Ten Years After - The Making of Dartanbeck.com

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  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,857

    Started a new page for the new Particle Illusion Standalone freebie by Boris FX:

    https://www.dartanbeck.com/the-software/particle-illusion

    Teaser Promo by Boris FX

    I've also been making many corrections, clarifications, articles, etc., I hope you enjoy the site!

  • Is there a good tutorial on rendering a flag blowing in the wind?

    I have created the flag and attached it to a pole, made it a soft body and adjusted the settings, and ran the Simulate Physics function to view the results but something isn't set correctly for the render because it is only processing one frame.

    What am I doing wrong?

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,857

    By processing, do you mean rendering or simulating? I haven't done much with 'physics simulation' in Carrara yet, but I believe there's a run simulation button when in physics mode. Does that helps? Not sure what's going wrong.

  • HeadwaxHeadwax Posts: 8,444

    Started a new page for the new Particle Illusion Standalone freebie by Boris FX:

    https://www.dartanbeck.com/the-software/particle-illusion

    Teaser Promo by Boris FX

    I've also been making many corrections, clarifications, articles, etc., I hope you enjoy the site!

    thanks Dart it all looks terrifico!

     

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,857
    edited July 2020

    New video and article: Character Design in Carrara 01

    We use another free base scene for Carrara to build consistent characters, ready for the screen.

    On our journey we examine how to use this Character Template scene by creating Bill, a character made using Genesis 1's Michael 5. We set up his lights, give him hair and work that into the light rig for speedier animation renders. We give him a costume and demonstrate a few ways of how magical Carrara can be with this, with even a glimpse of using VWD - but then we take his costume away so we can work on his materials - his shaders. Along the way we talk about other generations as well.

    Character Design in Carrara 01

    The support article and scene file download:

    https://www.dartanbeck.com/carrara-zone/carrara-cg-workshop/pre-production-phase/character-setup/character-design

    Post edited by Dartanbeck on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,857

    A fun article I wrote about how I began working in 3D, which also includes a bit of history about Poser, Studio and Carrara, amongst other things:

    https://www.dartanbeck.com/gallery/humble-beginnings

  • DiomedeDiomede Posts: 11,879

    Always enjoy your updates, Dart.  Stay motivated.

    Aside, I think Linday released a Rosie DForce hair for G8F.

    https://www.daz3d.com/classic-long-curly-hair-with-dforce-for-genesis-8-females

    Any updates on EvilProducer?  Wishing the best.

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  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,857
    Diomede said:

    Always enjoy your updates, Dart.  Stay motivated.

    Aside, I think Linday released a Rosie DForce hair for G8F.

    https://www.daz3d.com/classic-long-curly-hair-with-dforce-for-genesis-8-females

    It's been making me want to try it ever since it came out! Looks Awesome, and I love how it's constructed from spring tubes like that. Alas... I must have my Carrara compatibility at this stage in my game! ;)

    Diomede said:

    Any updates on EvilProducer?  Wishing the best.

    The last I heard, it sounded like he thought he was out-of-the-woods.

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,857

    After discovering that Beamdog Games rejuvenated Neverwinter Nights (the game that actually got me into 3D art in the first place) with an all new Enhanced Edition, I had to write that article. Well now, after digging through the NWVault I see that someone has actually updated the plugins "NWMax" and "NWGmax"!!! Gmax was unavailable for quite some time a while back, but the developers must have received a lot of Support mail, so the eventually put up a more sustained license. Ever heard of Gmax? It's actually 3ds Max 4.0 (I think?) watered down big time - but it still provides the tools needed to work with mesh for games!

    NWgmax Plus+ puts the magic into Gmax allowing us to import extracted NWN game data with a plethora of great tools. Then we can export it in a manner that can be put back into the game. This is one of the huge reasons why Bioware's very first 3D (instead of 2.5D) game has been community-developed for so long! Yeah, there are a LOT of other reasons, too... but having a Free version of 3ds Max with the game-compliant plugin just adds that many more artists to the pool!

