RELEASED Universal Chibi Head

Discussion in 'Show Me The Honey' started by Ken1171, May 10, 2018.

  1. Ken1171

    Ken1171 Distinguished Contributing Artist

    I have only tried the original Star, and had some fun with her unusual proportions, and even created a full body morph to provide a whole new shape for her. However, I wasn't thrilled by the way her "hollow" eyes were built. They force us to rely on shaders to be able to make them work in different rendering engines, or else the hollow parts will show. Not ideal for the kinds of toon renders I like to do.

    But what I want to emphasize here is the extra level of versatility we get from universal heads. If you choose Star or Nana, you are tied up to their specific wardrobe and platform. With a universal head, you can choose any figure and platform, so your characters will always have the right body and wardrobe you need for your renders. For example, Star 2 doesn't work in Poser, and I don't use G3F. Cookie is a very cute "chibi-like" figure, but here again, her facial expressions are terribly limited. And what if the outfit you want for the character only exists for a specific figure? No problem - bring the universal head there.

    This is why the universal heads am I making have very specific styles that are not available with existing figures. What about AnimeDoll? She has a great Anime look, but she has no body morph, her rigging is not stellar, her wardrobe is very limited, and she has very little expression dials. So even if I replace a modern figure's head with her's (there is one for Genesis), her facial expressions are still very limited. Those are some of the key factors that led me to create universal heads in specific styles (Anime and Chibi). This can also breath new life into your older contents, by giving them a whole new look they could never have before. :)
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  2. Will Poser materials matching the ones you used the the emotive "contact sheet" be in the set? Looks sort of cell shaded, I guess may be the term?

    This is so cute. I'm practically drooling with anticipation. Now I'm glad I put the kids' and toons' runtimes back together. I'll have some figure bodies and clothes to at least get started with some ideas with... I don't have much in the way of anime-ish environments, but, we'll that's never stopped me before... LOL
  3. Ken1171

    Ken1171 Distinguished Contributing Artist

    The package will include 30 skin tones, but the toon effect in my renders relies more on lighting. In most cases just a blank IBL + a spotlight light do the job.
  4. Interesting... Thanks.
  5. Ken1171

    Ken1171 Distinguished Contributing Artist

    You're very welcome! ^__^
  6. sapat

    sapat Adventurous QAV-BEE

    Yes, Star's expressions are limited or the mesh around her mouth gets wrinkled. Star 2 is about the same, and being G3F, there's no good way to use her in Poser.
  7. Ken1171

    Ken1171 Distinguished Contributing Artist

    Sometimes it's a matter of poor mesh topology, like it was with Genesis 3 and 8. I've got a number of private commissions to replace G3F body parts with geografts I have modeled just to fix the topology, so the figure could pose properly. I've also got commissions to create pose correction morphs for both G3F and G8F. Thanks to DAZ, I've got plenty of commission jobs to fix poor topology issues, so in a way, it was good for my business. :)

    The chibi head is rather low-poly, but the topology has the edge loops in the right places, so the expressions came out fluid. This is a case where if I can't get good stylized expressions with existing figures, I had to create my own head from scratch. Only then I could finally get the wide range of expressiveness I was aiming for. The 30 presets from the promo are just a small sample of all the possible expressions we can make with this head, to include asymmetric ones. Playing with the chibi head dials is a lot of fun. ^^
  8. sapat

    sapat Adventurous QAV-BEE

    Sounds about right for all those reasons.
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  9. Ummm... Okay, well, I did a little experimenting. I assume by blank IBL light you mean one with no image attached? So, I did that. I set it to pretty low intensity and added a spotlight. The result looks pretty flat, but not in a good way like yours. My render settings were still low, so maybe that's it? LOL Do you have any tips on what the lighting rig should look like? If you don't mind sharing some ideas, that is? If you consider it proprietary, I'll buzz off.

