3D Wars 4: La Femme to the Rescue

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Since June of 2015, there has been a sometimes less than friendly war between Daz Studio and Poser which basically share a small community of 3D rendering hobbyists.

That was when Daz released their latest advanced model Victoria 7 specifically designed to not work in Poser.  Now some people have found often complicated ways to get Vicky 7 to work in Poser, but because it was not designed for that program its use was limited.  At the time, Daz Studio had features, like physics rendering with their IRay renderer, that Poser could not match.

Then in early 2016, Poser 11 came out with their own physics renderer Superfly, and a bunch of other techie stuff like “Subdivision surface morphing” (what the community now calls “chips”) which allows a better control of the face (or other parts) for the purposes of animation, and adaptable figure weighting making it much easier to create new figures.

This was great and all, but it went over most of our heads.  How does this help us Poser users make beautiful pictures like the people using Daz Studio are doing?

While we got some new models to work with, like Dawn and Dusk by Hivewire3D, Paul and Pauline by Smith Micro, and Project Evolution by Erogenesis there was only limited support and add-ons.  Basically, many hobbyists like myself were stuck with Victoria 4.2 with a bunch of add-ons to fix her many flaws.

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Enter La Femme

A few of the more techie hobbyists got together a year ago to start working on a new figure that would take full advantage of subdivision surface morphing and adaptable figure weighting that most of us still don’t understand and came up with a new model named La Femme.

I made the above picture to demonstrate her features.  This is the model straight out of the box with zero morphs and add-ons.  Notice the joints: Shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, hands and feet.  I didn’t have to adjust a single joint to get it to look good, it did it on its own.

The point is is that the weighted figure can do any weird pose that humans can do and look like a human is doing them.  That is what adaptable figure weighting is all about.

The “free” version  comes with 140 facial morphs and 30 facial “chips” that can be used to make almost any face you want.  At the top of this post is a La Femme version of Ariane I made playing with those 140 dials.

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If you’re into this stuff, you probably want to get the body morphs, too.  This is not free and comes in two parts.  There is the basic body kit, which adds a ton of new dials to controlling the body shape, and the high definition kit that doubles the polygons in certain parts of both the face and body to significantly increase the detail.  These two were designed to compliment each other and make pretty much any kind of body you want.

Bottom line is it surpasses Daz’s Genesis 8 in complexity thanks to the use of tools not available in Daz Studio yet.

The Big Question: Will it be supported?

Even thought I have already created a La Femme version of Ariane, I plan to finish Ariane in Paradise with the V4 version.  Partly because I am too far into the project now to switch models, and partly because there isn’t a very good selection of clothing or poses available yet.

Genesis 8 currently has many advantages.  There are more users of Daz Studio than there are of Poser, and there is a big catalog of characters and clothing available for her.

To be successful, La Femme needs similar and continuing support.  More characters, more clothing, more exclusives.  Because it cannot be used in Daz Studio, that support has to come from us Poser users.

I personally will be watching with great interest.

 

More VR Fun: Rendering Real 3D for VR

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I have experimented a little with trying to create 3D images that actually look 3D.  Years ago, I did the Stereo “Magic Eye” thing.

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(this is supposed to be a woman reading a book on a couch)

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About a decade ago, I also attempted my own red-cyan anaglyph (which doesn’t look that good).

So with Oculus Go, I discovered I could make my own 3D images with true left and right eye separation. The question is how?

Suffice it to say it took a lot of experimenting, but I finally created a 3D image that actually looks 3D when viewed in an Oculus, and you can download it here.

To view it, download the full 6000×3000 image to your computer, connect your Oculus Go to the PC using a USB cable. Put on Oculus to “allow” access to from the PC.  Open up VR-Headset Drive, internal shared storage, and “Pictures” folder, and drop the beachside3D image into this folder.  Put on the headset, open the “Gallery”, then “On this device”, then select the beachside3D image, then click on the 2D projection in the corner, and change it to 3D 180 projection. The result is a beautiful 3D image seen at the top of this post.

