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I've been looking for something like this for a while...

EDIT: And here's a basic cloth room tutorial.

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Jareth illustrates the aforementioned finger-in-mouth pose deemed alluring by so many advertisements of digital content. In case you haven't noticed, he's very sarcastic. :p

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When I look at promo pictures for digital content on the Daz or Renderosity sites, I have to ask myself: What the heck is up with all the women sticking their fingers in or near their mouths? The parted lips, as if their mouths have just drifted open, the partly closed and unfocused eyes, the FINGER IN THE MOUTH AARRRRRGH... I think it's supposed to evoke blow jobs, but it all combines to create an atmosphere of awkward absentmindedness.

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As I have previously mentioned, I love the standalone figures created for Poser and Daz Studio by Nursoda.

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Here we have another attempt at The Smirk, which came about primarily to showcase my latest acquisition, Nuances of Perfection Eyelashes morphs and textures by AlFan and smay. I have no idea why this product is entitled that way, as it is the absolute opposite of nuanced. Since I've been looking for exaggerated and extended eyelashes for my digital dolls for some time, I'm very pleased.

I tried to put Jareth all in black, but I failed because he strenuously resists monochrome. We compromised on a black and white scheme, mostly because I didn't want to take all the time to do a shades-of-black makeup scheme, which takes longer than you think it would....

The 1980s called. They want fashion tips. :p

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Yet another attempt at The Smirk, a more subtle version this time.
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Today I figured out how to rig conforming facial hair so that it follows a character's facial expressions, and I also acquired an add-on to my Instant Makeup called Geisha Builder, which should more accurately be termed "Additional Makeup Options Vaguely Inspired by Some Ahistorical, Exoticized Western Concept of Japanese Geishas." Hey, I just bought it for the additional lipstick and eyeshadow options.

Results of both facial hair rigging and Geisha Builder use below. I'll say it again -- if only putting on actual makeup was this easy...sigh... Anyway, here's Jareth, continuing his long-standing tradition of rockin' the hell out of whatever I put him in. He could probably make a wet paper bag and some old apple peels look smashing... [Jareth: "BLECH! Put that in the trash!"]

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On Halloween, while humans dress up as demons, the demons themselves take off from scare duty. They trade their gloomy and ghastly rags for the brightest, most modern duds they can find and kick up their heels, celebrating that one night of the year during which the humans have assumed the monsters' usual task of freaking people out. [Nobody ever claimed that demons could coordinate their separates, however.] Here Malicia [center] does a jig, accompanied by Desperanda [left] on panpipes and Maxima Culpa "Maxi" [right] on drum.

I challenged myself to make a render for this contest using freebies only and no paid items. Even with a conservative counting scheme [not counting an unseen freebie, counting an entire outfit set as a single freebie], I think I've succeeded.
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I've been indexing my Daz  et al. content for the past few weeks. In my attempt to comprehensively list all such stuff I own, I have come across a significant minority of items that I either forgot I had or that I haven't used at all. Compared to some amassers of digital content, I don't have a great amount, but the rediscovery of a bunch of cool stuff clearly indicated to me that I have too much. Well, there's an incentive to stop buying new stuff. Also I should be saving for a new computer instead of getting more stuff to make my current one run slowly.

Daz stuff amasses in a slightly different way that physical stuff, I've noticed. I can offload physical stuff when I'm done with it, but I can't get rid of Daz stuff in the same way. Of course, I can uninstall old digital stuff from my runtime, but, if I have purchased it, it will always be available for me to download. Thus I can always edit my runtime, but not my amassment itself. Therefore an index of all my content does not provide an accurate idea of a) what I have actually installed and b) what I make regular use of.

Now that I have an index, I'd really like to edit down my runtime on two levels. First, I want to reduce it to contain only the stuff I actually use. Second, I want to delete as many Poser native files as I can -- mostly OBJs and CR2s for clothing and hair -- in favor of Daz native files. I very rarely use Poser native files, as I usually convert Poser native stuff to Daz native stuff and resave, so the Poser native files are redundant space hogs. Begone!
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Covering a variety of digital art programs, from Daz Studio to Terragen and beyond, GeekAtPlay provides short, easily digestible, project-based intros. Nice! 
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Today I practiced using Sculptris on my base figure, Genesis 2 Female. A day's work generated a head morph and a full-body morph which, together, create Yelizaveta, the character below. I did the major work on the head morph in Sculptris, then refined it in Daz Studio with Die Trying's 182 Morphs for G2F. I did the body morph entirely in Daz Studio with D-Formers and refinement with Die Trying's 182 Morphs for G2F.

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I edited my Monster Mash concept from 5 Satyresses down to 3 because I really couldn't justify the character development needed for all 5. So here, from left to right, are Desperanda the piper, Malicia the dancer and Maxima Culpa "Maxi" the drummer. Still have to make Malicia's hair look like it's moving. No lights or set yet.

