At long last, we're ready to release the artwork that will introduce our new publishing house on Steem. We have a logo, a gif, and a very photogenic 3D spokesmodel, and we're especially proud of these graphics because they were created in-house by our very own @rhondak.
@rhondak has a background in machinima and 3D modeling, with experience using Photoshop, 3DS Max, Reallusion's iClone, and DAZ Studio. While the spokesmodel is a commercially available Genesis 8 character, the poses, animations, expressions, and many of the props are custom products from her workbench.
Below is a side-by side comparison of the photograph used as a guide and the finished product. The Steem House can be viewed and rendered from all angles and under all physical lighting conditions. In other words, it's not a drawing. The guide photo is watermarked, but since it was only used as a guide and the textures from that image were not applied to the model, there was no copyright issue.
It was never the goal to exactly recreate the house in the photograph. Many factors had to be considered, such as how it would render in "toon shader" to enable the blend into vector art seen in the gif. Much straighter lines and cleaner edges were necessary. Although not pictured in the above comparison. an additional roof line was added to give a more solid feel to the model when viewed from the front. Roof and shutter colors presented better with more contrast, so they became green.
Before it became the Steem House, this 3D object began as collection of simple primitives. Cubes, cylinders, spheres, cones--it's hard to see the finished result in the pile of shapes pictured below.
Gradually, with a little time, a few meshing skills, and a lot of patience, something recognizable started to emerge.
Details like windows and fancy brickwork came next.
At one point during this stage of the process, an interesting photo started floating around The Writers' Block. It looked like the Steem House had caught fire within! Alas, it was just a selection set highlighted in 3DS Max, and emergency response was not required.
In the meanwhile, @rhondak took one prospective spokesmodel for a test render.
Everything about the above photograph pleased TWB members who were collaborating on the project. @Rhondak liked the model, but DAZ Iray rendering technology presented a challenge. With Iray and similar engines, calculations are made for each pixel based on scientifically accurate data about lighting behaviors. It took several months of trial and error, but finally "Ana" began to take on the crisp edges and dark shadows of photorealistic image rendering.
Here's a director's cam view of that same shot, showing the focal distance and aperture of the main camera, as well as the realistically accurate rendering of shadows and scattered lighting in the scene.
And then here's a photo of Ana just being Ana, enjoying the sunshine and breeze on a lovely rendered beach. She really doesn't have a bad angle.
As it is with all DAZ Genesis 8 characters, Ana is fully rigged for visime. In theory, she can be imported into iClone and animated as a walking, talking actor. She can do promotional spots, tutorial videos, and many other action sequences that involve dialogue.
For now, though, we leave you with the Steemhouse Publishing gif. This is where Ana, the Steem House, and a lot of really cool visuals come togther to hint at the possibilities in our future.