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  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited July 2015
    3Don said:

    Kathryn-

    Hhmmm... I don't recall either. At one time I was in advertising and did specialize in tag lines, slogans, and such. But I don't recall your horse painting bizness.

    Aren't you somewhere in Texas? I live in San Antonio.

    Here maybe this will help

     We ride to the rescue!

     

    Now I had Logo Nerds do the logo but I needed a tag line/slogan and stuff like that - which I absolutely suck at doing. I really struggle with the tag lines for my books. (I was so proud of myself for coming up with "They say he made a deal with the devil . . . Now the devil demands his due . . .' for my novel Demon Laird and it's STILL stupid long. lol!)

     

    But I was painting tabletop gaming miniatures and doing commissions and competing on the national level so I needed a professional image. I think it was your site because it was a package deal for a pretty low cost I got like five or maybe more ideas of tag lines/slogans etc. I remember typing out this big long thing talking all about my business - even what color I associated with it, Ultimately it was a challenge and ended up going with the "rescue" line because of how the commission thing works in that hobby for most.

     

    So many people want to play with these huge armies but they don't want to paint them - most recognized competitions at conventions require at least some paint on all those tiny armies so gamers have a tendency to think about getting a decent paint job on the suckers at the 11th hour of course. That certainly made commission painting interesting. Unfortunately because of the quality level I demanded from myself, I couldn't paint commissions fast enough to pay the bills. So I turned to publishing on Amazon. Surprised me to no end when it took off on me. lol!  I've basically wrapped Warhorse Miniatures into my Phoenix Fire Publishing Group.

     

    Sorry to rattle on - especially if it's not you! lol! But it would be funny and definitely hey "small world wide web!" here if it was you though. cheeky I just know you're name really strikes a bell. But that means good branding, huh? lol!

     

    So how did you end up going from advertising to including DAZ 3D in your workflow?

     

    Yup - I'm in Southeast Texas - in the Beaumont area, about 2.5 hours east of Houston near the LA line. We got smacked hard with hurricanes Rita and Ike. San Antonio is about 4 hours for me or less - because I have a tendency to fly low. devil I have another friend in San Antonio, he's an adjunct professor teaching graphic arts, illustration and the Photoshop gig. He's done a couple of covers for me (the very first he did is the dark blue cloaked Shadowed Hawk cover that's my fav above). I've gotten him started on DAZ and am trying to drag him into the forums here. lol! He's a Facebook junkie. wink

     

     

    Okay I'm gonna see what Manne has in store for me with his post then I gotta go dig through a ton of fonts and will no doubt not be able to find anything close to what I'm looking for!

     

    Post edited by kathrynloch on
  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited July 2015

     

    _manne_ said:

    What I found specifically with Iray was that if your scene size took up more memory than could spool to the graphics card, it stopped using the GPU altogether and just used CPU which made it almost impossible to work while any rendering was going on.  Perhaps that's what you're experiencing.

    Oh wow - I thought it spilled over to the CPU when GPU maxed out. Another thing I've noticed is if I happen to have mixed shaders - like I miss the teeth and gums for example lol! Then it doubles and triples the time sometimes. But I do have a lot of crap in that scene. The little pins in her hair and the jewelry on her dress is all separate stuff. Plus it's not like I have a totally kick butt laptop - it's an ASUS Rog so perfectly capable of handling heavy graphic loads. But it's a year old now and I soooo need to get a second HD and upgrade the RAM. I think I even have a another bay for a second graphics card which might be going on the Christmas list. lol!

    _manne_ said:

    I always use the Kouros Hair prop.  Also you'll see some morph controls for it under the parameters tab.  I find less is more when dialing anything on it.

    I see that! Literally! lol! The more I mess with it the longer it gets. haha!

    _manne_ said:

    You might be able to get away with just hiding the character and all their clothes rather than deleting them.

    I'll definitely try first but usually when I get this much stuff in the scene it's just better to split it. Part of the problem is because the HD is getting so full. I transfer tons of stuff off to the usb drive and just end up putting twice as much on because I save all of my images and all of my work on my novels. Part of it is sheer paranoia - if I ever have to defend my copyright I at least have a series of progression with all of the mess. But I finally took the time to run Tweaking.com Windows Repair. Like I said, it's been a year - it desperately needed it. So hopefully that will help. It's running much faster in general right now.

    _manne_ said:

    One thing I noticed earlier, if you're going to have the sun behind them, you probably don't want such a strong red\orange light in front of them too.  Repositioning that light would probably help.

    hehe - I had been going back and forth with adding some blue but because of the blue text I didn't want to add too much - so I started experimenting with some purple - violet not magenta - in other words - more blue than red. lol! I'll kick that up a notch and see how it turns out. Thanks for suggesting it because I was kinda waffling on it.

    _manne_ said:

    Hahahahaha.  I'll post up some of my settings and you can see if they help at all.

    heheh! Thank you very much for posting. My problem is I'm having a tough time seeing the hair line. I haven't worked with it enough to know how it will render from how it looks in the viewport. So typically I spot render that sort of thing and adjust as I go but I'll be beating people with my cane by the time it gets done at this rate. I like all the adjustments the hair has - until I go overboard and decide to set it all back to zero. Reset, zero, click, reset, zero, click, oh yeah now we're watching paint dry. Fun! lol! Is there a handy dandy reset button on the darn thing? lol! frown

     

    Thanks hun! I appreciate it!

     

    Sorry about the font color change but my eyes are driving me nuts again - darn sinuses!

    Post edited by kathrynloch on
  • 3Don3Don Posts: 690

    Kathryn-

    Nope, it wasn't me. I have sold 3D content online since 2000 at 10 different stores. Some are now defunct. And by using my real name (tho sometimes 3Don) my name has been around the WWW. I got into Poser as a means of having a virtual reference studio for 2D illustration. Once I got posing I got hooked on 3D figure work, mostly poses. Advertising was just a diversion for me for a while, but it was a beneficial experience in terms of my own self-promotion at 3D outlets.

     

  • _manne__manne_ Posts: 284
    Hey guys per our earlier discussion regarding tools, the enhanced dynamic clothing control is on sale today. Just in case you were wanting to take a look at it. I bought it (yay realism).
  • FirstBastionFirstBastion Posts: 7,320

    Kathyrn,  just a few quick inquirying questions: really broad storke stuff trying to understand customer motivations.  