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I bought a tutorial by Winterbrose on morphing G2F with Sculptris, a free program from Pixologic, makers of the more powerful [and more expensive] ZBrush. The tutorial, despite some atrocious spelling errors that could have been easily caught with a spell check, provides the absolute basics necessary to work in the program and begin creating morphs; since I prefer written instructions, which allow me to go at my own pace, over video instructions, I am satisfied with my purchase. Already I see that it will allow me to overcome my hesitation and start experimenting.

Being relatively skilled with the D-Formers available in Daz Studio at this point, I think that I will not require a steep learning curve for Sculptris. I need only acclimate myself to the new layout and features; the principles of digital sculpting remain the same. I look forward to Sculptris' ability to manipulate mesh on a finer level than I can achieve with D-Formers; I can then achieve more detailed and sophisticated results.

I've already decided the types of morphs I would like to create: a diverse range of body types and sizes not covered by existing commercial or free offerings. For example:
  • A really fat woman. Special attention to loose flesh on upper arms, wide silhouette of thighs, projection of buttocks and effect of fat on hands and feet. I cite these areas because people who do fat morphs tend to just make those areas thicker, with little concern for the effect of weight + gravity. For example, people can have significant loose flesh and fat on their upper arms, but it doesn't bulk evenly. It tends to slide toward the inner sides and backs of the upper arms, and it kind of tucks in at the elbow, so there is often a dramatic difference in circumference between upper arms and forearms. On the forearms, fat distributes in a more even, less pendulous manner and can greatly decrease the differentiation between forearm, wrist and hand. Forearms and wrists can look more like smooth, elliptical columns, and fat can extend across the backs of people's hands and fingers. Furthermore, people's fat tends to fold and roll around their torsos and hips in ways that I haven't seen accurately represented. I'm on a campaign to represent realistic fats.
  • A woman with achondroplastic dwarfism. I've been interested in representing people with this disability since an experiment in morphing back in 2008 [done entirely with D-Formers and scaling within Daz Studio], which led to the development of Davry, steampunk vegetarian Unitarian NERD vampire with an irritating propensity to self-righteousness. Most recently, Béatrice Doucette, a tertiary in Zombieville, has the same disability. I don't think this morph will be too difficult.
  • A woman with shorter and less muscular legs due to cerebral palsy. Full-body morphs tend to give the model the same build all over the body, but plenty of people don't have the same build and proportions everywhere. For example, my sister, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, may be my identical twin, but her legs are shorter and narrower than mine because her cerebral palsy strongly affected them. I would like to make someone with her body type, as well as someone with a very muscular upper torso and arms and very slender and scrawny legs -- a physiology that would be appropriate for someone who does sports in a manual wheelchair.
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Dancer: Malicia. Audience 1: Desperanda. Audience 2: Maxie, short for Maxima Culpa. :p Drummer: Temptatia. Piper: Peccavisti.

Just in case it's not obvious, their names all allude to concepts of badness, guilt and wrongdoing. Malicia, of course, refers to malice. Desperanda is Latin for "despairing." Maxima Culpa is Latin for "most grievous fault/error." Temptatia refers to temptation, and Peccavisti is Latin for "you have sinned."

The pests! :p
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Test render of the dancer in my planned Monster Mash picture. She looks like kind of a ham. :D

Figure and texture: Pinin's freebie Satyress. Body morphs and most non-expression head morphs by me via D-Forms. Dress: English Bob's V3 Butterfly Dress Short [conforming version], converted for Satyress with a combination of G2F base figure, D-Forms, Transfer Utility and Autofit. Dress texture from my Loud Fabrics 01 Shaders Updated. Hair: Aliza G2F by me.

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Below is a quick render of Pinin's default Satyress on left and one on the right with some of my custom body morphs and scaling. [Pay no attention to her unrealistic lack of body hair.] Much to my surprise, arm poses for Genesis [Body Talk Arms by katfeete in this case] work pretty well on her. I see that I need to make some more face morphs, especially to change the distinctive angular shape of the default's head.

Holy crap, she's adorable. [She's also naked, in case you're sensitive about that sort of thing.]
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While conceptualizing my Monster Mash picture, I struggled with the problem of how to render satyrs using a G2F base and freebies. I found bat wings, horns and a devil tail without difficulty, but the hooved legs -- and their particular digitigrade shape -- stymied me. Some free hooves for plantigrade human figures exist, but they tend not to create a true digitigrade shape by elongating the feet. But I want anatomically convincing satyrs!

Well, it turns out that Pinin over on Poser Outer Zone offers a Satyress figure for free. She is more cartoony than super realistic [bulky shoulders, four-fingered hands, alarmingly round and symmetrical breasts, thighs out of a James Bond novel, long legs], but she has plausibly shaped digitigrade legs with hooves. Come to think of it, she reminds me of Kim Goossen's toony Girl, one of my favorite digital models. I decided that the adorable Satyress should be my base for all my Monster Mash satyrs.