    Attached Files:

  10. Bonnie2001

    Bonnie2001 Extraordinary

    I think there is a demand for this, thanks Ken.
    Ken1171 likes this.
  11. Ken1171

    Ken1171 Distinguished Contributing Artist

    Thanks, Bonnie! I don't really know, but I will soon find out. :)

    The lighting-based toon effect is a combination of 3 things: flattening colors with the blank IBL, adding depth and color tones with the spot light (I call it the "key light"), and finally adding back the small details with Ambient Occlusion (AO). There is no 1-preset that will work for all cases, so the work here is about finding the sweet spot between these 3 factors. I usually start with the IBL, until it starts flattening the colors. Next, I set the key light from a side, somewhere between 45 to 60 degrees to either right or left (depends on the character pose). The key cannot be too strong, or it will cancel the color flattening from the IBL. We have to balance these two so they work together.

    Finally, there are 2 ways to add AO: the proper and the lazy methods. The proper is to add AO to the materials as shader nodes. This is more work, but it gives more control over WHERE we want AO to be, and where NOT to be. For example, I generally avoid AO on hair and the eyes. The lazy way is to add AO from the IBL checkbox, which will is easier and faster, but it will apply it to EVERYTHING, and it's rather finicky to control. The objective of AO in toon rendering is to add just enough to bring out the details that were lost with color flattening, but not too much. Just enough so it doesn't look "dirty" (grainy stains). It's important to remember that Poser's default AO shadow bias is rather too high. It renders faster, but produces very inaccurate shadows positioning that can look like render artifacts.

    All of the above is valid for Firefly, but the process in Superfly might be different because we don't need to apply AO, and PBR lights behave differently. The key light in SF might work better with an area light, where it's size defines the softness of the color toning. The blank IBL might be replaced with a HDRI dome because it's what PBR renders expect.

    Hope it helps. :)
  12. Ah, I forgot the third light. I've been experimenting on and off with three-point lighting in Poser Pro 2014 and Firefly for a while now. I don't get much time to "play" since most of what little time I get on the computer is sucked up by fixing old products to rebuild runtimes. I know nothing about Superfly, because Poser Pro 11 and I didn't see eye to eye. With Poser 11 Pro even my Firefly renders looked like crap (and I don't consider myself an artist, or even as being good at Poser, but yikes..), so I just went back to Poser Pro 2014 for rebuilding runtimes. At least I know most of it's little quirks.
  13. Ken1171

    Ken1171 Distinguished Contributing Artist

    Actually, it's best to keep it down to just 2 lights (IBL + Spot). The AO can be triggered by the existing IBL (lazy method), which has a checkbox to enable it, and some controls to adjust it. Adding a 3rd light can cancel off the effect of the key light, washing out the effect. If AO is giving you "dirty" rendering artifacts, either tone it down, or just turn it off and add an AO shader node to the materials.

    I am curious why FF would be any different in PP11. As far as I know, it didn't change from P10 to P11. They did change the way the material roots work to accommodate SF shader nodes, but the FF rendering engine is the same as in P10. I used it occasionally, and haven't noticed any changes.
  14. kobaltkween

    kobaltkween Brilliant Contributing Artist

    Yeah, they did change FF for P11 (they even touted it's change in speed). I can't remember any of the details, and I haven't explored the differences at all, but people have posted about them. IIRC, they're pretty specific and not general issues, but the kind of thing that means one really does need to test in both to make sure.

    Just to say, SF global illumination is doing the same task as FF IDL (though it does it a lot better). Material-based AO can do lots of cool special effects and gives you control, but _in general_ there's no greater need for AO in FF than in SF. For particular effects, well, that's up to you and your judgment. Just putting that out there for people reading this who might think they need AO on FF renders in general.
  15. Ken1171

    Ken1171 Distinguished Contributing Artist

    I was wondering if maybe you've meant the opposite concerning AO? That's only needed in non-PBR renders, since AO = fake shadows. SF doesn't need to fake anything, since it's physically-based. On the other hand, FF needs to fake everything, since even its raytracing is not the real thing. If it were, FF would be able to render caustics, but it can't.

