Monday, May 31, 2010

Victoria 4.2, and a naughty fantasy romp

Victoria 4.5 starring as Zenobia in a 3D fantasy romp, Escape from the Seraglio. Hey, if this old chestnut's good enough for Hollywood, it's good enough for me! So here's the story:

Evil Warlord from the desert region south of our heroine's homeland on the steppes has sent his raiders into the heartlands of the horse peoples. Zenobia is their best warrior ... she fights valiantly to save the tribe and is knocked unconscious, and picked up with the wounded.

Taken back to the Evil Warlord's palace in the sands, she wakes and realizes she has no idea who she is. She's lost her memory, and when the snake-oil salesman of a slave dealer tells her she's an expensive courtesan, who's she to argue?

The next few months make Don Juan De Marco look like he was on a go-slow industrial action. (Didn't you love Johnny Depp in that?!) You don't want to know what she got up to! Then again, maybe you do ... but not on this blog, kiddies. Use your imagination! Also, give me time to get a partner blog up and going, for Mature Content, okay?

Then one day, shazam! She gets accidentally smashed on the noggin with a huge bronze incense burner and her memory comes back. She wants out ... like anyone in the Evil Warlord's palace cares about that! In fact, the boss has her tentatively pencilled in for an appointment tonight, between the hours of nine-thirty and seven in the morning. Little does he know, it's his last night on this world, and Zenobia will be over the wall and astride the big white stallion, streaking off across the desert while the stars are still blazing...

Yeah, right. Reads like an erotic romance bestseller, right? Ouch! Anybody want to write this?! I'll paint the cover...

Want to see the adults only renders belonging to this series? Click here to go there -- and the usual caveat, before you do: Zenobia seems to be trying to catch pneumonia, because she's running around with hardly anything on. Now, how sensible is that? Thick as a brick, this girl ... but boy, is she stacked.

Jade, 1 June

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Yaoi hunk rescues hapless secret agent ... thanks, DAZ!

"Ah, at last ... after I've been waiting here for half an hour -- Agent 38C, it's you! What kept you?"

"But of courrrze it iz me, Agent 0064. What other kind of gurrrl would be walking around in a backztreet at ziz time of ze night, dressed like ziz? Noh, don't anzwer zat. I 'ave brought ze zecret code book. You 'ave ze pazzword furrr me?"

"Pazz -- I mean, password, what password? They didn't tell me anything about a password!"

"Zat is too bad. Wizout ze pazzword I cannot give you ze zecret codebook."

"But but -- hang on a second, Agent 38C, I can give 'em a call, I've got my phone here --!"

Well, bugger. All that waiting, and she just walked off. M is going to kill me. I mean, he is really, seriously, going to kill me. Wait a second -- "Who goes there? 38C, did you decide to come back?"

"Thirty-eight-who? I'm only 22, do I look that old? Uh ... hey, Joe, what you know? Or, like, words to that, you know, effect, dude."

"Well ... I know my boss is going to kill me when I get back to the office."

"Well, don't go back till in the morning. I know this great little pub around the corner..."

With my luck, he's going to turn out to be a double agent. Well ... to take a leaf out of 007's manual ... I'll investigate that in the morning!

Jade, 31 May

Sets and characters in DAZ Studio 3

Again, 3D art rises to the challenge of pretending to be reality ... and it does it pretty well. These are only quick renders, because I still have no time to even think much less devoting loving care and attention to the art. But they're darned good renders ... and you've seen both the character and the set before, but you might not recognize them!

The character is the same digital actor who pirate a few days ago ... wearing the Beowulf costume which you saw on the young hunk with the yellow sportscar. I changed the pattern on the bodyshirt and set the on Chevalier hair to black. The set? remember the warehouse on the quayside, where the car was parked? This is around the other side of it, in a kind of loading bay.

The story here? Well ... it looks like a tryst, to me! This guy went there to meet someone. Looks like a date! Join me tomorrow, and if I can figure out who he went there to meet, I'll have the other half of the tryst join the production...!