I immediately confronted two problems: 1) no morphs and 2) no clothes.  Since I'm an advanced beginner at D-Forms, problem 1 proved no match for a half-day's work, during which I cranked out a variety of partial head and body morphs. I lavished the most energy on bulking the figure up, not with muscle, but with fat, especially since the central figure, the dancer, is a fat woman. I never expected that a mesh originally sculpted to be wiry and muscular would deform so well into pear-shaped fatness, but it did. Pictures later...

Satyress' empty wardrobe required some more labor. I started off by, first off, converting Satyress from a Poser native [.cr2] figure to a Daz-compatible figure with Daz' proprietary Triax weight mapping so that Daz tools would work on her. I then began loading up freebie clothes and scaling, translating and D-Forming them until they fit her in zero position, exporting the items as OBJs, then reimporting and using Transfer Utility, with her as the source, to rerig them. Since I was resculpting the clothing meshes pretty crudely, the modified items didn't fit well.

I then got the genius idea of using the Autofit function and G2F to do most of the sculpting for me. I overlaid Satyress and G2F, making G2F partly transparent. I then translated, scaled and morphed G2F so that her core [torso, arms, hips, upper legs] shape matched Satyress'. Then, when I Autofit clothes to G2F, they ended up resculpting to fit Satyress' shape with 95% accuracy. After minor tweaks of the clothing wtih D-Forms, I exported the OBJs, reimported and used Transfer Utility to rerig.

Voila! Satyress gained instant access to closets' worth of clothing. In fact, with the help of Autofit, she could now wear V4, M4 or K4 clothes [Autofit to Genesis, then Autofit a second time to G2F], as well as Genesis clothing, G2F clothing and/or G2M clothing. I have hand-converted some V3 and M3 items for her -- short-sleeved V3 dresses seem to reconfigure particularly well, probably because V3's shape, like Satyress', features blocky shoulders and hips -- but mostly just breezed through a bunch of V4, Genesis and G2F stuff. I don't bother with pants because I don't want to deal with Satyress' hooves, but short-sleeved shirts, long-sleeved shirts, above-the-knee shorts, above-the-knee skirts and above-the-knee dresses convert with [relative] ease. At this rate, I will have outfits for all five of my satyrs, each with unique pieces. 

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This Meowl figure by Sixus1 cracks me up. Like ryverthorn's Snuffles, this is a fantasy creature that I have no use or plans for, but which will probably make my way into my runtime because it's so damn cute.
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It started with Chris Cox' freebie Rococo Gown for V4, but really kicked into high gear when I got Neftis' Lady de Lioncourt Dress for G2F, which is Rococo + Goth. I spent the first few months of my possession admiring the detailed mesh and classy textures, but also pissing and moaning that the dress did not sit well -- i.e., it contained no morphs or other provisions for seated postures and the ways in which they deform and re-drape cloth.

Despite their collective inability to sit realistically, I could not resist two more relatively new releases: MEC4D's Queen of Hearts for G2F and Penny Dreadfull for G2F by MartinJFrost. Even if my characters could only stand around in Queen of Hearts, the elaborate hairstyle could be used with other clothing. And heck -- even though the creator of Penny Dreadfull himself said that he had tried all sorts of ways to make the dress sit, but had been unsuccessful, it was one of the most realistic bustle dresses I'd ever seen. I tried to resist it, but I could not.

Eventually my annoyance hit a breaking point. What was the use of all these nifty outfits if I couldn't pose them in positions that my characters use at least a third of the time? My exasperation thus motivated me to force the gowns to sit myself. Using D-Formers in Daz, I made a morph first for Lady de Lioncourt that tucked it up around the figure's ass and calves, as it would if being sat on. I achieved something passable and cheered myself on.

Since then, I have been unstoppable!! I made sit morphs for the Rococo Gown, Queen of Hearts and Lady de Lioncourt [try #2, using what I had learned from previous attempts]. My proficiency with D-Formers increased dramatically to the point where I created and released an entire package of morphs for Penny Dreadfull, including morphs to make it sit, to compress parts of the skirt and even to lengthen the whole skirt with a minimum of texture distortion. I'm now packaging up another set of helper morphs for Ravenhair's Priestess for Genesis because someone liked the work I did on other dresses and requested that I do something similar on a Genesis outfit. I'm also converting the Rococo Gown to Genesis for her.

The compliments and request from a fellow user really make me feel like a digital artist. I'm glad that someone appreciates my work and that I can help others achieve their artistic ends. I'm also glad that I've found areas of specialty -- such as shaders and sit morphs -- at which I can demonstrate rapid improvement and that other people like too. I've spent so long feeling socially and artistically lonely that public approbation means a lot to me and my confidence.

