Sunday, 17 December 2017

Jungle Moon

Jungle Moon is a bit different from my usual pictures. First of all, it's all 3D. No live model in front of my camera. Actually, no camera involved. Second, it is not a finished picture. It is a storyboard.

The idea is to finish a picture as much as I can, before shooting live models and actors. That has several advantages:
  • Better communication with models and crew: I can show models, and other people involved, the storyboards before they agree to do the shoots. My pictures tend to be...a bit different. I often have themes from Fantasy, Science-Fiction, Horror, thrillers. I usually focus on story, and not everyone wants to do that. I want to work with people who share my love of imagination and adventure. The more I can show about what I want to do, the more likely I am to find people who will contribute to the process, and be delighted by the results.
  • Faster delivery: By creating the environment before the photo session, I can cut the amount of work after the photo session. This means I can reduce the time from photo shoot to having a finished picture. Thus, models will get their pictures faster.
  • Less risk: I often try to do things I have never done before. This means I push my boundaries, and learn fast. The downside is risk. I may fail to create a picture, because some part of the process does not work out as expected. It is better to fail before a photo session, than in postproduction after. If I fail before, I'll simply not shoot the photos. That saves models, crew, and myself, unnecessary work and disappointment.
  • Easier to build a library of scenes and props: So far, I have done all my storyboarding, by sketching on paper, in conjunction with photo sessions. Now, I am restructuring, so I keep ideas and storyboarding separate from the shoots. That means I can work a lot more efficiently. I can keep track of ideas, scene, and props easier, and can easily reshoot variations of scenes with different models, different lighting, and different props.

All the picture elements, the landscape in the background, the moon, the tree, and the woman, are all created and rendered in 3D programs.

I created the background landscape from scratch in Bryce. The moon is from an earlier version of the background scene. I created the sky, starfield, and glow from the moon in Affinity photo.

The tree is from a ready to render jungle construction kit from DAZ. I built the foreground scene using bits and pieces from the construction kit, and rendered it in DAZ 3D. I rendered the vine the woman is holding separately, because I knew I wanted to be free to reposition it easily.

The woman is a Genesis 2 Female 3D model, bought from DAZ, and only slightly modified by me. I positioned her in the jungle scene, but rendered her separately. The most difficult part of the work, was getting her fingers to grasp the vine, and positioning her legs, feet, and toes. I should have done more work on positioning her hips naturally, but I decided to save that for a future version. I am still a newbie at working with DAZ 3D, and I did not want to take on too much at once.

When I had rendered the elements, I composited, relit, and added shadows in Affinity Photo. I also darkened the woman's skin a bit, to give her a tan.

I plan to do variations of this picture, where I change some elements. Because I have rendered most elements separately, I can easily and quickly remove, replace, or add elements in Affinity Photo. This is a lot faster than rerendering in DAZ 3D or Bryce.

One final thing: The image I made is not original in concept. It is based on a painting by Frank Frazetta. I am studying the work of Frazetta, and other Fantasy artists, in order to improve my own work. When I am studying, and learning something new, I am not concerned with being original. That comes later, when I understand all the elements, and how they work together.

Original work, is not created from scratch. You need to feed your brain with lots of different things, and practice until you know how to recreate them. Only when you know the technique well enough, so that you no longer have to focus on it, will you be free to be creative. So, I never worry about creativity. I know that new things, and the parts that are uniquely me, will emerge if I keep my interest up, and if I learn and practice enough.