I’ve been looking for something like this for a while…
EDIT: And here’s a basic cloth room tutorial.
The last time I checked, my Daz runtime contained a whopping 45 GB of stuff, so I’m on a mission to reduce that total by 9 MB. I have discovered that the largest files aren’t geometries, but textures. Large, high-resolution textures take up lots of space on the computer. They also require lots of RAM during rendering, so the textures are probably the culprits maxing out my puny amount of RAM.
In an effort to speed processor response time and rendering time, I will perform the following test. I’ll start out with one of my sets as it currently stands — probably the cemetery, as it’s relatively uncluttered. I’ll throw some people and lights in, then time how long a render takes. I will then reduce the size of the texture files for all set elements as much as possible — preferably by at least 75% per file — and then re-render. If things go quicker, I will consider doing this for all my sets, even one of Jareth’s rather messy and overstuffed closets!
I’m also considering redoing the textures for my characters because Lord knows that their body textures hog RAM. There are separate UV maps for limbs, for torso, for face, for eyes, for inner mouth, etc. All except the last two average around 4096x4096px. On top of that, there are bump maps, displacement maps, specularity maps, transparency maps, even SSS [subsurface scattering] maps in some cases. And that’s just on one naked person! Clothing and hair can have multiple, high quality maps as well, easily putting a strain on resources.
Anyway, I’m thinking of leaving all face textures at high resolution, but cutting all other texture file sizes by 50%. That could make a substantial difference in rendering time…I hope.
Covering a variety of digital art programs, from Daz Studio to Terragen and beyond, GeekAtPlay provides short, easily digestible, project-based intros. Nice!
I shave my head about once a month, which means that my fine, straight hair cycles between essentially nonexistent and, at max, an inch long. Much to my irritation, I have not been able to find a digital representation of my even-all-over buzz cut.
Enter Age of Armour and DimensionTheory’s Grass Shader for Daz Studio, a recently released procedural shader. The average shader depends on various maps in jpg or png [transparency, bump, specular, normal, etc.], from which it then generates texture effects on a digital model. By contrast, a procedural shader like the AoA/DT Grass Shader relies on a scripting language to calculate its effects. Maps may be used optionally to fine-tune the results of a procedural shader, but they are not necessary.
The Grass Shader works by creating actual 3D grass blades [as opposed to a displacement effect on a flat surface]. Controllable effects include blade thickness, blade length, base color, tip color and clumping. Of course, I read the product description and immediately leapt to the conclusion that the Grass Shader would work equally well as a specialized type of hair shader, specifically for short and spiky ‘dos. At last — a buzz cut maker!
To replicate my favorite hairstyle in digital, I started with a universal skull cap from PhilC’s Hair Designer. I morphed it and tweaked it until it fit the default G2F model. I planned to use the Grass Shader on the skullcap, so I ensured that it fit G2F’s head closely. I wanted to create a realistic semblance of hair growing directly out of her scalp.
I then experimented with the shader settings to approximate my actual hair. I had little trouble determining an appropriate blade length, blade thickness and clumping strength, but I spent hours fiddling with diffuse color and translucency. At first I tried making the base colors brown and the tip colors blond, as this is how my hair appears with light shining through it, but I eventually realized that the translucency strength controls this effect, and there’s no need to make the diffuse channel do the work. I ended up making all base and tip colors the same flat brown that my hair appears when it’s lying on the floor after I’ve shaved it, and that achieved a more realistic result.
I also experienced some difficulty in making the hair cover the model’s head. Yes, I know — a quick glance in the mirror clearly demonstrates that my scalp remains highly visible when my hair is buzzed quite short and, yes, it does look like I’m kind of bald. I wanted the effect of a full head of hair, however, so I made some geoshells of the skullcap and shaded them with the same settings as the original skullcap.
Behold — my digital buzz cut! The first render shows only one layer of shader hair: the skullcap. The second shows the skullcap + a geoshell layer of hair. The third shows the skullcap + 2 geoshell layers of hair.