    In my article, these were the kinds of poses I was doing with game meshes in Max, which got my team leader and good friend to send me Poser 5 as a gift.

    Death gate and Ardemor created the wonderful rideable horses system. I went by the name Rosietreats then, and I created a system that makes managing our horses feel more natural or perhaps even more realistic.

    We could sent the horse away when danger was afoot or tie them up when we went inside. Then go and get them when we want to ride again. It's a special set of scripts and conversations combined with special locations.

    These locations act kind of like a horsey data storage area. Depending upon where they go (or are sent), the script knows which area to send us to when we want our horse back. The conversation then stores where we were when we decided to go get our horse, so that's where the special location would send us back to! LOL

    Hey, it works great for small D&D-sized groups! LOL

    The thing is, on the original NWVault, I had links to the required files needed to make this work, which they haven't done here. Hmmm... it's been so many years!

    Searching "Rideable Horses" or clicking that in the Tags will likely bring up the horse system.

    But then I also reworked all of the necessary model (mdl) files from all of the custom clothing from the enormous CEP (Community Expansion Pack) to work with the horse system. I wasn't part of the team that made the horses, just a big fan of the work they did - so I wanted to remove the things that might keep people from using it - like compatibility with CEP, for example. CEP Anatomy for ACP and Rideable Horses

    I think that sort of thing might also be what got me into the C.R.A.P. (Classic Roleplay Adaptation Project) team? Or was I there before I did all of this? Again... that was such a long time ago!

     

    This one was the Rosietreats Custom Appearance pack, that I made available so that the folks I roleplayed with could download it and I could use my favorite character. Although the promo shows dirty blonde, Rosie was always reddish brunette! :)

    This pack was just the "Rosie" elements from my larger "Adventure Gear" pack, which was popular enough to go Hall of Fame.

    The two on the bottom left, Comfy Stealth and Relaxed used the jiggle mesh system of the game, which we could set up using NWMax. It was so easy to use that it always boggled me as to how difficult dynamic clothing and hair can be in the 3D world.

    The Aurora game engine used for Neverwinter Nights, and which CDProjekt RED used to make The Witch (1)(but they modified the heck out of the engine to do what they did!) allows the area artists to determine weather conditions and the like, including how windy it is. In-game, a Dungeon Master, if there is one, can also change this stuff on the fly.

    I loved that, so I made Rosie's hair and loose clothing react well to the wind. I spent a lot of time testing and tweaking, getting the weight maps vs settings just right - but all in all, it's a simple process.

    There were a lot of long hair mods out there, but they were all just rigid mesh attached to the head node. So if the character looks up, the hair jabs through the chest, etc., I'm sure you've seen game mods like that - they're almost all rigid to the head like that.

    This one (right) I've used a ball joint system, where there's the part that's modeled to the head, and the rest to the back side of the chest node, both of which have the jiggle mesh applied and looks great in the wind and during movement, etc.,

    C.R.A.P.!!!

    One would think that I love to Code!!! What?!!!

    I spent so much time tinkering with file manipulations and code bastardizing to help tweak out C.R.A.P., which is an amazing system for folks like us who wanted to do D&D game-sized multiplayer games. Meaning, small group of players of three to a max of six - though having a sixth player can often be just one too many. Too hard to give each player their due of attention - and a Dungeon Master or two. I enjoyed being a Guest DM on occasions, often just controlling things like sound effects, weather, lighting - maybe a thug or two! LOL

    C.R.A.P. added a whole bunch of tools to help roleplayers roleplay! Of course, we World Builders had to include the system elements into our world for it to work, so the team made that really easy, and very well documented! These teams I worked with were So Cool!!! 

    C.R.A.P. adds things like rope and spikes and a wealth of adventuring gear, and many things built into the environment. So a rogue could use her rogue widget to listen at doors, search for elusive traps, etc., we could hammer a spike near a pit, drop a rope and climb down and back out again (so long as some villain doesn't cut the rope!) we could set trigger markers (invisible, of course) around the pit to set up specific variable regarding things like the die roll needed to jump across, and what happens on a failed roll, or a critically failed roll, etc., all of which is easily configurable by whomever is running the show.

