Orc Shaman — Using DAZ 3D for your 2D Digital Art – Commentary Speed Art

December 2, 2019 3 Comments

Hi everyone this is Roger again from
these not so warm Mediterranean lands I’ve got a bit of a cold today so I’m
gonna apologize first for my voice, if it’s even huskier than normal that’s just
because I’m just getting sick, and I know it’s gonna get worse so I’m gonna just try
to get through this video before that happens. It has been actually quite nice for me on YouTube since the last voice video I’ve had one or two new subscribers every day even though I haven’t posted anything new. So that
really made me feel like there’s someone out there and that you guys care about
this so here I am with the next one. So as usual in this kind of artwork I
start with Daz Studio. I go first for the body shapes, I have different morphs
from different packages and I try to mix them up a little bit so it won’t look
just like one thing. A lot of that you get by later on adding photos and
whatever you want on top of it, but even then I like to do that in the in the 3d
part of the process as well. I mix up different wardrobes so it doesn’t have
just one set of clothes that people who are familiar with Daz already know.
And when I got the clothing down and when I got the shape down I start
looking at the poses. Mostly what I do is just look around the poses I have from
different packages and try one out, try another out, see if one of them is good or
looks good, gives me any ideas… Because I generally have no idea what I’m gonna do
in Photoshop at this point so I’m just looking around and seeing if something
catches my eye, So for me this phase is mostly just having fun with it. I start
to think about what the scene is gonna be like so I’m also starting to think
about the point of view. I know this is a villain so I kinda want people to look
at it from below, you know, like he’s a really powerful being, I want him to be
like really really epic. So as you see I’m also working on the lighting already, I start adding a sort of a back light or side light, a really strong one. This is
just the eye candy light, it’s the one that’s gonna give us those highlights we
really want so we can have the whole range of levels in the figure. And as you see I
have another much dimmer light, but what’s really gonna light up the image
anyway is the environment light. That’s from a preset I got, the one that’s got
this strong blue light; I wanted to use this side light which later on I
discarded but at this point everything is subject to change and this is almost
ready for Photoshop. So this is where I’m most comfortable in
which is creating environments, definitely much more than making
characters, and this is one of the reasons I’m doing these artworks which is I want
to practice the things I don’t know how to do. So this is a bit of a journey I
take with you guys as I learn myself how to go through these and how to use 3d to
make characters and how to add stuff to that. But as you saw the first thing I
did was build the perspective grid and unless you’re doing a flat shot you
really really want to use a perspective grid. You want to stick to the
perspective because otherwise something is gonna look really odd in your artwork.
You might not be able to tell, or people looking at it might not be able to tell
what it is, but the human brain can still tell something’s not right. And what I’m
doing now is I’m working with custom shapes. If you’re not familiar with them,
custom shapes are a super efficient way to block out shapes. It’s super fast and
you can create them yourself from your own photos or from stock photos. That’s
what I did because I find it really difficult to find good useful custom
shapes that are free so, you know, I just made my own and I use them a lot. And as
you see I’m sticking to the perspective when I place them down. They come down in the original shape but then you can bend and transform them over to fit whatever
shape you need. And so this whole phase of the process what I’m gonna do is just
block the most important stuff in the background or in the whole scene. I’m
gonna look at the sky colors and so therefore the atmosphere. I’m also adding
some great texture deliberately in the background that doesn’t necessarily look
very good right now but what I just want is some sort of non flat background to
work on. When I drop other photos on it then what’s gonna happen is this texture is gonna stay in the background and kind of make the photos look less photo-ish. And speaking of photos, as you see what I’m doing is I’m mixing
digital painting with just plain photos, and the photos are just a couple photos
of the same castle, both of them have enough dark and bright areas that I can
play with that. I want to keep always in mind what the lighting is, I know that
the light is coming from the left side and I don’t want all the background to
be completely in shadow. I want something interesting in there so at some point
I’m gonna start adding these brighter castle walls and towers and I’m also
going to start moving away from the perspective as I used it until this
point, because I wanna have a little bit of contrast up there not only with
light but also with shapes. Mostly I don’t want it to be boring
and I think this gives it a very nice touch. Also I can tell the shapes of the
