Matt Castle does some stuff

Matt_CastleMatt_Castle Posts: 526
edited February 18 in Art Studio

Sorry about the fairly rough render, but I'm opening with a modelling/texturing project that involves a lot of rapid fire testing; as my system is fairly low end, trying to render backgrounds or lots of iterations just slows the process down.

The G8F underwear range is heavily skewed towards lacy nothings, with little choice when something more everyday like a t-shirt bra would be more appropriate. The G8F Basic Wear that comes in the Starter Essentials is sort of in the right area, but like a lot of those initial freebies, it's good enough to prove the program works, but also bad enough that you'd prefer to use a commercial asset instead. The cut is odd, and the texture quality is out of place alongside other assets.

However, those are soluble problems for my level of Blender and Photoshop skills (and in many ways I guess I'm more of a creator than an artist), so I've tried to see if I can improve this ubiquitous asset to the point I might actually choose to use it.
This is still rather WIP (some of it stuff that needs tweaking, some of it stuff I've not done yet), but a reshaping morph, an (optional) new UV to add a seam, and several new texture maps, and I think it's starting to get somewhere.

I think I may have to put together some JCMs to improve the deformation now that the rigging doesn't quite match the altered shape, but that's going to be a later step in the process.

The end plan is a fairly broad choice of textures (some with and some without seams on the cups), but this one is giving me a rough idea about how I need to straighten up the new UVs (they are a mite wonky). If anyone has particularly good recommendations about good places to get free-to-use seamless textures, I'd appreciate it.

As far as I know, I think I should be able to release these changes for others to use once I'm done, as the new maps were done from scratch (and all the textures I've used are either my own resources or appropriately licensed for free personal and commercial use, with no attribution required), the alternate UVs were completely redone, and the rest is morphs that are useless without the original.

Post edited by Matt_Castle on
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Comments

  • IceDragonArtIceDragonArt Posts: 12,370

    Wow that is quite well done!  And yes, you should be able to release textures based on what you said above.  And welcome to the Art Studio forums as well.

  • ChoholeChohole Posts: 30,269
     

    For now, I'm putting the image behind this link.
    (The fact that it's an underwear morph means it is necessarily a character in a partial state of undress. It's well within what Daz accepts for promotional images, but it's still not something someone would necessarily want popping up on their screen unexpectedly).

    Obviously you haven't browsed the site,  or even some of the Threads in this art Studio forum.  Your figure is quite well covered compared to some.

  • Matt_CastleMatt_Castle Posts: 526
    edited January 29
    Chohole said:
    Obviously you haven't browsed the site,  or even some of the Threads in this art Studio forum.  Your figure is quite well covered compared to some

    I'm fairly new, but I have browsed fairly widely; Still, I thought I'd err on the side of people not opening a completely new thread to "OMG, BOOBS!", even if there wasn't any doubt about whether it was within the rules. (After all, half the point is to have underwear that's more "plain" than what's sold in the store).

    However, if you think I'm being overcautious...

    ~~~~~

    Anyway, a test Charlotte 8 MCM. I haven't got the JCMs sorted yet, so the straps are a bit floaty, but the fit morph itself is fairly smooth. (Again, apologies for the rough render).

    What are the thoughts on the most useful shapes? I'm currently assuming the must haves to make this widely useful are the major body and breast shapes from the Female Body Morphs, and Victoria 8 (particularly as it doesn't morph very well by default on Vicky). I'm doing Charlotte 8 because I use her fairly regularly, but which other major Daz characters are particularly important? (Some it already fits okay on, some I don't have, but if people think there's shapes that are vital, I'll try to take a look at it).

    ~~~~~

    As far as texturing, I've elected to reverse the seams on the cups, as they felt like they were the wrong way around, which held up when I actually checked various designs.

    (And from this angle, you can better see I still need to paint all the stitching around the back strap, but I'm not sure whether I want to do that as straight stitch or zig-zag stitch yet. Thoughts?)

    Charlotte_Morph.png
    1800 x 1800 - 3M
    Post edited by Matt_Castle on
  • IceDragonArtIceDragonArt Posts: 12,370

    I'm really looking forward to following along with this.  I use Gia 8 quite a bit, and you might consider making morphs for some of the older female characters or characters like Edie8.  I'm not suggesting you run out and buy them but if you have them, I think people would appreciate something that fits that body type well.

