Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mastering DAZ Studio: Jungle Princess

Welcome to the first in a series of Mastering DAZ Studio, the series that teaches you how to make Great Art. So, the first of our series deals around creating art in the vein of Boris Vallejo, Frank Frazetta, and other Conan or Sheena artists. Realize that at this stage, 3D is a hobby. But we are approaching Fine Art as we do so through this series. The first thing we are going to do a pulp/classic fantasy of a Jungle Princess (or Jungle Ranger). Our own Sheena: Queen of the Jungle.

So, lets take a look at the style of various Fantasy Artists first.

[style critique]

The first is Boris Vallejo's epic painting Invictus, which shows us what kind of body his females often work with. Looking closely, you will see that the model he used is thin and powerful. Also, looking at the background, it seems hazy and not very well defined. Our heroine, Red Sonja, is dressed in a scale mail bikini, some high shin boots, and has a ring of leather around her thigh. She also has a baldric and scabbard, and has a nice longsword instead of a broad sword. The subject is off center to the right, meaning that Boris is using the rule of thirds.

Next up is Frank Frazetta.

This, you've seen this before. Araminta 529 . . . a jungle queen. If you notice, Frank Frazetta uses full figured women in his renderings in oil. Here she stands beside her black jaguar (which is a stockier cat than the African leopard), who is in a fierce roar. If you look closely she is off center to the right. to the left is a tree that looks good in a swamp, used to balance the picture. This is again, the Rule of Thirds. Behind her is another tree that belongs to the swamp. On the whole, the background is hazy or not well defined, which draws your eye to the subject of the painting.

Finally, we are going to look at Clyde Caldwell, a modern Fantasy Artist (and a friend of mine).

Here is Clyde Caldwell's Amara Wintersword, a Clyde Caldwell original. If you notice, the body shape is a lot like Boris' Red Sonja, and the chainmail is a fetish style at best. She is holding a longsword and is propped up against a tree and on some stones. She is centered, but Clyde Caldwell is also following the Rule of Thirds for this painting (her most uninteresting part is the shoulder/upper chest area). The tree is divided into thirds, and the way she is sitting, she's spread out on the whole painting.
[/end critique]

So after studying these living artists' paintings, we can guess at what style we are going for.

Noriel: Jungle Princess

Lesson 1 --> Morphing the Body.

So, let us proceed to make our Jungle Princess. Here is a list of programs that we need:

1. DAZ Studio 2.3 or DAZ Studio 3.0 Advanced
2. Mood Master plugin for DAZ Studio 2.3 by Dreamlight

Models, morphs, and sets:
1. Victoria 4.2 (Free!)
2. Victoria 4.2 Morphs ++, Victoria 4 Elite Body Shapes, Victoria 4 Muscle Morphs
3. Sensual Hair by 3Dream (but you can use any hair style you want).
4. A high quality (meaning High Resolution) skin material (I'm using the Aiko 4 Hi-Res texture, but you may use any skin you wish).
5. DAZ 3D's Millenium Big Cat or the DAZ morphing python
6. Heart of the Jungle for DAZ Multiplane Cyclorama (which comes with DAZ Studio 2.3)
7. Lisa's Botanicals Jungle Mist and Grasses and Flowers
9. Bodies of Fantasy or Luscious Curves from DAZ 3D store.
10. Optional: Natural Gravity Morphs by Posermatic (both normal and Elite version).

Now that we have our shopping list, lets turn to Noriel. Since we are using the Heart of the Jungle set for our art, we can start envisioning what our jungle princess or ranger may look like. I don't know about you, but I imagine our princess grew up living off the land. She had to jump, run, swing vines, and fight to avoid predators or kill persistent ones. I.e. she would have the body of an athlete and not a matronly mother (yet). For the sake of originality and this tutorial, I'm making her human.

So, this is why I had Elite body morphs on our shopping list for the above. I think of her as athletic. So lets take a look at some female Athletes and their body types. Because of space, I won't post reference pictures. But you can check out some references you can use at Simple Nudes dot com (a non-pornographic, Art Nude site). Note that all the pictures of nudes on Simple Nudes are from Although non-pornographic, it still shows fantasy nudes of young and beautiful girls.

Step 1. Search for a good body to work with. A more athletic body would come from athletic models, and a more full figured body would come from full figure models. After you decided on a body shape, open DAZ Studio and copy the resolution for the active view port by clicking on Render > Render Settings. Record this. Mine is set at 1889x1052.

As you can tell, I'm using Mac OS X.

Step 3. After this is finished pop into Adobe's Photoshop (I'm assuming you have Photoshop, or some other image manipulation program and know how to use it). And create a new document based on these settings you have recorded. Now open your reference picture and drop it in your new document. Resize if you have to.

Step 4. Now that we have our reference body model, open DAZ Studio again. This time, set the background pic as your background reference. After you have done that, Load Victoria 4 (power load Morphs ++, Muscle Morphs, and Elite Body Shapes). We are going to morph Victoria 4 into our young woman in the reference picture. After morphing so far, I have this:

A pretty good approximation, I must say (not 100%, some parts of the body is exaggerated). After you are done morphing your jungle princess, throw away your background reference by going to Edit > Backdrop, and then choosing none as your option.

Step 5. Save your morphs as a DAZ Studio character preset.

I'm putting hair on my princess and rendering her, and continue with the rest of the steps tomorrow.

NEXT: Part 2 -- Background and Composition!!


greywulf said...

Looking good so far!

Elton said...

Thank you! :D

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