    Would there be other factors at play beyond just the cover art that would influence the sales figures?  For example, did the best selling cover also coincide with positive reviews or favorable rank listings? I'm thinking it was released first. And then because it is first, and has the most positive likes,  that is the option customers click on when offered the choice.   And if the third cover was a variant, was its timing done well after the initial release,  and though variants work very well for comicbook collectors,  ebook readers may not want to repurchase the same novel a second time just for the new art and the embedded content? I don't know,  but it can be beneficial understanding the customer decision making process,  to make sure what matters to them.   I did notice a "Please Note" disclaimer  with its description of the third book,  could that have had an effect to hinder sales?  Or is there something more basic at play.  The first and third images have a darkness to them, shadow plays a significant role as the title suggests, which would be thematically important ,  but from the customer's point of view,  the second image is bright and the hero is a clean cut traditional handsome highlander and maybe that just appeals more to the traditional female romance reader. 

    Here's my favorite - and the one that goes best with the series.

     

    This is the best seller cover and the one I hate - 

     

     

    And this one I like but doesn't meet genre expectation.

     

     

    So there we go. Now let me get off this thing so it will finish rendering and I'll be able to actually type. lol!

  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited July 2015

    Hey guys! Okay, let me post this real quick (ha!) and get it out of the way then I can post responses.

    How to know when you're dealing with a horse nut - first warning sign - when she's moments from scraping the entire project and putting a toe tag on it, she drops a horse into middle of it. lol! Second warning sign - when she draws or paints the critters she pays attention to even the hair growth patterns.Third warning sign, when she starts talking about the subject of horses she doesn't shut up until someone says - 'shut up, Kath.' blush

     

    Yeah, yeah, I know - sorry guys - but here I go again.

    I was working on Talon and Gwen last night - fighting with this, fighting with that, wash rinse repeat. I got to the point where I solved two problems only to have yet another crop up. I finally got stuff to where I thought I could live it and started the render - and realized I had completely lost my character. The one I was looking at was a complete stranger. He wasn't the hero of my novel and I didn't like him one whit - so he was shown the door and politely escorted out.

    Luckily, I had original hero saved to another file because of the previous headshots posted in this thread. I didn't want to mess up one scene trying to get lighting and camera angles for medium shots on top of headshots. Boy, I'm glad I did that. So dug up that scene and now my original hero is back in the game. But you know what they say - "The definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result." So I mulled over the quandary while visiting Amazon to check on my books. I do that every so often to grab screen caps of rankings and what not (and I've got some for y'all but that's another post). My thoughts in viewing the most recent best sellers in my various sub-genres was - my God - it's a wonder we're not in Sleepy Hollow with all the headless torsos. lol! Seriously - cutting off the head is a quick and dirty way to get your hero on the cover and not worry about hair and eye color. I have one cover like that - but I really don't care for that particular trick. Well silly me, my thought about Sleepy Hollow of course brings to mind the headless horseman - horse - crap.

    *head desk*

    Well, why the hell not? lol! There's headless torsos with swords, weapons, and shields. Don't remember really seeing a bunch of horses. Because a knight isn't a knight without his destrier. (That's what I keep telling myself anyway.)

    So I put the above together. 

    Only a partial render because of the textures. I know I gotta fix hero's eyes too. The horse's fur and the armor texture mats are the ones I created for my Breaking the Siege entry that one the May newbie contest. But those are set for 3Delight - so I gotta fix them for iray. I experimented with the face armor so you can see the in progress results with that. This did result in me discovering why my metal glossy iray shaders were suddenly turning all black. They do that when I turn of the environment or go Scene Only. No matter how I light them with primitives - they aren't going to reflect unless I have the environment on and the intensity turned up to around .30 - .50 at least. That of course ruins my primitive lighting. Surely, there's got to be a work around for that. Anyone know what it is? Anyway, I need to completely redo the horse fur and armor textures - I enjoy doing stuff like that, I just don't know if I'll have the time. But as a side note the more I worked with them today, the more I'd really like to eventually consider doing "official textures" for said horse and armor. I don't know for sure but I think I might have potential (key word there) in that regard. I know the horse is DAZ's so if I do get to that point I would start by asking someone at DAZ if it's okay. But I definitely want some jaw dropping renders to show them at the same time. Knowing my luck, by the time I get up to speed, they'll have oodles of textures for said beastie. But that's neither here nor there right now.

    I've got a couple of directions to go with this. Portrait like - as you see above with various ideas of hero in full armor horsie no head armor, etc. More of an action pose where horsie is trying to charge off and hero is holding him back. But what about our heroine? Gwen's character is turning out nicely and there is the classic romance cover idea... wait a sec - enlightened

    My favorite piece of art of all time -  Pre-Raphaelite - Le Dame Sans Merci. It' actually in the public domain so the art is on my very very first book Primal Entities: Chaos which is no longer available and until I re-write it, it will stay that way! cheeky

     

    Anyways - can't get more classic romance than the above - so I can take my inspiration from that and see what I can come up with.

     

    Sorry we took another left at Albuquerque guys but with me - we'll you'll get used to it (I hope). lol!

    talonandeboncusttexturesportrait1.png
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    Post edited by kathrynloch on
  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    3Don said:

    Kathryn-

    Nope, it wasn't me. I have sold 3D content online since 2000 at 10 different stores. Some are now defunct. And by using my real name (tho sometimes 3Don) my name has been around the WWW. I got into Poser as a means of having a virtual reference studio for 2D illustration. Once I got posing I got hooked on 3D figure work, mostly poses. Advertising was just a diversion for me for a while, but it was a beneficial experience in terms of my own self-promotion at 3D outlets.

     

    Ah I see. Yeah I must have seen the name around the web. Let me ask you this - do you use just a regular mouse when posing? Use the DAZ sliders or the IK type tools? I'm curious because some times posing seems ridiculously tough and other times everything falls into place so easily sometimes it makes me think I might have a clue - haha!  

    _manne_ said:
    Hey guys per our earlier discussion regarding tools, the enhanced dynamic clothing control is on sale today. Just in case you were wanting to take a look at it. I bought it (yay realism).