    Looking at my own stuff, straight stitching seems to be fairly the norm for your normal bra's, the lacier and fancier they get, the more varied the stitching.

  • Matt_CastleMatt_Castle Posts: 526
    edited January 30

    Unfortunately, Gia 8 is one of the main G8F characters I haven't yet got - as I recall, she had a rather underwhelming initial promo offer, so she went in the "wishlist" pile, and she's still new enough to have not been on any decent sale yet (or at least not while I was looking).

    EDIT: Scratch that - I hadn't noticed that her bundles were part of the DForce magnet sale, and as I was looking for an excuse to buy the dForce magnets sooner rather than later and apparently still had a left over PlatClub Coupon that would have expired at the end of the month anyway (couldn't use it on Sydney earlier in the month because of gift cards and free items), I've taken advantage of that.

    Looking though, the ones I'm missing is a shorter list than I thought - just The Girl, Sakura and Mabel, as it seems I've picked up all the rest as at least base characters, even if not necessarily the full Pro/HD affair. (Of those remaining three, Mabel is a "when on sale", The Girl is a "maybe on a really good offer" and Sakura is an "I find her kind of creepy").

    That does mean 17 18 Daz G8F characters I can take into account, of which I've already started to look at some; while in theory I'm already going to have to look at more than that number to handle the basic body and breast morphs, there may still be a point where I'll have to concede. While managing to outdo what quite a lot of commercial artists provide would be a boost to my ego, I'm working on the principle that this will be a freebie*, so there is a limit to what's sensible.

    * Although I might later chase the idea of doing things commercially, for now, this is supposed to be starting with a reasonably small commitment. I've got quite a lot of experience modelling for other applications, but I needed somewhere to find my feet for Daz.

    However, I can see the argument for looking at more mature characters too. Initially I was thinking along the lines that should a Josie character need a bra, this kind of thing is a far more appropriate style than most, but then when half the logic is realism over aesthetic, yeah, it also makes a lot of sense to include less conventionally attractive characters.

    Looking at my own stuff, straight stitching seems to be fairly the norm for your normal bra's, the lacier and fancier they get, the more varied the stitching.

    Useful to know. That'll save me a certain amount of browsing online stores while trying not to feel like a complete pervert.

    (On the general note that it's not a clothing item I have first-hand experience of needing to buy or wear, feel free to advise me on anything you feel I'm particularly messing up on; while I do try my best to create female characters that behave competently and believably, there are occasionally shibboleths where my different lived experience will show through).

    Anyway, straight stitching works for me, as it's actually slightly easier to do. The Photoshop brushes I'm using are very sensitive to the direction the pen is moving, and the zigzag stitch more so than the straight stitch.

    Post edited by Matt_Castle on
  • The t-shirt bra project hasn't been forgotten (and as it happens, between recent sales, offers and vouchers I now have every main Daz G8F character), but I was pretty unimpressed by the results of my first attempt at JCMs. While individually okay, they proved not to combine very well - not terribly, but not up to the standard I was happy with. As such they got binned and I've started them over, trying to keep them more subtle and minimalistic in their corrections in the hope this will work better (rather than needing a second level of corrective morphs, which I have done on occasions, but which I think would be a pain to set up here)

    ~~~~~

    In the meantime, it turns out that the gorgon snake hair I have around has a lovely "flailing" pose preset that I decided I had to use for something. So I did.

    Okay, rather silly (although I can certainly speak for the appeal of rocking out in one's undies). Still, I very much enjoy doing this kind of snapshot, as building up on whatever small inspirations I've come across has done a lot to help shape the world I'm building (a contemporary fantasy world, albeit with several sci-fi elements) and the personalities of those within it. Even if it's never an important plot point, I just like knowing things like that Kate is an audiophile (courtesy of the Retro Hifi freebie a while back) as it gives her more character depth to work with.

  • IceDragonArtIceDragonArt Posts: 12,370

    Haha I love the hair and the pose.  I really like the coverage on the bra on this.  It can be an interesting experience with bigger cups, if  they are cut too low... Whici is fine in certain situations but if I'm going to the gym or hiking or something, I prefer that eveything stay where it belongs lol. 

