Behind the Scene: More Doodles By shvrdavid

Oct 05, 2023 at 01:31 pm by gToon

The new Poser 13.1's rendering capabilities enable artists like shvrdavid to create remarkable renders that utilize exposure and light reflections. In this "behind the scene" episode, shvrdavid shares their background as a Poser artist and his techniques for creating this compelling character portrait. 
More Doodles by shvrdavid

Tell us about yourself: what is your background as a Poser artist?

shvrdavidI have been interested in computers since Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon. It was a rather large step for me as well. That interest has only grown since then and went through many phases. Programming, games, 3D, etc. I have been using Poser for over 20 years now. It started out as a hobby and then developed from there. As the years went on, I got more and more involved, with Poser, the internal files structures, and the community. I worked with and for various Poser websites over the years, and have made many friends in the Poser community. I have been in the beta program for years as well. But I can not give details on that, other than I have been doing that actively for a long time.

Why do you use P13 for your creative work? 

Honestly, I use it because I have for years. I know how all of it works, know how to edit and manipulate the content files, etc. I know Poser's strengths, and oddities. Poser allows for a quick workflow. I can set up a scene rather quickly and get the results I want easily. The interface has not changed much over the years, which adds to that familiarity. And at the same time has had many things added to it. That makes Poser a very familiar program to use. Poser still uses the same file setups, just expanded over the years by adding new things to it. If I want to use something from Poser 6, it still loads and is just as usable as it was years ago. Just with far more tools and options than the new versions of Poser offer over the previous. It is like that favorite thing people have, it just fits what I want it to do.

shvrdavid's render settings

More Doodles is an excellent render, especially the lighting. Can you share your workflow and perhaps render settings?

A little detail on that. I do lighting a bit differently than most.. And that is because I rarely use Poser lights at all. The only time I use them is if I am doing a Firefly render to test something. Or to add specific lighting to a scene. Not using lights might sound odd to someone new to Poser. And it has both advantages and disadvantages. You have to experiment with HDRI lighting to see how the HRDI file was saved to get it to light a scene properly. Poser 13 content includes 2 base scenes to introduce someone to it, but I use my own shader setups on the background that fit my needs. This is another advantage Poser has, it isn't locked down to one way of doing things.

Render settings are a topic all to themselves, because they can, and do, vary depending on the scene itself.

Here is an example of one I use a lot (see above image). Think of this as a multi-purpose render setting. It isn't final quality, but it isn't a draft setting either. Basically, it is a combination of both.

I use Optix for just about every render, simply because of the speed advantage it offers. You don't have to let this render setup finish either. You can cancel it at any time, and then the PostFx will clean it up so you can see how it will look with the final render settings. As with any render setting, hardware plays a huge role in how long it will take to render. This will render quickly on a newer high-end card, but not so much on a lesser one. That is something that would fit into new people coming into Poser as well. Hardware will affect your render times. 

Background shader settings
Can you tell us a bit more about your rendering workflow?

That is an alpha version of Loni that used Lorraine's skin textures, with Loni's freckles layered onto them. But that part doesn't really matter. What does matter is how you get that effect.

The first thing to notice is the reflections in the eyes. What you see on the top of the iris, reflection-wise is the HDRI reflecting off the cornea. But what is missing in many renders, is the really big white square reflecting on the bottom of the cornea. This is a very common trick used in glamour photography and it is done with a large piece of white Styrofoam rolled into place on a table. In Poser, just put a white plane on the ground under the character, and you get the same effect by scaling it and moving it around. If you move it up from the floor closer to the character's face, you will get more GI light under the chin, etc. You sort of have to play around with that to suit what you are after. My startup scene does this with the shadow catcher. It is invisible to the camera, allows shadows to be cast onto it, and is visible to reflections as a white plane.

What I didn't show you before, was how to light the scene with the HDRI. There are no Poser lights rendering here at all, only global illumination from the HDRI.

The important nodes that you will use the most, are highlighted. The environment texture, the gamma (and optionally the HSV nodes depending on how the HDRI was saved) The rotation of the HDRI (which is in degrees), and finally, blurring how the camera sees the HDRI background with some procedural-driven vertex math. The reflections from the HDRI are not blurred, only the background the camera sees directly is blurred. 

The hair shaders used in that are Ghostships hair shaders that are available in the marketplace. And that is Biscuits Zora hair.


Biscuits Zora Hair

Any suggestions for a beginner just starting out with P13?
This is a tough question to answer. Firstly, don't get discouraged, there is a lot to learn. You are not just an actor in the background with a small part in a film. You are the producer, the director, the lighting person, the stage hand, and everything else all at once. So there is a lot to know, learn, and understand. And as people always say, read the manual. Take advantage of the knowledge others have, and don't be afraid to ask questions. I asked lots of them. If you run into an issue, ask someone for help. There are people with years of experience out there. 
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