    Therefore AO is only needed in FF. Path tracing takes care of it in Superfly, so AO makes little sense there.
  16. Ken1171

    Ken1171 Distinguished Contributing Artist

    Good news! The DS version of the Chibi head has passed the internal beta-testing today. The Poser version has passed testing in P11, but still needs testing in P10. Almost there! ^^
  17. kobaltkween

    kobaltkween Brilliant Contributing Artist

    No, I didn't. So, first of all, yes FF raytracing is real raytracing. Having and not having caustics is about what you enable the raytracing to do. You can turn it on in SF, you can't in FF. FF isn't an _efficient_ raytracer, but it does incorporate true raytracing with its REYES rendering, as pretty much all Renderman based renderers do. Cycles/Superfly is a pure raytracer, but it is _not_ entirely physically based. It was deliberately created to balance realism and artistry. Hence it not handling caustics but so well, especially compared to a spectral renderer like Iray. Which is why Iray can handle dispersion (think rainbows from prisms and diamonds), and Cycles can only fake it with hacks.

    I've been making physically based FF shaders for more than a decade just by following Bagginsbill's teachings. Other than caustics (which I definitely missed before SF), FF can give you pretty realistic results in many situations. It's main problem is its inefficiency and the lack of a unified lighting and occlusion model. Cycles doesn't distinguish between light from light sources and meshes. They use the same emitting node in Blender, and can take exactly the same shader. FF, on the other hand, creates horrible splotches everywhere when you try to make mesh lights. That said, there are definitely renderers out there that handle multiple emitting meshes or small emitting meshes better than Cycles does. If you wanted to render, say, someone lit by a single small bulb behind a person sitting in front of a mirror, Cycles wouldn't be as good a choice as Iray or Octane.

    AO isn't fake shadows, which are cast by direct illumination. It's fake _occlusion_ of bounced light. It's a really rough fake which doesn't work properly for realism. The occlusion that IDL creates is much more accurate. If you look on Renderosity, you can find Bagginsbill's posts, including examples, about why IDL's occlusion is a more realistic replacement for AO on materials and/or lights.

    If you look at my gallery on dA and Rendo, which is full of FF renders, you can find tons of fairly realistic examples rendered in FF. I haven't used AO in years and years.
  18. Ken1171

    Ken1171 Distinguished Contributing Artist

    @kobaltkween At least we agree that AO is fake and SF doesn't need it. That was the whole point. :)

    Here is one more chibi render with Dawn body + UCH. The cheek props are from my "Anime Xpression Pack" available at CP. The "Classic Bunny Suit" is available right here, and was the very first outfit I made for Dawn. ^^

    Last edited: May 15, 2018
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  19. Ah, well, I'll practice working with it when I can. I'm light years away from ever having all my runtimes re-established. I would like to sit down and install some more environments after I get done with A3, H3, and maybe SP3 and David and their gear. A3's has been a painful assembly processes. LOL I have less than a dozen environments installed and I imagine everyone that looks at my postings are sick of the same ones...

    Ppfftt... It may just be me. Poser 11 Pro and I just don't seem to mix, so far. Aside from not being able to spawn morphs in Poser Pro 2014 SR3, I'm good with it (I cannot--and will not--upgrade it to the later service release). I need dependable with foibles that I''m aware of while re-building stuff.

    Excellent news. You kept me from making a shopping therapy purchase elsewhere with the news that Poser version is on it's way. Thanks.

    Cute. I love your Anime Xpressions set. And the ears sand tail set. And, your old Witch Kit and NearMe sets. :)
    Ken1171 likes this.
  20. Ken1171

    Ken1171 Distinguished Contributing Artist

    Hehe some people complain the Anime Xpression set is too old and ask for a "new" version, but I still use it exactly as it comes and it works great for me. I don't think it needs any change, since they also work with Poser 10+ subdivision surfaces if I need them higher res.

    Wow, the Witch Kit! It has LOADS of items, and it's fun to play with the morphing skull and the black cat. I still use the "Anime Animal Props" quite a bit in my renders, really, all the time. Whenever I need a bunny or cat girl. ^^

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