Testing two of XFrog’s plant models and Grass Shader for DAZ Studio

Testing two of XFrog's plant models and Grass Shader for DAZ Studio

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In my last post I mentioned that I was working on a picture of my character Pari Azar. As is normally the case I was experimenting with a few new things. The first two were a couple of plant models from www.xfrog.com. One was a Chestnut and the other a Giant Sea Fan. The second thing was a Grass Shader for DAZ Studio that promised a real sense of grass for any of my scenes.

OK. So here is what XFrog promised that the plants would look like:

chestnut

seaweed

As I commented in my last post on XFrog models, I had to scale them up to DAZ Studio size. I think about 500%. My scene was not a sea one, but I used the fan because I wanted a slightly alien feel. After all, the novel is set on another planet. The scene itself is Pari Azar staring up into the distance where she can see an eagle. She wishes that she were free like it. She is on a garden balcony of a huge old city butte.

The Grass Shader is a tool for adding grass to planes and objects. I must admit that this was my first attempt at trying to figure out the entire shader thing. As I have said before, I am still very much the newbie with DAZ Studio (which is why I recommend this product for beginners trying to get into 3D art – because it is easy to figure out).

Other models I used included the incredibly versatile Aslan Court by Jack Tomalin.   I just use this architectural model over and over again for interior and exterior walls and rooms. I love it. The bench here, I suspect that is one of the standard props with DAZ Studio.

So I set out the scene thus:

setting

You can see the fans on the Chestnut and Sea Fans in the background. They looked pretty good. I added a standard light called Forest Light. This gave a nice dappled and grungy effect to the background. You cannot see it here, but I also aimed a small spotlight at Pari’s face to brighten her up slightly compared to the background. Also, just to ensure that the bench was not too bright in the background, I replaced the white speculative light on it with grey. I did not want it distracting from Pari.

And here is the outcome:

Pari Azar
Pari Azar

This time I used the standard DAZ Studio renderer (3Delight) instead of Luxrender. Why? To be honest, I just preferred the result. It was richer in this instance (and also did the grass – see below).

Conclusion

I am still a bit dubious about how well the leaves on some XFrog models render in DAZ. Certainly the trunks and branches are excellent. Hence I chose not to show the Chestnut leaves. However the Sea Fan was awesome as I think the results demonstrate.

As for the Grass Shader – just take a look at that picture. The grass is brilliant and I found it fairly easy to work out its settings. If people are interested I would be happy to do a tutorial on this, but won’t bother if you don’t want one. The only problem I had with it was that it did not carry over into Luxrender. So with the latter I just rendered an ordinary looking ground plane. In all fairness, that might be a result of my own ignorance as to settings, but I call it as I see it.

Have a good week everyone. :)

Greg

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10 Comments


  1. That software looks amazing, is it for free to download? what are the pc requirements in order to run it? I’m a newbie in 3D as well but it is really exciting to create any environments with my own hands.

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    1. Hi. Thanks for visiting ☺ I’m on my phone now or else I would write a more detailed reply. In short, it’s free and the details are in one of my earlier posts called something like “DAZ Studio a tool for authors to create pictures”. I love it. But it is not a content creator like Blender. More of a set designer from which you create images and animations.

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  2. AoA’s Grass and Rock shaders won’t work with LuxRender because they’re not meant to. I could get all technical trying to explain this, but I don’t know if you want this. Suffice it to say, it’s not an oversight on your part; they just don’t.

    As for the leaves, I haven’t yet checked out these particular models, but I remember that with quite a few of XFrog’s older samples, with the OBJ models, you had to load the b&w transparency maps for the leaves material zone manually in the Surfaces tab, and invert the map, to boot (because in DS, white means opaque, and those maps were the other way around). If you find out that’s the case, inverting is trivial either in an image editor (save under a different name and navigate to the new file), or inside DS’s very own Layered Image Editor (there’s a single checkbox that will handle that, and non-destructively, to boot).

    As for why one engine would look “richer” than the other – y’know, it all depends on the type of content you load, particularly shaders (lights are also shaders, technically speaking). From the render you posted, I can see that this “Forest light” set you mention most likely makes use of ambient occlusion, which, again, means there is a dedicated 3Delight-specific shader running (something like UberEnvironment2). The DS/Lux bridge you use might have issues with picking this up and translating it into Lux’s native lights.

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    1. Thanks my friend :)

      At least I know that I wasn’t using the grass shader incorrectly :)

      Re: the XFrog leaves. Again thankyou. :) I will try :)

      Yep, I’ve found that on some content I prefer Luxrender and on other I prefer 3Delight. And yes, I think you are spot on with it being the lighting (though I had no idea about the technical reasons). Actually, I really need to learn how to work better with Luxrender lights. I can never get them soft enough. Can you point me somewhere where there is a good tutorial?

      Thanks for your insightful and knowledgeable comments. You are always welcome here :)

      Greg

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  3. Thank you very much =) It is important for me to know that what I write is actually helpful.

    As for Lux, well, I don’t know which bridge you are using, so I’ll give you two links: one for Luxus – http://www.digisprawl.com/blog/tutorial/luxus-and-luxrender-beginners-guide-for-daz-studio-pt-1-lights-and-materials/ – and one for Reality – http://www.sharecg.com/v/68284/related/21/DAZ-Studio/Reality-Light-System-for-DS-%2B-Reality2-%2B-Luxrender (this one is a set of mesh lights and it includes a link to an online tutorial inside, once you install it).
    Basically, the most important thing for LuxRender is to use either mesh lights (aka area lights) or Sunsky / image based lighting. These pages should tell you how to set these up.

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    1. For some unknown reason this post of yours required my approval whereas your other posts never needed it. I wonder why WordPress did that.

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      1. I see… wordpress definitely has quirks, it seems.

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  4. …Greg, I have no idea if my first comment today actually went through. If it didn’t, please let me know and I’ll post the links again.
    And anyway, thank you once again for appreciating my unsolicited advice =) Not everyone seems to!

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    1. Well I love it! I’ve only just got out of bed and have to get ready for work, but will take a look at the links tonight once the family is asleep (my productive time). Thanks for that. And thanks so much for taking the time and effort to help me :) Greg

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      1. You’re welcome, and thanks! I’m glad I was able to help =)

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