Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Granted, this site’s still not quite 100%, but it’s about 98% complete. Only 2 pages (that I know of) are missing content, but all the pages have something on them at least!

That said, are you ready for Dream Angel #21? Yep! I’m going to be preparing the Comic Life file today and possibly starting rendering. Techwarrior #3 might soon be joining it in production. The script is still waiting for approval. Perhaps soon to follow might be Hillbilly Hoot #1. That one’s still in the early planning stages, but it’s a new year, so anything’s possible.

How’d I end the year? Playing happily in DAZ Studio and making some very impressive renders. Wanna see? Keep in mind these characters aren’t mine. They belong to my good friend Winston Jordan and his series, Dragon Trio.

Let’s start with the test animation with the new dynamic outfit. Keep in mind it’s only 1 second long.

[Spider_Video_Player id=”1″]

I was having so much fun after that, I thought I’d have some more, so I added a set and lights. I wanted to do a longer animation with the set and lights, but it was taking too long to render unfortunately, so I stopped it and did some still image renders instead with the poses I’d picked out for the animation.

dtbro1sceneI was really just playing around at first. We’d been discussing the fact that the guys don’t have sleeves and the original outfit I’d put on the characters was… fussy about removing the sleeves. Fortunately, I have a spare outfit installed that’s dynamic. What’s dynamic? That’s simple: realistic cloth simulation. It means that when the cloth is animated, it moves in a natural and realistic way.

dtbro1scene1I found myself enjoying the character and after setting up the outfit to suit the character (adding a special dragon to the back, to be specific) I started playing. Adding in the scene and lights just set him off perfectly.

dtbro1scene2I couldn’t resist enjoying myself and the poses I’ve got work beautifully to suit the character. dtbro1scene3 The renders kept improving on one another, I just had to do the other two brothers of the Trio for one last render of 2015:dtbrossceneBearing in mind that Midora (who’s in the shop already as a plush figure) is already a part of the Dream Angel series with her appearance in Dream Angel #10, it’ll be exciting to see if the three brothers make an appearance. midora600Isn’t she just stunning? Easy to imagine her going at it with the guys, but it’ll be fun to see what she does in the Dream Angel Universe. Looking forward to new books? I know I am!

There’s learning happening!

Taking a break and learning new things

In taking a break from rebuilding this site, I’ve been learning new tricks. The shop’s ready, but this site’s still got a long way to go before it’s once again able to become a thriving community of fans. Along the way, a few snags have been hit and the extra time is being put to good use for other things on the “to do” list.

What would I be doing if the site hadn’t been hacked? Well, the plan was to study up more on DAZ Studio and start learning some of the finer features. One such is shaders. Admittedly, I’d dabbled with them a little before, but didn’t fully understand them and found myself frustrated, so I moved on in my projects instead of taking the time to learn. Well, now I’ve taken the time to learn a little about them. Want to see? Yes? Okay, take a look:

fur shader learningfur shader learning fur shader learningAs you can see, I was playing with fur. There’s still some kinks to work out, as evidenced by the third image and the character’s eyes being covered so it looks like “Cousin It” from Addams Family, but a promising prospect for improving the look and feel of the feline characters in particular.

Adding to the learning, is more RAM for the computer. This opened the door a little more to slightly more complicated rendering. For instance:

lighting learningThe lighting used for this would’ve made DAZ crash before the additional RAM. It’s a special rig of lighting that uses 12 lights. Any more than 1 and DAZ used to slow to a crawl. These might not look like much, but they’re also simple tests for new things. With the added RAM, I’ll be learning as many new tricks as possible before beginning rendering of Dream Angel #21 in January.

There’s been one more new thing that’s helped DAZ work a bit faster as well and that’s been to eliminate some of the duplicate files in the Library along with extra empty folders that really didn’t belong that clogged things up and slowed it down. Happily, things are moving a great deal faster as a result.

Ready to see the result? Yes? Okay, here it is:

You can watch it here, if you’re on Facebook. Oh, and while you’re watching, feel free to join the group! Why just a link? Unfortunately, it appears videos posted in a group can’t be embedded on web pages like this one.

If you pay close attention to the clip, you’ll see that outfit and cape are dynamic cloth. That is, they have natural cloth simulation to look as realistic as possible. Initially, it was a full scene with a complete background, but the background slowed down the render considerably. That is to say it took 2 hours to render 14 frames. If you start doing the math for a 298 frame render, that’s a very long render time!

Without the background scene, it was about 4 hours for the 217 frames that did render. Why 217? Well, I forgot to adjust the timeline to include all 298 frames. Nevertheless, the test is quite successful since the lighting used would’ve caused the program to crash before the upgrade. With the upgrade, I took some creative licence and rotated a series of 14 lights on a rig for a very colorful effect on the character. The character’s nobody in particular, just a quick test subject.

Happily, I can announce the shop is fully available and now login capabilities are as well.

You’ll find a small set of buttons on the left side of the page in the sidebar that enable you to login to the site. Definitely a long way to go before the rebuild is 100% complete, but at least the key capabilities that are important are ready for use.