I vill MESMERISE you with my semi-circular movement!

Good eeeeeevening! Happy Lockdown Halloween! πŸ˜›

How’ve you been? Good, I hope! I’m pretty much the same as always, sitting in front of a PC, coding for work, then playing games, rendering, and sometimes doing little bits of coding and writing for fun. πŸ˜€ Only major thing that’s happened recently is I had my 30th birthday earlier this month, which was great, but now I feel kind of old. Physically, not mentally; mentally I’m still about 8. πŸ˜› Although according to Dr. Kawashima (Brain Training for Nintendo Switch, fitting birthday present πŸ˜†), my brain is 23. Just can’t manage the minimum score of 20 because my memory is apparently a bit poop. πŸ˜›

Anyway, yes, Halloween! No trick-or-treating this year probably, which is both bad and good depending on who you are, I guess. πŸ˜› Makes no real difference to me, since I don’t get any trick-or-treaters anyway. πŸ˜† But I have got a treat for you, sir/madam/smadam/nullreferenceexception! A Halloween render! Which almost didn’t happen! πŸ˜›

Yeah, I kinda barely made it this time around. πŸ˜… I’d had several ideas a while in advance, but I just couldn’t decide on one. And none of the ideas I wrote down were the ones I did; I came up with one final idea while trying to decide, and I decided to pursue that one instead. πŸ˜† So there was that, and there was the fact that I’m working on a, er… secret project right now, which has a strict deadline and requires a crapton of rendering, and if I miss that deadline, the theme of the project won’t be relevant. I scheduled a week to do my Halloween render when planning the secret project, but I’d totally overestimated how much time I had during weekdays. And Halloween landed on a Saturday this year. So I basically had fragments of time during the week, and the Friday evening and Saturday morning to do this. Not helpful when I’m burned out from doing nothing but working and rendering. πŸ˜…

But no matter! I may want to just sleep for a year now, but I still managed to finish the Halloween render on time (just πŸ˜› )! Behold! BLEH!

Available in these flavours:
(1080p) (2K) (4K)

“I am Count Dragula, AND YOU’RE NOT!”

Hahaaa, I got a dragon to wear a tuxedo! That experience I gained from “Roar, Blue Dragon” paid off! πŸ˜€ It went way more smoothly than that, too, probably because the suit wasn’t totally broken. πŸ˜› I wasn’t sure this idea was going to work at first, and almost fell back to one of my other ideas, but I think it came out great in the end! What do you think? πŸ˜€

When it comes to the process, I can’t really think of much to talk about for this. Maybe that’s because I’m on about 3 hours sleep right now and all my brain wants to do is turn off. πŸ˜› Fitting the suit was pretty much the same deal as “Roar, Blue Dragon”, the difference being that the assets were already in DAZ Studio. I fit the tux to the figure it was intended for (Genesis 8), set up the materials, and then removed the figure, leaving just the clothes. Of course, ZBrush made things a bit difficult afterwards, since you can’t sculpt multiple SubTools at the same time; you have to switch between them. I got around this by exporting the set of clothing items as a single object, then reimporting it into DAZ Studio before sending it to ZBrush. If I had the time, I’d’ve probably sculpted them individually, but… I didn’t, so I didn’t. πŸ˜›

The only other thing was the ground mist, which turned out massively better than I was expecting, despite it just being a stupid “blue sky thinking” moment. It’s just a stack of 28 planes, all with a super-simple cloud texture generated by Photoshop, fully translucent and refractive with an refractive index of 1. Job done. πŸ˜› It almost put me in a kind of difficult situation, though. This solution for the mist felt perfect at first, because it was quick to do and worked well, but I’m pretty sure it caused quite a large spike in the render time. And that was no good because if the render took too long, I’d miss the deadline. Thankfully, the render time was still short enough to get it done. Albeit just the 2K version. The 4K version is being rendered as I write. πŸ˜€ UPDATE!: It’s done now! πŸ˜›

Anyway, the RENDER STATS! πŸ˜€ At 4K with Rendering Quality 2, it took a total of 15 hours 4 minutes 28 seconds! So, quite a long one, but it was two renders that I combined into one during post. One of the renders had ground mist, which took 10:51:52, and the other one didn’t have the mist, which took 4:12:36. So that mist solution I came up with increased the render time by 150%. Oops. πŸ˜› I still need to try it with caustics on, but I imagine that’ll take at least 24 hours and I still have a secret project to do. πŸ˜› Postwork consists of combining the two renders, masking some nasty dithering with the ground mist, removing some weird highlights on the inside of his cape, smoothing out some stuff the post denoiser didn’t denoise, adding a bit of motion blur to Dragula’s arms, adding an additional layer of fake bloom (even though there was bloom in the scene already, generated by Iray πŸ˜†) a levels tweak and a li’l bit of desaturation. πŸ™‚

