Haha, I just stumbled upon something quite cool.

(Click the blog title to read this entry! Otherwise a couple of images might get their sides cut off. Tongue out)

Yeah, so, I was modifying my desktop slideshow and adding a few new images to it, mainly of some dragons in the most awesome poses you’ll ever see. Open-mouthed As I was editing these images to match my screen resolution so they wouldn’t look crap, I remembered a search I did a while back. It was a few weeks after finding those images, when I kept seeing more of the exact same style of dragon in random places on the internet… like when I remember on an ad, there was a head of that same dragon poking out of a monitor that I’d found while searching for something to replace my own (crap) monitor.

So… because it was all over the place, and the dragon was definitely a 3D model and not painted or photoshopped or whatever, I assumed this model was freely available, and searched the ass off Google for about an hour, trying to find it. Unfortunately, no luck, all I could find were models that looked nothing like the one I was looking for (they looked MUCH worse), and they cost $400 or something ridiculous. Sad So, I forgot all about it.

UNTIL TODAY! Ya, today, after upgrading my desktop, I decided to search the internets again, to see if I could find this model. And… I did! Open-mouthed

Ohhh yes, after years (well… years since I first started Tongue out) of searching, I’ve finally found the model! It’s called the Millenium Dragon, or MilDragon. Which is kinda fecking annoying, because one of the images that I have is called "MilDragon"… so… the answer’s been staring me in the face for years. Embarrassed But what the heck. Tongue out

The version that I found first was the LE, the Limited Edition… which doesn’t mean it’s rare… it means it’s limited, to um… basic matte white textures. A matte white dragon for $9.95… okay, basic, but functional. However, if you want the Millenium Dragon 2 package, which includes the textures, a LOT of poses and two extra models, that’s $100… and it can’t really be used outside anything other than a program called DAZ Studio… which is hands down the best animating package I have ever used. Open-mouthed And the program’s freeware too… just the models cost a lot. Then again, it is a lot of stuff compared to what you’d usually get for spending $100 on a different 3D model package.

I would have gotten the MilDragon2 package, because I have a few plans for it… but I honestly don’t want to spend THAT much money on some 3D objects. I have other stuff to pay for, like university, and I’m not all that into art, anyway. Tongue out I instead got the package through… "other"… means. I’m merely "trying it out before I consider buying". Wink

And it’s the coolest thing since… since… um… <insert something big that’s happened in the past that’s really cool here>! Open-mouthed Yeah, seriously, it is ULTRA-cool! Open-mouthed

DAZ Studio is so… fecking… easy to use, I couldn’t believe it. Usually modelling or animation packages require something like a 793-step process just to understand them… but not DAZ Studio. Simply go into the Explorer, find the model you want, double-click, BAM. Fully boned, fully rigged, fully posable dragon in a default pose in the scene instantly. Textures? Go into the explorer, find the texture you want, drag it onto the dragon, BAM, dragon looks awesome. Want to pose him? You can either do it yourself by using the translation and rotate tools, which take some getting used to, or you can go into the Explorer, find a preset pose you like, drag it onto the dragon, BOOM, done! Want other features, like a tail fin? Double-click the dragon, find a tail fin/spike/crazy-mad weapon in the explorer, double-click on that… and… okay, admittedly, that only goes "BAM, done" only about 60% of the time. Other times it’s like "BAM… what the focking hell?!" because you usually see the tail fin bigger than the tail and in the wrong place. Open-mouthed

When you’ve gotten used to the manual controls, it’s so much fun to pose, because it’s so easy, and (forgive the cliché) because the possibilities are endless! And if you REALLY pull your finger out, the results can look pretty spectacular:

(Full 1680×1050 resolution version here, to satisfy you peeps with a super-large screen! Open-mouthed)

And that’s only the first one I’ve ever created. Open-mouthed You don’t want to see him from the back, though, because of the crap job I’ve done with his wings. They look fine from the front, but they look crap from the back. Tongue out Folding the wings was much harder than I thought it would be. Confused And it’s amazing what a small eye adjustment can do to the expression of the dragon. It’s ace! Open-mouthed

This is the best model I’ve ever seen! It’s not like they’ve skimped on the textures, either, because they are pretty damned detailed, even up close!

What other features are there… oh yes, there’s also a timeline, so animation is possible… although that can take a loooong time. Wink The best part, though, is the lip-sync feature, and I’ve been messing around with it for hours ever since I found it. Not recorded anything of myself just yet, I’ve been using the preloaded sounds and marvelling at how realistic many of the mouth movements are.

