Tag Archives: blue

Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun

Set the Controls for the Heart of the SunI’ve been wanting to do an abstract piece for some time.  I love the way this came out.  I’ll definitely be doing more art like this in the future.

Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun BTS wireframeThere’s not much to say about this piece. It’s pretty straight forward.  The light is from the HDMI which is essentially a gradient with a bright spot that becomes the “sun.”  The gradient did create a very slight banding across the sky and I had to bring the piece into photoshop to add some noise to try and smooth it out.  That was the only postwork I did in Photoshop.  You can still see the banding a bit but it’s much better than it was.  You can see the grain actual size behind the mountain in the color correction image if you click to embiggen it.

Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun BTS ccI tried to make the ground look like ice by playing with the Metallic Flakes Weight setting in the Surfaces tab.  All in all I’m very happy with this one.

Created in DAZ Studio 4.9
Rendered with Iray
Minor post in Photoshop
Color Correction in Lightroom

Figures used:
Blank Boi
Planet X-3
Mec4d PBS Shaders vol.2 for Iray
Wireframe and Hologram Shaders

 

Don’t Dream It, Be It

Don't Dream It, Be ItThis piece started out as a test for some new models that I purchased but I liked the way it looked so I finished it into something a bit more than a test.  Unfortunately it ended up as a character just standing there, which I try to avoid.  I like more of a story, more action, but this is what it is.  I do like the curve of the ship in the background.  I suppose that’s something.

Star Slayer in SciFi corridor A 01 cam02 aiko 00This is an early version with different hair and environment.  You can also see that the stomach panal on the suit is a lighter color.  In the final composition I thought it distracted from the face so I darkened the texture map so that it was closer to the rest of the suit.

Star Slayer in SciFi corridor A 01 cam02 aiko 06I eventually decided she was a pilot so I put her in a hanger bay with a shuttle.  I spent a tremendous amount of time going back and forth deciding if the shuttle doors should be open or closed.  I even thought of putting another character inside the ship at one point but I wasn’t able to made that work.

Don't Dream It, Be It BTS wireI don’t have much to say about this wire frame screen shot other than it looks cool!

Don't Dream It, Be It BTS ccI think I left the bottom too dark when I initially did the color correction.  I went back later and brightened it up a bit.  The original render is 8000×8000 and the light on the skin looks fabulous at native resolution.  Very pleased with how the face came out.  (click to embiggen)

Don't Dream It, Be ItCreated in DAZ Studio 4.9
Rendered with Iray
Color Correction in Lightroom

Figures used:
Aiko 7
StarSlayer outfit for G3F
Shuttlestar
Sci-Fi Hanger A

My quest for the perfect CGI avatar

After using my new CGI profile picture on facebook for awhile I started to dislike it.  It looked mean, especially at small sizes.  Part of the reason I think was the contrasty film-noir lighting.  I thought I would try something a little different with softer light.  I also turned the face to the side similar to my original photo that I used for years.  This is what I came up with.

The Future ContinuesI started to dislike it as soon as I uploaded it. I thought the face looking away from the text had an aloof quality. I turned things around, used a longer lens so the face wouldn’t be so distorted, and gave him some hair. This is my newest avatar.

The Future DirectionI’ve been using it on facebook for about a day now.  So far I like it.  I’ll upload it to other social media sites and live with it for awhile.

Created in DAZ Studio 4.9
Rendered with Iray
Color Correction in Lightroom

Figures used:
FWSA Aiden HD for Michael 7
Awesome Fantasy Eyes

Color Correction Test

Run (CC test)For most of the films and television shows I’ve worked on the goal of color correction was to make the picture look technically correct and pretty – healthy skin tones, bright colors, maybe a bit “hyper real” but still normal.  Anything that degraded the image was bad and needed to be fixed.  What I’m trying here is relatively new to me.  I want something more stylized for this animation.  I’ve thrown in some grain and even a faint hint of scan lines to roughen up the super clean CGI.  I’ve also washed out the skin tones in favor of the blue and orange.  For comparison here is the original render before color correction.  (Click both to embiggen.)