    It's totally D&D!!! Just that the miniatures are animated and can travel on areas that look a lot more awesome than a table! LOL

    I spent a lot of time actually changing the guts of the game's internal toolset catalog through what's called a tlk file. It wasn't hard to break the whole thing during these attempts, so it was a maddening experience! I was already doing this stuff for an ambitious "D&D Campaign Setting" I was working on. The ultimate goal was to make it as close to actual D&D for the DM (Dungeon Master) as possible. The DM has the ability to access the library of content available to the world he has loaded, exactly like it is in the building toolset. So I edited the toolset to give the DM some handy 'folders' for storing items, creatures and effects for moments-notice availability. 

    Oh my... I've been typing this long? Yikes! Time for bed already!

    I haven't had this stuff out since before I bought Carrara. After buying Carrara, I've been consumed by it - and I like it that way! Although I've already been invited to get back into it, I'm already struggling just to get my Carrara stuff going. Argh for a lack of time!!! LOL

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,857

    Wow. Is that Victoria 3? This is some very early Poser work from me. Very early, but I've done much worse art that this since then too! LOL

  • WendyLuvsCatzWendyLuvsCatz Posts: 30,317

    wow that was a lot to digest laugh

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,857

    wow that was a lot to digest laugh

    Yeah. Twas the crazy years of trying to learn to enjoy PC gaming. I'm still no Gamer, but love certain aspects of some of them!

    GOG dot com has a crazy deal on the entire Neverwinter Nights Enhanced Edition collection. It doesn't show as a bundle deal, I clicked on the game itself, and then on the Get the Whole Collection thingy down below. So I went ahead and got it for really cheap. So now I've actually purchased the entire NWN collection three times! LOL

    The second time was when GOG offered the Diamond Edition (complete collection before Enhanced), which allowed me to run the game without the discs - DRM-Free. This enabled me to go through my office and get all of the original materials back into their original boxes and add them to the rest of my Bioware games shrine - which is really cool! Baldur's Gate and expansion, Baldur's Gate II and expansion, Icewind Dale and expansion, Icewind Dale II and Planescape Torment - all in their original boxes with all of cool stuff that came with them - maps and such.

    This latest Enhanced Edition of NWN also included the entire (including some new) soundtrack collection as well as The Art of Neverwinter Nights book that Bioware released way back when and I was never able to get my hands on it. It's Awesome!!! I think Concept Art is some of my favorite reason to get a game (I like to look at the art and daydream)! 

    Lady Aribeth de Tylmarande, Paladin of Tyr and our leader/quest giver through the main campaign of NWN 1

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,857

    I had to wait for renders again, so I redisigned my Daz Studio page. I'll be doing my Daz Studio demonstration/tutorials in the very near future on how I use it to convert clothing to Genesis, translate animations from one generation to another, using GenX2. Some of this stuff will be overlapping what will come in other episodes but I think that'll be okay since they're so brief now.

    https://www.dartanbeck.com/daz-zone/daz-studio

    As I add my own writing to Daz Studio I'll use a separate page and link to it so the page doesn't get any bigger. I think I like it though. We'll see how I feel after getting some sleep ;)

    I love this video from back when I first got into Carrara and DS was 3.1. Notice that he even gives a nod to Bryce and Carrara at the end!!!

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,857

    I've been practicing a lot with VWD cloth simulator and, for this process doing a lot of experimenting with editing content from my library to try different things. I'm feeling comfortable enough to do a bit of an in-depth demonstration of what I know so far, and show some really fun results.

    This, of course took a lot of preparation, trial and error, and then educated guesses as to what to do next.

    In this whole endeavor, I've been reacquainted with tools and workflows that I was into testing quite a while ago. What a blast to visit this stuff again! That hiatus that took me away from my computer - being an over-worried, tired family member really took me away from this - nearly completely. The only reason I can add 'almost' is that I've never stopped thinking about Carrara and this Carrara forum. Anyway, enough about that!

