This one is another piece featuring the protagonist of a story I wrote called The Cold Elf, available for Kindle devices.
Improvs in Daz Studio
Actually, this image was never planned at all. I was in the process of posing the character for another piece I wanted to do, and I ended up with him in this position. It really jumped out at me, so I decided to go with it.
The weapon he’s holding – the sword-breaker, is an item I created using Blender, so I had to import that as an obj file, then resize it to the correct proportion. The size differences between Blender and Daz can be worked out with precision, but I usually just eyeball it when the prop drops in.
Since that sword-breaker is made up of several pieces, I made sure they were all parented correctly in Blender before I exported the obj file. This way they showed up correctly parented in Daz Studio.
You can also export from Blender as a Collada file. Daz will import it just fine. For simple geometric shapes I haven’t seen much difference between an obj or a Collada. I understand with more complicated rigging situations a Collada might retain more information when transferring between apps, though I haven’t had reason to test this.
Normals can be an issue…
I’ve found on some items that the “normals” of the object may need to be flipped when importing an object from Blender into Daz.
If you render in Daz and your Blender object comes out all black, you can tell that the normals are facing inward on the object, which means the light doesn’t touch the object, since it considers the outside to actually be inside.
There’s not much you can do about this in Daz, but in Blender you can fix this by selecting the object, tab into Edit mode, then choose Mesh > Normals Flip Normals. Now when you import it into Daz it should render correctly.
As you can see in the screenshot above, I used the UberEnvironment background for this piece. If you’re not familiar with this, here’s a pretty good UberEnvironment 2 thread with links to other tutorial threads on the Daz Studio Forums.
Using this can dramatically increase your render times, so be careful. In my case, I didn’t polish up the textures or really tweak much more than was already done, because I knew the majority of the work would be done in Photoshop. Technically it wasn’t necessary, but it was a simple light solution for me at the time so I just went with it.
Aside from that, there was only one Distant Light in the scene, allowing me to show a very strong light source coming off the left, while the right part of his body was mostly in shadow.
I rendered a nice large image I could start with, and brought it into Photoshop.
In Photoshop, I turned the fairly plain render into the final image you saw at the top.
To do this I composited stock images of clouds as well as used a couple of Photoshop lightning brushes I got from an artist named modblackmoon on DeviantArt. Those brushes really helped to put some action into this scene.
I even threw a “kitchen-sink” lens flare in there for good measure. You can’t really see it, but it’s in there. They’re shamefully overused (sometimes by me) but if used with some discretion they can help to punch up the drama in a piece.
So there really wasn’t all that much to this one. Sometimes just using a bit of artistry and some handy tools can help you crank out a good work of art without slaving for weeks (or sometimes months).
I had fun doing it, and it turned out better than I hoped, so it was worth deviating a bit from my plans to create it.
For more on the props used on the character, see my other piece on The Cold Elf.
If you have any questions or comments, be sure to let me know below. Until next time, have fun working on your own art!