MAKIN’ BACON!

Hi, ni hao, ohayo gozaimasu yes happy lunar new year sorry I’m kind of in a hurry here I’ve gotta post this before I run out of…

Well, okay. Maybe I’m not in THAT much of a hurry. πŸ˜› Let’s start again, shall we?

Ni hao once more, citizen of the Internet, and xin nian kuai le to ye! πŸ˜€ Happy New Year. The Lunar New Year, that is, cuz who gives a damn about the “real” new year? EXACTLY, apart from those many many millions of people, no-one at all! πŸ˜› And of course, no prizes for guessing what I’m going to post here today. My traditional Lunar New Year render, this time, the Year of the Pig! πŸ˜€ And it’s the 8th in the series! :O

As you can probably tell by the intro, I really, really cut this one close. πŸ˜› So close, that I rushed to get the 1080p version rendered out first, just so I had something to post on time. πŸ˜› The 2K version is currently rendering as I type. And on a side note, because the render is eating half my CPU (overhead, I guess, because the GPU’s actually the thing responsible for the render), it’s making typing slightly irritating. Sometimes letters I type don’t appear on screen for a second. πŸ˜›

Anyway, so, why did I cut this one so close? Well… the reason’s similar to last year, actually. πŸ˜› I decided to start it last night after I got home from work because I thought it was going to be easy. Because it’s a pig. A common farmyard animal. Surely there’d be something I could use, right? Hahahaha no! Of course not! There was nothing but the DAZ Pig, a model from about… I dunno, 18-19 years ago? And a low-resolution pig designed for mass rendering. That’s pretty much it. Boom, shat on again, two years in a row! πŸ˜›

However, it was even worse this time. Last year, I thought out of the box and decided to look for a wolf instead, hoping there was a way I could get it to look more like a dog. In the end, I found a wolf with a texture pack that turned it into a husky. This time, I tried the same kind of logic and searched for a boar instead of a pig. And yes, I found one, but it didn’t… feel right. Sure, in some countries, the pig is replaced by a boar in the zodiac (heck, at least one country replaces it with an elephant, instead), so there was no reason I couldn’t use it. But the boar felt a bit… boring, somehow. I dunno. I can’t really explain myself this time. πŸ˜› I’d planned to make the background pink this time, too, but that would’ve clashed with the boar, massively. And it’s very difficult to come up with new colours when all the good ones are taken already. πŸ˜›

So I eventually said “screw it” and got the low-resolution pig designed for mass usage. Why the hell did I do that? Well… because I couldn’t find the DAZ Pig. πŸ˜› Like fuck am I spending $20 on an insanely old model! If it was like $5, sure, I would’ve done, but they were asking release price for something which is about 18 years old! Hell no! πŸ˜›

The low-res model was… yeah, it was bad. The poly count was amazing… for its intended use case. For my use case? Nope! Nowhere near enough. πŸ˜› And the texture quality? It was 2048, which sounds okay, apart from that texture covered every material on the model. Again, great for the intended use case, but not for mine! πŸ˜›

Anyway… so, I had a low-resolution model, low-resolution textures and not much time because I’m a silly shitface. πŸ˜› But I had to do something, right? Yes, I did! And I did! And here it is, an epic piggy (or as epic as I could make one look, anyway):

Available in these tasty, fresh, sizzling flavours:
(1080p) (1080p Dark) (2K) (2K Dark) (4K) (4K Dark)

Ha HAAAAAA! The power of Iray! And ingenuity! And maybe Look At My Hair had something to do with it, too. No, that ain’t no 3,000-ish-poly model any more; it’s SUBDIVIDED, baby! It now has around 170,000 polys! πŸ˜€ So, Jill, what do you think? Well Barry, considering what I had to work with, I think this one came out alright in the end! I use it all over the house! It’s great on limescale!

Okaaaaay, there must’ve been something in that leftover KFC I just ate. πŸ˜› Anyway, I learned a couple of new things this time around. You might be wondering how I massively increased the poly count of the model. Well… I know that DAZ Studio’s had the ability to subdivide its models for a long time now, at least since the Millenium SubDragon was released. That’s why it was called the SubDragon, after all. It was one of the first figures that supported subdivision. I can’t explain it technically or anything (and I don’t really like using technical explanations if I can help it, anyway πŸ˜› ), but basically, I think it splits all the polygons of the model into four polygons and does magical smoothyness on the result. It can do this several times, but doing more than about 3 iterations is both pointless and explosion-inducing. πŸ˜› Since I knew DS had figures that supported this out of the box, I was hoping there was a way of applying it to any figure. And yes, there is! With a figure selected, go to Edit -> Object -> Geometry -> Convert to SubD…, and boom! The model is subdivided!