    Carrara is such a fun suite of tools. I'm constantly amazed at how drawn in I can become for months at a time, putting everything I have into it, all the while only using a fraction of what it can do! 

    With my current work in VWD and working wih the meshes of purchased content (for my own use only, mind you) I got to a point where, during a long render session in Batch Queue, I felt the urge to start writing about what I was doing with these clothing items. Then it occurred to me that I've written this all before, so into the Carrara Information Manual Thread I went and found my article. Not entirely as specific as what I wanted to say, it also went even deeper than I was originally planning. So I used that article/thread to create a new page, and updated it, made some changes, added to it, but included the video that I made back then, as it fully melds into what will be coming in the near future - at which time I might also make a cleaner, more to-the-point version of that video.

    At the same time I've also decided to get back into tweaking Rosie's dynamic hair some more. I very much like how far I got when I last left off, but it's still using the 'test-mode' setting that I set up for quicker simulations and much faster renders. Carrara's dynamic hair can look utterly real if we can give it enough time to render, and it doesn't blow the smoke out of our computer chips! 

    So I've been making a few tweaks to things and increasing the amount of hair and render quality for testing, etc., Fun trip.

    Modeling for Genesis began back then (when I originally made the video and article) with me using Genesis 2 Female as my subject figure. Now I'm using Genesis 1. It's really cool to see how incredibly similar the workflows are. They're actually the same except that Genesis 1 is unisex, adding a slight twist on the modeling process. Okay maybe more of a twist than Slight - which is why Genesis 2 and after are no longer unisex by design.

    Until we get to my new video/article hybrid, I needed to adapt that older article. It all fits into place. So here's that:

    Carrara Zone > CG Workshop > Pre-Production Phase > Character Setup > Modeling for Carrara

    Well this got me all into all of this again. That tutorial includes the demonstration of using the Genesis 2 Cross-Figure Resource Kit to change female clothing to male and vice versa. This might make for a fine additional workflow to converting clothing from one Genesis generation to the first, since the female attire could be shaped to male to better align with the Genesis 1 base for a good OBJ to work with - and I believe that there are Cross-Figure Resource Kits for other generations of Genesis.

    Okay now my mind is getting back to where I was then, so I start getting back into what I was doing with those amazing tools found under the new hood of Daz Studio 4.0, when that came out, and I was having fun with Genesis in the Carrara 8.5 beta. Now we're getting deeeeep again!

    Oh man, do those tools have no end? I have so much fun trying new things - making new things - but now I've been using Fenric's Unlock Figure to Detach Skeleton so that I can run V4, V3, A3, etc., etc., clothing through VWD without the auto-fit shrink wrapping it first - it's been a really fun thing, and it works really great - for many (not all) things!

    Thank goodness for PC+ offering so many free items over the years. I'm taking things that I think might work to shape into... okay, yeah. I'll see what shapes I can make with this one. Load it in, do not Fit-to, go Edit > Fenric > Unlock Figure. Then Animation > Detach Skeleton. Drag Model or Actor out of the rig, delete the rig. Select the Model or Actor, rename it to what I call it now, Edit > Center Hotpoint. Scale tool it close to the size I need it to be - sometimes a bit too small, sometimes a bit too big. Which ever gets me closer to the final shape I'll be modeling it into.

    Now I click the wrench tool to edit the mesh in the Assemble Room. Section > Select By Shading Domain and delete any parts of the mesh I don't want to keep. Move stuff around, model it as if it was a model I made myself but never finished. Blah, blah, blah - and it goes on.

    Can you see where I'm going with this?

    Instead of only running these end results through VWD, I can use these same techniques (as I did back then) to actually create new conforming clothes that fit my character! Now I only need to figure out how to get a clone of Rosie 5 into Daz Studio so I can subract that from the shape, when using the Transfer Utility to turn the OBJ into a conforming cloth. That part should be quite simple, I'm thinking. I just need to test the TU and see what all is in the drop down used to subtract the shape from. If it contains my GenX2 people, I think I'm in luck. More on that later, I'd imagine.