Yeah I know it’s complicated to view.  Just as complicated to make.

 

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Creating the Image

These instructions are for Poser, but you should be able to figure it out with DAZ Studio or any other 3D Rendering software.

First, you need a 3D set with a decent amount of complexity and depth.  Then a subject matter that is positioned front and center. You want to use “Dolly Camera” with focal length 25mm (a wide angle lens) and Roll (z-axis spin) at 0.

Render however you want, but do not use depth of field, everything must be in focus. In this example I rendered 1280×720 resolution.  If you make it bigger, you will have to adjust the dimensions of the black field accordingly.  Once rendered, this is going to be your “right eye” image.  Save it as a png file.  To make the left eye, take the “yaw” angle (x-axis spin) and subtract 5 degrees, then adjust the x-axis camera position to re-center the main subject, and render again.  Save it separately.

Oculus Go’s 3D 180 view assumes that the left eye and right eye information contains full 180 degree spherical view.  Most 3D rendering programs like Poser and Daz Studio, do not have a way to do this natively, so you have to do multiple renders and stitch them together with panorama maker software like Hugin, but that is outside of the scope of this tutorial, as that takes hours maybe days to create and still might turn out wrong.  We’re just making a view master style image.

Since the left, right, up and down views of the 180 degree view don’t exist, we are just going to frame our image in a square black window.  Basically we are projecting our image and the black frame onto a spherical wall. If we make the frame too big, the image part will look too small, if we make the frame too small the image will look distorted.

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After experimenting, I found a 1280×720 picture in a 3000×3000 black frame is a fair compromise. So we take the two png files and use our photo editing software to create a 3000×3000 black image with our picture centered in the middle. Once I have the two 3000×3000 pixel images, I combine them into a single 6000×3000 image, with the “left” image on the left, and “right” on the right.

If you don’t have an Oculus Go or some other VR, you can try using your eyes to combine the two images into one to see the basic effect.

Now that I have the basic formula down, I might try making more of these later. Let’s just say I have about a dozen failed experiments to get this one right.

 

Updating Ariane: Poser vs DAZ Studio Again

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Over the past month, I have been debating on updating Ariane for her next game. The above was an early draft which I am NOT going to use as I will explain.

Like many in the 3D People Rendering Community, I am still torn between the Poser vs Daz Studio rift, which I previously catalogued here, and here.

The last high quality DAZ figure with full Poser support was Victoria 4, which is now over a decade old.  Ancient by tech standards, and still widely supported with new clothes hair and accessories, because such things still sell well.

But Victoria 4 still has some flaws that make it less desirable to use…boat5
I picked this Victoria 4 image to point out the main flaws: 1.) The armpits are way too high up the arm. 2.) the hip to thigh bend looks unnatural, as does the thigh to shin bend.  Finally, 3.) while there are literally hundreds of skin textures available, most do not support the latest renderers like DAZ’s iRay and Poser’s Superfly.

The DAZ Studio solution is really easy: switch to G3 and G8 based figures (there are no G4 to G7 figures because: “reasons”) which DAZ is more than happy to sell you. Most of my fellow Dating Sim/Visual Novel makers have made the switch fairly successfully.

The Poser solution is not so easy. There are advanced models natively available to Poser, namely Dawn and Dusk by Hivewire3D, Paul and Pauline by Smith Micro that come with Poser 11.1, and Project Evolution by Erogenesis that is even more advanced than G8 as far as versatility goes.

The problem is that there is not a lot of support for these figures. Dawn has a fair amount, and Project Evolution may eventually, especially since it has backward compatibility with V4. But the majority of the support for new figures is not surprisingly for G3 and G8.

It is possible to convert G3 and G8 figures to be used in Poser, instructions can be found here.  But because it is not supported natively, you have to convert every accessory the same way, and that could get time consuming, and the resulting Poser figures are memory hogs.  I briefly considered creating a new Ariane based on Karen 7.

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Attempts to make a Dawn version of Ariane

My initial idea was to try and make an “Ariane” using the Dawn figure. While the Dawn figure on the right has a more realistic body shape and curves, I could never get the face right. No matter what I did, the V4 face on the left is better looking and more realistic.

