Tag Archives: female

I Was Fluid, Like Water (close up)

I was fluid, like water (close up)I’m frustrated with my work.  In most of my previous CGI pieces I started out with an idea that should be dynamic but ended up with something less exciting.  Most of my ideas have become medium to long shots of characters just standing there.  If I was directing a movie, this is when I would punch in for a close up to capture more of the emotion.

As an experiment, I’ve taken a previous piece I Was Fluid, Like Water and created a close up of the face.  It looks like a cropping of the previous image but that’s not how I created it.  I went back into the 3D space, set another camera in the exact position, and composed a new shot with a longer focal length.  That allowed me to create a new 10K render and not lose any of the small details like the stitching on the jacket.

The hair is still a problem, maybe even more so in the close-up.  I fixed it up a little in Photoshop but it’s still kinky and unrealistic.  The overall style is on the “doll-like anime” side with fake eyebrows etc. so maybe the kinky hair is OK.  What do you think?  Which do you like better, the original long shot or the close up?

I was fluid, like water

A Collection of Rusty Robots

Can six rusty robots fight crime without driving each other crazy?

A Collection of Rusty RobotsThis one was complicated. Six characters and twenty-five lights.

I was trying to emulate a team freeze frame at the end of an anime intro. I wanted to capture the uniqueness of each character. I even wrote out a short description of each robot to help me differentiate them. Looking at this piece now though, I think it ended up a little too “characters just standing there.” It could do with a few more action poses, but it’s done now so here it is.

I’m going to post my usual more in depth behind-the-scenes info but that will have to wait a few days since this piece is so complicated. It’ll probably end up as multiple posts. For now I’ll leave you with the character descriptions I wrote. Let me know what you think!

Meet the team!

(from left to right)

Gomer is a wise guy. He always has an opinion and he doesn’t take lip from anybody. He thinks he’s the leader but nobody else listens to him. When attacking a bad guy’s hideout the others always make him crawl in thru the air ducts which pisses him off. He thinks Brigitte is “hot stuff.”

Barney is a “can do” fella. He can fix just about anything. Knows how to make explosives too. He gets the job done while the rest are goofing around. Currently he’s in a romantic relationship with Alice.

Alice is a fighter. She can swiftly and silently take out a whole gang of bad guys. She’s a bit fussy though and, unlike the others, she likes to stay clean. She avoids the general dirt and grime of crime fighting. She’s in love with Barney even though he always seems to be a bit dirty. It’s OK though because she’s confident she can change him.

Jim is the leader of the team. He’s a powerful warrior but is totally lost trying to get the rest of the team to work together. He thinks Alice is his girlfriend even though she wants nothing to do with him. Alice thinks Jim is too full of himself.

Brigitte is a master of disguise and can wear a rubber mask to look human. She doesn’t really enjoy fighting crime but she hangs around because she likes Jim. Gomer is in love with Bridget but she can’t stand him.

Gronk (AKA “Five”) has a powerful Plasma Death Ray to blast holes in buildings and blow up cars. He wants to do more but doesn’t really have the ability. He trys.

Buy a print here –> http://www.deviantart.com/print/38109712/

The Creation of ATOM

Prints of this image are available on my Deviant Art page:
http://ericsusch.deviantart.com/art/The-Creation-of-ATOM-516835191

The Creation of ATOMAfter Man destroys the planet Earth with nuclear weapons, God creates machine life to take his place.

This CGI piece took me awhile. It’s based on the The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo, from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican.  CAT and I were recently in Rome and were able to spend five minutes in the Sistine Chapel admiring all the artwork.  You couldn’t take any pictures of course, since the Japanese own the copyright.  (The Vatican is a strange place.)  So when we got back I decided to make my own creation imagery to hang on the wall.

I used this project to learn how to pose characters manually.  The poses were iconic and predetermined so I didn’t have to worry what was going to look good, just how to get the characters into position.  In the end It took some doing to get everything adjusted in three dimensions and looking correct for the camera.

Creación_de_Adám

I don’t think a man can actually lean back in the real world the way Adam does in the original, at least an android can’t.  I have several of the robot joints pushed way beyond their limit and still he isn’t really in the same position.  It’s close enough to get the idea though.  The posing process was long and tedious but ultimately rewarding.  I’m especially happy with the hands in the center.The Creation of ATOM - handsI had problems again with kinky hair.  The short style I chose was an older mesh and didn’t have the smoothing control I used in the last piece.  I then discovered that the smoothing controls can be added to any object by selecting it and accessing the DAZ Studio menu in the upper right of the scene tab.  Select Edit / Apply Smoothing Modifier and then the smoothing controls will appear in the object’s Parameters tab.  This fixed the kinks but I still had hair shadow trouble.  Some of the underlying shadows were ending abruptly probably because some of the hair was poking into the skull.  Adjusting the hair didn’t resolve the problem.

The Creation of ATOM - bad hair 03To fix the funky shadows I rendered the hair again without shadows.  I then layered this underneath the head and used a matte in Photoshop to erase only the parts of the hair where I wanted to remove the shadows.  This left the shadows at the edges and bottom of the hair but eliminated the distracting ones deep within.