You can get at the subdivision settings in the usual place: with a model selected, in the Parameters tab, go to General -> Mesh Resolution. Initially, the converted model only has a SubD level of 1, but you can adjust that as normal with da slider.

The piggy in the render uses 3 iterations for rendering. So that’s 2,700 base polys x 4 x 4 x 4 = 172,800 polys. Smooooooooth! 3 iterations is probably overkill, though. 2 looks basically the same. πŸ˜›

So, what else did I do that was new? Well… I used the Look At My Hair plugin to create the fur. Yes okay it’s not really new for me, I’ve used the plugin twice before, and I’ve swore at it so many times already. πŸ˜› However, the difference? What I used before was the “viewer” plugin, or whatever they call it. You can apply hair presets and export them as an OBJ to use in Iray renders, but you can’t make them. This time, I used the full-fat plugin… that I bought. Yes. I genuinely bought it, much to my dismay, because I hate it so goddamn much. πŸ˜› But hey, I’m pretty sure I milked the hell out of whatever weird-ass “sale” DS was having at the time that I bought it. Actually, yeah… I think I bought it along with the Hunting Drake (the last dragon-related thing I wanted, at least until they make the Dragon 4/8 hint hint DAZ) and managed to combine offers and discounts in such a way that the total cost to buy LAMH with the Hunting Drake was less than buying LAMH on its own. Seriously, their sales are more like puzzle games. πŸ˜›

Anyway, the full-fat LAMH plugin allows you to create and modify hair rather than apply presets, which is kind of necessary for this model, because it was made at a time when LAMH didn’t even exist. πŸ˜› So, how was the experience? It was painful! Literally! And figuratively! It took more than an hour. By the end of it, my hand had almost seized up. πŸ˜› I have some behind-the-scenes footage, actually. Have a listen to what this plugin drove me to do (or don’t, there’s no yelling or anything, but still, I like your ears enough to dissuade you πŸ˜› ):

…Oh brilliant, shitty WordPress won’t embed the video even with custom HTML. Fuck their dumb faces. Doesn’t make any sense at all. Sigh… I guess a link will have to do:
https://1drv.ms/v/s!AlJqPkamagmNvW2Mt4lgmjYPRvPD

Yes, sorry, the video is awful quality. πŸ˜› I was actually recording the whole process of making this render so I could try doing a timelapse video, only to find out that, after the second clip, PlayClaw had forgotten my recording settings for some reason, and had reverted to its default bitrate of 10kbps. Yes, 10 KILObits per second. About 500x less than what I asked for. I’m surprised the resulting video even remotely resembled what was on my screen. πŸ˜›

So yeah, I realised you can apply subdivision to anything, and through a long and incredibly annoying process, I made some extremely average custom hair for the pig. Woot! Learnding! πŸ˜›

As for the renders other than 1080p, I’ve added the 2K version now. πŸ™‚ I was gonna add the 4K version, too, but I was in a rush this morning and didn’t turn on my PC, so I couldn’t connect to it from work and start the 4K render remotely. -.- I’ll get that posted later on, though. πŸ™‚ UPDATE!!: I’ve now added the 4K version, as well as all the Dark versions. πŸ™‚

Now, traditional render stats! πŸ˜€ Using a single GTX 970 at Render Quality 2 and 95% convergence with the Caustic sampler on (for some reason), the
2K version took 34 minutes 49.14 seconds, and the 1080p version took 19 minutes 25.68 seconds! Holy bab that’s fast! As for the 4K version, I gave it the Pwnage-O-Matic V10’s FULL POWER, and it took… 31 minutes 23.8 seconds! BOOM! Both GPUs got a 4K render done faster than a single GPU could do the 2K render. πŸ˜€ But why the hell was it so fast in general? Last year’s render took like, 3 hours. Shrug. Maybe my crappy pig hair wasn’t as detailed as the dog hair. πŸ˜›

Anyway, happy Lunar New Year! πŸ˜€ I’ll leave you with this dumb-but-funny-and-sort-of-related song:


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