A late PSA: New breeds for the HW Big Dog

Over at the Philosopher’s Egg. I got the newsletter last week(ish) and wanted to post the info in case some folks might have missed the announcement.

I’d just dropped some $$ at DAZ so I only picked up the Chug this time:

A quickie test render, though I wish I’d rotated this good boy around a bit more to show off its curly tail. Iray render, as I recently picked up new iray light sets and have been testing them.

I also splurged on the new Howie Farkes UltraScenery and its Harpwood Trail add-on. This is a really nice utility, and according to the vendor’s commercial topic over at the DAZ forums, more add-ons are coming. I won’t be re-installing Carrara, since the only reason I’d bought it was for Howie’s nature scenes. This also led to culling a few Flink products over at Renderosity (about half my wishlist there, OMG!)

Still have to re-install Hexagon though.

There are way more light sets for iray than there were for 3DL; it’s a bit overwhelming. I looked through a whole bunch and ended up getting iRadiance Pro Series 16k HDRIs – Rain City Chicago, iRadiance – Light Probe HDR Lighting for Iray – Expansion 4, Click N Render IBL Set, Perfect Portrait Lights, and Theory of Light – The Heavens. This seemed a good starting point to find what I like and then learn more about iray lighting from there.

I bought a few sets way back when iray first came out, but mostly used a couple light probes from a PA holiday freebie.

Tested these (mostly) new purchases on Nix 8 with Short Wet Hair and the wet geoshell that came with the hair.

Out of the box results; I’ve not been brave enough to do much experimenting with settings.

For me, iray renders take much more time than 3DL ones. Testing/experimenting eats up a lot of hours that I’d much rather spend rendering, but learning stuff is kinda necessary too. I just wish I were quicker at it.

This week I’m also going to play around with the extra layering features that are available for 3DL’s Ubersurface 2. This could be fun for making materials, and I do love making materials…

And it’s here!

The new beast is plugged in and purring away — but much louder when rendering, to the distress of the cats. Sabrina even got brave enough to take a few bats at it while I was working with it last night. Who knows what goes on in those little brains, but she was clearly in “Kill it! Kill it!” mode.

First test drive, which is admittedly boring, but I was so relieved when it did its thing:

Yesssss, dForce clothing finally works!

But only after crashing DAZ Studio a half dozen times. Then I remembered, from the first round of dForce failures, something about switching an OpenCL option thingie, which I did, and that fixed the problem. I guess I can now close the old help ticket at DAZ support by saying: “Fixed problem by buying a new computer.”

HD morphs no longer take some 15 to 30 minutes to load/render!

Maybe now I can finally render Gwennili for V7 without her killing my computer.

Iray rendering times are much more reasonable. I’m willing to wait a couple hours for complex renders, not so much for simple portraits.

Edit: 3DL renders more quickly too. Duh; it’s a faster machine, but still, I was ridiculously pleased to see that. I compared 3DL/Iray for one scene and there is a noticeable difference, but not prohibitively so. The 3DL scene took 7 minutes, the Iray 36 minutes — though I probably could’ve stopped that one ten minutes earlier and it would’ve looked fine. I have little experience with Iray lighting; not sure how that affects render times (and I’m sure it does.) I want to do a comparison between a more resource-intensive scene, like a Howie Farkes environments or a larger Jack Tomalin set.

I have a few new hair props I’m hoping will show improved rendering times. In past attempts, I killed them after 2+hours of rendering with only some 20% to 25% percent being complete. (Edit again: Yup; two problem hair props rendered much more quickly. Whew…)

This all means I have even more “learn how to do this” bullet points on my To-Do list. I suppose an advantage of being so far behind everyone else is that by now there are a lot of decent resources and tutorials to check out.

Of course there were some frustrations in switching over. I cannot get a key plug-in to work in Paint Shop Pro 8. I’m about to see if the 32-bit version might be a work-around. (Edit yet again: yup, it was a 32-bit vs 64-bit issue, though it looks like I’m going to have to jump between versions of PSP to get one of them to work, ugh.)

Lost a LOT of old ebooks. These I bought way back around 2007/2008 from long-defunct stores like Fictionwise and most had DRM. I’d been gradually losing these books as I migrated through computers over the last ten years or so, but this time I killed them for good.

One reason why I hate DRM. I can still access some of these books on my ancient laptop, but it’s not exactly convenient.

Oh, and I also have a lot of trouble with programs that rely on the roaming folder. Filter Forge is a pain in the butt to reinstall every time I upgrade. (Edits galore: I’m still using FF 5; don’t know if newer installations retain/move existing filter and preset libraries.)

I haven’t tried reinstalling Texture Converter 2 but I’m hoping it won’t prove to be a problem, even if I don’t use it as much these days — pretty much only to convert Generation 4 Elite textures to Generation 3.

Having been computer-free for quite a while, I now have a lot of rendering to do. Kitties gonna hate me…


A new computer is on the way

Cue the hallelujah chorus:

Been having lots of trouble with the old beast lately, a large part of it caused by near-constant auto update attempts by Microsoft that just fail and fail. Huge chunks of my hard drive space disappear. The computer repair person couldn’t get things to work either, so it’s just time to say good-bye to this machine — it’s at least 10 years old — and get a new one.

Sent the computer person the specs for using the latest DS, so I should finally get to use dForce clothing and render HD characters more quickly too.

It’ll be a couple weeks though, so I have to fight with the old beast for a while yet.

I expect we’re rendering a bit more often during these interesting times. Hope you all are doing well and keeping healthy, wherever in the world you live.

Space BGs for pulp poses

Or other stuff too, but I made them with those poses in mind. A set of simple backgrounds, a few intended for toony figures. A couple examples:

(L) Mei Lin 7 escaping the ParasiteX, with fake dramatic shadows! (R) Space Princess Tiami hamming it up with a tiny Evo Girl.

The toony room was made with Ghastly’s free Sci-Fi sets, which I mentioned in this post.

All backgrounds except the toony room are 2500×3000; the room is 3000×3000. Under the cut:

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And I really do like this spacesuit


Even if the spacesuit doesn’t have a male counterpart, I will somehow wrangle it onto G8M until it looks decent. Even if it requires multiple render passes and some assembly in PSP.

I went to all the trouble to put a hair prop on G8F as well as some subtle makeup on her face, even though none of that is visible. I could just have loaded up the suit sans figure. Ingrained habits…

That’s The Great Kraken, minus the suckers, just tootling about in some alien sky instead of an ocean. I couldn’t get its materials to load properly and was feeling annoyed, then realized I’d accidentally loaded the textures into runtime/textures/ValandER instead of runtime/textures/ValandAR. This time it wasn’t DAZ’s fault. 😛

I want to do a portrait with the outfit using this image as an inspiration for texturing the helmet:

That floral look is a nice, whimsical touch; I like it! I can see a future where even practical spacesuits are fashionable or otherwise reflect their owner’s personality rather than a military or corporation aesthetic.