Yearly Archives: 2019

Animating sunlight (SS Time) in DAZ Studio

I’ve recently explained how to make use of the realistic sun disk in DAZ Studio. I’ve talked about how to make this thing visible and how to set it to mood/effect you want, and I’m pleased with the results. This workflow works great for still images, but for animations, it quickly becomes clear that the SS Time parameter under Render Settings – Environment cannot be keyframed.

Or can it? Looks like it can, thanks to a little helper tool called the Sun Dial. Let me show you how it works.

Continue reading Animating sunlight (SS Time) in DAZ Studio

Urban Future Fly-Through Animation Workflow

I’ve rendered this quick trailer for my 3D Shenanigans Live Stream, using Stonemason’s Urban Future 6 set the other day. I did this really quick, and there are some rough edges to this animation. It only took 8 hours to render the full sequence plus a bit of post production in Premiere.

I thought I’d share my multi-machine workflow and pipeline with you, indulging some tips of what I might do different next time.

Continue reading Urban Future Fly-Through Animation Workflow

Creating a Sunset Portrait in DAZ Studio – 3D Shenanigans #17

In this live event I’ll show you how to create a realistic sunset portrait in DAZ Studio. I’ll explain how to use the Sun and Sky option in the render settings to tweak the time of day, how to make the sun visible and how to move it into position.

Finally we’ll add a character who’s looking at the sunset, dressed in one of Biscuit’s hair and dForce outfits. I’ll even discuss some Tonemapping options to get a handsome looking image without postwork.

Because after all, it’s my birthday today 🙂

How to switch Photoshop from Timecode to Frames

The Photoshop Timeline is a mysterious tool. You can open it from Window – Timeline, or you can open an image sequence/video clip and it’ll dock itself at the bottom of the viewport. By default it displays a sequence in a timecode of sorts, but it’s not the SMPTE or EBU timecode we’ve come to know and love. Instead, it’s something along the lines of seconds and frames, in a format like 02:02f or in other words, something NOBODY in the world would ever use.

But hey, they’re Adobe, and by default they can do anything they want (while extorting money from casual users). I don’t use Photoshop for physical film or video editing, but it’s a nice tool to have when converting rendered image sequences into video clips. I’ve described how to do this here.

When I work this way, I’m more interested in the frame count rather than some made up timecode-thing. I’ve found out how to change this in Photoshop CC, and thought I’d share it with you.

Continue reading How to switch Photoshop from Timecode to Frames

Atmospheric Fog Planes in DAZ Studio – 3D Shenanigans #16

In this live event I’ll show you how to use Atmospheric Fog Planes in DAZ Studio. They can be used as a subtle effect to make your scenes more realistic. Fog Planes can fill the screen, or they can be used as prop splats to show steam rising in parts of your image. I’ll show your both versions, explain the workflow in setting up your planes, and how to create them yourself with Carrara.

For this demonstration, I’m using Stonemason’s Urban Future 6.

All my Patreon Supporters get access to the fog assets I’m creating in this stream.

FIXED: Creative Cloud reports “out of space” although there is enough

I’ve recently migrated my cloud files over to Adobe’s Creative Cloud. I’m currently getting 20GB of space without device limitations. I made the move because Dropbox recently introduced a limitation of the amount of “new devices” that can be linked with a free account, which meant I couldn’t link my new Z600 and Z800 workstations on my render farm.

All of a sudden I see this notice that some files could not be synced anymore, telling me I’d have to clear up some space in Creative Cloud. No problem I thought, several image sequences had been converted into videos so I deleted them. My Finder window reported a correct 9GB of used space, but the Creative Cloud app still reported in excess of 20GB. What was going on?

Turns out when you delete files from Creative Cloud, they go into an invisible Trash – not on your local computer, but – you’ve guessed it – “in the cloud”. That space counts towards your quota, and unless this is deleted, new files won’t sync across your devices.