  • Welcome to the Art Studio forum, Matt.  Impressive start. I'm looking forward to more of your work.  On the topics of hiding your first render and boobs, I don't think boobs will lose interest any time soon, and your first render was quite tasteful.  RE: second render - if gorgons are still around, I bet they rock out in their undies, so two enthusiastic thumbs up for that.  Your thread is off to a great start.  If I may be permitted to bring up a slightly negative subject, try not to judge your thread by the number of replies.  Far more people lurk without commenting than actually comment.  Doesn't mean they don't like what you are doing or don't find what you are sharing both informative and worthwhile.  In general, the more you participate in the forum the more people will feel comfortable commenting in your thread. Not an absolute relationship, but often true.

  • Haha I love the hair and the pose.  I really like the coverage on the bra on this.  It can be an interesting experience with bigger cups, if  they are cut too low... Whici is fine in certain situations but if I'm going to the gym or hiking or something, I prefer that eveything stay where it belongs lol. 

    Actually, I'll own up to reducing the coverage a little; it's a nice set, but it's originally for G2F, and attempts to fit it to the extreme G3F morph* ended up trying to entirely envelop her upper torso. Hopefully between Blender, dForce and Fit Control, I ended up with something reasonable.

    * The base model being RawArt's Lekkulion that I've then stacked a few tweaks on top of to drift the body shape a bit back towards human**. As far as some versions of the legend, and in particular the ones I'm building into the mythos I'm developing, Medusa was originally a cursed human, so I wanted the gorgon species as a whole to have a reasonable grounding in humanity rather than trying to be too alien of appearance.

    ** Aaaaand as part of that, yes, she did end up rather more (ahem) "well endowed" than the original model, but that's me trying to add some variety to character shapes. Left entirely to my own devices, every character would be moderately toned, small chested and freckled.
    I know in practice the fact that the Lekkulion model clearly hasn't got an overabundance of body fat would make a large cup size unlikely, but as those details are part of an integral HD morph, there's not all that much I can do about it that wouldn't break the model in some other way (or look incredibly weird). I can live with it within suspension of disbelief - after all, fantasy creature.

    Welcome to the Art Studio forum, Matt.  Impressive start. I'm looking forward to more of your work.  On the topics of hiding your first render and boobs, I don't think boobs will lose interest any time soon, and your first render was quite tasteful.  RE: second render - if gorgons are still around, I bet they rock out in their undies, so two enthusiastic thumbs up for that.  Your thread is off to a great start. 

    Yeah, probably overcautious, but I wasn't of a mind to test the moderators (or the more puritianical users) with the first post in a new thread.

    If I may be permitted to bring up a slightly negative subject, try not to judge your thread by the number of replies.  Far more people lurk without commenting than actually comment.  Doesn't mean they don't like what you are doing or don't find what you are sharing both informative and worthwhile.  In general, the more you participate in the forum the more people will feel comfortable commenting in your thread. Not an absolute relationship, but often true.

    I'm not expecting a roaring response - when it comes to the science-fantasy stuff, I've already done quite a lot of art and setting development in less sophisticated programs (and will continue to do so, as complex scenes in Daz would make my mediocre computer commit suicide*) so I already know that I'm sitting in my own little niche.
    *Quite aside from DS's poor import options making it highly impractical to transfer important existing characters in.

    I certainly know I occasionally weird people out with it, as a lot of the theme of the setting I'm piecing together is "abnormal normality" - while the artificial intelligences and various fantasy creatures occupying the world can and do have quirks of their own race, there's still a fundamental humanity to them. In most cases, I end up treating them as human, which has occasionally meant various rude comments from people who assume it's all some personal kink, and questions like "who is this character even meant to be attractive to?". That particular one resulted in my having to deliver a fairly stern rebuke that no character in the story was put there for the audience to lust over - I haven't necessarily made any given character intentionally unattractive, but at no point am I expecting that the audience has to be physically attracted to any character. I have no idea what this (presumably heterosexual male) person makes of male characters in a story.