Haha, I’ve just had an idea! One sec… well… maybe more than just a sec. Tongue out

<about an hour later>

Right, I’m done with the animating, and I’m just about to start rendering a preview of the dragon saying something now, uno secundo. I bet you’re gonna like this when it’s done. Open-mouthed I’ll be back later with a vid of awesomeness!

<a few hours later>

I’m back! Open-mouthed Took a while, but well worth it. Smile Here ya go, hopefully this embed works:

…Okay, so maybe dickhead Microsoft won’t let you embed anything, even though it WAS working in preview mode. Meh, whatever, you can just have the link. Open-mouthed

Lip-Sync Test!

I swear to God, this dragon must be alive. Tongue out The lip-sync was done automatically, but the head movements were done by me, just to make it seem more realistic. Open-mouthed Don’t scroll down past the whitespace (or greenspace, hehe Tongue out) just yet, it’ll give away what’s in the vid. You go and watch the vid first. Open-mouthed

AHAHA! He’s never gonna GIVE YOU UP! Open-mouthed I’m sowwy, I couldn’t resist. Tongue out

Anyway, sure, some bits of the lip-sync look a little off, but it works pretty damned well! I tried importing a clip of the original song at first, just to see if the dragon could lip-sync to that, but that didn’t work as well as I wanted it to. DAZ Studio did a freaking good job of it, but it wasn’t accurate in places, the dragon looked like he was singing bits of the instrumentals. Open-mouthed So… I had to break out the microphone and sing the chorus, just to get it to lip-sync properly… so you’re basically watching me sing as a dragon with Rick Astley singing over the top, haha! Open-mouthed You should be grateful that I dubbed it with the original music, anyway. Tongue out

I love this program so much. Open-mouthed Methinks I shall be having a lot of fun with it for quite a long while. Smile

Oh, by the way, weren’t you interested in animation, Aaron? This is the program for you, probably not as flexible as other kits out there, but it’s a damn sight more fun. Open-mouthed

Anyway, I’m off for now, see yas! Open-mouthed DAZ Studio roolz. Open-mouthed

UPDATE!!

I made a new image. Open-mouthed I’m getting into this a little more than I think I should. Open-mouthed

Blue Teenage Dragon says "ROCK ON, MOTHERF’ERS"!

He’s supposed to be a hatchling, but I messed with a few morphs, and I say he looks more of a teenager now. Open-mouthed Gotta tell you, these look FOCKING AWESOME on my desktop. Open-mouthed

Have I mentioned I love this program? Tongue out

2 thoughts on “Haha, I just stumbled upon something quite cool.

  1. O.o Yes, you mentioned it several times. This program looks awesome, these dragons are amasing and lol the Dragon is ‘never gonna give you up’. Funny Mongz. You know what, just say you love the program again, I’m sure you’re waiting to say it again.

  2. I’m SURE I haven’t mentioned that I love this program yet… 😛 But seriously, there’s nothing wrong with this program for me to DISlike it! It’s got 98% of what an animator needs, and it’s fun, as well!…Okay, so maybe I don’t like the fact that the timeline is a bit impossible to use sometimes. I can’t seem to fully delete frames that I don’t want, and I can’t tell where keyframes are just by looking at the timeline. 😛 I can make frames invisible, but not delete them. There might be a better program somewhere that supports DAZ Studio and has more manageable animation.And then… there’s the problem with EXTREMELY difficult posing. The face, head, neck and body are really easy to pose, because you can’t really mess them up, unless you spaz out and set Twist to about 9001. 😛 The face is the most fun part, because there’s so much stuff you can edit, I think there’s something like… 150 parameters or so. When you get to the wings, and smaller, more detailed parts like hands, fingers and talons, it starts to get REALLY hard, because if you move one thing, you almost always have to move something else to make it look realistic. That ROCK ON pose took me a couple of hours, and the last hour or so was solely spent on the hand, and I had to use myself for reference sometimes, it was that confusing. :S Sure, you can cut some corners easily… but I’m a perfectionist when doing stuff like this, and I don’t want ANYTHING intersecting with other things or stretching beyond reality, even things you can’t see. That’s if I can help it, anyway. :PBut those are just MINOR things. 😛 I love this program. 😀 😛

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