towers are just not fitting the custom shapes I’d used previously; I just change
the shapes and redo that part. What was interesting about the shapes I had
previously set is that I had the main shape, you know, the main composition lines and if I have to change the particular
shapes it’s not a big deal for me. It’s really just part for the course. So you see I’m also working on the very background, that’s an area that doesn’t need so much
detail as the rest because most of it is gonna be covered or it’s just gonna be
too far away to be appreciated. Mostly what you want to do with that is just
kill the dark levels and make sure your color fits with the sky color, and
if you got that then you’re good. Now, for the foreground, then we go back to the perspective grid and being very careful with how we set it up. As small as this
may seem, these are the closest as possible to the camera so to speak, so
you really want these to give a good indication of what the view angle is. And
of course to make a good perspective happen you have to touch on both axes
so this is why I’m cutting these little bits of the side and adapting them to
the new perspective. And so the last thing I’m gonna touch on is the sky, I
just find a very nice stock photo I like and leave it there. And this is pretty much ready for the final effects. I know we are only like
halfway through the video but this is when I try them out and then I disable
them again. Let’s see it. So yeah I had an internal debate to whether
I should put these here or just cut ’em off and put ’em at the end of the video
because that’s generally where most people will do the final effects. The
reason I do them now is because the whole scene is set up already, so I do
know now what the scene is gonna look like when it’s finished, the way I was
working on it. So for me it’s a good time now to experiment with some effects
and some color changes to see what I can achieve with what I have now. And like
the last time I’m gonna start with Color Efex and then I’m gonna use the (output)
sharpener from the same Nik plugins and finally I’m gonna add some color
aberration with analog effects. And while doing that I’m still checking around,
looking at presets and see if something calls my attention, something picks my eye…
Sometimes I do find something, sometimes I don’t.
The more you use the plugins the more you know where to look for it. And even
after that I’m still gonna play with color adjustments and some Color Lookup
layers but now very much we have what the artwork is gonna look like when it’s
finished. Even if the details are missing, but we
got the color, lighting and so forth And from here on really nothing big is
gonna change, I’m just gonna be adding stuff, changing stuff, adjusting stuff, but
the main body of the artwork is there. The light is set, the color is set and
that’s what you want from the composition phase mostly; and if you got
that right anything you do on top of that is gonna be good.
And unfortunately that works both ways so if you got a bad composition no
matter how long you spend detailing it it’s always gonna have something that’s
off, so you really want to have it tight before you go into full detailing
because the last thing you wanna do is spend many many hours on a piece that
finally is not really gonna work. Meanwhile in the video we see how I take
the easy route because I like doing environments so… the characters are hard
for me so I’m spending the first few hours of detailing just working on the
background and on the foreground and pretty much ignoring the character
because it’s intimidating. So you see I’m mostly just painting over the photos.
I want especially the parts that are gonna be in the forefront to not be very
photo-like because the 3d model itself doesn’t look very photo-like at all, it
doesn’t look realistic especially, so what I want to achieve is some sort of
the same look for everything in the photo. The photos have to be more
painterly, the puppet has to be more painterly, the background has to be a bit more painterly… you know, in the end I’m trying to create
the impression that you don’t really know if this is a photo, is a painting, is a
3d image… you’re not supposed to know what medium this is. Whether I achieve that or not, well, that’s for you to decide I guess. As I said these are my own
experiments streamed for you so you can see all my mistakes just the same. And I
think that’s what’s interesting about these kind of videos, that you can see
the whole thought process that went into the artwork more than the specific
techniques, because it’s so fast that it’s really hard to see. But I’m trying
to give you guys an open look into what the process is more than the specific
things. Now, this is gonna be a long time detailing so it’s actually quite
possible I’ll go more into specifics. But now in the video I started working on
the character; the wand I felt it was kinda boring. I wanted it to be more evil
and so I went with the sharp shapes Then I start working on the hair and
mostly looking at the shapes. I wanted to give the artwork a little bit more of
movement, and I’m not really worrying very much about whether the hair is
gonna look crazy cool or not. This is sort of an evil guy, he’s creepy, he’s not
gonna have crazy nice hair, he’s not a glam guy so I’m mostly looking at the