    That said, I can't be surprised that some people are wary or put off. I see the kinds of things that my artwork has been favourited alongside on DeviantArt, and I'm frequently deeply weirded out myself. (What I particularly wasn't expecting is that the robotic characters are clearly more of a festering ground than the fantasy creatures - with the centaurs and the like, they might end up favourited in collections of topless human/animal hybrids, but the robots are liable to end up alongside women being forcibly uploaded into sexbots, which I find a deeply disturbing power fantasy).

    For the most part though, I'm quite happy crafting the setting on my own; it's interesting writing things like the "rules" for Artificial Intelligences or magic and then playing those things out to their logical conclusions.

  • Matt_CastleMatt_Castle Posts: 526
    edited February 28

    Given I put money into Tuesday's mega sale on old G2 assets, I figured I should justify it by actually doing something Genesis 2 based.

    It's obviously not very complex, because I'm not actually very good at lighting exterior scenes (I generally feel I do better with interior scenes) but I've had "Nicola" hanging around as a character for a while, and this was a welcome excuse to better refine her materials for Iray.

    Post edited by Matt_Castle on
  • Matt_CastleMatt_Castle Posts: 526

    I know that render a couple of weeks ago already established that I've decided that gorgons in my "Fracturing Veil" universe have legs rather than snake tails, but I wasn't about to turn down RawArt's new Medusa products (if nothing else, there are other half-snake creatures in mythology), so I did something with them.


    Gallery Link

    The main challenge here was down to trying to fit six G3/G8 characters, including some with HD morphs, onto a 4GB graphics card...

  • Matt_CastleMatt_Castle Posts: 526

    Seeing as I bought Bridget 8 when she came out, I figured I should experiment with her, so I blended her with a couple of other shapes, used Skin Builder to add a few more freckles (as her default skin only really has them on her face, and ran off a render (also using it as a chance to test another of my materials for the t-shirt bra project).


    Gallery link

    She's ended up looking somewhat similar to the character I started the thread with ("Jinx", who actually uses basically the default G8F face) because of the freckles and the use of the same hair, but I didn't want to spend time experimenting with hair textures for a quick-ish test. (It's just one of the best looking hairs I have, as it's my own hair texture. Literally - the materials have been modified using photographs of my own hair, in order to add detail and irregularity to get a more realistic look than the default materials).

  • MisselthwaiteMisselthwaite Posts: 469

    I love your hair! ;-D  She's cute, and the body freckles look super-natural.

  • Matt_CastleMatt_Castle Posts: 526
    edited March 19

    Again this isn't strictly within the "rules" of my Fracturing Veil universe, because of the tailed gorgon, but it's still one of my favourite products I've bought recently.

    A couple of officers looking to have a word with a recently re-awakened Daemon Lord about the fact that however he might thought things were done half a millennium ago, you're no longer allowed to go around kidnapping people...


    Gallery link

    Post edited by Matt_Castle on
  • Matt_CastleMatt_Castle Posts: 526

    And now for something that isn't weird urban fantasy...

    Playing around with mixing the characters in new Mrs Chow bundle with the younger Asians already in my library created someone who needed to be kicking in some thugs in a martial arts film.


    Gallery Link

  • TigerAnneTigerAnne Posts: 630

    I love your gorgon renders, man. laugh You rarely see them as benevolent characters.

  • Matt_CastleMatt_Castle Posts: 526

    Thanks!

    One of the core "rules" of the universe I'm creating is that no species is inherently evil; while there are certainly evil individuals within almost every species (and often some regrettable history), no species produces only bad guys. Even when an individual may seem evil, their motivations are often misguided or misunderstood rather than actively malicious.

    In essence, I treat every character as human on some level (as, ultimately within my mythos, most species were created or split off from humans) - they will usually have some species specific quirks, but I want to explore the idea of a developed society with these creatures, not merely a "battle the evil beasts" narrative.

    Which means I end up doing weird things like this:


    Gallery Link

    This started as an attempt to better refine a custom version of the G8F Werwulf, largely by making the head more lupine. The main morphs I used for that job on this version were from EJ Fantasy Morphs, Thistle, and a transferred version of Skinchangers for G3F (plus its tail graft).

    .... and then this was a stupid idea that got lodged in my head, because apparently rendering fantasy creatures in their skivvies is what I do now.