    Oh dear - I'm in trouble now! lol! Thanks for the heads up! 

    Kathyrn,  just a few quick inquirying questions: really broad storke stuff trying to understand customer motivations.  

    We figure that out - bottle it and sell it - we'd be set for life.

    Would there be other factors at play beyond just the cover art that would influence the sales figures?  For example, did the best selling cover also coincide with positive reviews or favorable rank listings? I'm thinking it was released first. And then because it is first, and has the most positive likes,  that is the option customers click on when offered the choice.   And if the third cover was a variant, was its timing done well after the initial release,  and though variants work very well for comicbook collectors,  ebook readers may not want to repurchase the same novel a second time just for the new art and the embedded content? I don't know,  but it can be beneficial understanding the customer decision making process,  to make sure what matters to them.   I did notice a "Please Note" disclaimer  with its description of the third book,  could that have had an effect to hinder sales?  Or is there something more basic at play.  The first and third images have a darkness to them, shadow plays a significant role as the title suggests, which would be thematically important ,  but from the customer's point of view,  the second image is bright and the hero is a clean cut traditional handsome highlander and maybe that just appeals more to the traditional female romance reader. 

    The foundation of your premise here is correct - the cover I dislike was the first and also abides by all the elements required for the genre - least of which is genre expectation. So it has all the advantages hands down. When it hit 1,000 sold copies (ebook) in the first 24 hours of release - I really didn't think anything would hold a candle to that.

     

    But understand too cover models now have their own fan following and it's amazing just how devout those followings can be. So the variant cover idea was actually a marketing campaign I did and targeted specific fan groups - most of which are already fans of my work on top of it. I promoted the variants and marketed them with a schedule and promoted the artists as well as the models.

     

    Now there was a hitch in the giddyup right out of the gate when the artist for the cover scheduled to be released second had a delay which kinda mucked with the campaign momentum.

     

    My favorite cover was the third variant and that model has by far the biggest following and is on the majority of my covers anyway. In fact, before we had our falling out, last year I was conference coordinator for his big convention in Las Vegas. I had fans who attended that convention and they read the original cover ebook version that came out on release day. Ebooks can be autographed if you sign up for a free service called Authorgraph - and I've signed plenty that way. That's what I was expecting as a result of the marketing campaign, more ebooks sold and more autographs requested through Authorgraph.

     

    My prices for e-books range from $3.99 to $0.99 depending on the market and if I have a sale or campaign going. At that time the market was easily supporting the $3.99 ebook. When I released a variant cover, I increased the price of the preceding books to $3.99 and offered the new one at $0.99 as an "introductory sale". But those I spoke to at the conference told me they specifically bought the print books because of the variant covers in addition to buying the original cover ebook. They also brought the print books to the convention for me to sign - only a handful did that - it's not like I had a line outside the door or anything - but still that told me at least in part the campaign had worked.

     

    I was surprised that instead of going for the ebooks they bought the more expensive print books for the covers. Because of the campaign and because the cover model on that third cover is the most popular out of all of them, I expected that cover to do better than it did as an ebook - it outperformed everything in print books but again I'll sell 100 ebooks to every one print copy. So print copies are definitely NOT my bread and butter. lol!

     

    So I did approach the whole thing with a bit of a methodology and that's why I was expecting that cover to do better than it did. Was I expecting it to do better than the first one? I had hoped it would but wasn't surprised in that regard. I was surprised that it didn't come closer to the original in sales numbers. There's still a very wide margin in that regard. But I totally did NOT expect it to outperform in print however the way it did.

     

    So now do I have everyone completely confused? lol!

  • 3Don3Don Posts: 690

    Ah I see. Yeah I must have seen the name around the web. Let me ask you this - do you use just a regular mouse when posing? Use the DAZ sliders or the IK type tools? I'm curious because some times posing seems ridiculously tough and other times everything falls into place so easily sometimes it makes me think I might have a clue - haha!  

     

    I use a trackball as it is faster and more accurate. I generally use sliders and rarely use IK. Lemme know if you need custom poses, as per my post above.

  • FirstBastionFirstBastion Posts: 7,320
    edited July 2015

    My favorite cover was the third variant and that model has by far the biggest following and is on the majority of my covers anyway. In fact, before we had our falling out, last year I was conference coordinator for his big convention in Las Vegas. I had fans who attended that convention and they read the original cover ebook version that came out on release day. Ebooks can be autographed if you sign up for a free service called Authorgraph - and I've signed plenty that way. That's what I was expecting as a result of the marketing campaign, more ebooks sold and more autographs requested through Authorgraph.

     

    My prices for e-books range from $3.99 to $0.99 depending on the market and if I have a sale or campaign going. At that time the market was easily supporting the $3.99 ebook. When I released a variant cover, I increased the price of the preceding books to $3.99 and offered the new one at $0.99 as an "introductory sale". But those I spoke to at the conference told me they specifically bought the print books because of the variant covers in addition to buying the original cover ebook. They also brought the print books to the convention for me to sign - only a handful did that - it's not like I had a line outside the door or anything - but still that told me at least in part the campaign had worked.

     

    I was surprised that instead of going for the ebooks they bought the more expensive print books for the covers. Because of the campaign and because the cover model on that third cover is the most popular out of all of them, I expected that cover to do better than it did as an ebook - it outperformed everything in print books but again I'll sell 100 ebooks to every one print copy. So print copies are definitely NOT my bread and butter. lol!

     I think that is so cool that customers wanted to buy the physically printed books!  Math wise since the printed books have a higher  price point, even with lower number on units sold,  the revenue might still be reasonable. And thanks for the tidbit regarding cover models having a following.  Didn't know that. 

     

    On a sidenote, I've always liked the artwork of Frank Dicksee and John William Waterhouse.

    Post edited by FirstBastion on
  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited July 2015

     I think that is so cool that customers wanted to buy the physically printed books!  Math wise since the printed books have a higher  price point, even with lower number on units sold,  the revenue might still be reasonable. And thanks for the tidbit regarding cover models having a following.  Didn't know that. 

     

    On a sidenote, I've always liked the artwork of Frank Dicksee and John William Waterhouse.

