Behind the Scene: .happy place. by Giana

Jun 29, 2023 at 09:30 am by gToon

This is the third in a new series of articles where we will look closely at a beautifully rendered scene created in Poser. We will interview the Poser artist, ask about his rendering workflow and get advice on specific render settings inside Poser. 

Where in the world do you create from?

Giana: I live in the United States. 

Tell us how you became a Poser artist.

In late 1999, I received Photoshop 5.5 as a birthday gift, and set about trying to learn the program. The internet was still quite young, but growing fairly quickly. I became involved with a gaming community in 2000, and that was really what got me started, I think.  I was interested in 2D art, trying to explore that medium from both graphical and artistic aspects.

I decided to purchase my own domain and teach myself HTML because through the gaming site, I had discovered other websites and individual websites, and it was a matter of following links.  At around the same time, a friend brought me a boxed copy of Poser4.  I had no idea how to do anything and simply started mucking about with Posette, the default figure at that time.  I had no assets outside of what came with the program, but that offered me the challenge of working with Poser & Photoshop as a way to try to achieve some type of result.

Eventually, in 2001, a link lead me to Renderosity, and I discovered a whole world of fascinating creations. After falling in love with 3 particular artists' work, and after about a month, I worked up the courage to join and eventually post something.  Most of all my working knowledge regarding Poser was taught to me by the small handful of friends I made at that time, predominately a vendor who taught me most about the back-end of Poser, such as reading a pose file in a text editor, or what Ka & Kd meant on what is now known as the Poser Shading Surface. 

I learned other things by pulling apart files that became very useful as well, such as lighting. Everyone was in the throes of discovery, really, and I think that that kind of excitement was all rather heady for a lot of us, which just furthered the inspiration to explore more and share the findings.

In the past year or so, I've had the luxury of discovering more, and learning more, as with all software that I use, I'm all too aware that I've barely scratched the surface of each software's capabilities. These days, I use Poser10Pro, Photoshop or one of the other several graphic programs I own, and Hexagon2.0.  I adore the Morph Brush in P10, and having a Set-Up Room is absolutely critical for me now since my figure of choice really has no pre-made assets available aside from a limited amount of clothes.  But I like choices, and I love to learn, so I've taught myself how to adapt & adopt most of my assets to my current endeavors through a lot of trial & error. And Photoshop is used for texturing clothing, hair, skin, etc., in tandem with creating Poser shaders, as I do try to create as much of what I use in an image as possible, as well as for post-processing. It really has become quite a production before I can even get to the actual image-creation phase of things. 

.happy place. really caught my eye. I was wondering how you created this wonderful scene.

That was from a set of test renders that I did as I reworked a pair of V4 glasses to my figure. The glasses were taken into Hex, broken down into pieces (think frames, left arm, right arm), and then the pieces were imported to Poser, positioned how I thought looked best size-wise, then the three pieces were exported out together, brought back into Hex and tweaked a bit. Then back into Poser they went, parented to the head, saved out as a Prop and the geometries were extracted, files manually re-written/edited for the OBJ call, and thumbnails created.  Then it was time for reworking old shaders, or creating new ones, into what looks best to my eyes. That is how most of my workflow goes these days, though it really depends upon if I am working on a prop or clothing as to what I do, and it is highly dependent on any given individual item and what I want/need from it.

One thing I like very much in the scene is the pose: it's so life-like. What is your technique for posing?

Most of my posing these days is done from scratch. Again, due to my figure of choice, I get lots of challenges to try to figure out.  It is one of the reasons I use her instead of say V4 or other well-recognized figures.  I have created 'locking' poses for her though so that I can lock any given body part I want as I pose her so that helps quite a bit if I want to use some part of a pose that I've already created as a starting point.  

Rendering is also something that's outstanding in .happy place. Can you go into detail on your lighting and render settings?

In this particular image, I am simply using my 'test light' set-up that I always use when reworking an asset. It consists of several medium-set spotlights, a low-set global light, and an illuminating dome.  I typically render with IDL, and to be honest, I've not truly studied light types and settings in Poser since my old P4 days, so I'm pretty sure people who know newer versions of Poser better than I do, would tell me I'm doing something incorrectly.  Most likely the same could be said for my render settings, I'm sure, but I think it is because I tend to do at least 50% or more of my lighting in Photoshop simply because I feel I have better control there over what I want so I'm comfortable doing it that way.  For 'Happy Place' though, the only thing I did differently than I normally do under my 'test lights' was I threw on a faint gel that I created on one of my spotlights, as I was also testing the shader set-up I created on her shirt in terms of the reaction of white levels in touches of shadow.

You can see my render setting below. Though not in this particular instance, I do tend to render a whole scene and then isolated various bits & pieces in order to get my Alpha Channels for Photoshop.  I also will render out a separate Shadow Map as well, just in case I wish to tweak the shadows as well. Having options is always useful. 

Giana's PC Specs:
  • HP Omen Obelisk Desktop 875-1009
  • Intel Core  i7-9700 CPU @3Gh
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
  • 32GB RAM
  • 64 bit Windows OS
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