Blog 231 > Old Republic to New Renders

Whoa, three months flew by fast! And now, my Tattered Toyboxers, I’m back for a mini-broadcast. For this one, I’ll be leaping from 2D art to hi-def hardware to 3D renders, and hyperspacing from the Old Republic to Daz Studio to Poser. How did it all begin? I think it began in July-August with my unexpectedly consuming interest in the upcoming “Star Wars: The Old Republic” (SWTOR) massively multiplayer online (MMO) game! Since then, that interest has spread into SWTOR-laced 3D art as well, haha. So here we go, folks, time to let the Force flow through us…

Part 1 of 3 > Daz Studio 3D Renders

Like I mentioned above, it all began in July-August. In fact, in August, I made the following Google+ public post (02 Aug).

Me: Ah, very nice. I’ve been accepted as the 40th member and 6th bounty hunter of “The Sith Assassin Elite” guild for the upcoming “Star Wars: The Old Republic” MMO.

Then one day, I replied to a Google+ public post (01 Sep) by a fellow artist.

Me: Very nice. Hey, question for you. As an intermittent Photoshop artist, I’ve only dealt with 2D. But with all the 3D SWTOR art I’ve been seeing, I’m thinking of making the hyperspace jump from 2D to 3D art myself. Assuming a new gaming PC soon, what 3D rendering tool would you recommend? Poser? (Version 9 is coming soon.) DAZ?

Patrick Lambert: Both work fine, depends on your preference really. Prepare for a bit of a learning curve.

Me: No worries. I’m sure it’ll take months to adjust, and years to master. Still learning new things in Photoshop. :)

Within the following week, I downloaded and installed the free Daz Studio software, then experimented and created my first 3D render…

Here’s my Google+ public post (08 Sep).

Ahh, in 3 days, my first-ever full 3D render experiment! The free version of DAZ Studio 4 provides minimal libraries for characters, morphs, wardrobe, and props (more libraries can be purchased separately), and it crashes pretty often on my weak-kneed 3-year-old iMac 24. But impressively powerful for zero cost. Can’t wait to test-drive its sister software Poser 9 on my new i7 laptop soon, hmm…

Within the next few days, I created my second 3D render…

Here’s my Google+ public post (11 Sep).

Whew, my 2nd render in Daz Studio 4… Tinkering with props, wardrobes, poses, morphs, expressions, even mesh smoothing and collision iterations to patch up the flaws, so the hours just fly by! Btw, no post-work except for adding my sig, title and date. Not bad for 6 days of practice…

Within the next week, I created my first Star Wars 3D render…

Here’s my Google+ public post (17 Sep).

Ahh, my first-ever Star Wars render! Only my third experiment in two weeks of practice, but making progress. Tools: My aging iMac 24, DAZ Studio 4, and Photoshop post-work. Special thanks for Dodger’s lightsabers, Chimera46’s lekku and +Patrick Lambert’s pointer to New Aurabesh. Still can’t wait for my new i7 laptop and Poser 9…


Part 2 of 3 > New Hardware

Yup, looking back, it was a good idea to get familiar with some 3D rendering software. The next step was getting better hardware, not just for more SWTOR-MMO power, but for more 3D-rendering power as well.

Here’s what I wrote in my Google+ limited post (23 Sep).

Ahh, my sweet new 17-inch i7 Win7 notebook finally arrived yesterday. Love the Razer Deathadder gaming mouse! Plus an amazing Darth Talon wallpaper created by DarthHell @ DeviantArt. I am now prepared to wreak havoc on pitiful Jedi scum, hehe…

The following week, even more cool hardware, hehe.

Here’s what I wrote in my Google+ limited post (01 Oct).

Over the past week, I got a raise and completed my 200-day J200X workout. What better way to celebrate than to find a 32-inch buddy for my 17-inch Darth Talon?… For the Empire!


Part 3 of 3 > Poser 3D Renders

Finally, with this cool new hardware, I was able to take another larger step by installing new Poser software and achieving more powerful 3D renders! SWTOR-styled 3D renders, of course, hehe.

Here’s my Google+ public post (03 Oct).

Amazing. If you remember, I tried the new DAZ Studio 4 (free) for several weeks. Then last week, I installed the powerful new Poser 9 for the first time. Lo and behold, after 7 days of Poser 9 practice, here’s my first 3D render with multiple characters! “Zhaanin’s Revenge”. Photoshop post-work for the lightsaber, smoke effects, and text.