The biggest problem I had was the horrible, horrible dress.  I purchased and tried several Greek/Roman toga-esque dresses which were similar to what God is wearing in the original piece.  I really liked a dress that had one long sleeve but unfortunately it covered the wrong arm and I couldn’t figure out how to flip it.  This next best alternative was nice looking but turned out to be a disaster.  It had a million shaping controls but I couldn’t get it to fit correctly without the mesh bunching, tearing, and dripping all along the chest.  It was the only dress I had that looked right so I grit my teeth and fixed it with the spot healing brush in Photoshop.  That kind of fix isn’t going to work when I get into animation.

The Creation of ATOM - bad dress 03I struggled with the background again too.  The original idea was a destroyed city like after an earthquake or a nuclear attack.  It was way too busy and difficult to separate the characters, especially the chrome of the android, from the background.  There was just too much detail in the rubble.

creation of ADAM BTS 04CAT suggested I try a desert background.  I wasn’t sure.  I didn’t want it to look like an unrelated background photo.  After I tried it I changed my mind because the background became a metaphor to me.  It suggests nuclear testing, or maybe a Mad Max type social collapse.  What do you think?

The Creation of ATOMCreated in DAZ Studio
Postwork (fixing hair and dress) in Photoshop
Color Correction in Lightroom

Figures used:
bot Genesis
Lilith 6
City Ruins: Vehicles
Dry Mud Desert

Prints of this image are available on my Deviant Art page:
http://ericsusch.deviantart.com/art/The-Creation-of-ATOM-516835191

The Space Between Us

Prints of this image are available on my Deviant Art page.The Space Between Us

I’ve started working on a few CGI images with multiple characters but this is the first one I’ve been able to finish.  Right now I have five or six projects that are stuck at various stages.  One thing I’ve realized is I’m having tremendous difficulty with backgrounds.  I’m consciously starting my scenes with character ideas first because I see that as the most important element in the image. I then end up trying eight or nine “sets” for the background and nothing seems to fit.  It’s easy to move entire sets in and out in virtual space and try different things but I guess my brain just doesn’t work that way since it’s not how you make movies in the real world.  All my creative experience starts with the location first, then the actors come in to block the scene, and finally the camera positions are locked down.  I think I’m going to have to change my workflow and do it the way I know.

the space between us BTS extI originally envisioned this scene as an exterior, but that didn’t work so I tried several interiors including this space bedroom complete with professional video tape rack.

the space between us BTS space bedroomI eventually settled on the interior of a shuttle type spaceship.

the space between us BTS vanguardYou may have noticed I originally had a different character for the boy.

the space between us BTS space bedroom2He was anime style but a bit too realistic for skinny toon/anime girl (Keiko 6.)  Modifying a straight up toon style boy character (Animated Shapes for G2M) with a different skin texture and bigger eyes created a figure more in line with the anime style of the girl.

I had that kinky hair problem that I’ve mentioned before.  You can see it here above the right eye.

kinky hair detail

I asked about it on a DAZ facebook group and there is a fix!  There’s a hidden control in the hair parameters called “smoothing iterations.”  Increase it a bit and the kinkiness goes away.  I found that you should only increase the smoothing just enough to solve the problem because higher numbers thin out the hair considerably making your character look like a post-apocalyptic radiation victim!  (…which, come to think of it, may be a hair style I need some day.)

the space between us BTS aux viewerWhile working on this piece I started using the new Aux viewport in DAZ Studio 4.7.  You can set it to continuously render so that, as you are working it will keep updating.  It sort of works.  My processors and fans were churning hard as it was trying to keep up with the changes.  It’s usable for lighting, only re-rendering the area of the picture effected when you move a light.  For moving models around the space it’s not as good.  The screen update gets slow and you end up waiting a lot.The Space Between Us

All in all I’m very happy with this piece.  It’s my first with two characters interacting in a two shot which is more like a movie and less like a character just standing there.

Prints of this image are available on my Deviant Art page:
http://ericsusch.deviantart.com/art/The-Space-Between-Us-513716053

Love Is Not Enough

love is not enoughAdvanced lighting class!  A black suit against a dark background and forties film noir style glamor lighting on the face.  I’m now comfortable setting lights, well the spotlight at least, which is the most like a real Fresnel movie light.  Still not too sure about some of the other style lights available in the program.  I tried using a point light as a fill light and it was a disaster, very unrealistic looking.  I’m going to stick to spotlights for interior lighting.  Wish they had barn doors to make a quick slash on the wall.  I made a “flag” with a flattened solid primitive cube though and that worked.

The background is actually a scifi medical bay set with diagnostic beds and everything.  I spent hours trying different background lights but eventually settled on leaving it dark with only the computer monitors lit.  It just seems more mysterious that way.  It’s the same on a movie set.  If the lighting isn’t working you’re probably using too many lights.  Turn some off and see what it looks like.  Chances are it will be better.