    So this all got me to digging back into Daz Studio's amazing CCT (Content Creation Tools). Here's my new page on all of that:

    DAZ ZONE > Daz Studio > Content Creation Tools

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,857

    Aussie Girl Outfit converted into a static prop, changed the shape slightly to help keep it from falling off (original is meant to fall off the shoulders - Rosie's a bit too active for that to work in most cases) and run through an animation using VWD

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,857

    Updated to:

    I have a special page for using Daz Studio to create custom content: Content Creation Tools

    This goes along with my Modeling for Genesis and PC+ Cloth Frenzy in preparation and support for subjects to come!

  • DesertDudeDesertDude Posts: 1,104

    Thanks for links Dartanbeck.

    I took a quick look at the Content Creation Tools link regarding rigging and I have a quick question before I even try anything ('cause I'm lazy...frown)  When creating weights for bones can you edit the bones without destroying the weight painting, which is what happens in Carrara?

     

  • Thanks for links Dartanbeck.

    I took a quick look at the Content Creation Tools link regarding rigging and I have a quick question before I even try anything ('cause I'm lazy...frown)  When creating weights for bones can you edit the bones without destroying the weight painting, which is what happens in Carrara?

     

    yes you can

    DAZ studio rigging has both advantages and disadvantages like anything 

    I use the dual Quaternion ie general weight while rigging to convert to Blended (triax) for Carrara once I am done.

    you create your bones first then with the geometry editor as well as their brush you can fill selections with weights 

    unlike Carrara everything needs to be zero-ed no rigging stuff on the fly like you can Carrara

    but it does have skinweights which Carrara doesn't 

  • DesertDudeDesertDude Posts: 1,104

    yes you can

    DAZ studio rigging has both advantages and disadvantages like anything 

    I use the dual Quaternion ie general weight while rigging to convert to Blended (triax) for Carrara once I am done.

    you create your bones first then with the geometry editor as well as their brush you can fill selections with weights 

    unlike Carrara everything needs to be zero-ed no rigging stuff on the fly like you can Carrara

    but it does have skinweights which Carrara doesn't 

    Thank you Wendy for the explanations.
    I have read these terms off and on over the years 'Quaternion' and 'Blended' and 'triax'...all went over my head. Now maybe I can learn something new. smiley

    As a last question / comment, by "zero-ed" do you mean the figure / object  needs to be at X=0, Y=0 Z=0? That's no probem, goal is to be back in Carrara ASAP. laugh heart

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,857

    I think she meant that shapes and poses are zeroed. She has a Lot more experience with those tools than I do.

    When it comes to the rigging differences > Quaternion, Triax, etc., the technical pages can be quite the weighty read for someone who's not into developing 3D technology. For me, I just like to recognize the fact that Carrara has not been updated to be able to use Quaternion skinning/rigging, so we need Triax or Blended.

    I'm really glad that Wendy answered your question because I haven't tried messing with any bones in Daz Studio yet, though I bought a cool pdf tutorial (Blondie9999) about making custom figures in Daz Studio - quite powerful tools! I love DS, I just don't use it for much other than these conversions and such. Wendy actually spends time in it! 

    As my website progresses (along with my videos and such), I intend to delve more deeply into Daz Studio and document my progress along the way. It's hard though. I'm spending all of my CG time in Carrara, Howler and Fusion right now. Still, the aim is to bring this whole thing to the point when we can explore and gain experience together.

  • no everything has to be in the place it loads in DAZ studio with 0,0,0 world transformation in parameters regardless of whare it is in the actual scene

    moving pivots for local transformation is not as straightforward as Carrara

    so if your figure loads off centre you cannot just move it to 0,0,0 and rig it

    the trick I use is edit convert prop to figure

    move it using the new hip bone to exactly where you want it

    then convert figure to prop

    you will need to convert to figure again to rig it

  • and yes DAZ uses 3 different weightmapping systems legacy Poser, triax and dual quarternion

    Carrara 3 also, it's own, Poser legacy and triax

    that said it is far far easier to work in DAZ studio with Dual Quarternion which is also called general just it's not compatible with Carrara and needs converting to blended (general AND triax) afterwards to use in Carrara,

    The Blondie tutorial is very useful but it's actually simpler than the steps in that, many can be skipped

  • DesertDudeDesertDude Posts: 1,104

    Thank you both Wendy and Dartanbeck for prompt answers, now I have to use my brain. angry

    P.S. what is the "Blondie" tutorial?