Run (no CC test)I’ve been using the CC tools in Lightroom for most of my CGI work to date but since this is an animation I’m using the tools in Adobe Premiere.  I’m finding it much harder.  I love the CC tools in Lightroom.  They’re more intuitive than the controls in Premiere or photoshop.  I wish Adobe would create Lightroom style CC tools for all their products.

If this were a still image I probably would have gone a lot further with the grunge but it has to work as an animation.  It has to look good in motion and on all the other close-ups and wide shots too. I’m pleased with it right now although I’m a little concerned that the grain will be lost when the video is finally compressed and uploaded to youtube.  We’ll have to see what happens.

Created in DAZ Studio 4.8
Rendered with 3Delight
Color Correction in Adobe Premiere

Figures used:
Aiko 6
XTech for Genesis 2 Female
Modular Sci-Fi Kit 01 + 02

 

The Future Starts With You

The Future Starts With Youout of focus art SQUAREI’ve been using the same avatar across all of social media for many years.  It’s not very good.  If you look at the original it’s actually out of focus, but you can’t tell when it’s a teeny tiny avatar on facebook.  My wife CAT is in it too, which is nice.

I always intended to replace it but it was working, doing it’s job, so I didn’t.  When I shaved my beard over a year ago I thought, “Well now it doesn’t even look like me.  I really need to make a new one!”  But it was still working.  People still knew it was me.  So I didn’t change it.

Cut to a few days ago.  I was in DAZ Studio and I decided to experiment with different ideas for a new avatar.  I figured I could come up with some “concept art” and then take a picture of myself with the same theme, same lighting.  Simple.  Maybe even use the same CGI background so I wouldn’t have to deal with that in the photograph.  But, what to do?

What Makes a Good Avatar?

To all those people who have their kid, or their dog, or cat, or a movie star, or an anime character, or their feet, or a sports team logo, or Abe Vigoda in their avatar:  Nobody can figure out who you are!  I go through this all the time.  The name sounds familiar…  Did I know this person in college?  Did we grow up together on the same street?   Did we work together ten years ago?  Is that YOU as a kid?  Or is that YOUR kid?  Now I have to be a detective.  It’s frustrating.  Put your friggin’ face in your avatar!   /rant

Square One

I like an avatar with a big face so I started with that.  The bigger the better because sometimes these things are super small.  I decide to try something similar to what I have now, an evolution if you will – the same but better – a big face but a little arty and off to the side.  Centered is so boring.  I used a long 200mm lens to blur the background, making the face stand out.

The Future Starts With You BTS (mesh)I decided to go for hard side light with a blue kicker (back light) to give it a shadowy tech-noir feel.  I wanted the style to reflect my personality.  I’m one-hundred percent SciFi and my avatar should be too!

Reality Is an Illusion

I then spent a lot of time trying to get good skin.  There’s a trend in CGI these days.  Reality.  I think reality is overrated but in this case it makes sense.  An avatar is supposed to represent a real person.  …And it doesn’t hurt to learn new things.  I spent a lot of time experimenting with skin translucency, glossy reflections, roughness, bump maps, and scores of other surface controls.  Endless tweaking.  (Welcome to CGI.)  Ultimately I got something that looks like a real person.  The guy doesn’t look like ME, but he looks relatively real.

And then I put a glowing cross hair in the eye.  Screw reality!  I like robots!

The Future Starts With You BTS ccAbout-Face

And here it is.  It turned out much better than the “concept art” that I intended so I’ve decided to use it straight-up as my new avatar.  So to the people who have their kid, or their dog, or cat, or a movie star, or an anime character, or their feet, or a sports team logo, or Abe Vigoda in their avatar:  I’m now one of you!  My avatar is now a synthetic man that doesn’t look like me.  If you can’t beat ’em join ’em.  We’ll see if it works.

The Future Starts With You on facebook

Created in DAZ Studio 4.9
Rendered with Iray
Color Correction in Lightroom

Figures used:
FWSA Aiden HD for Michael 7
SciFi Passageway
Awesome Fantasy Eyes

UPDATE:  After using my new CGI profile picture on facebook for awhile I started to dislike it.  More in this post: My quest for the perfect CGI avatar