That’s different from Dropbox, where deleted files could be accessed outside the storage quota for 30 days, before being deleted permanently. With Creative Cloud, we’ll have to do this manually (but of course, nobody tells you this)… now that I’ve found how how to do it, let me show you how.

Continue reading FIXED: Creative Cloud reports “out of space” although there is enough

Rendering with Blender from the Command Line

I through I could some of my computers to good use by helping them render animations. Everyone is stronger together as a team, no matter if we’re built on carbon or silicone. Sadly though, Blender doesn’t start its GUI via RDP, which means it’s not so easy to speak to the application – unless you employ clunky workarounds.

That’s where the command line interface comes in handy. We can issue a text command to Blender, telling it which file we’d like to render, where to render to, and which frames of an animation to render.

Before I forget how it works, I thought I’d best write it down somewhere.

Continue reading Rendering with Blender from the Command Line

Shattering my Logo in Blender – 3D Shenanigans #15

On this week’s live stream I’ll take my 3D Shenanigans Logo and shatter it into pieces, to build a creepy backwards animation using the Cell Fracture add-on in Blender 2.79.

I’ll start by explaining how the tool works, then we’ll move on to building the logo from scratch, add materials, and then we’ll build something similar to this animation: https://youtu.be/pzi6ghRRfLg

I currently have TWO RTX 2080 cards in my system, which means I’ll do the shattering in Blender 2.79, and will render in Blender 2.80. Sometimes we’ll just have to use different versions to get a job done.

Here’s a video by Richard from CGCookie about this modifier:

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEo_9AopfoQ

The Cell Fracture add-on is scheduled to make it into Blender 2.81 later this year.

Creating Animated Fog with Carrara – 3D Shenanigans #14

In this live event I’ll create animated volumetric fog with the highly underrated Carrara. I’ll show you around the app and explain how the programme works, introduce you to some of its features, and then I’ll animate good looking fog. Once exported as a transparent image sequence, I’ll try to animate it live over my own camera feed. It’ll be a hoot!

This concept was inspired by my Skeleton at the Graveyard animation I made three years ago.

We’ve discovered a similarly simple effect last Saturday in Subnautica (the ceiling effect at around 2:15:00).

How to switch game modes in Subnautica

I’ve had a few computer glitches recently while experimenting with a new graphics card. Unfortunately this lead to some random crashes, which in turn damaged my Subnautica game files.

Suddenly my save games didn’t tell me how long I had been playing, and what type of game I was playing anymore, and instead only shoed the message “damaged game save”. That didn’t sound good!

Thankfully though, when I loaded the file up, everything seems fine: I had the same base, was spawned in the correct place, had all the belongings I remember… except for one weird issue: my Freedom type game was now a Survival game. Not what I had signed up for!

Lucky for us there’s an easy way to switch from what we’re currently playing to any of the other three game types (Survival, Freedom, Hardcore or Creative) into any of the others. Here’s how to do it:

  • press F3 to bring up a secret settings box at the to left
  • press F8 to bring up the mouse cursor
  • disable the option “disable console” (thereby enabling it)
  • now press F3 again to close that settings window again
  • hit Enter to bring up a text input box at the bottom left

This will bring up a command line prompt at which we can now issue statements – much like on a Linux Terminal or Windows Power Shell. If we know what to type, we can make the game do exciting things that can come in handy when we’re stuck due to a bug or other circumstance. Developers use this tool a lot.

To change the game mode, we can type any of the following:

  • Survival
  • Freedom
  • Hardcore
  • Creative

That’s all we need to do. When you’re done, press F3 again to close the scary settings window.

Warning

Be advised that in the release version of either Subnautica and presumably Below Zero, issuing the above commands will disable the achievements feature.

Also note that in Below Zero, the changed game mode is not saved. The rest of your game state is, but when you restart a saved game a again, you’ll be back to the previous game mode (at least in the Snowfox update from April 2019).