  • WendyLuvsCatzWendyLuvsCatz Posts: 30,317
    edited September 2020

    Thank you both Wendy and Dartanbeck for prompt answers, now I have to use my brain. angry

    P.S. what is the "Blondie" tutorial?

    https://www.daz3d.com/rigging-original-figures-in-ds4-pro

    it is a lot out of date now in terminology and where stuff is in D|S

    I would try and find better ones if DAZ documentation is not enough

    searching youtube for rigging in DAZ studio already gives many great tutorials

    Post edited by WendyLuvsCatz on
  • DesertDudeDesertDude Posts: 1,104

    Thank you both Wendy and Dartanbeck for prompt answers, now I have to use my brain. angry

    P.S. what is the "Blondie" tutorial?

    https://www.daz3d.com/rigging-original-figures-in-ds4-pro

    it is a lot out of date now in terminology and where stuff is in D|S

    I would try and find better ones if DAZ documentation is not enough

    searching youtube for rigging in DAZ studio already gives many great tutorials

    Sweet! And thanks for tips

  • DesertDudeDesertDude Posts: 1,104

    searching youtube for rigging in DAZ studio already gives many great tutorials

    Ahh, yeah, think I'll take that advice first before spending $$
    Cheers smiley

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,857

    Right. I got that waaay back when!

    Another awesome resource is Josh Darling's page. I've posted many of the videos that I've found essential on my Content Creation Tools page and have some other workflow ideas, mainly how they relate to what I do with Genesis 1 and 2 in my Modeling for Genesis page

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,857

    searching youtube for rigging in DAZ studio already gives many great tutorials

    Ahh, yeah, think I'll take that advice first before spending $$
    Cheers smiley

    I was just working away on animations to add to my render queue when this particular conversation came to mind. 

    Yes, there are a lot of free learning materials out there. But I am not always near a handy computer to learn from. In fact, by the time I do get to a computer I like to fire up Carrara and get to work! Yes, I still devote a lot of computer time to learning as well, but what I'm getting at is this:

    With pdf tutorials, I can print them out and bring them with me and read during break time. I do a lot of that!

    Anyway, with that said I've written a small tidbit about that and added links to Blondie's tutorials on my Modeling for Genesis page (scroll down)

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,857
    edited September 2020

    Having fun! Using these Technophilia breather tubes as cables, since they're rigged for easy bending.

    I animated them to pull, bend and bounce as she climbs on them. Can't wait to see the final result. The earlier Stairs test I was working on worked out really, really well!

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  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,857
    edited September 2020

    I'm really getting nice results from VWD, so I'm working on getting a tutorial out for that. But also, there was a recent squabble (kinda) regarding our love for Carrara when it comes to animating. I certainly bowed out because I don't like to push software preferences on folks. Suggest, cheerlead - yes. Not push.

    Well as I'm working on these animations along with working with VWD and Carrara dynamic hair, purchased aniBlocks and animated Poser PZ2 files, I'm just going in and tweaking away to get these animations working how I need them to work - as always. That's the easy stuff for me. Too bad I'm not showing more of it yet.

    So it occurred to me that I really need to put together a short video about how I tweak animations in Carrara - which is actually a bit different than the tutorial I've been working on. So I'd like to keep that one going too. But I think it would be cool to show the 3D CG world how easily we can manipulate... Anything in Carrara. The Sequencer and Graph Editor, but also how quickly we can make mesh adjustments on the fly - right while we're working on animations! Carrara is a very unique piece of software. Perhaps a little program - an animation promo, so to speak, would be a cool thing to be able to post in topics like that. 

    "Oh, I'm sure X Software is great! I might have to try that some time. This is a video that Dartanbeck made that shows a few of the things I love about animating in Carrara"

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