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Ongoing (22) Freebie (15) Shields (12) Scripts (7) Ideas (6) SneakPeek (6) Architecture (5) WorldBall (5) Tattoo (4) PictureTime (3) Armour (2) Shader (2) HDRI (1) Hats (1) Poser (1) Sources (1) moan (1) website (1)

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Ideas - Upgrade To My PropGoto+ (Part 2)

Continuing from an earlier post, it turns out that a simple solution is a 'DummyHand' prop:

Simply rotate and translate 'any old prop' till it's held correctly in the dummy hand, and then parent the prop to the dummy hand. You can now use the 'PropGoto+' on the dummy hand (not the 'any old prop' itself) and your prop will go with it.

Since the dummy hand is designed to work with the 'PropGoto+' script (i.e. size, orientation, origin, x/y/zOffsetA/B set appropriately) your 'any old prop' should now be more-or-less correctly gripped by whichever of the 28 supported figures you used (the dummy hand would need to be made invisble before rendering - I'm making it bright green so it stands out.)

I sort-of glossed over that "...Simply rotate and translate 'any old prop'..." bit - it isn't too difficult once you get the hang of the rotation order. But why not try to simplify that too?

First step -  I loaded up several props from my runtime and set all the orientation and translation values to zero to find out where they would appear. Needless to say their zeroed positions are all different - here's a few with a ghostly M4:

But that's not too bad actually. There seem to be four basic defaults (there's sure to be more, but it's a good start):
1) Vertically, positioned above the origin with one end at the origin. This seems the most popular (the greatsword is actually at 90° to the others, blade facing front-back, not left-right)
2) In a particular figure's right/left hand (e.g. the mace would fit M4's right hand, the scimitar would fit a G2 male's right hand). This seems popular too.
3) Positioned to fit into/onto another prop (e.g. the knife near Mike's right hip would fit a sheath on a G2 male's armoured hip).
4) Similar to (1), but offset from the origin.

Looking at the picture I can quite easily set the x/y/z/ rotations and translations manually to fit in the dummy hand. Doing it via a script needs some thought.

I think the keywill be to let the user specify how the prop is oriented, and then apply preset x/y/z/ rotations and translations in accordance with this. For these vertical props (criteria 1 and 4) rotations are easy:

Props with the same initial 'alignment' use the same rotation values:
- Handle at the bottom (wand and staff): x=0°, y=90°, z=0°
- Handle at top, blade left-right (two shorter swords): x= -90°, y= -90°, z=0°
- Handle at top, blade front-back (greatsword): x= -90°, y=0°, z=0°

They all need to move down now - I think the Y-value of the 'origin' in the PP2 will tell me how far.

But I can't think of a way to determine how far backward-forward along the Z-axis  they need to move - that depends on the length of the prop and which end is supposed to be gripped, which I don't think a script can determine. I think we'll have to ask for some user interaction - here's a tentative set of three questions the script can ask (for a  prop that meets criterion 1):

a) If somebody grabbed the prop with their right hand, which way would the hand be pointing? Right/Forward
b) How tall is the prop compared to a standard human? Knee-high/Waist-high/Head-high
c) Where should the hand grip it? Top/Middle/Bottom

All very tentative at this stage, and criteria 2 and 3 are more problematic, but this approach has possibilites...

(Mustn't forget that when a user loads a prop it may not have its rotations/translations set to zero...)


Ongoing - DMS/TMS Multi-Material Shaders

Just been playing with some test renders in Poser 6 and Poser 9 to see how my 'ShieldTMS' (Triple Material Shader) is progressing. Also been using my ongoing 'DMS' (Dual Material Shader) on Mike 3 to give him sak yant and a sarong (as per an earlier post), but added some bump and skin colour as well:

I'm rather pleased - it's beginning to look something like what I was hoping for...

Saturday, 24 November 2012

SneakPeak - More Shields!

I'm beginning to run out of steam on these - I've used up most of my source material, and my eyes are going wonky from all the effort!

Anyway, here's a sneak peak at the next design for each shield - round and rectangular one are more-or-less done...

...but the narrow one's stretching my limited artistic abilities!

(I might need some time out before releasing these three)


P.S. I said I'd used up most of my source material, but I've still got a few, mainly round, designs. The problem is that the images (except the middle one) aren't much larger than what you see here on this collage...

Ideas - Upgrade To My PropGoto+

Firstly a bit of background...

Q: What's the problem with a smartprop?
A: A smartprop only works with the figure it was created for, and you have to then go and find the hand pose.

As a user I was fed up with props that only had smartprop versions for a single figure, usually V4. So I decided that every hand-held prop I made would automatically work with a wide range of figures. It wasn't as hard as I thought to get the basics working. A few months back I wrote a small script (both PoserPython and DAZ Script versions) to let me put my first handheld prop (my simple dha, a S.E.Asian sword) into any* figure's left or right, parenting the prop to the correct hand, and applying an appropriate 'Dha Grip' hand pose. I also created individual hand poses for each figure - some were good, most were okayish, a few were bad.

I sneaked this little script out as part of my 'South East Asian Duel' freebie - in both 'Smart+' prop (for loading a new prop into the scene straight into the figure's hand) and 'PropGoto+' (for moving a prop that's already in the scene) variants.

My 'South East Asian Shields' were designed so that when the props are loaded into Poser/DAZ Studio the handgrip is the same size, position, and orientation as the handgrip of the original dha prop, i.e. a cylinder about 1" diameter by 4-6" length, oriented as below (screenshot from Blender, so axes are not like Poser/DS):

(N.B. The 'x/y/zOffsetA/B' and 'origin' values in the PP2 file must also  be set to zero so that all rotations are truly around the origin).