shape, at the movement. As you see I started with a big brush and then I
start lowering the brush size; I’m not even using hair brushes here for the
most part. At some point I do a little bit of reflections, but it’s mostly gonna
stay black… black and evil… So here I’m starting to add photos on
the picture, I’m trying to make the armor much cooler than it is and just have
more items to it. And when I’m designing these on the 3d phase of the artwork
I’m already thinking what kind of things I’m gonna add or what kind of things I’m
gonna change, what things are gonna be missing, and sometimes I’ll make more
than one render if I have some piece of armor or clothing that I think it’s gonna
look good but not all of it. Maybe I want to render without that part so I can
then mix both renders, but it just wasn’t necessary here. So now what I’m going to
start doing besides changing the skin color is adding texture and with 3d
models texture is really important, because the thing with 3d models is that
they are way too perfect, the skin has no blemishes… I mean, the (3d model’s) texture may have some but the shape in the render doesn’t so it’s very easy to tell it’s a 3d
render. So what happens when you add texture is you make it look more human, I
mean, if it’s a human, if it’s not a human you make it look more organic anyway.
Because there’s nothing as perfect as a 3d render and this is a gritty creature,
it’s supposed to be evil and dark so his skin has to play the part too. Then with
the second texture I placed in there something great happen which is
something that happens sometimes when you use textures and you place them
randomly over a model or whatever and that’s that it just created some shapes
that brought my attention to them and by using those and enhancing those I got
these new fur parts, which they wasn’t really anything I planned before. The
same happened with the shoulder pad, I didn’t plan for that but there was half of
the shape created by the texture and I just drew the rest, and then I just drew the fur on top of the other parts, and now I have like some
sort of half an armor there. And as you see what I’m doing is just I
keep painting details, keep adding little stuff. It becomes quite easy when you
have all the base colors and levels already set down by either the 3d render
or the scene building that you did before, so now I just have to press Alt
and pick a color and paint around it and everything pretty much fits. And right
around this point I got to one of these artist’s low moments where I didn’t
know where to go, how to continue… There was this green light hitting the
orc’s body and I really didn’t like that. I mean, I did like the color, I liked
the effect it created in the whole image but it didn’t make any sense because it was
coming from the wrong side, right? I mean, the green is coming from the wand and
that was on his other side so I did some tests and I did ask some people as well
-and so props to the people who helped me with that- I’m just saying this so that you
understand also that all of us have bad moments and all of us get stuck, and
sometimes you just need someone to tell you what’s right and what’s wrong,
because you are absolutely drunk on your own art and you have absolutely no capacity to tell what’s right and wrong
anymore. And for me on this one it took a while, it was actually a few months. I let
it go, I placed it in the bin and I waited until inspiration came back, and
when it came back it was strong so I finished it pretty much the same day.
That was like around 10 hours of work, the whole video is around 40 hours total.
This is all sped up 25x, so except for the effects part which I halved the
speed so you guys could tell what’s going on, but yeah, everything else is 25
times faster. So yeah it’s a long work, it was a lot of time just adding details
and working on the character, which is where I really feel I’m weakest at, so I
wanted to spend time on it so I can learn some techniques and and find out
my own ways to create it. And meanwhile as you see in the video
I’m still working on the background, there are parts that I’m not happy with
or I didn’t like the shapes, so I’m going back to using custom shapes for the main
shapes then I add texture onto it for more detail.
Also note that I’m still making sure that I keep in mind at all times where
the light is coming from and where things have been shaded or are in shadow,
so I try to keep the realism all the way through the whole image, even for the
small parts. And that’s the same when you’re adding even smaller stuff
like the belt or the hair I’m gonna add here. You want to have every element in
the right levels as soon as possible because light and color are perceived
through contrasts and the more things that you have that are off, the harder
it’s gonna be for you to tell if the next thing you add is off or not, so you
want to try to get them as good as possible as soon as possible. One of the
things I just used is Match Color, which is something I don’t see used very much,
and this is a super useful tool because if you have a photo or a layer that’s
only one specific thing like I now had this bunch of hair from the cow, and
that’s separate in its own layer, so if you have that you can take another layer
