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Character Models for My WIP

Discussion in 'Fantasy Art' started by FifthView, Sep 17, 2016.

  1. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    One thing I like to do is create character models for a WIP. Mostly this is how I visualize a character plus keep that image in mind for reference. I plug the images into character folders on Scrivener for easy access.

    I am not much of a visual artist, so I use 3D rendering software to do this, mostly Daz Studio. This is something of a cheat for me. I have massive respect for anyone with a talent for drawing and painting by hand, but that's not me. (Technically, I can doodle abstract images fine and love to do it, but drawing characters? Nope.)

    I'm still very much a novice with Daz Studio. I find that with visual art, I'm incredibly impatient, and even when using a shortcut like DS ... well, I don't have the patient eye of a true visual artist who pays a lot of attention to detail. But I'm getting better.

    I thought I'd share one of my latest models for my current WIP.

    This is the hero of my revenge novel, the character who'll be out for blood from the very beginning. I try to build a small scene that will encapsulate something about each character, although I'm somewhat limited by the actual models I have available to me. Due to my generally impatient nature with art, I've only recently started working in more post work, in this case with Gimp. In this image, everything is from DS except for what I hope doesn't come off as odd looking, ill-fitting "magic." Still learning the ropes.



    [​IMG]
     
  2. cydare

    cydare Minstrel

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    That's really neat! I've never tried 3D softwares before, but you've really created something that sets a mood and looks like a still from an important scene. I like it a lot.
     
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  3. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    Thanks cydare!

    The biggest issues with 3D modeling software in the hands of a non-artist, besides the ultimate expense (cost of various models), is the fact that I'm mostly restricted to the designs of creators of content (models) so if I have a vision for something that is peculiar, I can't easily incorporate original designs.

    But for my purposes, it's a great help. I used to spend hours online searching for photos of real people to use as models for characters. (I like having a visual reminder of a character's appearance as I write.)
     
  4. cydare

    cydare Minstrel

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    Even with the limitations I like it a lot. With time and practice you can add more to the models you create.

    I did the same as you! Searching for people who reminded me of the character somehow made them more real in my mind and easier to write. Most didn't quite fit, however, so I started learning how to draw around three years ago and have made some progress I think. I've also commissioned a few artists and friends for art who have really created stunning pieces for me.
     
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  5. ascanius

    ascanius Inkling

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    If you want a larger range of character models check out makehuman, it's what I use for quick character models. Then I simply import into blender, rig, texture, and meshes all included.

    A couple observations. First that white background washers out the rest of your scene, it dominates the scene, get rid of it. Next, the lighting is all funky, especially with the white background.

    I suggest setting up a rim, fill, and key lamp then start to play with the emission values.

    Also, stand up and try the pose out yourself. I can see that there are a few things that are of with the pose, try to find something that feels natural.

    I don't know anything about daz studio, but if you want to bring the render up a few levels you might want to start looking into shaders such a diffuse, glossy, and what is really needed is a sss shader to give the skin and plants a more realistic appearance. If daz studio doesn't support those and your interested check out blender though be warned there is a step learning curve.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2016
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  6. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    Thanks ascanius.

    I have a few thousand models, collected over a couple years, but still any particular vision for clothing, magic, and so forth will be restricted to those. If I were an artist able to draw my peculiar vision, I wouldn't have to worry about that. I didn't know about makehuman, so I'll check it out.

    The funny thing about the background is that the image rendered with a transparent background and I changed it to white in Gimp thinking it made the rest pop out more. Normally for a scene I'll have a full background (outdoors or indoors) but I wasn't sure what to do about this which is really just about a type of figurine/snippet of a scene. I'll give it some thought.

    Emissive values, diffuse, glossy...these are some of the things in the backend of Daz Studio that I don't fully understand. Actually, I barely understand them. Sometimes I'll fool around with those values, occasionally I'll use them to try to fix things that aren't working in the scene, but without training it's a trial-and-error approach and takes up a lot of time for me.

    The latest iteration of Daz Studio has a new "iRay render" mode that I used for this model. It actually seems to render more natural looking scenes, whereas the original render mode has a more plastic look. But lighting is another area that I struggle with a lot. I also don't have a great eye for these things.

    I'm improving slowly. Currently, I use DS more for myself, for visualizing things or creating character models for my stories. I have also used Manga Studio for creating some comic pages—render image, use image for panels in Manga Studio—but it's strictly a side hobby at this point. I don't expect to use these images for publication but maybe as guides for anyone I hire to do those things. (Like book covers.)
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2016
  7. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    I've created other images for the various characters in my WIP, working on them from time to time.

    Here's the queen of the land, mother to the villain. I call it "The Queen's Last Portrait."

    [​IMG]



    * * *

    Last night I was "doodling," and came up with this. It could use a lot of work, but I'd already invested too much time with it.

    "The Author Takes a Break and Gazes at His Characters."

