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Author Topic: PD Artist Review #2  (Read 607 times)

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Offline sidherose

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PD Artist Review #2
« on: March 10, 2015, 09:13:45 PM »
PD Artist - Review 2 - Part I

As promised, today is a review about painting a landscape in PD Artist (PDA). However, I did go just a step further and made my own landscape with the PD Artist tool. I took matters into my own hands though and created my own 'gradient map' .png in Photoshop first. I used Doarte's Water brushes and picked one. Painted it in black and saved out as a .png so it was transparent.

You'll see the stages there as I opened it in PDA; then had to paint in the part at the top where it was clear with just a plain soft Large brush in black. Had I left it blocky at the top like it looks when I opened it (you don't see that here because of the nature of using filters on .pngs), the clear part would have become part of the 'landscape' and I didn't want that. Mostly because it was very sharp and square and wouldn't have looked to great as part of the landscape.

What I wanted is pretty much what I got: a fairly flat landscape with some scattered spikey looking structures.

I then rendered a layer of Plasma Noise over it and set the Opacity on the applied layer to 'Difference' with 2 colors. Yes, there are only two colors there. It's a 'Difference' thing.

Offline sidherose

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PD Artist Review #2
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2015, 09:17:12 PM »
PD Artist - Review 2 - Part II

Note that the 'Difference' setting on the Plasma layer caused it to appear there are more than two colors there. I want it to be gray-scale, so I changed that first. I did not Auto Contrast the gray-scale, because I wanted my landscape flat-ish with spikes. So, the parts that are white and the lighter grey are what becomes the 'spikes' or more highly elevated things. You can see here how one becomes the other.

The next image after gray-scaling it, is after I've taken it into the Filter "PD Artist"l and made it into an actual landscape. I also changed the background color from black to a dark blue, added the big cloud and adjusted that to the size, elevation, etc. I wanted. Hard to believe, isn't it...that this is what came from that gray-scale map? But, that's one of the cool things about PDA - you can make landscapes with lots of different images, and they'll all turn out different.

Offline sidherose

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PD Artist Review #2
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2015, 09:22:21 PM »
PD Artist - Review 2 - Part III
Now, I've added some stars. Not a lot. I'll add more in a minute here.

Then I added some vegetation in the front - very sparse because this is a sort of mysterious landscape. (Think I used the 'Joshua Tree' Particle brush for those.) Place them so they start on the side but point the eye to the center of the image - going inward with them. The other side is mostly dark and that too leads the eye to the lighter center. I also added some more stars and glowy spots.

Offline sidherose

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PD Artist Review #2
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2015, 09:29:05 PM »
PD Artist - Review 2 - Part IV

Now, I'm going over the spikey structures with a Particle Brush (I think it's a User brush) that's called 'Slow Stroke'. This is a pretty nifty brush, as it varies the extent of something like an extreme Sharpen brush but it adds a sculptural quality to the noise. You have to pick what colors you want to use for this brush. So for the black spikes, I used a light blue and a black color. For the little brown rocky eroded areas in the foreground, I used a medium orangy-brown color with that brush.

The next image shows where I took a Smudge brush and kind of blurred certain things where I wanted them blurred.

At this point, I'm of the opinion that I can't go any further with this in PDA - not at present. I likely could...but still learning. So, this is my last 'Save'. All these images were saved as transparent .pngs. They only have a black background because I added it later, so the image is opaque for you. The one with the white background above is to show you that that upper part loaded transparent.

This is how Transparencies work: Anything that's white is transparent. Anything that's black is opaque. The shades of gray are somewhere in between.

Offline sidherose

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PD Artist Review #2
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2015, 09:36:27 PM »
PD Artist - Review 2 - Part V

So, here at last you see the final background after I've taken it in Photoshop and done 'my thing' in there. In this landscape, I wanted to draw attention to that big 'tower' looking rock - as if it were some place important and there is something going on there, that maybe has to do with that star sitting over it. I also added some rays from the star and a 'tube' of a Corn Bush in the lower right corner rendered in Poser (DAZ Environment props) and then I took the Burn brush, picked some different Tree brushes and 'burned them' into the background so they're subtle.

There's plenty of room here for a character going to or from the 'gathering place' - or a lot of little characters walking to the gathering through the open area that veers off to the right. The great thing about this background and how it turned out is that you really have no direct reference as to the scale of the place. You can change that by where and how big you make your character(s) in the scene.

I don't mind switching softwares to finish something out. That's all part of my work-flow as it is. Sometimes I use PShop with rendered 'tubes' to build things, or combine them with painted stuff. Sometimes I take something from PShop into PSP. It all depends on what I want to do!

So, that's it for now. Thank you for reading if you did! And hope you got some ideas from it! As for me, I'm pretty happy with how this came out. I think I'm going to probably make my own 'gradient maps' for the most part from now on...mostly.

Offline sidherose

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PD Artist Review #2
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2015, 09:56:35 PM »
PD Artist - Review 2 - Summary

Important things here:

If you are going to do this like this, then Save your images as .pngs while you're saving in PD Artist. Why? So, when you take that into Photoshop or whatever and open it, it will be transparent and you can put whatever background behind it you like - something solid, something painted...or another background entirely.

IDEA: You could paint one layer at a time in PDA, Save it as say #01.png and close it. And paint on it then save it as #02.png, etc. You can even mix and match them with other .pngs from other images - feasibly.

PROS: Pretty happy with the way this looks...for what I know about it. This is the first time that I got everything to work fairly well for me. Maybe it has something to do with me making my own gradient map. Maybe not. Also, when I said 'OK' to go out of the PD Artist Filter where you build your landscape mesh, it actually DID render.

CONS: Continuing on with the 'it actually DID render'. If you don't have a beefy system, a little 'less' on the polys and complexities of your landscape seem to help with PDA not dumping on you during a render where the AA (Anti-Aliasing) slider is turned up beyond 3 or 4. So, the better your system and graphics card, the better this will handle. If your pc isn't like Super Computer!! then be careful pushing your AA setting past 4. You might crash.

Offline DarkAngel

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Re: PD Artist Review #2
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2015, 02:09:12 AM »
This is gorgeous, I split it off into a post of its own so the other one will not be so long and it will be easier to follow
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Offline thelufias

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Re: PD Artist Review #2
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2015, 10:01:16 AM »
Nicely done and a very interesting read for sure.  And you're right, most don't have super computer's so how you work it is dependent on the system you have.
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Offline sidherose

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Re: PD Artist Review #2
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2015, 12:09:22 PM »
Will likely do something Tuesday-Wednesday on this. Not sure what, but we'll see :)


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