Fake Book Cover Art – Mean Streak Leo

I’m overdue on posting to my blog. To remedy that, I’m posting my latest “fake” book cover art rendered in DAZ Studio. This is cover art for a book that doesn’t exist. I’m practicing for when I want to do the covers for my own novels, which are still in progress, btw.

For this project, I rendered an image of Leo 7 HD’s head against a night-time cityscape backdrop and a black background. I wanted Leo to have a tattoo around his eye, and I created the 2D version of the tatto in my 2D photo editing program. The trick then was getting it to onto Leo 7 HD’s head in DAZ Studio.

If you use DAZ Studio to do 3D renders, you probably know about the LIE Image Editor. It’s useful for layering your own images on top of the normal images used in materials applied to surfaces. An example usage is to overlay a tattoo image on the skin of a figure. I’ve done it before, but ran into a problem this time.

There are several properties for a material in DAZ, and it’s usually the “Diffuse Color” property that I’d edit with the LIE Image Editor to drop in my tatto image. But with the Leo 7 HD figure, the “Diffuse Color” property isn’t used in the material for his face skin. Instead, it had a “Base Color” property. Problem with that is the “Base Color” property doesn’t have an image assigned to it. There was nothing for me to layer my tattoo image onto.

So I assigned to the “Base Color” property the same image that was assigned to the “Translucency Color” property, and set the associated color value to pink. This turned out to look decently well imo. Once I’d done that, I had an image to lay my tattoo image over. Opening up the LIE Image Editor for the “Base Color” property, I loaded my tattoo image, and scaled and positioned it until I was happy. Perhaps I could have used the LIE Image Editor on the “Translucency Color” property instead of the “Base Color,” but that’s an experiment for another day.

After the render, it was time for postwork. I typically don’t do much postwork to images rendered in DAZ Studio. The exception is in adding text, since I have more fonts available in my 2D photo editing tool than in DAZ Studio. Other exceptions are rare but do happen. For instance, I wanted the skin tone in this image to be just a tad darker than it had rendered in DAZ. But I didn’t want to take the 40 minutes it would require to render the image again after tweaking the scene in an attempt to get the desired darker tone, especially as there is no guarantee I’ll get what I want no matter how many tweaks I make in DAZ Studio.

So I did the little trick of creating two layers with the same image in them, then combining them in the desired way. If I want light areas in the image to pop out more, I screen the image with itself, usually at about 40% to 80% opacity on the screen layer. If I want a darker tone, I use the “burn” effect on the top image layer, with an opacity setting usually in the range of 10% to 80%. For this image, I used the burn effect in the top layer and have it set at 10% opacity, so the overall effect on the image is subtle. The first image below is the one with the burn layer. The second image (the one where I used some white text) doesn’t have the burn layer, so it shows the original skin tone as rendered by DAZ Studio. Do you notice any difference between the two images other than the text color?

If you’re a self-publishing author looking for book cover art and you like my style, leave a comment below if you’d like to discuss the possibility of my providing exclusive, unique book cover art for you at a low, low price.

Kari Dance – Animation With DAZ Studio

DAZ Studio enables artists to create animations as well as still images. I’ve been experimenting with seamlessly looping animations for a while, and wanted to share my latest effort. I call it “Kari Dance.” The image below is a 225×225 animated GIF file consisting of 120 frames. It is 2.16 MB in size.

Kari Dance - 225x225 Animated GIF

When I rendered the image, I rendered it at a size of 900×900. The size of that image file is 27.6 MB. It took four hours to render. I could have let it run longer, but the increase in quality would have been marginal.

A 450×450 version of the image can be seen on Deviant Art. It is 7.49 MB and available from Deviant Art as a free download.

If you have some DAZ Studio experience and are interested in some of my animation techniques, I’ve written a tutorial. An animated GIF is good for advertising, as it is eye-catching and will still play in browsers that block Flash Player animations. If you’re going to make an animated GIF, you might as well make it seamlessly looping. Personally, I don’t care for those GIFs that make a sudden jump from the end back to the beginning. A seamlessly looping animation doesn’t have that sudden jump.

The tutorial is available in PDF on Deviant Art to Deviant Art members for 290 DA points (roughly US $3.63). Included are all three versions of the image mentioned above.

The tutorial and example GIFs are also available for US $3.50 on DriveThru RPG, for those of my friends who frequent that site more often and might be interested in the tutorial.

If you read it, I’d be interested in your feedback, either here or on the product page.

As always, thanks for visiting!

Superhero Rule Number 1

What’s the #1 rule of being a superhero?

I created a graphic for it, to help all you superheroes-in-training out there remember this most important rule. The consequences of forgetting it can be devastating, not only to you but to anyone with significance in your life.

Print out this image. Post it on your closet door. Whenever you put on your costume, this image will help you remember to always put on your mask too. Or to take off your glasses, if that’s the disguise you’re going with. Continue reading “Superhero Rule Number 1”

Alani Rendered with DAZ Iray

The new DAZ Studio 4.8 Pro is officially released. It comes with a new rendering engine called Iray. This rendering engine is intended for use in creating photo-realistic images. That is, you’re supposed to think you’re looking at a photo when you look at the image. See what you think. Continue reading “Alani Rendered with DAZ Iray”

Alani Rendered With Toony Camera Pro

Did you know you can make manga-style and sketch-style renders with Daz Studio? Compare the first below image with the ones in my previous post. They are renders of the same scene, but this one uses the Toony Camera Pro and a scripted 3Delight rendering engine.