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There are a bunch of therianthropic people who live in the mini universe, but I haven't named and given personalities to all of them. Here are a few, however:
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Yes! I created a sitting morph for Neftis' Lady de Lioncourt Dress for G2F. I love this Gothy, neo-Rococo dress, but its inability to sit realistically has prevented me from using it.

After grumbling in quiet frustration for several months because I thought my skills were not equal to the task of making the dress sit, I finally decided to attempt the creation of a sitting morph. And I succeeded!

I made the morph entirely in Daz with D-Forms because that's the method of modeling with which I feel most comfortable. I even minimized distortion of the bat ornaments all over the skirt. Go me! I'm amazing!

Jareth cheers in happiness below.Read more... )
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...Just go check out Studio Art Vartanian's amazing morphs and textures! She specializes in various celebrities, with spot-on likenesses, realistic skins full of depth and matching hairstyles with realistic textures and movement morphs.

Incidentally, I cannot take Tom Cruise seriously in anything. His mere presence ruins everything, from Legend forward. Too bad, as some of the movies he shows up in are interesting.
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I go in and out of Daz' frequent buyer club, the Platinum Club Plus, depending on my funds and whether I'm in a period of amassing lots of digital content. I had a 3-month subscription [started October 23rd, 2007!!] in my early days as a digital artist, just so I could build up my library. I let it lapse, then got another 3-month subscription [started April 30th, 2014] in time for my birthday as a gift to myself, dropped it for August, then resuscitated it on September 1st to take advantage of this month's PA [Published Artist] sale and next month's PC [Platinum Club] sale. I'm also going to extend it through the end of December to get in on end-of-the-year sales.

Aaaaaanyway, I find the discount club very effective, as it offers a flat $1.99 price for a huge back catalog, 2 monthly discount coupons, 5 monthly freebies and discounts that often stack on top of regular promotions. I spent $24.00 for Platinum Plus on September 1st, and it's already paid for itself, in that I've saved well over $24.00 on things I was going to buy anyway.

ItemNon PC+ PricePC+ PriceSavings 
Parisa for G2F$11.17$7.98$3.19 
Leather Factory Shaders$10.95$1.99$8.96 
By the Seaside Beach Huts$14.95$0$14.95 
Sickle Dress Rig G2F$14.95$10.95$4.00 
Spicy Jumpsuit G2F$14.95$5.48$9.47 
Succubus Add-Ons$39.95$21.97$17.98 

I picked up Parisa for her "evil puppet" makeup. I got the leather shaders because I was long dissatisfied with the freebie ones I'd been using. The Beach Huts, a PC freebie, I wasn't going to buy, but they cost me nothing, and I like free buildings, so I acquired them. The Dress Rig will help me make floor-length dresses fit better on my people. The Spicy Jumpsuit, which I've been coveting since its debut in March, is, of course, for Jareth. The Succubus Add-Ons contain a set of horns and a devil tail, but, most pertinently for me, some bat wings and a snake section so that I can represent as many therianthropes from the mini universe as possible. Someday I should render all the therianthropic characters that I have so far...

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I was playing around this morning with some recent digital acquisitions and came up with this picture. Caption: "I'm pretty sure I made a wrong turn somewhere because this definitely does not look like a shopping district where I can acquire some less skimpy pants."
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The organization of digital content has always been a challenge for me. Lots of content creators organize their stuff by the broad categories defined by Poser's old runtime directory structure, but then they stick, say, all their characters under their name. I do this too; with my freebie shaders, for example, I stuck them all in a folder named ModernWizard, which then subdivided into the various shader sets I issued. I dislike having my own runtime organized in this manner, though, because that's not how I think.

I tend to think more thematically, as illustrated by the following subfolders into which I've divided my collection of digital clothing:
  • AccessoriesInclMasks: ruffs, glasses, hats and an inordinate number of masks
  • BasicWearCorsetryUndies: self-explanatory
  • BondageGagsGasmasks: likewise
  • Dresses&SkirtsEveryday: in contrast to the next category
  • FetishSkimpUniforms: metal bikinis, French maid outfits, impossibly short skirts and such
  • GothPunkRomantic: Goth, punk, pseudo-medieval and pseudo-Renaissance wear
  • PantsOutfits: more everyday stuff, from tuxes to overalls to crop tops and bellbottoms
  • Shoes&Socks: footwear that's not associated with whole outfits
  • ShortsOutfits: self-explanatory
  • Winter&Coats: things to keep warm in
Just in case you had any doubts about where my digital fashion interests lie, the most populous category is, of course, FetishSkimpUniforms, followed by GothPunkRomantic, then PantsOutfits.
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As all two of my regular readers know, I really like cemeteries, but have trouble finding realistic representations thereof among digital models. Over at the Daz store, for example, Spooky Plots by LaurieS and Lisa's Botanicals looks more like a digital rendering of Halloween decorations than an actual graveyard, as does Pretty3D's Lost Cemetery. Sure, you can find some nice individual tombs, but most digital cemetery sets seem to have been created by people who have never even seen a tombstone in their lives.