    True on the price point but that's where it gets complicated. This is why I like KDP because it's basically straight forward (except in certain world markets) because price an ebook at $2.99 or above and you can select the 70% royalty option. Price it at $2.98 or below and it's the 35% royalty option. Now the 70 does come with a download fee which thus far is so tiny its barely calculable. So for each ebook I sell at $2.99, I make about $2.00 in royalties. Each ebook I sale at $0.99 I make $0.35 and $1.99 I make $0.70 - so the $2.99 book is my preferred price point - when the market supports it - lately the $0.99 craze has been a killer! I've been so tempted to write a blog post titled "Step back from the double nines and slowly back away!"

     

    Now print copies I have through Amazon's Createspace and my royalties depend on what market the book sells on. If it sells through Amazon.com I make more than if it sold through a brick and mortar book store. On a $13.99 createspace print book sold through Amazon I make $3.22 but on the exact same book sold through "expanded distribution" (brick and mortar for the most part) I make $0.42.

     

    That's one hell of a difference. lol!

     

    Now for the good news - I discovered this yesterday. Sorry this is a bit hectic because Amazon's ranks change hourly, I grab screenshots whenever I can of certain notable things for my books. But this got so crazy I just had to grab then put a sort of collage together. lol!

    As most of you know there are two important lists on Amazon - the Best Seller list and the Hot New Releases list. My experience over the past three years is that the Hot New Releases list is actually more effective for romance writers than the best seller list. That's because of reader habits - typically romance readers read more books per month on average than other genre readers. Quite a bit more. So most fans of the genre are on the look out for new stuff. That's where the Hot New Releases list comes in. When you already have most of the books on the best seller lists - you gotta find new stuff somehow.

     

    So I go visit the lists and here's what i find:

     

     

    Lately the rage has been multi-author box set. I'm in one, Castles, Knights and Chivalry, with best selling authors Laurel O'Donnell, Elizabeth Rose, and rising star Ruth Kaufman. Right now it's on pre-order slated for release on Aug 1. Well there it is at #4 on the HNR but look at #3. That's my audiobook. AND Demon Laird is the same story that's in the box set. lol! But the real stunner was me paging through that list of 100 books (ebooks, print and audio) and seeing a cover that should look VERY familiar to all of us by now.

     

    Mist Warrior DEBUTS at #26!!! *snoopy dance!*

     

    But wait this gets better because I've never had this happen before.

     

    The next section is the BEST SELLER list for the genre and I see four - wait - one, two, three, four - yup four of my novels on that list at the same time. Okay, Kathryn LeVeque does that - I don't do that. Certain other authors do that because they release box sets or new books every month (don't get me started on how I think they do it - I'm in too good of a mood right now. lol!) They do that - but I don't do that.

     

    Well, I guess I just did. This is definitely a personal best for me!!!

     

    And last but certianly not least - another surprise - my solo box set is STILL on the Scottish best seller list. It's only at 98 but out of the it's stil kickin!

     

    So I'm still doing the Snoopy dance over here. Cue Peanuts theme!

    amazon screen shots personal best 4 books on same list and more.jpg
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    Post edited by kathrynloch on
  • 3dLux3dLux Posts: 1,225
    edited July 2015

    Congrats, Kath and welcome 3Donlaugh

    Don, I'll be contacting you about your proposal; I think it's a great idea cool  

    Can't really post much; am in the airport waiting for the flight to Guam indecision

    Regarding the eyeline cheat, I extrapolated the technique used for shooting an Over The Shoulder shot: when doing an OTS the actor should not be looking at the camera (obviously wink ) nor at the actor they're talking to but at the space between the other actor and the camera yes  I've forgotten why but suffice to say it works smiley

    Post edited by 3dLux on
  • FirstBastionFirstBastion Posts: 7,320

    That is excellent news!  Congratulations Kathryn!  It is always cool when hard work pays off.  And entirely well deserved.  And it is always nice to see a success story. 

     

    Question about the multiauthor box set?  Is that something Amazon decides to assemble? 

  • _manne__manne_ Posts: 284
    edited July 2015

    Kathryn,

    This is great thanks for sharing this is very informative.  Render-wise I'm going to be out of commission this weekend , as real life is majorly intruding.    Ah well, sometimes it happens.  I'll catch back up with all of you come Monday-ish.

    Post edited by _manne_ on
  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited July 2015
    3dLux said:

    Congrats, Kath and welcome 3Donlaugh

    Don, I'll be contacting you about your proposal; I think it's a great idea cool  

    Can't really post much; am in the airport waiting for the flight to Guam indecision

    Regarding the eyeline cheat, I extrapolated the technique used for shooting an Over The Shoulder shot: when doing an OTS the actor should not be looking at the camera (obviously wink ) nor at the actor they're talking to but at the space between the other actor and the camera yes  I've forgotten why but suffice to say it works smiley

    Thanks 3D! I hope you have a safe flight to Guam. Let us know that you got back on the ground safe and sound. 

    That is excellent news!  Congratulations Kathryn!  It is always cool when hard work pays off.  And entirely well deserved.  And it is always nice to see a success story. 

     

    Question about the multiauthor box set?  Is that something Amazon decides to assemble? 

    Thanks so much, First! And y'all were the ones helping me so see what you guys helped achieve? hehe! (I just checked this morn and Mist Warrior hit #15 on that HNR list. Like I said that number changes hourly so it goes up and down through the day.

    Multiauthor box sets are done by the authors. Laurel contacted me and said hey do you want to do this with us. Sure! This is the second set I've done with other authors. The first was with Kathryn LeVeque and Dana D'Angelo. My Legacy box set is just me solo. All three sets have done really well in the past so it's been a good experience for me and introduces my work to new readers.

     

    _manne_ said:

    Kathryn,

    This is great thanks for sharing this is very informative.  Render-wise I'm going to be out of commission this weekend , as real life is majorly intruding.    Ah well, sometimes it happens.  I'll catch back up with all of you come Monday-ish.

    Awww rats - but that's real life for ya. Honestly it might hit here too - I'm not sure yet - but in the meantime we'll save your chair so no one does a seat vulture on you. And I have 1 render for right now.

    I got the horse mats to work with Iray! Yay! Now I get to cover that up with the armor which is going to be a lot tougher.