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The truth is I ran into many of the same issues when I converted V3 Ariane to V4 Ariane, but ultimately V4 Ariane was a major improvement.

This time, I am sticking with V4. The three problems with V4 mentioned above can be addressed by new products: 1.) The shoulders and other model issues can be fixed with “Perfect V4” by XandM,  2.) The bending problems can be fixed with products like “Overhaul for V4” by ironman13.  I used these products extensively to create the graphics update of Date Ariane.

The rendering skins can be updated with a python script “D3D Perfect Skin SSS Lite” which will change a basic skin texture to simulate SSS effects in the Superfly renderer, and as a side bonus, the Superfly renderer renders even faster. (The only flaw is that it shows solid white skin in superfly preview mode, switch to firefly preview mode to see what the textures look like, then switch back to superfly mode before rendering.)

There is still the issue of the body shape looking better in Dawn than V4.  I solved that by using the rarely used Muscle Pack for V4. I originally got the muscle pack to make Wendy the Weightlifter look stronger, but adding a “toned” shape to Ariane at about 40%, I can give her the athletic curves I was looking for.

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Now to create some new content with this improved Ariane…

Creative Mood Swings

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Sorry I have not written in a while or posted anything.  The truth is I am having one of my creative mood swings, which is something I have been having for a couple of decades now.

For most of June and July, I was in creative mode working on the graphics update (see last post) and a thread for “Rachel and Ariane”.  As per usual, I started losing interest in creating and now I have swung into gaming mode, where all I want to do is enjoy other people’s games.  At some point in the future, I will get tired of playing and want more creative control, and will suddenly want to create again. It WILL happen eventually.

So to answer everyone’s question, I have no idea when the next game will be out, or when the android versions with the new graphics will be out.

The Android Copyright Problem

The biggest complaint is that people can’t download the android version directly to their android devices.  The reason is that Google has a strict copyright on APK files.  My file server that I rent from GoDaddy protects Google’s copyright. If it detects an apk file being downloaded by an Android device, it kills the download, hence the reason you can’t download the game directly.  I tried using a Google file server, but they stopped it in other ways.

So the only way to get the APK file for Android is to download it to a non-android device like a Windows computer or a mac, or a Chromebook, and then move it to the android device via USB cable or microSD card.  Sorry this is difficult.

The INTP Personality

I have an INTP personality. This is our greatest strength: We are good at stuff and know stuff. We find something that interests us, and we study the hell out of it until we become experts. We find a skill that we enjoy doing, and we master that skill.

This is our greatest weakness: When outside forces develop expectations for these interests and skills, our desire to improve to meet expectations goes right out the window.

I mention this, because I am having an INTP style dilemma.

To make a really successful indie gaming enterprise, I need to set up a Patreon, and find ways to release these games on Google Play Store and/or Steam, and I need to get them properly translated, because for some reason I have huge followings in Germany and Brazil. To do it properly turns it into a part time job.

The more I think about doing all this work, the less interest I have in finishing the actual games. It becomes a distraction that hinders my interest in even making the games.

So content creation comes first.  No Patreon, no Play Store, it’s too much work I am not interested in doing.

My number one motivation is to make these games for myself. It’s my hobby, my way to relax, my way to express myself.  I enjoy playing them as much as I enjoy making them.

I could either share them the way I have been: posting them on a file server and letting people download them with no support and no promise that they will work on your devices, or I could not share and just enjoy them myself.

So I choose the easiest route that benefits the most people and keep doing what I have been doing.

Anyways, to prove I’m still working on stuff, here’s some art you haven’t seen yet.:

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Date Ariane Graphics Update

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I am releasing a graphics update for some versions of Date Ariane. Currently this is for the English and German PC, Mac, and Linux versions.  Portuguese and French PC/Mac versions are now updated as well.  Let me explain this update Q&A style:

What has been updated?

About 95% of the pictures have been updated, over 1100.