Imagine, then, my ecstasy when Danie and Marforno's Tranquility Lane appeared on sale at Renderosity for 60% off! Danie and Marforno specialize in timeworn, vaguely fantastical sets in which one can dramatically pose one's scantily clad female models. Let's call them the masters of the Gothic lite pinup.

Occasionally, though, Danie and marforno deviate from Ye Olde Phantaisie Weirdnesse [seriously -- why does Cult Diaries have tusks everywhere?] and do something more realistic and evocative. Enter Tranquility Lane, a cemetery set obviously modeled after those in New Orleans -- hell, there's even French on the crypts and signs. Of course, I have no personal experience with crypts clustered as tightly as urban apartments buildings -- we don't stack dead people up here in New England; instead we tend to spread them out. However, even though Tranquility Lane does not reflect my personal schema of a cemetery, I can repurpose elements of the set, such as the monoliths, fences and certain mausoleums, in my ongoing quest to represent digitally the type of graveyard with which I am familiar.

Oh yeah -- and I got this for $10.40, 60% off its usual $26.00 price! Whoo hoo!
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I never gave a detailed description of Hattie, the scorpion therianthrope who attended the mini universe's Xmas party last year. I'm not sure if she's mostly human, but with a scorpion tail, like Soom Vesuvia, or if she's half-human, half-scorpion, like Impldoll Colin. If they're like Impldoll Colin, do they have claws and pincers?

EDIT: Okay, I just checked. Apparently the scorpion therianthropes are more along the lines of Impldoll Colin, although I didn't specify whether they had pincers and/or claws. If I want to make a digital version of Hattie [which I do], I'll have to purchase a scorpion and modify it to be a lower body for a therianthrope.

As an aside, I notice that Impldoll's sculpting has become more refined over the years, but I think their sculptors still struggle to find a signature style. The sculpts and concepts, especially of the Star and Idol lines, smack strongly of Iplehouse to me.
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Flipmode just came out with a nifty digital product, Easy Environments: Autumn. It contains a road, bordered by a stone wall, a fence and some turning deciduous trees, surrounded by a 360-degree skybox that makes the set "[gleam] and [gloom] / 'Neath billowing skies that scatter and amass." [Thank you, Dante Rossetti, for Silent Noon, which contains the best description ever of such dramatic clouds.] Quick-rendering light sets were also included, promising to duplicate the type of light pictured in the skybox.

When I saw this set, I felt an involuntary pang, as the dappling of shadows across the landscape epitomized for me the melancholy of fall. I bought the set for the lovely panorama, but then couldn't get over the fact that the mountains contain no trees whatsoever. There should be some fall colors on the distant hills too, right?

I tried to rectify the barrenness of the background with the help of a Wikimedia Commons panoramic photo from the top of Mount Mansfield. I spent hours dividing up the panorama into four pieces [one for each side of the sky box] and blending it with Flipmode's sky. I even made a texture for the bottom of the skybox, which originally showed more parched, treeless ground. After all that, the result looked like a bad overlay, despite all my hard work. I thus concluded that I could not get a forested skybox out of Easy Environments: Autumn, so I returned it.

