wow

Ni hao! How’s your 2018 been so far? If it’s been poopy, never mind, because now it’s a NEW New Year! The Chinese one! And this time, it’s the turn of the DOGE! And of course, a new Lunar New Year means a new Lunar New Year render! 😀

It’s quite funny, actually. In last year’s post, I ended by saying “Next year’s pic should be much easier to get a model for”. In fact, I decided to procrastinate until I got home from work yesterday, because I thought it was gonna be an easy win. I mean, it’s a dog. Y’know, one of the most common pets in the world, “man’s best friend”, there are about 9001 breeds of them, c’mon, obviously there’s gonna be loads of dog models to choose from.

Heh, nope! 😛

When I looked around at first, I could only find the DAZ Millenium Dog, and, well… that’s what, 18 years old? But that was the only reasonable result. Sure, there was a cartoon-style dog, a low-res dog which is designed to be in the background, supermorphs to create furry-esque humanoid dogs, dog tags, and “sea dogs”, but they’re… just not what I was hoping to find. I mean come ON, why was a product containing dog tags the first friggin’ result over an actual dog, sheeeesh… 😛

So I was kind of shiteing bricks thinking I couldn’t find anything good, but then I tried searching for a wolf instead. My chain of logic was like “well, if there’s a wolf, maybe I can get an add-on or do something to make it look more like a dog”. And that’s exactly what happened. 😀 I found a wolf, and then found that it had two add-ons, both of which changed the textures to make it look like a breed of dog. Boosh. 😀

After that slight panic, I thought the rest would be easy, but again, heh, nope! The model itself was good, but it had awful morphs. I had to break several morph limits to get even vaguely close to the expression I was hoping for. Then there was a plugin called Look At My Hair (LAMH for short), which is probably the best plugin available for DAZ Studio. Uh, don’t take that the wrong way, though, because being better than all the other DS plugins I’ve had the displeasure to use is not hard. 😛

I already used LAMH when making Year of the Monkey, and it was pretty, but terrible. It crashed all the time, the hair preview destroyed the viewport framerate and made it impossible to pose, you couldn’t hide the hair preview without clicking on a million things… yeah. This time, though, it was even worse. I’d decided to use Iray for Year of the Dog; the first time I’ve used it in my Chinese Zodiac renders. I decided that because I’m much better with it now that I was when it first came out, and it does tend to produce nicer results. But hey, guess what doesn’t support Iray?! -.-

Well, no, I lie. LAMH does support it… sort of. There’s a function you can use to export the hair into an OBJ. The idea is that you pose first, apply the hair, then press a button in LAMH and it will export the hair as geometry before importing it back into your scene for you. Sounds easy! It should be! Yet it isn’t! It’s borderline broken!

It started out by generating files which were 0 bytes. A file of nothing, great. -.- Then, as I was trying to figure out why this was, it started generating files of nothing, then crashing! Then it started crashing before trying to generate the files of nothing!

It took me hours to figure out just how idiotic the plugin really was. When you press the “to OBJ” button, a dialog pops up confirming a path to where it will save the geometry. If that path doesn’t exist, it will pop up a browse window, starting in the directory where DAZ Studio is installed; a directory which the application has no write access to. No matter what location you choose in this window, LAMH will sit there churning for several minutes before, for some reason, dumping a zero-byte OBJ file in that directory and/or crashing. Oh, by the way, if you press cancel in the browse window, the plugin will Do Stuff(tm) for a few seconds before popping up the browse window again. Hurrr. 😛 The solution? You have to manually create the exact path that pops up in the dialog box when you press the export button. Most likely this dumbass plugin has that path hard-coded into it somewhere, doesn’t bother to create the directory if it doesn’t exist (probably doesn’t even friggin’ check!) and doesn’t properly handle asking the user for a directory (obviously, because it goes in a loop when you press cancel). I just… grrrrrh! As a programmer myself, this retarded bug just pisses me off way more than usual. I mean, I wouldn’t get away with that! In the places I’ve worked, it’d be classed as a critical bug, and we’d have to do an urgent hotfix release to sort it out ASAP!

Anyway, in summary, if you’re having that issue, create the exact path that shows up in the dialog when you press the “to OBJ” button. Should be “C:/Users/<your username/Documents/DAZ 3D/Studio/lookatmyhairAM/geometry/”. Create that directory and try exporting and it should work properly. You have to sit with the computer while it does the conversion though, because you have to press OK on every “hey I’ve done this bit of the work” dialog box that comes up, since the plugin is shit.