Within the next few days, I created my second SWTOR-styled “Zhaanin” 3D render (1600 x 900)…

Here’s my Google+ public post (07 Oct).

Wow, using Poser, the hours and days just fly by. Wish I had more! But for now, here’s my next 3D render in the SWTOR “Zhaanin” series called “Zhaanin’s Getaway”. Even more complex and more fun than my last. Photoshop post-work for the lightsaber, smoke effects, and text… Soon I’ll need to create a worthy (and sexy) Jedi adversary for my Sith Zhaanin, hehe…

Within the next couple weeks, I created my first SWTOR-styled “Silverstream” 3D render (1600 x 900)…

Here’s my Google+ public post (23 Oct).

Ahh, back from a hectic week at a software user conference in Vegas… So it’s time for another SWTOR 3D render!

But first, an observation: From what I’ve seen on DeviantArt, lightsabers are pretty tricky to execute, particularly the blade. Artists (even faves like Darth Hell and Aphrodite-NS) occasionally misalign the blade with the hilt, or the blade is too short, or sometimes the blade effects aren’t quite right. Personally, I’ve based my blade lighting on Darth Hell’s designs and of course, the SWTOR cinematic trailers.

Now, although lightsabers or duels are non uncommon in 3D renders, what I rarely see (even from Darth Hell and Aphrodite-NS) are duels where sabers are locked against each other, blade on blade. My guess for this rarity is the multiplied trickiness in achieving an aesthetically pleasing arrangement, proper blade alignment, and excellent blade lighting, all at once. Definitely a challenge!

So of course, my newest 3D render accepts that challenge, tosses in a third blade, and adds some swirling smoke in between, haha. Well, here they are: Yukiko and Akiko Silverstream, Jedi sisters in training! My Sith Zhaanin better watch out! Hope you enjoy.

Within the next few days, I created my second SWTOR-styled “Silverstream” 3D render (1600 x 900)…

Here’s my Google+ public post (26 Oct).

“As the sunset-tinted steam sifted through the skytower training observatory, the icy-blue eyes of Yukiko Silverstream analyzed the dark-armored defense of her little sister. With a subtle smile, she noticed Akiko’s familiar patterns, disturbances, and weaknesses that come from a lack of focus and flow. Suddenly, Yukiko lunged with a single-saber strike to her sister’s weaker arm, igniting a furious flash of sapphire and violet vapor…”

Hi folks! Hard to believe that I created my 1st three Daz Studio 3D renders just last month, then created my 1st four Poser 3D render just this month. Luckily, if you already have extensive experience with Photoshop, the post-work process is much more efficient and effective. So now, here’s my 4th SWTOR 3D render. Yup, two days later, Yukiko and Akiko Silverstream are back. Since I fell in love with the original scene, I decided to render a nice reverse-angle close-up, showing more of Yukiko’s expression. Hope you enjoy! Till next time…

Hmmm, maybe I should revise my assessment: Only weeks to adjust, and months to master? Otherwise, that’s all, folks! I think we’ve adequately felt the Force, hehe. But hey, if you’re interested in some of my other “Star Wars” broadcasts, just click the “Star Wars” link at the top of this page. Otherwise, take a peek at my “Possibly Random Links” below. Till next time. Peace. Out.


5 thoughts on “Blog 231 > Old Republic to New Renders

  1. As usual, the images are taking forever to load on my com, so I’ll just say this based on what I’ve seen on G+: Fantastic work! …can’t wait to see you do a Hutt, hehe. For some reason though, I always thought you were on the more… techie side of the road, instead of the creative side.

    I’m thinking of getting GIMP- probably not a smart move seeing as it’s supposedly harder than Photoshop- which I’m lousy at. I don’t think you’ll be seeing me post my digital art anytime soon:P

  2. @A20: Ah, no worries. In fact, I’m no stranger to having one foot in the technical and the other foot in the creative. Just haven’t been this visually creative in a while, not since my anime art days (remember Mimi’s Momo?). Regarding GIMP, it should still be free. I remember trying it once, years ago, but I think the interface is only challenging if you’re already used to the Photoshop interface. Might as well try it out, right?

  3. Ahh, right. Completely forgot about that… it’s been some time.
    I’ve just installed GIMP- love it. Best thing about it is- well, it’s free. Heh. Not to mention lightweight- the basic installation file is a mere 20meg. Time to practice mutilating my photos…

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