Dracorn's Render Thread

dracorndracorn Posts: 1,603
edited May 2017 in Art Studio

Render Diaries

[Edit]  Please see my Render Diaries below, where I explain the process, challenges and solutions to create specific renders.  I want to give back so others may benefit from the things I have learned.

My renders are in 3Delight, but there is much more information other than the render engine, so take a look!

1) "Bishop Takes Queen."  February 2016 New User's Contest, 2nd Place.

      https://www.daz3d.com/forums/discussion/comment/1122126/#Comment_1122126

2) "Mandala - Mermaids."  April 2016 New User's Contest, 2nd Place.  My most popular render.

     https://www.daz3d.com/forums/discussion/comment/1153056/#Comment_1153056

Character Creation - White Elf. 

This chronicals my efforts to create a custom white elf character, beginning with a merchant resource.

https://www.daz3d.com/forums/discussion/comment/2379946/#Comment_2379946

 


So I finally decided to open up a thread with my renders. 

When I first became involved with DAZ Studio, I had an old computer that just didn't have the power to do much besides a figure with no background.  32-bit D/S kept crashing over and over.  I had added 2 more GB RAM for a total of 4GB, though I couldn't use all of it, and there was some incompatibility, so it was crash, reload, try to render, crash again, then blue screen of death...

It wasn't until September 2015 that I had finally saved enough money to buy my new computer, so until then, much of what I learned to do was spin dials and play with diffuse.  Got pretty good at it.

So I'll start with my very first render.  Notice that I couldn't even load all the costume pieces!  The second pic was done with my new computer.

She's Genesis 1, rendered in 3Delight. 

 

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Comments

  • dracorndracorn Posts: 1,603
    edited January 2016

    Here's another one to show my dial-spinning.  I started with Victoria 5 - my elves have slanted eyes.  I actually morphed her eyes so much that I had to adjust the eyeballs... there was a gap between the eyeball and the lid.

    I messed with the diffuse to get the golden skin color. 

    Rendered in 3Delight with a simple colored background and the default lighting. 

    Marellian Mishka 800 06.jpg
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  • algovincianalgovincian Posts: 1,366

    Nice renders, dracorn - keep 'em coming! What hair is that?

    - Greg

  • dracorndracorn Posts: 1,603

    Nice renders, dracorn - keep 'em coming! What hair is that?

    - Greg

    Thank you! These are my early ones. I decided to show how my art has progressed. The hair is Mishka for G2F from Runtime DNA.
  • IceDragonArtIceDragonArt Posts: 9,325

    Looks good!  Love the golden skin tones.

  • dracorndracorn Posts: 1,603
    edited January 2016

    This was the second render I had done.  The outfit was perfect except for the rediculous peek-a-boo hole in the side.  Seriously, can you imagine trying to line up the hole of the shirt with the jacket? 

    Old computer, 3Delight, Victoria 5, Skies of Reality, Jepe's SpecialZ.

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  • dracorndracorn Posts: 1,603
    edited January 2016

    This was one of my best renders with the old computer - and one of my best character transformations.

    The concept was a dark faerie princess - the Princess of the Night.  So I added blue to the subsurfaces for skin like the night sky, darkened the sclera, and gave her white glowing irises to imitate the moon.  The expression is how she feels about us mere mortals...

    This took so much power for my poor old computer that she isn't wearing anything else besides what you see here!  Nothing but the default lighting - 'cause if I added one more thing, it crashed!

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  • dracorndracorn Posts: 1,603
    edited January 2016

    Fast Forward to my powerhouse computer, and a full scene for the Princess of the Night.

    I wanted the castle to have an unwelcome feeling, hence the cold light, except for the torch held by the big guard coming down the stairs.  I wanted the windows lighted, but the model was limited.  So I made them glow with ambient.  Looking back, I suppose I could have made them semi-transparent and put a light behind... except I remember the lattice work was not a separate texture and that might have looked funny.

    There was some distortion when I tried to post the large picture, so I left it as a thumbnail. 

    Princess of the Night Layers 02.jpg
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  • dracorndracorn Posts: 1,603
    edited January 2016

    Here's a close up of the Princess of the Night.

    She's got point lights all around her - that was the only way to bring out the blue shimmer in her outfit.  It did make for a weird pink glow at her feet and a shadow going the wrong direction, though.  Probably should have cleaned it up in GIMP, but as I am a newbie with that, the best I could do at the time (without wrecking it) was add a little fog at the castle gate and a circle/star over her hand.