Manga-style rendering of Alani

Of course, there are many variables you can play with when doing any 3D render, and that goes as well when using the Toony Camera Pro. The image above and the other images in this post below are just examples of what can be done, without making a lot of custom tweaks to surface settings or Toony Camera Pro properties. Continue reading “Alani Rendered With Toony Camera Pro”

Alani for Callie 6 Renders

Just wanted to post some of my latest renders. The images below are copyright ©2015 by Michael K. Eidson.

These images use the Alani character for the new Callie 6 figure. Both images are rendered in DAZ Studio with no postwork.

This first one uses the standard 3Delight renderer.

3D Render of Alani 6 in Lofn Outfit

The second one uses the Luxus renderer via the LuxRender plugin. I didn’t change anything in this image from the setup for the first one. I only changed the renderer. Remarkable difference, I think.

Alani with spear rendered with Luxus

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A Study of Light in Digital Art

I’ve been under the weather for several days, which hasn’t made it easy to be creative. But I was able to set up some scenes in DAZ Studio 4.7 Pro and let them render. I’ve been curious about the effects of different lighting in digital art, not only with regards to how lighting affects appearance but also rendering speed. I spent my down time running some experiments and will share them with you, complete with visuals, in the post that follows.

I set up a scene with a bunch of different lights. I used lights from a couple of professionally-created packages I licensed from the DAZ store: Set the Mood and Advanced D.I.Y Portrait Lights for DS4.

The mood lights consist of spot lights and distant lights, and come with a camera and something referred to as the “mood cube.”

The portrait lights are meant, as the name suggests, for close-up portraits. Amongst other lights, they include an ambient light and a specular light. These terms describing lights are all self-explanatory at a fundamental level except perhaps “specular” light, which is basically a light for bringing out shiny highlights, as you’ll see. Continue reading “A Study of Light in Digital Art”

Happy Holidays From the Troll Mystic

Happy Holidays From the Troll Mystic

Happy Holidays From the Troll Mystic. Image copyrighted ©2014 by Eposic. All Rights Reserved. Rendered using DAZ Studio 4.7 Pro.
 

 
Happy holidays all!

(If you’re wondering why the Troll Mystic looks the way he does, just remember that he’s half elf. He’s technically a trolf, not a troll, but most people don’t understand the distinction. So he let’s everyone call him a troll. He looks more like a troll than an elf.)

So who has plans for 2015?

Codex of the Troll Mystic: Elementals, Part 8 – Dimension Hopping and Summonings

An elven wizard summons a fire elemental

An elven wizard summons a fire elemental. Image copyrighted ©2014 by Eposic. All Rights Reserved. Rendered using DAZ Studio 4.7 Pro. No postwork. Click on the image for a larger version.
 

 
In this installment of Khayd’haik the Troll Mystic’s series on elementals, he discusses how elementals can move between dimensions, including when they are magically summoned from their home planes.

Check out the introductory installment on elementals if you missed it or any previous installments, or just want to refresh your memory on what has come before.

Dimension Hopping Basics

Elementals can freely pass from one dimension to an adjacent dimension, but only to an area that contains a concentration of its associated element. Elementals may also cross dimensions in answer to a wizard’s proper summons. A proper summons will involve some amount of the associated element, the purer, the better.

Summoning Basics

Elementals can be summoned by wizards to perform tasks. They often do not care they have been summoned nor do they care they are being given tasks. An elemental has a strong survival instinct, however, and will abandon any task that threatens its survival unless the magic binding it is too powerful for it to break. There are not many wizards who can work magic that powerful. Wizards are best served by giving an elemental a task that involves the elemental’s associated element and does not put the elemental in danger. Continue reading “Codex of the Troll Mystic: Elementals, Part 8 – Dimension Hopping and Summonings”

Codex of the Troll Mystic: Elementals, Part 7 – Interactions with Air, Gases and Empty Space

A flame elemental flying through the air over a green landscape with birds flying in the background.

A flame elemental flying through the sky. Watch out, birdies! Image copyrighted ©2014 by Eposic. All Rights Reserved. Rendered using DAZ Studio 4.7 Pro. No postwork. Click on the image for a larger version.
 

 
In this installment of Khayd’haik the Troll Mystic’s series on elementals, he discusses how elementals can interact with air, gases and empty spaces. Khayd’haik refers to empty spaces as voids. You may know them better as vacuums.

Check out the introductory installment on elementals if you missed it or any previous installments, or just want to refresh your memory on what has come before. Yes, it has been over a year since the last installment.

Interactions with Air, Gases and Voids

Not all elemental types can fly. Some can travel through both air and voids, while some can only travel through air, unable to travel in a void. “Air” in this context includes any gaseous environment, even a toxic one. Some elementals would be harmed by passing through a toxic cloud, however. It depends on the type and strength of the toxin as to which elementals would be harmed and how badly they would be harmed by passing through the toxin. There are too many variables to list all conditions. Continue reading “Codex of the Troll Mystic: Elementals, Part 7 – Interactions with Air, Gases and Empty Space”