Sunday, May 06, 2007

Another One?

Look, two posts in one day!

Remember that image that I've been working on? Of course you do, I talked about it last night (probably when everyone else was in bed!). Two versions of the image are up on my site (click the "My Corner Just Got Bigger" link to the right). You'll find the full image in 3D Landscapes, and the close-up in 3D Figures. The image is called 'Heroes' and please try to ignore the intellectual property gobbily gook that will one day grace all my images.

Let me tell you about the work.

At first, I put the five figures together. Unfortunately, it took four hours to render with no texture or material details. That's no fun! So, I gave each figure a separate working file (the Elf and the wolf are together), breaking it up into four figure files to detail, texture, and add material maps. Those alone took a good ten to fifteen minutes to render. (Render, I believe I have mentioned, is the act of the program of taking the image in it's primitive polygon form and transforming it into the realistic images you see in the finished image: applying lights and shadow and the aforementioned details of texture and material. This is the act that makes a rectangular block look like a metal mace.) I had a very annoying problem with the Fighter figure, her working file saved blank. I did her over a few times before it actually saved.

Then, when I had my four figures done and rendered in Poser, it was off to Vue. Somewhere in there, a software upgrade for both programs happened. Then I created the setting: a huge castle on an open plain in sunset. And zoomed in on a nifty little ally in the castle to put my figures. Then, again one by one, using the cool new functions of Vue 6, I imported the four detailed Poser figures into the scene (and a fifth that didn't make it to the final render). Rendering them all together in Vue, you see, equalizes the lighting and the shadows and actually puts the characters in the environment. castle was so huge, even though only one part of it is seen the rest is there, and my figures were very detailed and Vue couldn't take it and so crashed like a kid who just took the training wheels off his bike. This was very discouraging.

So, I had to set the lights in Vue and render the scene figure-less. Then I had to go back to the combined figure file, adjust the lights accordingly, re-split into the four separate files, and re-render. All seemed to be going well, because from this point it was a simple matter of cut and paste in Photoshop. That's it, I'm...not done.

This time I realized my Poser window was not large enough and cut off three out of five shadows. Back to Poser I went to take the individual files and move them over to get all of the carefully set shadow. This was last night, after having finished the Fighter and Bard, when I discovered the Knight file saved blank like the Fighter file had previously done. GAH! Back to the combined file, split it up again, re-detail/texture/material map, move over, render.

Then we're back to importing into the background in Photoshop. But wait! I moved the camera wrong in the Bard file and his shadow was skewed. Simple fix (considering), re-render, and import. That's it! Call it done.

The post work wasn't too bad, it was the rendering of the five very large files (six if you include the one that didn't make the final cut, but will have to be used elsewhere). I'm really proud of this image, actually, even if the last figure had to be omitted. For the record, it was a big red dragon looming over them behind the far castle wall. This one had to be cut because it was still to much to render in Vue, but since he was behind the castle, I couldn't cut him out and still get the figure to not look pasted in. Maybe I'll try again later.

And while I've been working on this, I'm wondering if anyone would be interested in a Hero on a t-shirt? I think the individual figures would look really neat on the black t-shirts offered by Caf├ęPress. And they're already in the right format. Maybe?

Oh, and even better, they're going to need names and backgrounds and an adventure or two. This might qualify as the first thing I've started to write that was based on an image I made (usually the images are based on the stories).

Anyway. What do you think? Be gentle!

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