     

     

    Princess of the Night Layers 02 Close up.jpg
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  • dracorndracorn Posts: 1,603
    edited January 2016

    I just finished this one.

    I started with M5 and man, did I spin dials on this one!  I used little bits of Leon & the Night, Freak, plus the Head Morph Resource Kits for Genesis.

    Next I had to convert Alfred for G2M skin to Genesis ('cause I wanted a skin with no eyebrows), and played around with the subsurface settings to get the dark color.  I added Alfred's brows since it was the only way to get red eyebrows.  The teeth are a combination of Leon Night for the top and Creature Creator for the bottom.  I mixed DD Resource Ears morphs for the pointed ears.  Next I used Echo's eyelashes for longer and thicker lashes and made those red.  That's what I love about G1 - I could use the girl's resources on the guys.  The hair is SAV's Alpha Moikana.

     

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  • SaphirewildSaphirewild Posts: 2,884
    dracorn said:

    I just finished this one.

    I started with M5 and man, did I spin dials on this one!  I used little bits of Leon & the Night, Freak, plus the Head Morph Resource Kits for Genesis.

    Next I had to convert Alfred for G2M skin to Genesis ('cause I wanted a skin with no eyebrows), and played around with the subsurface settings to get the dark color.  I added Alfred's brows since it was the only way to get red eyebrows.  The teeth are a combination of Leon Night for the top and Creature Creator for the bottom.  I mixed DD Resource Ears morphs for the pointed ears.  Next I used Echo's eyelashes for longer and thicker lashes and made those red.  That's what I love about G1 - I could use the girl's resources on the guys.  The hair is SAV's Alpha Moikana.

     

    Wow what an amazing job on this render Dracorn!! I so would not want to meet this guy in a dark alley (Shivers a lil)

  • dracorndracorn Posts: 1,603
    edited January 2016

    I'm getting better at postwork!  Done in GIMP. 

    I smoothed out the ridge distortion between his eyes, removed the eyebrow distortion (caused by morphing the face so much that Alfred's brows distorted below the inner part of the brow), cleaned up the sleeve edge, removed the unwanted highlight on the shoulder and added a candle flame (credit Obsidian Dawn for the free brush, thanks), and darkened the bottom of the candles so that only the tops are glowing. 

     

    Krek Darr Jhinn Postwork Final.jpg
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  • SaphirewildSaphirewild Posts: 2,884
    dracorn said:

    I'm getting better at postwork!  Done in GIMP. 

    I smoothed out the ridge distortion between his eyes, removed the eyebrow distortion (caused by morphing the face so much that Alfred's brows distorted below the inner part of the brow), cleaned up the sleeve edge, removed the unwanted highlight on the shoulder and added a candle flame (credit Obsidian Dawn for the free brush, thanks), and darkened the bottom of the candles so that only the tops are glowing. 

     

    Major improvements Dracorn, you really do an amzing job on your morphing!!

  • dracorndracorn Posts: 1,603

    Thanks Saphirewild.  laugh

    For the longest time, that's about all I could do with my poor 'ole computer.  I buy characters for their skin - because I can create any face or body type I want, so I'm not easily swayed by yet another DAZ character.  I even have some skins for characters I don't own!  I find that spinning dials can really stretch my inventory.

    My next project is eyebrows.  I really want some slanted brows for my elves - everyone has human curved brows.  I tried to paint my own but that looked fake.  So I picked up some merchant resources for brows, and I need to warp them.  GIMP's cage transform tool just doesn't do what I want; it doesn't show the live picture like Photoshop's warp tool and is just harder to use.  I'm seriously thinking about getting a subscription to Photoshop CC - for ten bucks a month I couldn't touch the price of Photoshop or its upgrades.


    If you are interested in learning character morphing within DAZ Studio via dial spinning, let me know and I would be happy to put together a couple of tutorials.

     

  • dracorndracorn Posts: 1,603
    edited February 2016

    This is my entry for the January New User Contenst.  Still wating the results...

    Rendered in 3Delight using Advanced Ambient Light and Advaned Spotlight - and a whole lotta plants.