Jade, 30 May

Saturday, May 29, 2010

3D sets and characters: meanwhile, back at the tavern

Meanwhile, back at the tavern --! 3D characters and sets ... playing with lights and base models and character presets and hairstyles. This is the same set as the Road to Rivendell series from last month (which sounds like it ought to be starring Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour!) but the Michael 4 character is the same digital actor who played Achilles last week, with a new hairdo. The digital actress is actually the She-Freak, believe it or not. It's not Victoria 4.2 ... I really am just mucking about, while life has been upside down with domestic dramas.

I hope to be back tomorrow with an actually post ... lucid writings, when I can scare up fifteen spare minutes! For now, please enjoy these images, in which a story is unfolding like stills from a movie.

Jade, 29 May

Friday, May 28, 2010

Raytracing: amazing results

Raytracing takes a looooooong time. But boy, is it worth it, if you have the opportunity to do this. The "party piece" of this post is the top image. The other two are grand, but the top one is the best. And for each of the three renders today I'm presenting the Raytraced versions and the deep shadow mapped versions ... at 100% full size. I invite you to view them at 1:1 size, just as they were rendered, and compare.

The downside? Even with 8 Gigs of available ram (4G in chips, 4G in Ready Boost), and with a 1 Gig video card, it still takes at least an hour to get a render like this, when you click over to Raytracing.

But ... what a difference! There's a classical quality about these renders ... the "feel" of those Fredrick Remington bronzes. Is that fantastic, or what? I'm going to go back to some of my favorite characters and renders from the last couple of months, and Raytrace them, now that I have the video card and the ram to do it with!

Jade, 28 May

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The pirate hunk ... experiments in raytracing

The pirate hunk: welcome to the Caribbean, love -- with raytracing on the top two of these images. This is something very new: I never had the ram or the video card power to get into raytracing. Since this system was upgraded there are so many experiments to run, and raytracing is one of them! The next one is adding tattoos to existing skinmaps -- all I need is the time to do it.

Please enjoy today's art ... once again, I don't have time to write very much! Not that I don't have a lot to say, because I do ... but I'm running around like the proverbial chicken with its head chopped off.

Hope to have more time tomorrow!!

Jade, 27 May

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

3D art galore ...!

3D art in profusion today -- because I have no time to write anything! Things are not just busy, they're insane, with work on one side and domestic duties on the other. I'll be back tomorrow, and hope to have time to write, because there's quite a bit I want to talk about. But for now ... please enjoy the artwork, and ... 'scuse I, cuz I have to run!
Jade, 26 May

Monday, May 24, 2010

Wild hair for Michael 4 ... Spartacos hair. Verdict: fantastic!

Spartacos Hair for DAZ's Michael 4 ... wow. Either this is very new, or I've just stumbled over it, but this is exactly what I've been hoping for, for a long while now: real, wild "barbarian"? hair that you can pull, twist, blast in any direction, with a gale that's blowing.

This was from Renderosity; it's not available at DAZ (yet?) which means you'll be doing a "manual installation" of the files ... there's no installer. Actually, for XP users this is a blessing, because it turns out that the DAZ installers don't work properly on XP. The installed files end up in weird places or not available to the program at all, because they landed in regions DAZ doesn't look in.

So you'll need to install this manually. Basically, unzip the ZIP archives to folders on your desktop, and then systematically copy the model's proprietorial folders where they need to go. You need to know your DAZ folder hierarchy, and as soon as you know this it all makes sense.

See this:
Thursday, May 13, 2010: Help! What to do when your DAZ 3D models won't install properly ... I went into a lot of detail about the how and where. Read this, and you should be off at a gallop.

The Spartacos Hair is from a designer called StudioArtVartanian; and if you just slide the folders into the right places in the hierarchy, the model loads perfectly and ... then the fun begins. It comes with 10 different color options, and the controls for making it long, shot, blast and twist and bend in any direction, and all.

If I have one tiny quibble (and it's just a tiny one) it's that the parting in the hair is very wide, and if you put dark or black hair on a model with lighter skin, the part stands out so much you need to do some post-work, airbrush it into color. On the other hand, change the color to a lighter shade, or place the camera down low, and you don't even see this. And it's such a minor quibble, I'm not even going to dock a half a point.