  • IceDragonArtIceDragonArt Posts: 12,370

    I know that render a couple of weeks ago already established that I've decided that gorgons in my "Fracturing Veil" universe have legs rather than snake tails, but I wasn't about to turn down RawArt's new Medusa products (if nothing else, there are other half-snake creatures in mythology), so I did something with them.


    Gallery Link

    The main challenge here was down to trying to fit six G3/G8 characters, including some with HD morphs, onto a 4GB graphics card...

    For some reason I find this very disturbing.  In a good creepy kind of way.

    Again this isn't strictly within the "rules" of my Fracturing Veil universe, because of the tailed gorgon, but it's still one of my favourite products I've bought recently.

    A couple of officers looking to have a word with a recently re-awakened Daemon Lord about the fact that however he might thought things were done half a millennium ago, you're no longer allowed to go around kidnapping people...


    Gallery link

    And this is awesome

    ... and then this was a stupid idea that got lodged in my head, because apparently rendering fantasy creatures in their skivvies is what I do now. - this made me laugh out loud

  • Matt_CastleMatt_Castle Posts: 526

    For some reason I find this very disturbing.  In a good creepy kind of way.

    Well, whether fortunately or unfortunately, my brain doesn't work normally and I have the psychology reports to prove it.

  • IceDragonArtIceDragonArt Posts: 12,370

    For some reason I find this very disturbing.  In a good creepy kind of way.

    Well, whether fortunately or unfortunately, my brain doesn't work normally and I have the psychology reports to prove it.

    As long as you have proof... lol

  • Matt_CastleMatt_Castle Posts: 526

    Fairly spontaneous (and thus basic) render of "Rosaline Xenati", the Adept I'm playing in a Dark Heresy RPG, at the current point of the "adventure". (And by adventure, I mean "total mess that has driven three of her team mates insane").

    And yes, that is impractical hair for combat, but while she's got some basic training (and far more experience than she'd like), she's not one of the team's combat specialists; it just happens we very spontaneously reached a "start cracking heads together" stage of the plot and she's once again in the unenviable position of being told to gear up and get dragged along for her non-combat expertise.

    (Also, artistic licence. I wanted her to be something equivalent to mixed-race East Asian/West African, and I found that giving her straight hair tended to disguise the West African side of that).


    Gallery Link

  • Matt_CastleMatt_Castle Posts: 526

    This is just a WIP, as all the refraction and translucency in the scene means that rendering it long enough to properly quell all the noise is going to be hours, but I'm hoping to get some feedback on improving it before I commit all that render time to doing a final version.

    Postwork so far is limited to scene-wide colour correction and minor use of the healing brush (to better blend together puddles). I figure the final version will call for a bit more adjusting of water droplets and the like.

    That's not to say that I wasn't cheating a lot when it came to putting the scene together in the first place though; although I intend to refine the sculpting a bit more, Blender was used extensively to create custom morphs for the clothing (the fit wasn't exactly great in the first place, given it's mostly G3 clothing on a G2 character).

  • MisselthwaiteMisselthwaite Posts: 469

    Love the translucency on the blouse!  Have to ask about the greyish speckles on her face, though... is that something that will render out?

  • Matt_CastleMatt_Castle Posts: 526

    The water droplets will presumably render up cleaner, although I'm accepting that some may have to be painted out in post-work. The freckles, no, but that's partially an issue of me still trying to fine-tune the materials for Iray (the character being a tweaked mix of Girl and Ysabeau 6 with modified materials from "Charlie for V6", so predating Iray).
    They worked okay-ish in direct light, but it seems they're a bit harsh in softer light, so I'm heading back to my Photoshop files and dialling the intensity on the freckle layers down. About 50-60% seems to work better.

    When it comes to the translucency, I'm reasonably happy with that. Although the shirt's wet materials are default, it does rely quite a lot on getting it to fit closely enough, so it's a sign the custom drape morph is about right.
    (It then took multiple attempts to create an underwear texture that I was happy with - I wanted a pattern distinct enough to make it clear the shirt was drenched, while also seeming like something that would normally be reasonably sensible to wear under a white shirt).