    Title:  Distracted Prey

    Distracted Prey 01-16-16 1900.jpg
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  • Really like your princess of the night they look great.  And the post work done on the dark elf added that extra something that finished it just right.  Still awaiting the January contest results as well lol.

    Have you looked at the Sim Tenero Randomizer yet?  I haven't purchased a new character since lol.  Probably one of the single best investments I have made here along with the skin builder.

  • dracorndracorn Posts: 1,603

    Thanks for your complements! 

    I must have been busy and have never seen the Sim Tenero Randomizer - just looked at it.  Very interesting indeed; I can see where people would just love this thing.  However, I have always been a dial-spinner and have modified every character I have ever purchased and almost never use them out of the box.  I buy characters for skin and makeup options and create my own.  In fact, I often mess around with the subsurfaces to modify the skin tone - even though I have skin builder.  The lady with the golden skin tone is just such a creation. 

    In fact, you are about to see one of my best creations - the captain who's just lost his queen in my entry for the February contest. 

  • SaphirewildSaphirewild Posts: 2,884
    dracorn said:

    Thanks Saphirewild.  laugh

    For the longest time, that's about all I could do with my poor 'ole computer.  I buy characters for their skin - because I can create any face or body type I want, so I'm not easily swayed by yet another DAZ character.  I even have some skins for characters I don't own!  I find that spinning dials can really stretch my inventory.

    My next project is eyebrows.  I really want some slanted brows for my elves - everyone has human curved brows.  I tried to paint my own but that looked fake.  So I picked up some merchant resources for brows, and I need to warp them.  GIMP's cage transform tool just doesn't do what I want; it doesn't show the live picture like Photoshop's warp tool and is just harder to use.  I'm seriously thinking about getting a subscription to Photoshop CC - for ten bucks a month I couldn't touch the price of Photoshop or its upgrades.


    If you are interested in learning character morphing within DAZ Studio via dial spinning, let me know and I would be happy to put together a couple of tutorials.

     

    Your very welcome Dracorn, I would love to learn Morphing from you once I get the Morphs+++ from Daz Shop. I will let you know when that happens.

  • dracorn said:

    Fast Forward to my powerhouse computer, and a full scene for the Princess of the Night.

    I wanted the castle to have an unwelcome feeling, hence the cold light, except for the torch held by the big guard coming down the stairs.  I wanted the windows lighted, but the model was limited.  So I made them glow with ambient.  Looking back, I suppose I could have made them semi-transparent and put a light behind... except I remember the lattice work was not a separate texture and that might have looked funny.

    There was some distortion when I tried to post the large picture, so I left it as a thumbnail. 

    I really like this one.  You did an excellent job.  Really good use of colors and lighting.

  • dracorn said:

    Thanks for your complements! 

    I must have been busy and have never seen the Sim Tenero Randomizer - just looked at it.  Very interesting indeed; I can see where people would just love this thing.  However, I have always been a dial-spinner and have modified every character I have ever purchased and almost never use them out of the box.  I buy characters for skin and makeup options and create my own.  In fact, I often mess around with the subsurfaces to modify the skin tone - even though I have skin builder.  The lady with the golden skin tone is just such a creation. 

    In fact, you are about to see one of my best creations - the captain who's just lost his queen in my entry for the February contest. 

    Awesome look forward to it!  I think what I like about the randomizer is the excitement of not knowing exactly what I am going to get lol.  But I may spend some time spinning dials myself one of these days just to see what I can do.. Now that I am feeling a bit more comfortable with the program.

  • dracorndracorn Posts: 1,603
    Once the February contest is over, I was thinking about showcasing the captain and what I used to create him.
  • dracorn said:
    Once the February contest is over, I was thinking about showcasing the captain and what I used to create him.

    That would be very cool!

  • SaphirewildSaphirewild Posts: 2,884

    I am so looking forward to either reading your tutorial or watching it on youtube :D

  • dracorndracorn Posts: 1,603

    Yeah, gotta think about how I'm going to do that.  I have software to record the screen, but need to find out if I have audio.  Then I will have to contend with background noise - I have to happy little parakeets who love to sing!

  • dracorndracorn Posts: 1,603
    edited April 2016

    OK, so I've been busy with contests and learning Photoshop and pretty neglectful of my render thread.  So if you can forgive me, I will try to make amends.  Sometimes I just experiment with stuff, so here goes:

    I'm just having fun here with a superhero... something pink and girly. 