The Spartacos Hair also fits V4 ... join me tomorrow, and we'll render Victoria as a gypsy, wild as the M4 in this post.

(In case you're wondering, I used the Patroclus character from a few days ago -- he was saved as a .dsb file and just loaded up ... someone remind me to do a special post about how to save characters and how to reload them, because it's handy like you wouldn't believe.)

Five stars to StudioArtVartanian, and their Spartacos Hair. I've been wanting something like this for ages.

Jade, 25 May

Sunday, May 23, 2010

3D art pretending to be reality ... seriously nice!

Here's where 3D art comes up against its biggest challenge: depicting cold, hard reality. There's no hint of fantasy or SF here. A hunk, a car, a brownstone building ... looks like it could be warehousing. Full daylight. Nothing to hide behind, if you're the artist trying to make this gel.

So here's the hunk, in 3D ... is it me, or does he look like a cross between Aidan Quinn and Christopher Walken? It wasn't intended to work out that way -- just happened. Are you ready for this: it's the exact same digital actor who played Achilles a few days ago, and then was cavorting with the courtesan yesterday! I went back to the Mon Chevalier hair, which Achilles was wearing, but made it short and black rather than long and blond. What a difference!

Otherwise, it's still the same character in every other detail. He's wearing the Lee skin map (obviously not the face ... Lee is Asian), and the Beowulf slacks, shirt, jacket. The Beowulf costume actually looks fairly good in longshot, but when you get in close the white shirt looks like it's made of plastic bags. (Sorry, dudes ... that shirt still needs some work.) So for the closeup shots I put a texture on it, which hides a multitude of sins.

Which leaves one problem: in these lighting conditions, the Lee skin map looks plastic. Even when you remember to set the Lighting Model to MATTE, never mind skin, it still looks like plastic. Now, it comes with a default bump map, but with the value set to zero. I cranked this out to maximum, but the result was still plastic. So I actually set the bump map up as a displacement map ... and then cranked the value up to about 75% --

Plastic all gone. Now, you might need to see this at full size to really see the difference, so I uploaded this at the same size at which it was rendered:

Makes quite a difference, for extreme closeups!

Jade, 24 May

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Exotic, erotic 3D fantasy

Exotic, erotic art -- 3D, of course ... and a drama is unfolding here. Not quite sure what the story is. If I thought there were enough followers of this blog, and that they were motivated enough, I'd have a competition: tell me the story of what's going on here, and win something like a screensaver --! But I know how hard it is to get folks motivated, so I'll just post the images and let your imagination run with them.

Both these characters are designed by me. You might actually recognize the guy: it's the same "actor" who played Achilles in the posts yesterday and the day before -- I gave him a new hairdo and set him into a very, very different scene. The "digital actress" is making her debut here. If you've ever read a book called Harem, by Colin Falconer, you might think of the lead character, Hurem ... the courtesan who toppled the Ottoman Empire. I read the book eons ago, and stumbled over it again on dusty old shelves, last week.

The set it very exotic -- designed for another project. It uses two Persian carpet textures whacked onto various columns (from the Anardhaus set) and surfaces. Then, you add two walls and a ceiling from the Silence kit, plus the brass burner from the Lair. Then, Michael 4, wearing the Lee skinmap, the Mario's hair -- set blond -- and at least fleetingly, the Regency pants. And the face of Achilles, which you saw here yesterday! Then, add Victoria 4.2, almost wearing a pair of slacks to which I added a texture of my own before I made them transparent silk ... and the Night Lily jacket, also set to nearly transparent, like golden gauze, plus the "swank pumps" and the Celestial hair. And the face and bod of the courtesan, Hurem, as designed by me.

Two of the renders were passed into Gimp to be painted with smoke from the burner, then the whole series went into Serif to be cropped, bordered, signed.

And yes, there's an Adults Only series of renders too ... and yes, I'm thinking seriously about hiving off a partner blog with a content warning! Stay tuned...

Jade, 23 May
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