  • Matt_CastleMatt_Castle Posts: 526

    Unfortunately, I didn't have the spare time to commit to properly rendering the rain scene before heading away on a trip, so I reverted to type and opted for paranormality.


    Gallery Link

  • MisselthwaiteMisselthwaite Posts: 469

    LOL!!!  This just amuses on so many levels :-)  Awesome group pose, too!

  • Matt_CastleMatt_Castle Posts: 526

    Unfortunately, image quality is going to be a bit poor for a while, as I'm away from home and have thus gone from a modern (if fairly low-end) desktop GPU to a fairly old laptop that has to render on a mobile CPU and thus takes about twenty times longer to do anything, so it's really going to be limited to rough test renders.

    Anyway, the various contemporary fantasy art above ties at least tangentially into my "Fracturing Veil" project, a "what if" story where the dawn of artificial intelligence inadvertently threatens the magical wards used to keep the normal and supernatural worlds separate and thus safe from the conflict that almost erupted half a millennium ago when Pope Innocent VIII fuelled the witch-hunts of the early modern period.

    The central protagonist of the tale is Athena Lovelace, a prototype super-soldier AI - her accidental discovery of this hidden realm catalyses the whole story, as artificial intelligence and mythology collide and have to come to deal with each other.

    However, a very major character in the tale is Molly Baldwin, the daughter of one of Athena's former squadmates, as the Baldwin family represents Athena's grounding back in the "normal" world... and also dangerously close to the fallout when some parts of the Veil start fighting dirty in response to the AI (who matches the Greek god of war in more than just name).

    I've been struggling to create a model I like for Molly, but a recent acquisition of P3D Azra gave me a skin that felt like a good starting point, and after various mixing of shapes I finally have something that feels at least close to the character I have in mind.

    I'm not sure I've got her exactly right yet (I'm pretty rubbish with judging age), but I'm trying to aim for roughly the middle of the ravages of puberty, about 13-15 years old. (I don't have to be too precise about that, just within a general ballpark where she is partially but not fully independent - old enough to be allowed out on her own, young enough to still be given rules).

     

    I'm not sure if she's a little too slender, even for someone supposed to be in the "shooting up" stage of puberty, so I've also rendered second version that's subtly broader of build:

    Thoughts and feedback very much appreciated, as this is one of these things that is completely decided by subtle proportional differences and is therefore so easy to get wrong.

  • Matt_CastleMatt_Castle Posts: 526

    Again, afraid it's just a character test (but thoughts still appreciated on the above!), but while I'm away this laptop doesn't have the power for much more than that.

    This character is largely as default, picked up yesterday in Rendo's "Stacy's Mom" sale, and does convincingly make for someone with a few (but not too many) years on the clock. Disappointingly, as I rather like her, it turns out the artist hasn't done any other characters, and has mostly done other products instead.

  • Diomede_CarraraDiomede_Carrara Posts: 9,150
    edited May 14

    Your "universe" is extremely well thought out.  Excellent rendering.  I'm really enjoying how you are putting it all together.

    Post edited by Diomede_Carrara on
  • Matt_CastleMatt_Castle Posts: 526

    Your "universe" is extremely well thought out.  Excellent rendering.  I'm really enjoying how you are putting it all together.

    The creation process has proven to be pretty addictive.

    For anyone who is interested in seeing more of my exploration of the "Fracturing Veil" universe, but willing to look at some less graphically pretty (although often more artistically adventurous) art rendered in the old Source game engine, I have a folder dedicated to it on my DeviantArt. A lot of the descriptions go in-depth into different aspects of the universe, musing about questions like where dragons go on holiday, the creation of artificial intelligences (which you've not really seen in this thread, as most cyborg models in Daz are hard to edit in-program to the extent I would like, but I may be able to get somewhere with some recent purchases) and the like. It's not all exactly up-to-date though, as I've been writing this for a while, so the details of a lot of characters have changed extensively since the start.


    Anyway, I've pushed my laptop a bit further for a slightly more complete scene.

    When creating a contemporary fantasy universe, it follows that the 1980s must have happened. (Unfortunately, my attempts to find a good model of a proper vintage brick of a boombox were a failure, and this one is really 1990s at best, but it'll have to do).


    Gallery Link

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