It works beautifully - using the 'Smart+ Shield' props (or the old 'PropGoto+') they load into the hands of any of those 28 figures and the figures hand closes around them beautifully.

So why not expand this idea for use with other props? That's one of the things I'm working on. The problem is that most props don't load into the position I've chosen, and the PP2s of most props have non-zero 'x/y/zOffsetA/B' and 'origin' values.

The answer turns out to be incredibly simple... be continued!

*Well, any of the 28 figures I had at the time...

- DAZ Gen 3: Aiko 3, David, Hiro 3, Laura 3, Luke 3, Michael 3, Stephanie Petite 3, The FREAK, The Girl, Victoria 3.
- DAZ Gen 4: Michael 4, Victoria 4 (should work with all variants, e.g. Aiko 4, etc)
- DAZ Gen 5: Genesis (base figure),
- Poser 5: P5 Don, P5 Judy.
- Poser 6: P6 James, P6 Jessi, Miki 2.
- Poser 7: G2 James, G2 Jessi.
- Sixus 1:  Behemoth, PH Female, PH Male.
- Others: Antonia, Apollo, F202 Dollie, Kirwyn's K, MayaDoll.

Ideas - Swapping Rectangular/Narrow Shield Designs

It's really simple to use an alternate UV set in DAZ Studio 3. Surfaces tab, '>' (top-right), 'Load UV Set...', and select the OBJ that has the alternate UV set. Then find the 'UV Map' group on the Surfaces tab and select the one you just loaded.

Of course you have to have the OBJ files with the alternate UV maps to do this. That was easy to create. So here's the first designs for the narrow/rectangular shields UV swapped:

I'm now trying to remember how to put the alternate UV mapping into the Poser files... cue question on the Renderosity Poser forum.

(P.S. inspiration for this came from a render by luckybears at Renderosity)

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

PictureTime - My Year-Old Attempt At A Phi Krasue

Here's a couple of renders my alter-ego was working on for a Halloween 2011 competition, but never finished - a 'Phi Krasue' (ผีกระสือ in Thai, a malevolent female spirit from South East Asia. In appearance a woman's head floating in the air, with internal organs trailing from the neck...)

This first render was when I'd got the composition and lighting about right, although the Phi Krasue herself doesn't look right - too European, and too grey (although I love the blank expression looking straight out at you...

I then started playing with ideas for the Phi Krasue herself, and the next picture is the Krasue I liked best...

Unfortunately I never got round to putting the two together. Simply putting the second Krasue into the first scene just doesn't look right - as you can see from this simple cut-and-paste and minimal edit...

My artistic skills hit a brick wall at that point, and I put the picture to one side.

Freebie - Six New Textures For S.E.Asian Shields Now Released

Those six new shield designs are now released as freebies on ShareCG here...

(not yet uploaded to Renderosity due to site problems...)

Monday, 19 November 2012

SneakPeek - The Next Six Shield Textures

Not quite done yet (I missed bits when I was copying the designs from my source material), but here's an idea of what the worn textures would currently look like:

I also noticed that the studs were missing from some of the earlier mask/texture images - I've got fixed versions of those now.

I've also got updated versions of the Poser DMS(Basic), TMS(Basic) and ShieldTMS(Basic) shaders to match the DAZ Studio versions (i.e. I've added separate controls for the specular).

When I release the six new textures I'll include these fixes/updates.

Ideas - Using 'DMS(Basic)' For Tattoos, Etc

I've been playing around a bit with the generic 'DMS(Basic)' shader I included with those latest shield textures - I was quite pleased with how flexible they are! My 'Yak Grot' (Angry Giant) render, uploaded to DeviantArt, Renderosity and ShareCG, used them to add blood-spatter to the giant's skin.

So why not tattoos? Here's a quick test of M3 with some Sak Yant (Thai Buddhist tattoos) - again applied using the 'DMS(Basic)' shader.

That seems to work nicely too (at least in DAZ Studio 3 - still need to check Poser), so I'll definitely be doing some Sak Yant tattoo freebies in the near future. I'll create the basic tattoos from scratch to practice my drawing (the ones used for the render above were just grabbed from the internet to test the basic idea, so I won't simply use them - copyright and all that!).

By the way, I also did the sarong (gathered at the back, pulled between the legs, and tucked into the waist at the front) using the DMS(Basic) shader - just trying out an idea. It's not brilliant, but proves that the concept might work. The sarong's basically a flat colour, but I used a bump/displacement map. I think it needs some displacement, but not too much or the leg movements make it look really odd. I think just enough displacement to give a visual cue in silhouette will do, with bump doing the rest.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Freebie - First Batch Of Extra Textures For S.E.Asian Shields

First batch of extra textures for my S.E.Asian Shields uploaded to ShareCG and Renderosity. More details on the ShareCG Textures And Shaders For South East Asian Shields page.

I've included very basic Poser and DAZ Studio shaders that allow you to easily change the colours, design, and 'wear' pattern.

I've got more designs on the way (as already mentioned).

I also hope to combine what I learnt from creating my SDMS beta (a DAZ Studio 'Simple Dual Material Shader') with plans I have for these shield textures. The result of that should be a more complete Triple Material Shader for these shields.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

SneakPeek - A Few Additional Shield Designs

About a week ago I released my 'South East Asian Shields' freebie for Poser and DAZ Studio. I've been working on some extra designs for the shields, and they should be ready in the next few days.

In the meantime here are a couple of the sketches that form the basis of the shield designs. They're all based on photos I've found on the internet or taken myself.

Time To Start A Blog

A couple of days ago I created an account on DeviantArt, but I've already started using it more as a blog than for uploading 'art'. What I really need is a blog!

Et voilà! Here I am!