I’ve got a timelapse for you, too, which you can watch here! πŸ˜€ It didn’t take as long as “Roar, Blue Dragon” (just under 20 hours including render time, as opposed to about 70), but it’s still a fairly long timelapse video. Why? Well, because of the cheese-stuffed soundtrack! Seriously, it’s so full of cheese that you’ll think you’re swimming in it. I was only going to put two songs in at first, but I just couldn’t bring myself NOT to put in the third song I found. πŸ˜›
The first track is Shadows of the Night, by DJ Bobo. On my 30th burfday, while I was trapped in the car on a journey, my sister played a playlist of birthday songs, and the last one was a track by DJ Bobo, whom we’d never really heard of before (I had, but only vaguely). “WE SING HAPPY BIIIIIIIRTHDAY TO YOU, AND MAY ALL YOUR DREEEEEEAMS COME TRUE!!” Of course, after that, she played nothing but DJ Bobo songs the rest of the way. πŸ˜›
It didn’t take long to decide on the next track, because unbelievably, I quickly found out that the same artist has an album literally titled “Vampires”. πŸ˜† So, the next two tracks are from that album! I chose I’m Crazy for the second track, because I am. And because of the cheese πŸ˜›
But finally, just when you think I can’t cram in any more cheese, I round off with Dangerous (the video’s a live performance, lmao HOW did this get a live performance, and lmfao he’s miming it πŸ˜†). “WE ARE MAD! WE ARE COOL! WE RULE!” πŸ˜†πŸ˜†πŸ˜† I couldn’t stop laughing. This album HAD to have been done for a bet. πŸ˜› πŸ§€

I’ve got the progress history here, too:

Six preliminaries this time, which is pretty average, methinks. πŸ˜€ Although this doesn’t include anything related to the original pose I made, which you can see in the timelapse. I might render that original pose as a little bonus, cuz I don’t think it was bad or anything. It just didn’t feel Dracula-esque enough. πŸ™‚

Ah, and just in case you’re working about the post title… that’s a reference to a line spoken by Dracula in Monster Bash, a legendary pinball table by Williams. It involves Dracula, The Wolf Man, The Mummy, Frankenstein[‘s Monster], The Bride of Frankenstein[‘s Monster], and The Creature from the Black Lagoon getting together and forming a rock band. πŸ˜€ The rule set is just as crazy: you can potentially stack every single feature and play them all at the same time. It has some really funny, well-delivered voice lines (“No I won’t go back to your dog house with you!”), and it has such a great soundtrack, too. πŸ˜€ Of course, I haven’t played it for real; I was only 8 when it was released in the U S and A where I don’t live, pinball wasn’t as big in the UK as it was in the US, and it was a pretty rare table to begin with. πŸ˜› I first played it in The Pinball Arcade, and recently picked it up again in Pinball FX 3 on Switch, since I lost all my tables on Pinball Arcade (and they lost the rights to basically all their good tables to Pinball FX 3, looool πŸ˜› ). Anyway, here’s a video of it. πŸ˜€

I think that’s all for now! I’ll update this post with the 4K and 1080p renders when they’re ready. But for now, I think I’m going to faceplant my bed. Niiiiight! πŸ˜›

UPDATE!!
The 4K version finished rendering! I’ve added that to the flavour list, along with the 1080p version. The image itself is slightly different than the one I posted originally; I’d added levels and hue/saturation adjustment layers to the image in Photoshop, but disabled them at some point before I saved it out, and didn’t remember to enable them again, because I’m dumb. Things like this are probably why I can’t get a 20 in Brain Training for Nintendo Switch. πŸ˜› Anyway, I remembered to enable them this time, so the image is a bit brighter and less saturated than before. πŸ™‚

I also updated the timelapse, adding a bit onto the end where I re-do the postwork on the 4K image. Probably not worth re-watching for that. Unless you want to listen to DJ Bobo again. I mean, why wouldn’t you? POWER TO THE VAMPS πŸ˜†