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About Deviant Artist Member RuicMale/United States Recent Activity
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What did the writer say when the file disappeared without a trace?

Well ... i'll not repeat that in polite company.

What did he learn?

To not use Notes on his new iPad simply because he had a new toy.

Also, writing with a touch screen sucks for more reasons than just editing.

Thankfully, I've still some of the story in an older form — also on Notes — and I wrote it once so I guess I can write it again, right?

I need something for this head ache....
  • Mood: Shame

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wordmongerer Mar 23, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Well hello there! Thanks so much for watching, ;)
You've got some great stuff!
Katmomma Oct 6, 2008  Professional Artist
Thanks so much for watching! :hug: Your kitties are so cute :D
Thanks, they are cute. At least when they don't fight about who gets to sleep by my side at night they're cute — Little Bit needs to get along with her mother better.

Your kittens are cute too.
cooley Oct 3, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for the watch!
Sure! You've got a great gallery.
cloudtheundying May 27, 2008
lol first comment
in 6 months
just dropped by to say i love your work including the fur real far pieces.
i was wondering
could you possibly tell me the settings you used in each image as i would like to continue this project myself.
you could send in a note if you want.
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cloudtheundying Jun 8, 2008
well could you please reply?
Will this thing let me "reply" rather than post or not? If so ...

Sorry, I haven't "actually been" on DeviantArt for a while ... though it's my "home page" I've been linking elsewhere almost as soon as Firefox starts up (I've been running a "Global Cooling Watch" for several months and have been on a Constitution kick too).

Anyway, sorry again, I know it's just an excuse.

And I also seem to have forgotten about the "reply" button since I was last here.... ;)

I'm really glad you like my stuff. :)

As for my fur-real work: yes, I'd be happy to share what I've got with you (files even).

I haven't really abandoned it so much as it's frustrating. Poser 6 will only use 50% of my 2 processors or else seem to ignore one — same difference (do you know how to fix that?) — and even though I've got 4 GB of memory thanks to the way that OS X uses virtual memory (and will just not let me adjust that trait so far as I can figure out) the thing wants to thrash my hard drive anyway even when I've got enough to keep the whole thing in RAM (2.5 GB free at this very moment and it's STILL using 1 GB of virtual memory ... yarg!!!) and quickly slows to a crawl when dealing with so much strand based hair for fur (the reason I've yet to actually put fur on a whole figure) when I don't. I'm not even sure the 32GB you could stick in a MacPro would solve that issue entirely (though I wish I had the disposable cash to find out ;) ).

Maybe the PC version is better?

Anyway, my only gripes about Poser is that it allots hair density by number of hairs 'evenly' per each surface grid rather than by surface area as it states (which means small ones are denser than big ones ... annoying on the face). That and I think the Mac version's memory habits are responsible for occasionally 'breaking' the pz3 files so they don't want to work with FireFly any more (start over time unless I can live with the inferior results of Poser's own engine).

Recalculating dynamics is a pain even if you only use 1 frame (LOTS of growth areas) so I've settled for calculating dynamics once I get a growth area defined that way I'm not doing them all together and having too much loose time to nab snacks. Likewise I tend to reuse shadow map is possible. Something I've had to get used to working with partially furred figures is that fur cast weird shadows on nearby bald regions ... nothing is broke if you see strange shadows on your figures skin.

Some of my efforts have been based on Jessie rather than Furrette in hopes that she would be more stable.

Other than length and length variance (0.005) my last abortive effort (I must have got distracted by something else) I didn't use growth controls. Length variance allows for a subtle sense of variation in the fur coloration using the difference between root and tip color. I have also experimented with using secondary less dense patches of slightly longer fur in the same areas that are a different color to simulate the way many animals have less than pure fur coloration (mixed results there).

I have settled on using both styling controls and dynamics for the rest.

First, because of the way Poser assigns hair density I last used 40K for body fur (though it can need to get much higher if you zoom in and it helps to match skin color to fur to make up the difference when fur density isn't quite high enough). To make up some of the difference in thin areas I long ago settled on thicker hairs (tip=1 root=4 seems to work without getting too coarse). Clumpiness is minimum (.05) because it seem to quickly makes for 'thin' areas. I also use less kink strength (1) just as a matter of preference even though I drop the kink delay to 0.1 (since fur is going to be short anyway). For 0.035 length fur 12 verts seems to work fine (which does help on processor time).

As for dynamics, my last efforts had me leave root stiffness and stiffness falloff alone even though I've experimented with very stiff fur to very limp fur. As yet I've no real preferences except that too stiff fur (for its length) is more likely to let skin show through and too limp is less likely to look like fur and more like hair or wet fur.

Fur color is another to-do. Though the tummy fur in the renders I did while writing this appear whitish, I had left them at the default blond settings. Red fur was rendered for 61R 31G 0B for the root, 128R 63G 0B for the tip, and 194R 98G 0B for specular highlights. Opaque in shadow is turned on in all cases. Values like those seem to return decent results when letting fur length vary. White fur I've done with roots as dark as black, though that often seems gray if the fur density is low, to get variation in 'color' ... most of the time I work with snow white for the tip and root with silver for the specular highlights.