     

     

    hmmm I wonder if I should enter it in the portrait contest. Something to ponder. ;)

     

    talonandebonnoarmor2.png
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    Post edited by kathrynloch on
  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited July 2015

    Even more fun today - I've been fighting with the horse's armor to turn it iray. I get close but there's still problems. So I went back to the original mats and just used the iray base. I'll keep working but for now an updated render with the horse armor because I'm carrying the scene forward - multiple draft revisions you might say. ;)

    talonandebonwitharmorportrait1.png
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    Post edited by kathrynloch on
  • ChoholeChohole Posts: 33,604

    You need some contrast between his hair and the horse colour, imo

  • _manne__manne_ Posts: 284
    edited July 2015
    Chohole said:

    You need some contrast between his hair and the horse colour, imo

     

    Ha couldn't stay away, just popped in for a sec.

    Yeah something to make his head stand out a bit.  Possibly even a back light pointed right on his head and not on the horse would do it.

    What's going on with your shaders? Is it just wiping out the detail when you appy it to the armour?  Are you holding down the control key when you apply the shader and telling it to ignore?  I do that sometimes when I want to maintain my MAT's.  Also if you were using a little displacement in your shader for your armour it would really make the design stand out 3d, that would be cool. 

    BTW, I think the 2nd render is definitely showing improvement.

     

    Post edited by _manne_ on
  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited July 2015
    Chohole said:

    You need some contrast between his hair and the horse colour, imo

    I totally missed that! lol! Thanks Cho! 

    _manne_ said:
    Chohole said:

    You need some contrast between his hair and the horse colour, imo

     

    Ha couldn't stay away, just popped in for a sec.

    Yeah something to make his head stand out a bit.  Possibly even a back light pointed right on his head and not on the horse would do it.

    What's going on with your shaders? Is it just wiping out the detail when you appy it to the armour?  Are you holding down the control key when you apply the shader and telling it to ignore?  I do that sometimes when I want to maintain my MAT's.  Also if you were using a little displacement in your shader for your armour it would really make the design stand out 3d, that would be cool. 

    BTW, I think the 2nd render is definitely showing improvement.

     

    lol! Awesome! Hope you can sneak in more this weekend. 

    I like the light idea for the hair.

    Shaders - ha! Well, that's only part of it. You see with horsie stuff I'm customizing the textures too. The latest render I posted above has the standard armor textures for the horse. Of course they're made for 3Delight so I think they look even worse with iray.

     

    I'm using various textures to make the metal a lighter silver blue. so it will look better on the horse, but I also am redoing the etching on the metal with celtic knotwork. A lot of what you're looking at I hand painted in photoshop. Silly me, I can't leave it to just one simple problem - I have to compound it with even more variables! lol 

     

    A lot of times I'm rendering just to see how my new textures look on the horse and there will be problems with the brushed metal texture scaling correctly or whatever. I hit everything with the iray default shader but I put my custom diffuse colors in but typically leave the spec and bump. I have mixed mats plus I was jacking with the iray shaders on top of everything. 

     

    I'm very happy the horse's coat finally worked. You can see on the image the original black coat on the left and the smart layers I've been working on so I don't muck up the original on the right. But even in 3Delight, I don't care for the original black color. It's way too light and to me it looks more like a roan or a gray than a solid black. I've got a ton of horse colors and armor mats I've been working on plus I've got new colors planned.

     

    It's basically a perfect storm of variables which is why the shaders look funny.

    (Images removed due to copyright.  It is recommended that you show the results of your textures in a render to avoid possible copyright violation by showing textures where it is unknown if they were partial or full modifications.)

    Post edited by Cris Palomino on
  • 3Don3Don Posts: 690

    Aaahhh! I finally got my PA Banner and store link fixed in these new forums. 

    Here is a link to my favorite set of poses in the DAZ Galleries.

    http://www.daz3d.com/gallery/#images/77283/

  • _manne__manne_ Posts: 284
    I'm using various textures to make the metal a lighter silver blue. so it will look better on the horse, but I also am redoing the etching on the metal with celtic knotwork. A lot of what you're looking at I hand painted in photoshop. Silly me, I can't leave it to just one simple problem - I have to compound it with even more variables! lol 

     

    A lot of times I'm rendering just to see how my new textures look on the horse and there will be problems with the brushed metal texture scaling correctly or whatever. I hit everything with the iray default shader but I put my custom diffuse colors in but typically leave the spec and bump. I have mixed mats plus I was jacking with the iray shaders on top of everything. 

     

    I'm very happy the horse's coat finally worked. You can see on the image the original black coat on the left and the smart layers I've been working on so I don't muck up the original on the right. But even in 3Delight, I don't care for the original black color. It's way too light and to me it looks more like a roan or a gray than a solid black. I've got a ton of horse colors and armor mats I've been working on plus I've got new colors planned.

     

    It's basically a perfect storm of variables which is why the shaders look funny.

    Ok so here's the deal with the armour: Kathryn, you probably already know this, but I'll got over it just in case other people don't.  Although I am POSTIVE FirstBastion could school us all on this. 

    Disclaimer: this is not my advice, I found it on the internet, BUT it works in a pinch. 

    1. Once you get your custom textures done,
    2. desaturate and save as the bump map (usually the name of your texture followed by b) 
    3. then invert your bump map and save as the spec map (usually the name of your texture followed by s). Adjust your darks and lights so you have good contrast. 
    4. Now plug your bump map into the base bump (just click the arrow down button for anyone who didn't know and browse to your saved image)
    5. For a quick displacement map, just use the spec map you've saved.  Plug it into the displacement strength and
    6. then set the settings to whatever ends up looking good (see attached for reference).
    7. Displacement map will actually raise and lower the geometry of the mesh, bump of course just changes the bump and makes it appear to go up and down rather than changing geometry.

    Sorry long post, and I'm feeling a little punch-drunk so hopefully this made sense.  Kathryn, if you'll put your armour up somewhere, I'd be happy to look at it when I had a chance.

    spec_bump.jpg
    1248 x 845 - 548K
  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    _manne_ said:
    I'm using various textures to make the metal a lighter silver blue. so it will look better on the horse, but I also am redoing the etching on the metal with celtic knotwork. A lot of what you're looking at I hand painted in photoshop. Silly me, I can't leave it to just one simple problem - I have to compound it with even more variables! lol 

     

    A lot of times I'm rendering just to see how my new textures look on the horse and there will be problems with the brushed metal texture scaling correctly or whatever. I hit everything with the iray default shader but I put my custom diffuse colors in but typically leave the spec and bump. I have mixed mats plus I was jacking with the iray shaders on top of everything. 

