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

uh-oh…

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.

Quick corrections for those wonky skin settings

Probably boring everybody following this blog by now! But curiosity (and yeah, irritation) compelled me to do a few quick-n-dirty adjustments to the default 3DL AoA Subsurface materials for Ollie 8.

Skin:

Ollie’s diffuse maps are already a medium-dark skin tone, so why make them that much darker? Changed the color on all skin maps to 255 255 255 and changed the diffuse strength to 80%.

SSS:

Ollie 8 has SSS maps, yet for some reason the diffuse maps are used instead. The color adds to that orange/reddish tint and the strength is too high. Replaced the diffuse maps with the SSS maps in the texture folder, changed the color to a light gray — 235 235 235 — and reduced the SSS strength to 25%.

Used light gray just as a starting point, to see what the maps looks like. Adding a slight red or blue tint helps some textures look nicer when rendered, to my eye.

I haven’t used AoA Subsurface enough to get a feel for the specular settings. There are two channels; I just changed the the first value down to 35% for everything.

Eyes:

Again, diffuse color is too dark. Changed color to 255 255 255 and strength to 100%. The sclera was still too gray so I upped the diffuse strength a bit.

He ended up looking like this in my usual light set (I forgot to lower the specular lights again.)

Not great, but better. A usable starting point, at least. I shouldn’t have had to make these changes though.

FWIW, I prefer Ubersurface. Here’s a couple renders with Ollie’s skin settings switched over.

With gamma correction on:

With gamma correction off:

Both look closer to the actual diffuse maps. I dunno…I guess the best I can hope for is to get to a point where I’m okay with how things look, and then go make renders.

Something more exciting than bald naked test render people anyway.

Like Elithia 8! I picked her up when she was in Fast Grab, and used one of those Flash Coupon deals to get her for about $5.00. She’s pretty — and I do like that little tin toy robot from Lab108.

Further adventures in baffling 3DL skin materials

Bear with me here. 😀

This is Ollie 8:

Ollie comes with 3DL materials so I expected him to look reasonably similar to this in 3DL when I loaded him. But this is what I got after rendering with neutral lights:

Hmmm…Ollie looks unexpectedly ethnic?

So I upped his SSS value to 75%, turned on Gamma Correction with gamma set to 2.2 and I got this:

OMG THAT’S EVEN WORSE!! HE’S FROZEN!!

Then I turned Gamma Correction off but left gamma on 2.2:

Well, didn’t expect that result at all…

Next I rendered with an Advanced Ambient light:

Those lips, lol!

Reloaded the first light set, toned down the specular values, and copied Ollie’s face settings to his metallic lips:

I’d say he looks much closer to his promo images than when I started out.

I also did the same thing with Alexandra 8:

A fairer-skinned Alexandra.

But I don’t think these settings are usable; without gamma correction turned back on all the other props, clothing, hair etc in the scene would be too bright/washed out, right?

Maybe I should take this to the DAZ forums where someone more Studio-savvy than me can explain what’s going on here.

A little 3DL rant

Feeling a need to get a complaint off my chest: I’m really annoyed with the 3DL materials for the DAZ core characters. Yes, I know everything is now geared toward Iray but I’m still a paying customer so I can grumble away. To my eye, their default settings look awful. Some are much worse than others. Like Alexandra 8.

Here she is one of her promos:

Here she is with the default 3DL materials, neutral lighting:

Yikes! She looks more like a bronze statue than a human.

I applied my default UberSurface starting point settings:

Better, but still much browner in comparison to the promo images which, of course, are Iray.

So I played around with the SSS settings and even a little ambient boosting using her diffuse maps (a trick I try to avoid.)

Finally closer to what the Iray promos look like, though the settings still need work. But at least I now feel like I’m in the ballpark, so to speak.

Alexandra 8 is listed at $44.95. Granted, I only paid about $10 for her, but is it too much to ask that a core figure get better default 3DL materials to at least approximate the Iray results? I don’t expect a perfect match, but there’s a huge difference between the paler Iray Alexandra and her bronze statue 3DL counterpart.

And while I’m being grumpy, I also want to complain about the separate HD add-ons for many of these core characters. It’s like having to buy the character twice. Ugh.

Happily, some characters do come with the HD add-on. I picked up the Floyd 8 Pro Bundle for $35.00 while it was on sale the other day and was relieved to see he came with the HD morphs.

So anyway, I continue to redo all the 3DL skin materials for the DAZ core characters…