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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)

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Ongoing - DIY DAZ Studio Basic IBL: Shader Mixer, to Shader Builder, to Pulling My Hair Out!

I was progressing nicely with my attempts to get a Shader Mixer based solution thanks to some helpful folks on DAZ3D's DAZ Studio forum - see my Shader Mixer (DS3+4): How to make a very basic diffuse IBL? thread.

Around post #17 to 18 I was beginning to think I needed to use Shader Builder instead, and by post #20 and 21 I thought I was almost there with a Shader Builder solution.

But I've run into some really, really basic problems with Shader Builder due to the lack of any detailed documentation. Same problem as Shader Mixer. The best official documentation I can find is this:

Shader Mixer documentation at the old Artzone wiki

Shader Builder documentation at the old Artzone wiki

Both these old Artzone software guides are marked as being 'in progress' and it's a 99.9%+ certainty that those particular documents won't ever be updated (because the old Artzone wiki was for DAZ Studio 3, and DAZ no longer support that).

Sadly, if you do a Google search for Shader Mixer documentation or Shader Builder Documentation those old Artzone wikis come at (or near) the top of the list). 

So I've started a new Shader Builder Queries - One Problem, One Post thread in the Nuts'n'Bolts forum at DAZ3D site, on the grounds that this is driving me nuts! ;o)

The DAZ 4.5 Shader Builder Tutorial - MK Gooch Shader by LJ Studios (aka DollyGirl) at ShareCG is definitely worth a look. Although I haven't found solution to my specific problems yet...

There's also a  Shader Mixer Tutorial I by ZigGraphix at DAZ3D and I think it's genuinely free - i.e. you don't have to be a PC member, and you don't have to buy something else first

Monday, 15 April 2013

Ongoing - A Little Diversion: Playing With IBL and Environment Maps

Still mainly working on my website, but while I was messing about with the 'specialist software' page I tracked down a download link for HDRShop version 1 (it's on the tools page of HDRLabs site here) which is the original, still free version. (There's no longer any link to it from the actual HDRShop site, just the current version 3).

That sent me off at a tangent and I've been playing with creating my own environment maps and light probes using totally free software:
1) Set up a simple world in Terragen Classic.
2) Render the six views required for a cube map.
3) Using GIMP join the six renders into a single vertical cross cube map
4) Using HDRShop Version 1 convert the cube map to equirectangular and angular maps.
And that's it! Using this approach it should (not yet tested) be possible to create proper HDR light probes - simply repeat step (2) using a few different exposure settings, and add a step (2a) to use HDRShop to combine the multiple exposures into a single .hdr image, before proceeding to step 3. But like I said, I haven't got that far yet.

A DIY skydome's easy, and getting that working nicely with my maps and probes, and Poser's Diffuse IBL didn't take long - here's a sample:

But trying to get it working in DAZ Studio is taking a bit longer - I'm having problems getting to grips with ShaderMixer light shaders. But give it time...

I've posted a few test images on the DAZ Freepozitory forum on the 'Test Images For IBL and Environment Maps (to ease past the confusing terminology) UPDATED' thread.

Monday, 1 April 2013

UI Website - Not Ready, But Coming Along Nicely...

Since releasing the OBJ knot models I've been spending most of my time playing around with my website, and it's coming along nicely now - here's a screenshot of the homepage as it currently stands...

I still haven't managed to explain to friends and family what my 3D stuff is all about and, partly I guess out of a sub-concious desire to succeed in this task, the homepage seems to be mutating into a complete newcomers introduction to the world of hobbyist 3D art. And because of that I've started writing some introductory pages to various 3D software...

But I haven't forgotten that the original aim of this website was to provide extra information about my 3D freebies, including an additional no-login-required download location for the older ones.

Regarding the look of the site, I've decided to do something different in terms of layout. I'm sure that some people will like it, and some won't.

But if there's anything you really don't like about it please let me know - especially things that make it difficult to read or navigate ( I know already that the colour scheme, especially the orange-red links on mid-grey background causes problems for some people.)

It even seems to work nicely on an iPhone if you hold the phone sideways (i.e. in landscape mode).

For the more technically aware I'm trying to stick with the very old-school HTML 4.01 and CSS 2 for 99% of the site. I use a bit of PHP for a couple of pages such as the downloads (not ready yet, just a few test pages at present) and the contact form. And I couldn't resist using the CSS 3 text-shadow. And I use browser-specific image rotation on the homepage only.