Not all is lost, however. I still have the Mount Mansfield overlay panels. I have another idea. I got a great discount on Dreamland Models' Movie Sets: 81 Blocks last night. Regularly $24.95, it was down to $7.48, so I picked it up. It's marketed as a huge city environment, but I snagged it because it contains a skydome, low-res forest props and low-res deciduous tree props with several materials. I'm thinking of rendering some panoramic shots in this set and making my own forested skybox.
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  • 3 Piece Suit for D3. Part of my ongoing quest to find a decent suit for everyone...
  • Air Bike. Probably illegal, but prevalent, in Intellectum.
  • Alien Plants. Big plans for these never materialized...
  • Basic Hair. A short, clean style, more attractive than it looks on the product page.
  • Bus Maxis and Bus Pegasus. I'm beginning to think that everyone in Intellectum gets around on petipet machines.
  • BWC Runway. Jareth wants to have a fashion show.
  • Classic Deco. I've used the chairs, but that's it.
  • Daz Squirrel. Will eat any French fries my runtime has to offer.
  • Daz Water Pump and Grain Silo. Plop a stove-in barn next to the silo, and it'll look just like Vermont! ...Anyone know where I can get a collapsing barn?
  • Disconsolation. A waterfront set that demands atmospheric fog and low lighting.
  • DM Time Shadows. Ye Olde Genericke Machines by Danie and Marforno, who do great moody environments. Good background for the Wrathful Scientists, now that I think of it.
  • Epic Wings. Amazingly enough, almost properly scaled for actual use by human beings.
  • Fly Girl. Another thing for which I had big plans that never materialized.
  • Generic Sci Fi Corridor. Another possible location for the Wrathful Scientists.
  • Hilly Surround. Showed up in my renders of Intellectum's Fink, but dropped back into obscurity.
  • Home One Bathroom. Whoops, I forgot I had that...and I explicitly bought it to easily add a fully stocked w.c. to my runtime.
  • If You Build It Picket Fence. In case I need to render a representation of the American Dream Lie.
  • Newport Outfit. How did I forget that I bought a modern, realistic, pretty generic outfit? Ah I see...I got it as a bundle and only paid attention to certain items in the bundle.
  • Interiors The Model Agency. Purchased as an inexpensive, fully stocked office interior and then...summarily forgotten.
  • Lune Portail. This could work as a cemetery gate.
  • Maple Tree Pack 1. Big plans for these were only half executed.
  • Mediterranean Patio. For al fresco dining. I have a lot of these Nouschka Design sets that I got as freebies the first time I was in Platinum Club; they don't get out much.
  • Neo Stop. A regular fixture in Intellectum.
  • Noggin's Duck Mallard. Purchased when I wanted to reproduce in 3D the Make Way for Ducklings sculpture in Boston Public Garden. The duckling poses are hilarious.
  • Ranaki. Now that I've finally figured out how to convert those frog legs to G2F, I can redo Grenk.
  • Regenerator. I bet the Wrathful Scientists have one of these in their shack lab.
  • Sculptural Genesis Ultra Fun Kit. Time to put lampshades on people's heads!
  • Shackled! The more I stare at this set, the more I realize that I would only use pieces as background props in a stereotypical medieval dungeon. I could never put people in chains; it reminds me too much of the Middle Passage.
  • Shelter. Wait a minute -- this comes with snow? How did I miss that?
  • Space Base. You know, just in case anyone needs to go to the moon.
  • Skulduggery. Really cool bodysuit and makeup effects!
  • Technopolis. A whole neighborhood of Intellectum! Swanky, new, rich...
  • The Conservatory. I dunno -- looks like a greenhouse to me...
  • Time Traveler. Exposed wires -- coooooool.
  • Tubo Hotel. Probably not a hotel, but a makeshift community near Intellectum's dump, constructed with abandoned sewer construction materials.
  • Versailles Tail. The less gravity-defying cousin of the pompadour.
  • Unicycle Bob. What the hell is this? Who knows? But it's by petipet, which means that it probably belongs in Intellectum.
  • Waste Container. Probably a part of the Intellectan shanty town next to the dump.
  • Wynter Hair. That built-in headgear probably picks up radio signals or something.
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That's the name of one of the default poses bundled with the Genesis figure. This amuses me greatly.

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...check out the E-mail that landed in my box yesterday. For context, Daz produces digital models and ancillary content; one of their most popular characters is Aiko, a model with manga-inspired proportions and appearance [who, I might add, grows less manga-like and more realistic with each iteration :( ]. The latest version, Aiko 6, debuted recently, and so has new content for her. Daz also recently released Lee 6, "an Asian-inspired character for Genesis 2 Male(s)" [their words, not mine], so content for this character has been appearing as well.

