posts: 65
    edited November 2017

    @IceDragonArt

    Thanks, it's nice to be engaging with this again!

    @Saphirewild

    Thank you! I'm working on another version with corrections because I just can't help myself lol

    Attaching a new one, same character, no archery though or confusions, only "dreaming". Playing with shaders and iray lights in the render, plus photoshop work on backgrounds and little fluffy glowy things etc. My hardware is taxed with full scenes, so I just tend to render the character and experiment with the rest of the scene otherwise. Makes it simpler to see what I'm doing with lighting actually.

     

    Elf_Dreams_01.png
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    Post edited by Shortcut on
  • SaphirewildSaphirewild Posts: 3,432

    Wow she looks amazing Shortcut!

  • ShortcutShortcut Posts: 65
    edited December 2017

    More experiments in creating scenes, playing with shaders, plus postwork. Not there yet, but I'm happy how this one turned out.

    Dragon-and-Elf.png
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    Post edited by Chohole on
  • SaphirewildSaphirewild Posts: 3,432

    Practice makes perfect they say Shortcut!!

    I think your practice is paying off!!

    Amazing render yet again laugh

  • ChameoChameo Posts: 294

    The translucent wings on that last one are absolutely stunning, Shortcut. I also love your archery elf, wrong side of the bow and all. I actually like her gaze a little off to the side as it is. I'm not always a fan of "look into the camera" pictures.

  • ShortcutShortcut Posts: 65
    edited December 2017

    @Saphirewild

    Thank you, glad you like it! ... and in total agreement. 99% work and 1% inspiration. I didn't get a lot of the look I wanted through postwork (which is another kettle of fish), but the rendering part worked well and the "story" conveyed how I wanted it.

     

    @Chameo

    Thank you too for your appreciation! I initially wanted to use the Dark Fairy Wings product on the figure as they suited the scene more imo, but they aren't translucent. The Butterfly Wings are translucent out of the box and look gorgeous, so I used those. I haven't figured out yet how to make surfaces translucent and retain all the textures and colours etc, which I'm sure can be done via the parameters somehow or by making my own textures, but that all takes time which I'm in short supply of...

     

    Post edited by Shortcut on
  • IceDragonArtIceDragonArt Posts: 10,634

    Love the dragon and the fairy, its gorgeous!

  • Shortcut said:

    More experiments in creating scenes, playing with shaders, plus postwork. Not there yet, but I'm happy how this one turned out.

    I see why you are happy!  You have come a long way in very little time.  Nice composition.  Well done.

     

  • ShortcutShortcut Posts: 65
    edited December 2017

    IceDragonArt and UnifiedBrain - Thank you to you both!

    Revisited the archer. Costume change, alternative scene. Seperate renders for figure and background. Not sure what I was doing actually and I'm not happy with the postwork. *sigh* Have to rethink lighting, composition, and postwork in combination, which is what I did with the dragon and fairy in the last post. It's not the rendering part that scares me lol. At least I fixed her archery grip ...

     

    Elf_Archer_05.png
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    Post edited by Shortcut on
  • These are looking amazing! The practice is really paying off. To make something more transparent go to your surface settings/editor click on the item/ or part of the item, you want more transparent in the editor menu. Look for "cutout" or type it into the search bar, it should be set to 1 for fully opaque and you can lower it from there to make the area more see through. 

  • ShortcutShortcut Posts: 65
    edited December 2017

    @deathbycanon

    Thank you very much! I've found the cutout opacity settings, haven't tried it yet on the wings I mentioned though.

    Adding a new pic. Experimented with sun-sky lighting in the render settings, which had a nice effect. I still needed to add some mesh lights on the figure just to lift her out of the background and provide some contrast in the foreground. Two renders combined, additional postwork with flares, some colour management, etc. Some issues with graininess and sharpness because I didn't let the renders converge long enough for better quality, but otherwise I'm satisifed with the result.

    Dragon-and-Elf_03.jpg
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    Post edited by Shortcut on
  • ShortcutShortcut Posts: 65
    edited December 2017

    New one, variation on the dragon/elf theme :-) Simple render of figures using only sun/sky lighting, no dome, the rest is postwork, various brushes and blending.

     

    Feeding-the-Dragon_02.jpg
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    Post edited by Shortcut on
  • ShortcutShortcut Posts: 65
    edited January 2

    Nothing like crashlanding on a remote and hot alien planet only to find the darn pay phone has been vandalized ... :P

    Something a little different to elves and dragons. I think perhaps the spaceship might have been better a little closer to the middleground to be more obvious. Rendered using sun-sky lighting only, then added postwork such as the heat waves, smoke, and colour tints. Need a lot of practice there, but I'm making progress :-)

     

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    Post edited by Shortcut on
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