     

    I'm very happy the horse's coat finally worked. You can see on the image the original black coat on the left and the smart layers I've been working on so I don't muck up the original on the right. But even in 3Delight, I don't care for the original black color. It's way too light and to me it looks more like a roan or a gray than a solid black. I've got a ton of horse colors and armor mats I've been working on plus I've got new colors planned.

     

    It's basically a perfect storm of variables which is why the shaders look funny.

    Ok so here's the deal with the armour: Kathryn, you probably already know this, but I'll got over it just in case other people don't.  Although I am POSTIVE FirstBastion could school us all on this. 

    Disclaimer: this is not my advice, I found it on the internet, BUT it works in a pinch. 

    1. Once you get your custom textures done,
    2. desaturate and save as the bump map (usually the name of your texture followed by b) 
    3. then invert your bump map and save as the spec map (usually the name of your texture followed by s). Adjust your darks and lights so you have good contrast. 
    4. Now plug your bump map into the base bump (just click the arrow down button for anyone who didn't know and browse to your saved image)
    5. For a quick displacement map, just use the spec map you've saved.  Plug it into the displacement strength and
    6. then set the settings to whatever ends up looking good (see attached for reference).
    7. Displacement map will actually raise and lower the geometry of the mesh, bump of course just changes the bump and makes it appear to go up and down rather than changing geometry.

    Sorry long post, and I'm feeling a little punch-drunk so hopefully this made sense.  Kathryn, if you'll put your armour up somewhere, I'd be happy to look at it when I had a chance. 

     

     

    First - woops - sorry for the goof Cris - thanks for the note explaining.

    @3Don -  I sent ya a PM. 

    Manne - thank you so much - you are such a dear heart - but there's another way to do that too if you have one of the more recent versions of Photoshop. I'm using CC 2015. I'll explain what I do - I just haven't gotten there yet.

    The key point is step 1 - finishing the custom texture. Next I save the custom file twice, and name like Manne has above, one file "armor_diff" and the second "armor_spec" but that spec file isn't a spec file yet - it's just a diffuse named differently but from here I can get the bump, normals, and spec and photoshop does most of the work. So once I have those two files saved, here's what I do to create needed images.

    I start in DAZ because I want my customizations UV mapped on their own (besides I think changing the UV's helps avoid copyright problems too - not sure tho double check on your specific project).

    1. Export the geometry from DAZ as an obj file. Because I have more than one item in the scene, I turned off everything else and exported just the armor. If you do that make sure the Ignore Invisible Nodes on the export dialog is checked.
    2. Open the obj in Photoshop - if it doesn't switch to the 3D workspace switch it under Windows/Workspace/3D.
    3. When you open the obj in PS make sure your units translate (e.g. Centimeters =  Centimeters etc)
    4. After the obj file loads, in the 3D panel, filter everything by clicking on the Mesh icon. When you click on a mesh on the resulting list it will open the Material Properties for it. This is where the magic happens.
    5. In the Material Properties panel you will see Diffuse, Specular, etc at the top. Next to these is a little file icon. First for Diffuse click the file icon and from the pull down menu select Replace Texture.
    6. Find find your custom texture that you named for the diffuse, select it and click Open. You should see the texture appear on your selected mesh. After you do this the first time, the name of your texture mesh will appear in the pull down list. I select any remaining meshes on the screen, right click, pull down, select file name, and continue - it's faster. But you don't have to do every mesh part at once you can do them one at a time if you want.
    7. MOST IMPORTANT STEP - SAVE THE PHOTOSHOP FILE!!!!!! I make my own directories for this stuff so it's easier for me to find.
    8. Once you've saved the file pull up your Mesh Properties again. Your meshes should have nice pretty colors on them now. ;) On the Mesh Properties go down to where it says Bump and has a slider bar. At the end of the slider is a file icon. Click on the icon for the pull down menu. On this it has an option at the bottom Generate Bumps from Diffuse. Click that.
    9. The more recent versions of Photoshop will process for a bit then pull up a  new screen - other versions just go straight to creating the bump and if yours is anything like mine it will crash when it does this. This is why we save quickly and save often. lol!
    10. For the newer versions with the Bump Map Screen - here's what I do. I usually let things go with the default except for the Contrast Details. It looks a little bit like a black and white histogram but there are arrows with High, Medium and Low. Slide these arrow so High is of course High and Medium is in the middle and Low is low. This is the contrast between the various bump levels and I like this result the best but feel free to experiment and find what you like best. As you adjust these you'll see your bump map on screen change. Notice also it adjusts all the UV mapping for you when you're doing this part.
    11. Click okay prepare for Photoshop to crash. It didn't? Yay! Save it! Save it fast! (I think with mine, Photoshop does something of a memory overrun here and my EMET program shuts it down so you may not have a problem.) If it does crash simply open your saved file and do the bump again. It should go through the steps and not crash if you don't muck about with anything else. But at this point your bump is generated SAVE - SAVE twice just to be sure! lol!
    12. Go back to your materials property panel. Down at the bottom is Normals click the file icon. Once again you will see an option on the pull down - Generate Normals from Diffuse. Not everyone has a normal if they have a bump but I like having one. It's entirely optional if you want to create one but the steps are the same as for the bump. 
    13. SAVE FILE because mine crashes here just like it does for the bump. But I have the exact same thing that I did for the bump. Photoshop will generate the normals file for you easy peasy.
    14. After that I go back to the Material Properties panel and I've got my bumps and normals in place everything looks nice. I have of course saved the file - twice. lol! I go to the Specular right under diffuse and again click the file icon and select Load Texture. (you can do this before the bumps and normals doesn't matter what order) I select the custom texture file that I named for specular.
    15. Once it loads go back to the pull down and click Edit Texture. It will open the texture itself.  If you're seing the UV mesh, uncheck the box in the properties panel on the right so it's not in your way. From here you'll see the custom texture you created. I follow steps similar to what Manne listed. I select the Hue Saturation Lightness Adjustments which puts a new adjustment layer on top of everything and completely desaturate, bringing the saturation slider all the way down so the image is black and white.
    16. Then select Brightness/Contrast from the adjustments panel and fiddle with the sliders so you get a nice black and white contrast going. Once you're happy, all you have to do is close the texture you're editing and Photoshop will ask if you want to save it. If you're happy with the results so far click Yes. It will then load your new spec file and you have a full mat ready to go. 
    17. Save it again! lol!
    18. Now go to your 3D menu option and select Export 3D layer. Export the mesh as an obj file, but honestly, we could care less about the mesh because it's still in DAZ sitting pretty. You can us it if you want but I don't mess with it after this. I'm using this option to export my newly created spec, bump, and normals in the file format I want. I usually select jpg but you can use the photoshop format too. After it exports I close photoshop and go back to DAZ
    19. If you want to use the mesh you exported from photoshop you can import it like any other, but I open my file and go to my mesh - in this case my horsie armor. I open the surfaces tab and like Manne described I put my texture maps in place. Diffuse, specular, bump and/or normals.