I don’t see much difference, what has changed?

Lets start with Ariane. I am using an improved V4 model that corrects the shoulders and makes them look more natural and realistic.  You can pretty much tell the difference between the old and the new by simply looking at the shoulders. Also a minor clothing change, Ariane’s underwear is dark grey instead of tie-dyed pink. I also give Ariane some fun expressions that she uses in certain circumstances.

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Lighting has changed, there are a lot fewer hard shadows. Also reflections on glass and surfaces is more realistic. Since most of Date Ariane takes place at night, windows should reflect the interior light. Different locations use different lighting and rendering. Backyard is partially rendered in “superfly”, bedroom uses IBL lighting.

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I also created a more realistic look for Rebecca. Still “petite”, but she no longer looks like she is starving.  Also she has got a “bush”, since at least one of my characters should have one.

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Ariane’s SUV is the one I used in the Rachel and Ariane pictures. She no longer is driving the cartoon car I have been using since 2004. Her car actually looks realistic. The convenience store actually sells food now.

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With all of these moves toward realism, how come the pictures still don’t look real?

Because realism is not the ultimate goal, beauty is.

Why only 95% of the pictures, why not 100%?

I am actually working on a 2.0 version of the game with pictures that are more than double the resolution. In order to save memory, I am rewriting the code to reduce the number of images the game needs, mostly eliminating the “ending” scenes you want to try and avoid anyways. I mostly finished the images for this HD version, and decided to reduce them down to the non-HD size and update the graphics, but the current 1.0 still needs the pictures I have eliminated in 2.0, so in those cases the old pictures are still there.

Don’t be surprised if you occasionally see the old Rebecca, or the old shoulders, or the old underwear. I’m pretty sure I eliminated the old car pics, but I might have missed one or two.

If you are working on new code, why not incorporate it into the game?

Because complex changes to the game will mess up the translated versions. When 2.0 is finally done it is likely the translations wont work on it. I am trying to figure out a way to fix this, but it is going to take some time. 2.0 is no where close to ready anyways.

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Besides graphics changes, are there any other changes to the game?

I eliminated a bug in the English and German versions that under the right circumstances would allow Ariane to drive downtown naked, but there is no code or pictures to support it so it crashed the game.  I also eliminated the trailer for “Something’s In The Air” on the translated versions.

By the way, thanks to translator Thorston Frei, the English and German versions are the same game, the only difference being the window title, the default language settings, and the help page. In both versions, you can go into settings and switch between English and German. Note that some lines in the German version will appear untranslated. Only about 97% of the lines have translation, and the ones that don’t will appear in English.

I eventually want the French and Portuguese versions to work this way, but for now their code is unchanged.

Why are there no graphics updates for the android versions?

There will be eventually. Despite my efforts to control jpg compression, the new versions are now bigger in size than before. The android version was already pushing the limits of max size for an app, so I need to do some further size reduction before I can make new android versions.  The 2.0 HD version will never work on android, but I want the updated pictures to be available in app form at some point.

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How to Make Ariane in Daz Studio

dazariane1I have had a few people ask about getting a 3D model for Ariane, so here’s how to do it.

Shopping List:

My folders are organized for Poser so they will not be in the same place as the default locations for these products. Use the search feature if you have to.

In the library, do a search for Victoria 4 and find the “Actor Victoria 4.2”. When you click to load, it will give you a dialog box, put a check on morphs++ to load those as well.

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Next, find MRL Ariana and load “AriBody1 INJ”and in the subfolder PoserDazMATs load “Ari_MAT”, in the sub-subfolder Ari_Lips load “AriLips01”, and under Ari_MakeUp, load “AriMU01”

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Next, find Andromeda and open “!AndromedaHead INJ” then under “PoserDazMats/And_Eyes” load “AndEyes07”  Note: Andromeda also comes with a bunch of custom expressions designed for the Andromeda head, I use these a lot.