Aaaaand breathe. 😛

So yeah, long story short, I made a render with a dog in it! 😛 I really wanted a Shiba Inu, but I couldn’t get one of those, so I chose a Siberian Husky! BOOM:

2018 - Year of the Dog (1080p).jpg
(Available in these flavours: 1080p, 1080p Dark, 2K, 2K Dark, 4K, 4K Dark, lol5K, lol5K Dark)

After all that crap with LAMH and finding a model in the first place, I gotta say, I think this one turned out great! 😀 This was the first time I (knowingly) used proper three-point lighting… uh, well, sort of. There’re actually four lights; I added a light underneath. But the first three use the basic principles! 😛

Anyway, here’re the traditional render stats: At 4K with DoF, Render Quality 2 at a 97% convergence ratio… oh. I’ve just realised that the render hit the default 2-hour time limit. So it took 2 hours 14.83 seconds and reached a convergence of 74%, god, damn it, fuck. -.- 2K reached 93.5% convergence before it hit the iteration limit of 5000 in just under 2 hours. And 1080p did the same but only took 56 minutes 26.65 seconds. And now I’m suddenly glad I write down the render stats because it made me realise these renders aren’t at the best quality! You see, when using Iray, the render can be, or rather has to be (because there’s no way of disabling it) configured to stop if they take too long or iterate too many times, and the defaults are STUPID!

Welp, I’m gonna have to re-render these later on, but for now, I hope you enjoy them as they are! Check back later for some higher quality versions (although the differences may turn out to be minute 😛 ). Now, though, I am going to go cook a stir fry, because I haven’t had anything to eat since getting back from work and I am HAAANGRYYYY. Hungry like the wolf. Hehe. That song sucks. 😛

Bye for nao! 🙂

UPDATE!!

Okay seriously, the developer(s) of LAMH can go and suck a dick. How much dumbfuckery can one possibly cram into a plugin?! I’ve just found out that when you load a scene that is supposed to contain exported LAMH hair objects, it doesn’t! So, let’s look at this logically: when I save a scene that contains exported LAMH hair objects, it clearly does save the objects because it takes an age for the scene to save and it ends up being around 300MB instead of 4MB. And then when you load the scene, it also clearly loads the objects because it takes an age to load. So the only possible explanation as to why the hair objects are not in the scene when it finishes loading is that LAMH fucking removes them for no reason!! And because those objects disappear, the material settings also disappear! So now I don’t know what settings I used! So now I have to fag around taking ages to do test renders and tweaking settings that were completely fine until this idiot plugin deleted my shit!

You don’t believe me? Well, because I do tend to doubt myself sometimes even when I know I’m right, I did think that I was wrong for a few seconds. But then I tried pretending to be the plugin developers: I applied dumb logic to reverse-engineer their code in my brain, and guessed that they did something like: “if (there are geometry objects under LAMH group) then {remove those geometry objects //hahah twats}”, even though that makes ZERO sense. So I tried unparenting those objects in the LAMH group (and it crashed the first time because LAMH is broken), then saved the scene and reloaded it. And guess what?! YES! I was RIGHT! The hair objects remained in the scene! And that’s the proof: LAMH deletes parts of your scene for no reason! Seriously, give me ONE good reason why it would go “nah ya don’t need dem jometry objects under dat group even do I genertarded dem, no sirree”.

God damn, if software keeps going like this, they’re gonna have to put me on blood pressure tablets. 😛

Anyway, I’m re-rendering the scene in its various resolutions now. I’ll even throw in a bonus 5K version for people with those idiotic 5K Macs. Such as me! 😛 Yes, I have one. At work. I’m forced to use it. I hate it so so much. 😛

UPDATE 2!!

Theeere we go. I’ve re-rendered all the resolutions of the image at best quality and updated all the links. As promised, I also added a 5K version. For some reason, the 5K render took a full five HOURS longer to render than 4K. It was probably DAZ Studio thinking “wtf mate why is it so big what kind of dumb monitor are you displaying this on”. 😛

LAMH continued being fun. I found out that when it exports the hair objects, for some reason, it’s non-deterministic. In other words, it can come up with something different every time it’s exported. So the fur looks different now than in my original renders. Urrgrgh. I mean come ON the hair data is exactly the same as it was a week ago so how can the output be different seriousllyyyyyyyy…

Anyway, here’re some proper render stats! 5K took 9 hours 25 minutes 25.80 seconds, while 4K took 4 hours 24 minutes 17.64 seconds. As for the sensible resolutions, 2K took 2 hours 6 minutes 29.24 seconds and 1080p was 1 hour 32 minutes 22.80 seconds.

Advertisements