    From here comes all the adjusting - but you have your maps in place and Photoshop generated everything and created custom UV maps while it worked. It looks like a lot of steps but that's simply finding the menu options to click on, it's really straightforward once you start the process. Click, click, save, click click save. lol!

    And ya know - after writing all of this - I just realized maybe I should make a little tut out of it with screencaps and put it on my deviantART account.

    I dunno - do y'all think folks will find it helpful?

    When I get my files in place Manne, I DEFINITELY want to compare notes on settings and stuff because I think that's where the issue lurks.

  • 3dLux3dLux Posts: 1,225

    Hi Kath smiley

    Just a quick hello to let y'all know we made it safe and that the flight was uneventful although takeoff was delayed for what seemed like an hour because of traffic no  There were a number of other delayed flights, so the tarmac was busy frown

    Anyhoo, we're here for the inauguration of Guam Regional Medical City, the first (and so far only) private hospital here.  It's being run by The Medical City.  I won't hijack this thread by saying more blush

    There was a bit of a scare because my middle brother, who took ill after he arrived took a turn for the worse and wound up being the hospital's first patient prior to its inauguration on Monday.  And as irony would have it, he's a doctor laugh  As of this writing his condition is now good and should be discharged in the morning yes

    Have been following the thread and will respond when I ge back home.  Am jonesing to do some renders cool

  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    3dLux said:

    Hi Kath smiley

    Just a quick hello to let y'all know we made it safe and that the flight was uneventful although takeoff was delayed for what seemed like an hour because of traffic no  There were a number of other delayed flights, so the tarmac was busy frown

    Anyhoo, we're here for the inauguration of Guam Regional Medical City, the first (and so far only) private hospital here.  It's being run by The Medical City.  I won't hijack this thread by saying more blush

    There was a bit of a scare because my middle brother, who took ill after he arrived took a turn for the worse and wound up being the hospital's first patient prior to its inauguration on Monday.  And as irony would have it, he's a doctor laugh  As of this writing his condition is now good and should be discharged in the morning yes

    Have been following the thread and will respond when I ge back home.  Am jonesing to do some renders cool

    Oh wow 3D your brother is in my thoughts and prayers. Glad to hear he's doing better and at least the care he needed was right there when he needed it. (My mom is a retired nurse - from what I hear both doctors and nurses make the worst patients! lol!) But I do hope he's back on his feet soon. Enjoy the dedication and be safe! yes 

  • 3Don3Don Posts: 690

    Kathryn-

    Your message finally showed up. Lemme know if you got it.

    -DA

  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378

    Hi Don - I got it and just replied via email! Thank you! laugh

  • vex3d_22560vex3d_22560 Posts: 130
     

    Manne - thank you so much - you are such a dear heart - but there's another way to do that too if you have one of the more recent versions of Photoshop. I'm using CC 2015. I'll explain what I do - I just haven't gotten there yet.

    The key point is step 1 - finishing the custom texture. Next I save the custom file twice, and name like Manne has above, one file "armor_diff" and the second "armor_spec" but that spec file isn't a spec file yet - it's just a diffuse named differently but from here I can get the bump, normals, and spec and photoshop does most of the work. So once I have those two files saved, here's what I do to create needed images.

    I start in DAZ because I want my customizations UV mapped on their own (besides I think changing the UV's helps avoid copyright problems too - not sure tho double check on your specific project).