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Again, in no particular order.
  • maclean. In a commercial field dominated by skimpy clothing and pseudomedieval architecture, maclean concentrates on utilitarian basics. His Home One series of models, for example, contains an apartment interior, a house interior and various rooms. I recently purchased the Home One Bathroom and Home One Kitchen. They both reflect the bourgeois residential interiors that I regularly encounter and feature everything from the basic fixtures and appliances to the little details such as silverware and toothpaste. All that for $12.95 a set! How can you go wrong?
  • petipet. I first encountered his creations in the form of Resort Lagoon, a houseboat/raft offered as a Platinum Club freebie sometime in March. I found it so unusual, opulent and entertaining that I wrote an entire mini universe story around it [which my computer then ate grrrrrrr!]. I then discovered his sleek neo-retro vehicles like Bus Maxis and Bus Totally Not Postwar Greyhound Pegasus, and I was hooked.
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Years after attempting my first octopus therianthrope in Daz, I have made another one. Meet Lauren, a minor character in the mini universe. She last showed up conducting the orchestra at the Christmas party. I don't know very much about her except that she's a cheerful extrovert, very sweet-tempered and outgoing. Pretty sure she's trans too.
Read more... )
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In no particular order:
  • Underwear. Using Daz' Map Transfer Utility, I down-converted my standard texture from V5 to V4, then stuck some of Lululee's Lacey [sic] Lingerie on various parts so my digital dolls are always wearing underwear, especially under short skirts. Happily I have learned that multiple UV sets can coexist on a single figure, thus allowing me to maintain the V5 UVs for Jareth's makeup, for example, but use the V4 UVs to give him some underwear. Thank God...I hate it when they go commando. :p 
  • Lighting. I'm slowly figuring out how to light my scenes to give them more realism and sense of dimension. I refuse, however, to do shadows, as they take too damn long. So my people look like they're hovering above the floor, but at least they don't look like paper dolls anymore.
  • Finally some good basics. LilFlame, one of my preferred vendors of kinky stuff, is having a 40% off sale at Renderotica, which I am not linking to because I dislike their landing page. I took advantage of it to purchase the cuffs, collar and corset shown below.
  • Advances in hair texturing. I figured out how to put stripes and patterns in hair! Mwah hah hah hah!
Just to illustrate my stupendous accomplishments, here's Jareth, being a gleeful dork as usual. ^_^Read more... )
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The ones I currently use [because they're free] don't have any texture, bump or displacement maps. I also think they're too shiny. I'd really like a set that includes polished and unpolished, new and creased, rawhide, etc., etc.
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 In no particular order.
  • Grey Cloud Design. She specializes in meticulously sculpted interiors with fabulously done drapery and luscious textures. The Montespan Interior Scene got me hooked on her stuff, and I look forward to getting the Montespan Bedroom and the Classic Curtains Set 1.
  • Richabri. He makes a variety of everyday sets -- laundromat, parking lot, shooting range, hot tub, photo studio --  both detailed and affordable. I especially dig the Roadside Diner. He also specializes in kinky stuff -- again, simple, well-made and affordable.
  • Alfaseed. Known in the past as Awful Soul or Aery Soul, these vendors do fantasy skimpwear par excellence. All of their pieces feature sculpted wrinkles, drapery and other details that give them a dynamic feel, as do the fantastical movement morphs included in most flowy pieces. Furthermore, most Alfaseed pieces play well with pieces from other Alfaseed sets. I don't have any Alfaseed clothes [yet -- waiting for Arkham Angel to go on sale, hah hah hah], but I use a very early release of theirs, New Age Room, a lot as a simple and elegant set.
  • AprilYSH. The hair goddess! Arguably the best and most talented creator of Daz/Poser hair, she provides highly detailed and asymmetrically sculpted meshes with easily customizable textures. Many of her models include a hair model and some accessory, like Calais Hair and Ruff 2, which contains a hair model, a ruff, a custom character morph and a custom character texture. Another favorite, Deeta Hair 2, comes with a hair model, a veil and a fascinator.
  • Adzan. Creator of densely sculpted, well-textured clothes for Hiro 3 and David 3, loaded with movement and style morphs to add realism. All the meshes convert superbly for use on other figures, even G2F [my latest base model]. Pretty much everyone in my runtime has worn the jeans and sneakers from Small Sins at one time or another.
  • PhilC. Known primarily for his ancillary utllities such as Wardrobe Wizard, which I have found indispensable for converting clothes so that I can dress who I want in what I want. 
  • Capsces Digital Ink. The goddess of morphing! Though she defaults to a toony style, the detailed head and body morphs that she creates for many Daz humanoid figures greatly enhance their customizability.
Maybe more later...

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Vanishing Point recently released a standalone therianthropic figure, SquidMan, clearly influenced by Davy Jones from Priates of the Caribbean 5000. I just love it when people take standard ideas and head them off into little-used aesthetic regions. 
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In no particular order.
  • SickleYield and Fuseling. I dig her their collaborative products [Burlap Dolly and Ball Joint Doll for G2F], as well as SY's always well-sculpted everyday essentials. Heck, she's the only person who offers Six Sickle Sandals 2, which includes close-toed webbing sandals of the type I regularly wear. I also like SY's sense of humor; she has a freebie outfit for G1 called Impractical Rogue, for example, providing equal skimpwear time for the dudes as well as the gals. And there will always be a special place in my heart runtime for FSL's Latex and Rubber shaders.
  • Traveler. A true Renaissance man over at Runtime DNA, Traveler does bugs and plants with equal finesse. He also has a fetishy Technophilia series, for all your robotic, cyborg and gasmask-related needs. The Breathless package, which allows one to build one's own gasmask -- ventilators and goggles and helmets and tubes and valves, oh my! -- is a useful and easy-to-use set offering hours of recombinatorial fun. No links because RDNA is temporarily offline. :(
  • WillDupree and MAB. These two team up on a variety of therianthropes. I started off with Catgirl for V4/A4 just because it was on deep discount several years ago, and most recently got Popobawa for G1 for the bat wings!
  • Stonemason. A specialist in urban and sci-fi environments, Stonemason makes urban decay look beautiful. I only have some of his cheapest items, such as The Tomb and Fairy Tale Collection Tower Interior, but I lust after Abandoned Interiors Warehouse, for example.
More later.
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Just for entertainment, here's a list of some of the digital models and resources that I regularly rely on in my art:
Tune in later when I start figuring out the fun stuff, like what clothes I use most often.
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I've finally approximated something close to Jareth's usual expression, which is about one-third playful, one-third fabulous and one-third off-the-wall. Hey, I even threw some lights in there! You don't know how much of an accomplishment it is to finally have him able to stick out his tongue.
Read more... )
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Exnem over at Renderosity makes the most realistic and versatile digital food I've seen. Witness the Amazing Super Burger Pack, which, with a 55% off [!] sale + my Render Rewards, set me back a whopping  $3.53. Cleverly done and beautifully sculpted and textured, this is a wonderful product. And now I want a burger.
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Every day I learn how to do something new in Daz Studio, but no thanks to the rudimentary documentation supplied on the Web site. Daz Studio Pro 4.6 contains some very useful and powerful tools and little to no instruction on how to use them. Thus most of the cool features are hiding, unused, in the menus.

