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Achieving Realism With Your Models

April 21, 2010

There has been much discussion regarding achieving realism with Daz Studio or Poser. And you don’t need the latest and greatest either, as it’s all in the lighting.  This is V3, a cheap older hair model from Daz, a cheap dress model, and a stock image of Times Square. The setup is 7 distant lights set to various angles, one overhead spot set to specular to catch the face, and 3 point lights, two for the shoulders and one for the hair on the left side. Three of the lights are set to a very light cyan color to help balance the skin tone. Getting the right camera angle, plus using Depth of Field on the camera, adds to the realistic look.

This is a textured clothing model. Learning how to set specular highlights, such as on the gloves here, instead of using the model “as purchased” goes a long way in improving your image. No photoshop here, it’s right out of daz studio.

This particular light setup, with strong backlights to rim the body, would not really work well in a nature or daylight scene. There is no one size fits all solution. Every scene is different. Thinking like a photographer helps a lot too. The ability to envision light placement as you plan your scene will help add to realism. Just as a photographer plans a studio light setup, you need to figure out what aspects of you scene need to be highlighted. Here, I wanted a spectacular vivid look to the simple clothing, and wanted very fair skin on the humanoid.

Knowledge of how to handle camera angles and focal lengths is a great help too. Here is the first version of the image, I started off with a low wide angle. The model looks 7 feet tall against the Times Square background. Adjusting the camera in Daz to an 85mm focal length plus moving the camera up gives us a more natural look, even on the somewhat archaic V3 figure model. Adjusting focal length and angles also helps lend a more natural perspective to the background.

As noted previously in the blog, photography and 3D are very closely related, and improving skills in one discipline pays forward to help the other. Any good photographer will tell you that a good image is all about the light. How it hits, and how it plays off of materials and skin. And some will add with a grin that it’s all smoke and mirrors too 😉

The final image when done will have a different dark with twinkly lights background and will be used for a Girls Nite Out on the town advertising promotion.

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