    1. Export the geometry from DAZ as an obj file. Because I have more than one item in the scene, I turned off everything else and exported just the armor. If you do that make sure the Ignore Invisible Nodes on the export dialog is checked.
    2. Open the obj in Photoshop - if it doesn't switch to the 3D workspace switch it under Windows/Workspace/3D.
    3. When you open the obj in PS make sure your units translate (e.g. Centimeters =  Centimeters etc)
    4. After the obj file loads, in the 3D panel, filter everything by clicking on the Mesh icon. When you click on a mesh on the resulting list it will open the Material Properties for it. This is where the magic happens.
    5. In the Material Properties panel you will see Diffuse, Specular, etc at the top. Next to these is a little file icon. First for Diffuse click the file icon and from the pull down menu select Replace Texture.
    6. Find find your custom texture that you named for the diffuse, select it and click Open. You should see the texture appear on your selected mesh. After you do this the first time, the name of your texture mesh will appear in the pull down list. I select any remaining meshes on the screen, right click, pull down, select file name, and continue - it's faster. But you don't have to do every mesh part at once you can do them one at a time if you want.
    7. MOST IMPORTANT STEP - SAVE THE PHOTOSHOP FILE!!!!!! I make my own directories for this stuff so it's easier for me to find.
    8. Once you've saved the file pull up your Mesh Properties again. Your meshes should have nice pretty colors on them now. ;) On the Mesh Properties go down to where it says Bump and has a slider bar. At the end of the slider is a file icon. Click on the icon for the pull down menu. On this it has an option at the bottom Generate Bumps from Diffuse. Click that.
    9. The more recent versions of Photoshop will process for a bit then pull up a  new screen - other versions just go straight to creating the bump and if yours is anything like mine it will crash when it does this. This is why we save quickly and save often. lol!
    10. For the newer versions with the Bump Map Screen - here's what I do. I usually let things go with the default except for the Contrast Details. It looks a little bit like a black and white histogram but there are arrows with High, Medium and Low. Slide these arrow so High is of course High and Medium is in the middle and Low is low. This is the contrast between the various bump levels and I like this result the best but feel free to experiment and find what you like best. As you adjust these you'll see your bump map on screen change. Notice also it adjusts all the UV mapping for you when you're doing this part.
    11. Click okay prepare for Photoshop to crash. It didn't? Yay! Save it! Save it fast! (I think with mine, Photoshop does something of a memory overrun here and my EMET program shuts it down so you may not have a problem.) If it does crash simply open your saved file and do the bump again. It should go through the steps and not crash if you don't muck about with anything else. But at this point your bump is generated SAVE - SAVE twice just to be sure! lol!
    12. Go back to your materials property panel. Down at the bottom is Normals click the file icon. Once again you will see an option on the pull down - Generate Normals from Diffuse. Not everyone has a normal if they have a bump but I like having one. It's entirely optional if you want to create one but the steps are the same as for the bump. 
    13. SAVE FILE because mine crashes here just like it does for the bump. But I have the exact same thing that I did for the bump. Photoshop will generate the normals file for you easy peasy.
    14. After that I go back to the Material Properties panel and I've got my bumps and normals in place everything looks nice. I have of course saved the file - twice. lol! I go to the Specular right under diffuse and again click the file icon and select Load Texture. (you can do this before the bumps and normals doesn't matter what order) I select the custom texture file that I named for specular.
    15. Once it loads go back to the pull down and click Edit Texture. It will open the texture itself.  If you're seing the UV mesh, uncheck the box in the properties panel on the right so it's not in your way. From here you'll see the custom texture you created. I follow steps similar to what Manne listed. I select the Hue Saturation Lightness Adjustments which puts a new adjustment layer on top of everything and completely desaturate, bringing the saturation slider all the way down so the image is black and white.
    16. Then select Brightness/Contrast from the adjustments panel and fiddle with the sliders so you get a nice black and white contrast going. Once you're happy, all you have to do is close the texture you're editing and Photoshop will ask if you want to save it. If you're happy with the results so far click Yes. It will then load your new spec file and you have a full mat ready to go. 
    17. Save it again! lol!
    18. Now go to your 3D menu option and select Export 3D layer. Export the mesh as an obj file, but honestly, we could care less about the mesh because it's still in DAZ sitting pretty. You can us it if you want but I don't mess with it after this. I'm using this option to export my newly created spec, bump, and normals in the file format I want. I usually select jpg but you can use the photoshop format too. After it exports I close photoshop and go back to DAZ
    19. If you want to use the mesh you exported from photoshop you can import it like any other, but I open my file and go to my mesh - in this case my horsie armor. I open the surfaces tab and like Manne described I put my texture maps in place. Diffuse, specular, bump and/or normals.

    From here comes all the adjusting - but you have your maps in place and Photoshop generated everything and created custom UV maps while it worked. It looks like a lot of steps but that's simply finding the menu options to click on, it's really straightforward once you start the process. Click, click, save, click click save. lol!

    And ya know - after writing all of this - I just realized maybe I should make a little tut out of it with screencaps and put it on my deviantART account.

    I dunno - do y'all think folks will find it helpful?

    When I get my files in place Manne, I DEFINITELY want to compare notes on settings and stuff because I think that's where the issue lurks.

    IS there a difference between loading the obj with the textures on it, vs just opening the texture and using "Generate Bump Map" or "Generate Normal Map" ?

  • kathrynlochkathrynloch Posts: 378
    edited July 2015
    vex3d said:
     

    IS there a difference between loading the obj with the textures on it, vs just opening the texture and using "Generate Bump Map" or "Generate Normal Map" ?

    Hi Vex3d! You mean just open the texture file directly in photoshop and try from there?

    Unless you make the texture a 3D mesh itself, Photoshop won't let you generate them. I've tried making the texture image a "postcard" mesh and generating from there but the UV's don't line up as nicely and they usually end up wonky somehow. because you're not getting the curves from the actual mesh.  

    Here's a quick screenshot of what the bump map looks like in Photoshop. Since I had to do this for my my scene anyway, I went ahead and grabbed screenshots while I was at it.

    I hope I understood your question correctly. If I didn't just let me know and I'll try again. laugh

     

    14 Generate Bump Map.PNG
    926 x 696 - 149K
    Post edited by kathrynloch on
  • Saba TaruSaba Taru Posts: 170

    Unless you make the texture a 3D mesh itself, Photoshop won't let you generate them. I've tried making the texture image a "postcard" mesh and generating from there but the UV's don't line up as nicely and they usually end up wonky somehow. because you're not getting the curves from the actual mesh.  

    Here's a quick screenshot of what the bump map looks like in Photoshop. Since I had to do this for my my scene anyway, I went ahead and grabbed screenshots while I was at it.

    Good morning!

    Please forgive the intrusion. I tend to lurk more than post, but I'm curious. I generate bump and normal maps using the Photoshop filter (Filter menu --> 3D --> Generate Bump Maps / Generate Normal Maps) all the time without it converting my texture files to a 3D mesh first. In 2015 I load my texture file (not a 3D .obj file) and get the same generate window you show in your image, but if you change the Object drop down in the lower left hand corner to Diffuse Texture (it's the one at the very bottom of the list... can't remember what it's called without opening PS), make your selections, and then click OK, it works without weirdness when used in DS or Poser (for me at least).

    I would like to understand your process (because I don't work with 3D objects in Photoshop and it's an interesting topic), but like Vex, I'm not seeing the difference between the two methodologies, so any additional enlightenment you can provide would be greatly appreciated. smiley

  • _manne__manne_ Posts: 284
    edited July 2015

    Howdy all.  Ok so maybe I had a little more time than I thought I would.  Taking another stab at font placement and coloring.  Crits appreciated.


    lethe_cover.jpg
    1235 x 2000 - 2M
    Post edited by _manne_ on
  • cherpenbeckcherpenbeck Posts: 1,409

    Looks marvelous if seen big, but the thumbnail is no good, neither readable, nor can I make out that there's a person.

    It would be better if the angels head  had no contact with the sky on the right side und would thus look more defined, better recognizable as a head.

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