So, I’ve finally opened up DAZ Studio, loaded Kaiju, and started messing around with him to see what’s what. There is one thing I need to correct, though – you DON’T need DAZ Studio 3.1 to use Kaiju.
I found that out when I tried loading Kaiju into DAZ Studio 3 again, and it went through the same non-responsive screw up, but after a little while, it started responding again, and he appeared in the scene. That’s great, because now there’s NO chance of a joint randomly moving when I select it.
At first glance, the model looked great. He’s big and mighty, and he can be scary, badass, or just *duhhhhh*. But, as I was going through the joints to get a feel for the model, I ran into one or ten problems.
Some of the joints have bad limits, and I think there’s one that has no limits at all… yeah, the neck. It can spin around and around endlessly. No huge deal, though, because the bad limits can be changed when you need it, and you can’t exactly make his head spin 180 without meaning to.
But… there’s a massive problem with a lot of the parameters. You see… I don’t know what the modeller was drinking while he did this, but he applied almost EVERY morph to EVERY body part. For example, there’s "FootReptile" on the head, and "FBMTorsoSlender" on the foot. Wut?! Then there’re some weird morphs that do something completely retarded, for example, "JCMrThighNeg40". Don’t know WTF it means, but it moves the skin on his thigh upwards towards his abdomen. I don’t see any reason why anyone would want to do that. If you make it go past 65%, the mesh starts to OVERLAP.
What else, ah yes – his hands. They’re… pretty badly modelled, really. They look fine from a distance, but when you go in close… I dunno, there’s something that really bugs me when I’m trying to pose them. They’re pretty blocky, like the modeller just said "Extrude, extrude, extrude, extrude, bevel, slight tweak, done" while they were making them. I also can’t tell how I’ve bent a joint close to the talons, and it basically looks like the fingers are tipped with black paint, rather than the fingers having talons on the end of them. Hey… wait a sec, hold that thought…
Holy fuck… y’know, Parappa the Rapper doesn’t cut corners. So why does this artist? Because he’s (not THE NUMBER ONE!!) a lazy asshole! They literally ARE fingers tipped with black paint – you can’t change the material settings on them! Lame…
Well… at least the fingers aren’t all grouped together like the toes are. It really irritates me when people do that, because it just makes it harder to pose, and looks less natural and more "robotic", somehow. I suppose Kaiju can’t really "grasp" anything with those feet, anyway, so it’s okay for him.
That’s all the problems I noticed, really. Apart from all that, it’s a pretty good model – he’s got a ton of good morphs, a fair amount of expression, and he’s pretty easy to pose, too. And for the first time EVER, the preset material settings are NOT BAD!
(I raised his right arm up, and this pose immediately flashed in my mind. So I did it. )
Usually, a render with default material settings and default lights makes anything in the scene look as flat as a pancake which has been stepped on by a 100-tonne kaiju. And while I can make this look better (), it’s not too shabby.
Back in a bit – I’m gonna see what I can do with the material settings.
Okay, a tip for all those who keep spitting out useless renders that look somewhat like a city that a kaiju has trampled through and slept on. This is the reason why you should NEVER render without using UberEnvironment:
I posted something similar to this a while back. DAZ Studio 3 believes that light rays VAPORISE when they hit ANY object. If this were true in real life, then you wouldn’t be able to see ANYTHING when walking through a city with a lot of tall buildings.
If you use UberEnvironment and tweak it well, then the render time goes up massively, but the retardedness goes DOWN massively:
If you still get dark areas, you probably need another light pointing in that direction. I’ve put a shadowless spotlight over the front of his face so the eyes aren’t completely concealed by his frown – a cheap trick, but it works, and this render engine is a bit cheap anyway, so it’s fine with me. For tests, I set the shadow type on the UberEnvironment object to Occlusion w/Directional Shadows, but when you go for a final render, you want Indirect Lighting w/Directional Shadows (Soft Shadows don’t seem to be any different), which is what you see above. It ups render time ridiculously, but it’s worth it for the extra awesomeness. Also, make sure you set the shading rate for final renders to something like 0.10 for MAXIMUM WIN FACTOR. Any less than that is just overkill, and too much more starts messing up the image. I’ve set mine for the above image to 1.00, because I don’t want to wait for a demonstration render – I want to mess around with these materials.
ANYWAY! Onto material modding.
O-kayyyyyy! Right, hehe, yeaaah… what the HELL was this guy smoking?
Just been working my way down the materials list. This idiot’s used DISPLACEMENT MAPS, and SHIT TONS OF THEM. Seriously, WHAT?! There is no advantage to a displacement map. All they do is destroy a model, because they actually mess around with the MESH to create a bump effect, where bump maps don’t do that.
I understand displacement maps in some situations, for example, creating a mountain out of a flat plane. But on the skin of a model like this? No, you need a bump map, matey boy.
Just gotta convert all displacement maps to bump maps, and we’ll be almost done.
Okay, who wants to open me a can of FALCON KICKass?! Cuz I sure deserve it:
(You can CLICK on this one! )
To be honest, most of the values were alright, but they were in the wrong places. All the dude needed to do was switch the displacement maps for bump maps, change the lighting model for the skin to "Skin", give the eyes a bit more shine and polish the talons off a bit. That render’s not even at maximum quality. Took a while to render, but that was mostly my fault. I thought it’d be a nice idea to make the plane have a little bit of reflection, but the render engine actually spent about 10 minutes on the bottom 5% of the image because of that. And what does it do? Barely anything.
I’ll probably add another Kaiju to this, and make a little fight scene. Or maybe add a Subdragon, instead. Or two. Or a combination! Who knows? I’ll see what I can come up with tomorrow, but for now, get a taco ready. Because
ARG he beat yeh AGAIN.