Today, for example, I learned that Daz can convert textures between UV sets. In plain English, this means that textures made for one character model can be converted to another character model. This is great 'cause I still use Victoria 4 textures for my main characters, even though my base figure for everybody is G2F [Genesis 2 Female, who is 2 generations newer than V4]. I also have some M4 [Michael 4] and K4 [Kids 4] textures that cooperated automatically with G1 [Genesis 1, 1 generation removed from V4 and friends], but which will not automatically cooperate with G2F. I should be able to convert them over to either G2F UVs or V5 UVs, which G2F can read automatically.

I also need to see if I can convert Jareth's texture from V4 to V5 so I can use draagonstorm's Instant Rainbow of Makeup, which is a hell of a lot easier than making makeup in Elements and manually applying it.

Funny how my desire to accurately render Jareth drives my adoption of new technology in the doll and digital worlds... :p
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Here's Jareth. On the left, usual wear. On the right, draggin' it up. Same person, same pose. All that differs, beyond outfit, hair and makeup, is the expression. But what a difference!
Read more... )
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I downloaded Hivewire3D's Dawn because she was free and I wanted her odd bouffant/ponytail hair. I didn't play much with the figure and quickly left her for G1 and eventually G2F, now my preferred base. For BlackRain and SixthSense's new RuntimeDNA release, B.L.U. XR-512, however, I would either reinstall Dawn or just invest in EvilInnocence's CrossDresser to convert it to V4 and then autofit to G2F. I think I should just spring for CrossDresser -- free base program, $9.97 license to convert from any supported figure to V4 -- because it might crunch some clothes better than Wardrobe Wizard.

I probably need a tag for "robots" at this point...

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 The new Dragon Keeper for V4 outfit hits all my aesthetic buttons. Well, except for pinkness and sparklitude, but I can add those. The feathered cape looks like the larger sibling of AprilYSH's Calais Ruff, seen below looking fabulous on my standard model:
Read more... )
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I think I have enough skillz now to render the three main characters from my fictional cult classic film, if not their highly specialized vehicles. Now if I could just find the poster I drew a few years ago....
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Earlier today I mentioned Jareth in the same entry as various theatrically costumed rock stars from the mid-1970s. I think David Bowie, Freddie Mercury and probably Adam Ant [though not from the 1970s] would approve of the get-up below.
Read more... )
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Do you know how hard it is to find a digital version of one of those pointy bras from the middle of the last century? I thought I wouldn't have any trouble, as this style appears popular with people who do "pinup," "vintage" or "retro" renders. Using these terms, along with "bra" and "lingerie," brought me nothing but a lot of girdles and garter belts. Hooray for girdles and garter belts [great band name!], but they're not what I was looking for.

Further poking around ["1940s lingerie Daz Studio," "1950s lingerie Daz Studio"] revealed that the magical search term was "bullet bra." Using the magic phrase, I came up with outoftouch's X14 Revenge for V4, which will do nicely for my purposes.

I have to wonder about the term "bullet bra," though. Is that really what people called it back then? I mean, I always thought they looked more like rocket cones. Either way, I find it fascinating how the aerodynamic, long and curvy look gained popularity not only in vehicular style, architecture and furniture, but also in clothing. Perhaps World War II and the ensuing arms race gave people weapons on the brain, affecting their sense of style so that, slowly and subtly, everything started to look like bullets, bombs, missiles, rockets and satellites. From today's perspective, we think look up the aesthetic as a set of cool design elements, but it arguably represents a generation's deep-seated and thoroughly legitimate fear that they were going to do themselves in with their own technology.

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I just scored Zev0's Aging Morphs 2 for G2F on 60% off sale, which allows me to realize a long-held dream: old and/or fat digital people! Some of the morphs provide effects of aging, while others change the distribution of weight on the face. I'm gonna make everyone fat and wrinkly now!

..Well, except for Jareth. He's not fat [not in his usual form anyway]. Aging, yes. Fat, no. But digital me and Jennifer and Allyson and and Felicia and Fay and Win, plus any other mini universe denizens I develop, plus all characters for Intellectum, are gaining fats and signs of aging. Now my digital populations can start to look like my doll populations!

This is gonna be so much fun!



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