I honestly don't remember what the results were for snow white specular highlights with a darker tips and roots (in a pattern like I use with the red fur above).

This is important: I eventually figured out that you don't have to be a slave to the smooth lines on the surface of your model when placing growth groups. Poser's hair routines seem to want to smooth out those jagged edges I feared early on. This makes the face, abdomen and groin a lot easier to deal with.

Also: occasionally Poser generates REALLY wild hairs when you calculate dynamics. Often just changing something minor about the hair growth or styling (even the number of verts) will solve this. Problem areas include around and below the nose on Furrette for sure.

Now, about those early efforts and the bit where the furred tail is showing. Back then I used growth controls for most effects and didn't even calculate dynamics. I actually figured that growth controls were a better vehicle to achieve predictable results. Also, I had yet to learn how clumpiness could affect the appearance of fur and you can see it in her back. They worked well but it too a lot of effort to vary the pull back a pull down to look right. On a (canine) tail this may be something like the only way though, since tail fur must not drape like ordinary hair even though body fur probably can with no issues. I never tested if that approach had issues in different poses because back then I had yet to figure out that I could drop the number of frames and boy did everything take forever.

Another thing I recall was the obscene hair densities for really short fur on the ears ... something like 300K along with using finer hairs so they don't end up looking like little pyramids or towers (I wasn't using variable length back then to simulate subtle variations in fur color).

I played around with that last abortive effort — using a pose other than just standing — while writing this note.

It seems that normal dynamics may be a bit too limp. I seem to recall that dropping root stiffness falloff gets better results than just making the root very stiff (which is what I did early on after I started actually using dynamics). Dropping root stiffness to 0.033 worked better. Zooming in to 150mm on the posing camera (to crop on her tummy to verify fur settings) I found the need to increase the hair density to 100K just to get decent results (40K was great at 25mm on the main camera).

I also played with white fur at this time as follows: root=silver, tip=mercury and specular=snow (i.e. to remind me of what I couldn't remember earlier). The results weren't bad ... maybe a bit warmer in tone with that red fur.

I should point out that I saw a tutorial somewhere on producing a fur coat where a hair density of 8000 was said to work fine ... so I just don't know why my figures require such high hair count unless A) I'm using REALLY short fur or B) they were using REALLY low levels of magnification (stepping up focal length from 25 to 150 was what made me have to increase the fur density for these trials) or C) there is just something buggy about the Mac version of Poser (and not just Poser in general when it come to using strand based hair like this). Really, all three are likely.

Also, now that I think of it, I don't think hair density affects dynamics and while it may be a pain to go back and manually adjust every growth group later, using lower density fur may help speed setting us a figure in the first place when you aren't using much magnification or doing anything specific pose-wise. Changing hair density shouldn't affect shadow maps, or so I should think. So in theory, you could set up animation with less hair to help things move along and then go back and set it up for the final run ... Oh, for global hair controls!

As for rendering, Poser's render engine creates only translucent fur but is faster and will work when a firefly "gets broken". Canceling renders may have an effect but I'm not sure I can recall that was really the case (I don't cancel them any more these days ... for SOME reason). I've yet to figure a way to fix a specific poser file once whatever happens to cause this happen, happens.

Anyway, I hope that helps you get started. Even though my wireless is as squirrelly as a Screwy Squirrel at times (I need to stop using a 'desk' that is essentially a metal cage even though it looks good and is functional as shelving) I could try to send you some of my pz file folders. Or at least one that got better results (possibly where I was concentrating on the head/face which is more fun to deal with anyway). They would be large but could be sent.


Incidentally, Maya seems to have much better fur controls, actually having a feature for that purpose ... but BOY is Maya pricey and the learning version watermarks everything (a real enthusiasm killer). Do you have Poser 7? If so maybe it has addressed some of these issues I've mentioned (using multiple processors better would be nice ... to think, if I had a G5 MacPro — like I should have bought — it could be effectively ignoring 3 cores instead of just 1).

One thing I've thought of but have not tried is this: define all hair as a gray that will stand out texture wise and substitute color into what is then essentially a B&W file by painting it with a filter in Photoshop. I know there are such filters that translate grayscale into tonal ranges ... they just don't come in the el cheapo Photoshop Elements program I have a this time (I once joked that if you buy a powerful, new computer and then put all your 5-10 year old programs and games on it ... you might be cheap). Presumably, grayscale rendering could be much faster too and this technique would allow for better variation on fur patterns (I wouldn't even try to do a calico or something with spots/stripes and define fur colors the way I've been doing ... something needs to change for that to work well. A feature that would be neat is defining individual strand color based on the skin color beneath ... so you make a pattern to paint on the skin and "Voila!": fur any which way you like it including complex or specific-to-a-character-or-animal patterns).
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