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2017
  8. ascanius

    ascanius Inkling

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    I love this level of nerd! OK my thoughts, subsurface scattering (sss)and lighting are two things you need to look into. The skin is great but is missing something, this is where sss comes in, skin is one of the hardest things to get to look real.
    Second lighting. Look into the point lighting and try to pull her from the background.

    Keep up the good work
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2017
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  9. Michael K. Eidson

    Michael K. Eidson Archmage

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    I don't feel qualified to critique someone else's artwork, except for saying whether it appeals to me. I know how difficult it can be for a hobbyist to create art, and respect any hobbyists brave enough to share their work with the world. Sharing is the only way to get the feedback needed to improve. I'll leave it to the experts among us to give you that kind of feedback. It's cool that ascanius is here.

    All your images above serve the purpose to which they were designed, and that's the main thing. As a fellow hobbyist, I appreciate that you've shared your work. To me, it's all good.
     
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  10. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    @Ascanius: I'm very nerdy lately. :D I will explore lighting options and check out using SSS with Iray renders. (I have SSS preset shaders for the original DS render engine.) Often with outdoor renders, I just let the Iray lighting do its thing. Not sure if you are familiar with Iray, but it's basically a real-world lighting solution; so, outdoor renders utilize the sun in various positions in the sky at different geographical positions on earth. She's inside an open-air structure, and the roof is keeping her upper body a little more shadowed than the lower part of her body. I actually ran the image through Photoshop with some auto filters that muted the colors in the whole thing, as a lark, and liked it so kept it. Heh, maybe I'll retcon this and say the portrait was found a couple centuries later, a bit faded in spots, and whoever did the restoration didn't know what he was doing.

    @Michael: Thanks. In the back of my head, I have the idea of designing some of my own covers and using the images in other ways for promotion....but that's down the road.
     
  11. Michael K. Eidson

    Michael K. Eidson Archmage

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    @FifthView, I've created some renders for promotional purposes and will eventually do some more. If I self-publish, I'll try designing my own cover art, and have experimented with that already. I'll certainly need expert critiques if/when it comes to creating cover art. If I self-publish, I might splurge for cover art instead of doing my own, and only do promotional images myself.
     
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  12. Kya Lightwing

    Kya Lightwing Acolyte

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    I've never looked at 3D art programs, but these look really cool! I've learned to draw by hand for lack of other resources, but this is a great idea. :D How hard/long did it take you to figure out how to work the program?
     
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  13. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    I've been using Daz Studio a little under three years. Getting started wasn't too complicated, with some basic models included free, for creating simple images that can be plugged into other programs and tweaked. But there are a lot of back-end settings and special terminology associated with 3D design, and I'm sill learning. I don't do half or maybe even a third of what I could do if I understood all that, even three years later. I'm mostly a trial-and-error kind of software learner, although there are many videos and tutorials online that can sometimes help. The biggest downside is the potential cost, because even the least expensive models, textures, shapes, pose sets, and shaders can cost between $2-5 each, and there are many that are significantly more expensive. This can add up over time, so it's something you'd want to consider. (There are other sites, and even Daz in some cases, that offer free models for download to help add to the collection, although what you get may vary in quality.)
     
  14. Michael K. Eidson

    Michael K. Eidson Archmage

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    My experience is similar to FifthView's, as far as DAZ Studio goes. I've been using it for 3-4 years. I was using Poser before that, so I have a bit more experience in using 3D rendering software, but it has all been on an amateur level. I expect that anyone who is comfortable with computers, especially 2D drawing programs, and has a computer with good computing and graphics capability, could learn how to render some respectable images within a week or two, if they were really intent on doing so, especially given the recent advances made in DAZ Studio.

    It's very easy to get started with DAZ Studio. One large obstacle is removed entirely for you, in that DAZ allows you to download the rendering software for the lost cost of nothing. You get some free models with the program. You can find other free models out there, like FifthView says. Sometimes DAZ and other stores have specials you can take advantage of. Yet getting ahold of the right models, the ones you can use to create the images in your head, can be problematic. There are programs that allow you to create your own models, but I've not had time to really learn them. You can use DAZ Studio to modify the models you have, and you can acquire morph packages to help make the modifications. That's the route I've gone, and it works decently well.

    Probably the most significant thing to learn in 3D rendering is lighting. Lighting has the largest impact on your scene. You can have all the same models loaded, render it with two different light set-ups, and end up with drastically different images. Lighting can greatly affect the mood of the rendered art, and people looking at your art will be struck first by the mood, and then by the actual content. So if you look into training for 3D rendering, make sure to include training for lighting. Setting up your lighting is an art in itself. I don't claim to excel at it, but I've experimented, researched and studied enough to know that what I'm telling you is true. In DAZ Studio, the Render Settings also affect lighting, so pay attention to that tab as well as the individual lights in your scene.
     
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