It’s the new sound, direct from the abyssal reaches of the Mariana Trench — IK Chains and the EasyPose Tentacles! It’s a bioluminescent fusion of continential shelf rock, overlaid with fast-paced trance beats that you need at least eight arms to play properly. It’s a tentacular spectacular!
Wait…that actually sounds pretty cool. I’d listen to that, especially if cephalopods were providing percussion.
But no, it’s nothing that nifty. Feel free to go read something else, unless, of course, you want to hear me get into a technical discussion of moving digital tentacles around in Daz.
I just have to say that there are a lot of digital tentacles out there in the Daz/Poser world. Seriously — they’re right up there with aliens, robots, scantily clad women and therianthropes among those perennial favorites to render. [No-fail money-making opportunity for anyone who wants to pursue it: alien humanoid robots from outer space with kitty ears, morphing tentacles, ridiculously exaggerated secondary sex characteristics and no pants. I’ll take five!] If, as I have observed, the average Daz/Poser user is rendering scantily clad women and/or cyborgs and/or aliens and/or therianthropes and/or porn, tentacles fit right in to several of those categories.
Tentacles, like cables, rope, snakes, sea serpents, dragons and long, loose hair, represent huge challenges for Daz/Poser nerds because of the nature of rigging — that is, the addition of articulation to a static model so that it can change positions realistically. Rigging of digital models works well on things like people and cars, which are rigid in most places and flexible at only certain areas — it is possible to move one portion of a digital person or car without having to rearrange everything. However, with tentacles and friends, these things are flexible at pretty much any point, resulting in a lack of clearly defined joints and a fluidity of motion. The motions of tentacles and friends are better represented by a sort of articulation that cascades down the tentacle, in which posing one segment subtly affects all other downstream segments.
Fortunately, of course, Daz/Poser nerds have invented ways in which to pose tentacles and friends more realistically. One of them, IK chains — or inverse kinematics — is basically a bunch of back-end calculations that allow one to move, say, the end segment of a tentacle and let the software figure out how the change in the position of the end segment will cascade back to its upstream fellows. Incidentally, IK chains appear frequently in digital models of people as well, allowing the user to select the model’s hand, say, and reposition it, and the rest of the arm and torso will follow realistically, according to the program’s IK calculations. Pretty cool.
Another method by which to pose wiggly things is Easy Pose. Invented by a brilliant dude, Ajax, Easy Pose is a system whereby tentacles and friends’ positions may be changed and controlled by dials like SBendLeft, CurveRight, etc. There can even be master dials that control whole groups of tentacles and friends.
I had somewhere I was going with this, but I can’t remember. I will just close by saying that Tentacular Spectacular would be a great name for a carnival ride.
"Hey, let’s hit the Tentacular Spectacular!"
"What is it?"
"I dunno, but apparently you have to sign this release before they let you on."
"I’ll pass, thanks."
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