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:

Continue reading

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.


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%.


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.


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:


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.