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Next, do a search for reby and load “RebyGlam Victoria 4”

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On the right hand adjustment panel (your interface may vary) click where it says Victoria 4.2 and a menu will pop up, select Reby Glam Victoria 4, then on the library window (left side) find the “AprilRebyGlam” directory  and apply “2 M Black” and “1 handles off”

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Now, on the right side, you need to select “RebyGlamVictoria4 : neck” then in the Parameters menu select “custom fits” and raise “hairline” to 50%

That’s it, you are done. I have added other features like moles and realistic anatomy, but the above is close enough.

Rachel, by the way is just DMR Ella, though because this older texture does not have the latest settings, I have been using MRL Eris skin

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Now, on the parameters menu reselect Victoria 4.2, apply a pose then on the render menu, select “render” and soon you have a picture of Ariane.

Rachel and Ariane: An Experiment in Storytelling

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After finishing the Renpy version of Date Ariane back in July 2015, I have been tinkering with the idea of what would happen if Ariane (of Date Ariane fame) and Rachel (of Something’s In The Air fame) were to meet.

I made both games for my own entertainment, and I am glad they have been successful. So I started tinkering with Rachel and Ariane being the third part of the trilogy.  I’ve never tried writing a story like this, and so I’m not sure what I am doing, and kind of making things up as I go along.

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So far it is coming off as “official fanfic”. I struggle with the writing part, but I am really having a lot of fun doing the pictures part, which is why I keep going.

I released part one in October 2015, a piece at a time until the final part was released on Halloween, when the story was set.

It starts with a “meet cute” as all rom-coms do, in this case they show up to a Halloween party dressed the same.  As they get to talking they discover they are the same in a few other ways as well.

After Ariane finds out Rachel is a supermodel, Rachel takes Ariane home and tests her in a few ways. Ariane passes the tests, and they end up getting drunk together.

It ends with Ariane revealing her never before revealed job: game developer. Rachel, being a game addict herself, is intrigued and wants to get together again.

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Rachel Dates Ariane is set about two weeks later, or mid November, though there was over a year before I released it in November 2016.

It almost follows a typical “Date Ariane” date. Rachel comes over, and they play video games (tying back to the end of part 1) then they go out for dinner. This time to a pizza place they both like (Pizza Mia shows up in both games). Then back to Ariane’s and some naked hot tubbing.

Rachel then makes a (intentional?) move that results in the two of them in bed naked together.  Can two mostly heterosexual women find love? or is it doomed to “friendzone”? Is that necessarily a bad thing?

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I just released part 3: Rachel Takes Ariane’s Photo. I tried to make it more game like with choices to eventually turn it into a game, which I actually made, and found it repetitive as most of the choices end up in the same place.

So I just converted it to HTML and posted it all at once. It’s about 23 HTML pages total using simple links to the choices you pick.

It takes place still in November, with still autumn colors (which is part of the plot). The two key scenes for me are the “short cut” and Rachel setting up cameras.

I establish in the games that Ariane is a bit of a dare devil or “Action Girl”, but never get a good opportunity to demonstrate it. The short cut scene is Ariane demonstrating that part of her personality to Rachel, who being a science geek is not all that thrilled with that side of Ariane.

Then when we get to the the actual picture taking, Rachel is the one demonstrating her personality, talking about photography in a geeky way and having it go way over Ariane’s head. The photo session itself is very clinical and very professional, the way a supermodel likes it, and with the exception of one version of the photo shoot, no where near as sexy as the ones Ariane did in Date Ariane.

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Control of what happens to the photos is in the hands of the photographer, or the party that commissioned the photos in the first place. That means Ariane has no control.

The objective here is to add a little bit of conflict. Differences that could get bigger later.

I’m working on a part 4, which basically would be act 3 of a typical 3 act story: Things get worse before they get better. It’s tough to write characters I like struggling with stuff, so I am struggling writing it. I don’t know if it will be linear like parts 1 and 2, or whether there will be multiple versions based on choices like part 3.  Depends on what works best.

Even if you don’t like the writing, I think I did some great pictures here. The pictures are actually bigger than they display on the web page, parts 2 and 3 are 1960×1080. Just right click and view picture to see the full sized images.