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  • dracorndracorn Posts: 1,603
    edited April 2016

    Here's another one - this was my first experiment with Arki's Dragonbraid for V4 from Runtime.  The braid is a little tricky to pose and the accompanying jewelry is gorgeous.  Eventually it will make it's way to DAZ, but here's a tip for anybody who wants to buy it:

    Don't have V5, V6 or V7 selected when you load it (i.e. don't use autofit), or it will distort and you will lose your morph dials.  Manually fit it to your character's head, then parent it, and it will behave as it should.

    The background is Inaneglory's Photo Studio paper roll, with Glittering Shaders applied.  Looks pretty kewel if I say so myself.

    Dragonbraid.jpg
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  • KnittingmommyKnittingmommy Posts: 6,991

    She looks lovely, dracorn!  That braid does look pretty amazing!  Has that migrated over yet?  I don't remember seeing it.

  • dracorndracorn Posts: 1,603
    Nope, it hasn't moved over yet.
  • dracorndracorn Posts: 1,603
    edited April 2016

    Render Diaries



    ​I decided to do some "Render Diaries" - that is, to explain what I had to do to achieve the render and how I overcame challenges to get there.  The purpose is that you can see my progress and perhaps it will give you ideas and/or help you with your own renders.  They will be broken up into multiple posts. 

    Post edited by dracorn on
  • dracorndracorn Posts: 1,603
    edited April 2016

    "Bishop Takes Queen"

    OK so here goes.  First up is my second place win for the New User's February 2016 contest "Lighting."  Rendered in 3Delight.  This took over 80 test renders to produce (but I won't bore you with them all).

    Custom Character setup:

    Sailor:
    G2M, Sebastian as the base model - but this guy is WAY too good-looking.  So I made modifications to the face, added some asymmetry to make him more average looking.  Apparently I didn't make him average enough, because every woman I show 'Bishop Takes Queen' to makes a remark about the sexy sailor.  Clothing is Pirate for G2M.  I abandoned the vest because of clipping problems with his legs.  Hair: Feather Male Hair w/o the feathers, HD veins.  I eventually redid the shirt and pants using Destiny's Garden's fabric shaders.

    Captain:
    G2M, Michael 6 base, Brandon skin.  I added face weight and aging morphs.  Hair: Mec4D Dragonrider hair.  It's so flat against the scalp that it fit nicely under Lyon Hair's hat without any adjustments.  Clothes are Pirate for G2M without any [Edit: modification].  After he was in the scene, the lighting made him too pale and pasty-looking, so I played around with color in the diffuse until I was satisfied.  [Edit] I used Mec4D Unshaven for G2M.

    Scene Subsets:
    If you haven't already figured this out, I highly recommend setting up your characters as scene subsets.  Wearable presets are fine when you are starting from scratch if you use a character over and over, but if you kit-bash at all or customize the clothing or fight to get the right fit, then wearable presets don't work to well.  This is especially true if you want props to go with the character, or if you have many characters in a scene.  It's so much easier to load a Scene subset then to play with the characters after they are loaded into the scene, when you can run into viewport lag. 

    Edit: I actually started with Jason's skin and later switched to Brandon, as the darker skin wasn't working too well for my render.  Too bad, as Jason has a nice black eye and facial cut that would have added to my story.

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  • dracorndracorn Posts: 1,603
    edited April 2016

    Initial Scene Setup:
    Jolly Boat, Skies of Economy (moonlight & sky dome), props from various sets.  Jolly Boat has only one seat, so I had to use two crates for the men to sit on.  I eventually removed the foreground oar because it was in the way of the chess set. 

    The chess game is real: I watched several speed chess championships before I spotted the move I wanted.  I took a screen print and set up my chess board that way. 

     

     

    Challenge: Camera Angle.  After I put the characters in the boat and started to pose them, I realized that the camera angle was too far away to effectively tell the story.  I couldn't see their expressions and interaction.  So I abandoned the wider view for a close-up.  However, now I couldn't see that the boat was crammed with all the stuff.  So I had to rearrange items and put them closer to the characters.  This pic shows the initial posing for the Sailor which was boring, so I changed it.  I had also loaded the Iray materials for the chess pieces, duh.

    Bishop 01 initial.jpg
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    Bishop 02 glowing chess.jpg
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