with a similar texture or like similar… like a different kind of hair for
instance, and with much coloring you can just make one of them have the color of
the other. So it’s really easy to transpose the color, it’s really fast and
it generally does it quite good. You have to adjust maybe luminosity or whatever
but it is much faster than trying to do it manually. Now, sometimes it’s just not
gonna work so you’ll still have to put the hard work in, but if it does then
well, it’s just a time-saver. And as you see, sometimes I’m still working with the
green on -the backlight that I wanted to remove- and that’s because what I did is,
I grouped the whole character and on top of that I added a Hue/Saturation layer that affects the whole thing, so what happens is that these kind of layers are really
really useful but they really do eat up your computer’s power so badly. So what I
have to do a lot of the time to work inside the group is just undo the
whole thing, hide the saturation layer and then when
I’m done working inside the group I have to activate all of that again. Then
here’s another thing I wanted to talk about which is the Blend If options
inside the Layer Style panel. And this is another super powerful tool and the way
it works is it creates a mask based on lighting levels so you can hide or show
different ranges of light, so whatever you put on this layer can affect only
dark areas or only bright areas, and as you can imagine this is a great
tool especially to do stuff like reflections and stuff like that. One of the things I see a lot is when people add new sources of light to the images they
will add bright light to a contour of a model or something, but the very dark
spots that are in deep shadow should not be lit by that, so with this kind of
selection -which is just a layer style- you can very easily mask out the parts
you don’t want to be touched by whatever you’re doing. And you can see I’m doing that in
the upper left corner painting some lighter reflection and on the leg, and
I’m also doing that in the actual speed art video and I’m adding the green light.
And I’m doing that because since I removed the other green light I feel
like now there’s a lack of color in the whole image. And we have this green
glowing wand, and so I will enhance that, just take advantage of what is already
there. So I paint the green light using these blending options, making sure that
the darkest parts are not affected by it, and then I add this nice effect with these
sort of fractal lights. I just turn them into the same green and they look pretty
nice just right out of the box already, so I’m quite happy with that. And then we
have a quick look of what it looks like with the effects, I’m just checking
around. And the next thing I’m gonna do is I’m
gonna move a little bit of the background, because when I added the
effect on the wand I feel like I covered a lot of the detail in the background, I
feel like maybe some of the most interesting parts are not seen anymore,
and so what I do with that is just at this point where I have been so long
working on it -I’m happy with it- so I just merge the whole background or the
whole castle and I just cut it, move it, set it back into the perspective and
that’s where it’s gonna stay. And from now on if I need to move it or change it
or do whatever to it I’m just gonna paint on top and worst-case scenario I
can recover the old layers and make a mask. Either way this is towards the end
of the process so I’m not really worried about it. From here on is gonna be just
a lot of detailing and little stuff, fixing things here, arranging there. Also keep in
mind that all this time I know exactly what it’s gonna look like once the final
adjustments are on it so, it’s not shown very much in the video but all the time
I’m checking what its gonna look like, so I know exactly what adjustments do I
have to make so it’s gonna enhance those effects later on, and that’s how I work
most of the time. Also by now I’m already merging the
whole character into one single layer and that’s just to do stuff like what
you see now, and I’m also going to move the leg, I am gonna use Liquify for
that because all the time, all these hours I have known that that leg was a
little bit off so it’s been bothering me all the time, and once I get to the point
where I can merge the character I’m so happy that I can finally arrange it. So
in the end it’s just fun to see everything come together. There are
things that you thought that were gonna be super hard that in the end become
quite easy, some of the things that you thought were gonna be easy at times you
just don’t find the right way to do them, but everything is a learning
experience and it was fun to make this one. I hope it was at least a little bit
of fun to watch it. If you’re still watching this and listening to my
rambling thanks very much to you. I’ve no idea how could you take so much crap in
just one sitting so… yeah, I hope you guys have a great day and see you soon.

3 Replies to “Orc Shaman — Using DAZ 3D for your 2D Digital Art – Commentary Speed Art”

  1. Miguel Sauceda says:

    Excelente video, me encanta tu estilo.


    Excellent photo-bashing composite.
    I started back using Daz today.

  3. CorraComics says:

    Bravo!! Thank you!

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