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Author Topic: 3D is finally free.  (Read 4312 times)

Offline Talzhemir

3D is finally free.
«: June 04, 2009, 04:33:09 PM»
START LEARNING 3D NOW.

On Furcadia, you'll always be able to do lots of stuff in a 2D graphics program such as the FOX editor or PhotoShop or Paint Shop Pro or GIMP, etc. etc. etc. In some cases, though, something made with a 3D program will look better.

If you don't already know a 3D program and you want to stay at the head of the pack, I strongly encourage you, start learning 3D now. It's free, and so are the tutorials.

Unlike 2D programs, what each program does differs alot. If you've never done this before, here's some information to help you understand the basic functions.

"Modellers" are programs that you use to build "meshes", the plain models made of points and lines. They look like line frameworks. Most Modelling programs have a very cheesy "rendering" function built-in. Generally, this "onboard" rendering has a fixed light source, and the simpler ones do not allow you to put textures onto the Mesh.

You can get FREE Meshes from http://turbosquid.com and a number of other sites.

"Renderers" are programs that turn meshes into more realistic-looking "bitmaps". One thing you get out of a "dedicated" Rendering program is the ability to have multiple lighting sources and shadows. "Ray Tracing" is a type of Rendering. Texturing is usually a function of the Renderer.

Texturing means plastering a digital photo or piece of 2D art onto a Mesh. Texturing is not just visual; some Renderers also allow you to "emboss" with a bitmap. I can make a Mesh of a window panel that is just a rectangle, but then apply a bitmap of criss-cross lines, and the Renderer will turn those into raised ridges. Bitmaps for raised areas rather than shading and color are called "bump maps".

To put it another way, noses and mouths are usually built into the Mesh but eyebrows, lipstick, deep forehead wrinkles, pimples and pockmarks are done as Textures.

"Animators" let you take a Mesh, reposition it or change its shape, and create an animation file (such as a .MPG movie). This is called "point manipulation". Eternal-Lands characters and creatures are animated this way.

There is a whole other "lineage" of "Animator" programs that let you associate parts of a Mesh with a virtual skeleton (the "Bones"). Doing this is called "Rigging" the character. Bone-in animation lets different characters use the same motion data. For example, City of Heroes characters all use the same salute routine even if they are proportioned very differently.

Since Furcadia is "frame-by-frame" animation, it doesn't matter whether you use point-manipulation or bones.

Be prepared to be confused; don't let that discourage you. It's normal, and there are great tutorials to de-mystify.

If you feel like there are big gaps in communicating to you what is supposed to be going on, relax, because you're probably right. It's probably not you, it's the program. we're pretty much all going to be in the same boat here.

If you're still baffled, download another one, and see if that's easier for you. Again, I should stress, they're all very different. Keep searching until you find one you can wrap your brain around. Be sure to try different tutorials. Different approaches work for different individuals.

We are now, all of us, in the process of finding the one or two programs that are easiest. 

-----

3. FREE 3D TOOLS!

From time to time a free version of a program is issued but they don't stay online for long. You can no longer get the free student edition of Maya, for instance.  It's nice for a while but I can't recommend them if they're going to go away.

Here's some free 3D programs. I've limited the list to the ones that will run on a typical Windows PC.

Amabilis --3D Modeller/Render/Animator
EXAMPLE: http://www.amabilis.com/gallerymstsmiscellaneous.htm
SITE: http://www.amabilis.com/

Caligari Truespace --Modeller/Renderer/Animator
EXAMPLE: http://www.caligari.com/Gallery/ImagesGall...;SubCate=Images
SITE: http://www.caligari.com/

Design Workshop Lite --Modeller/Renderer
EXAMPLE: http://www.artifice.com/cgi-bin/alk?/galle...atagonia_01.jpg
SITE: http://www.artifice.com/dw_lite.html

Blender 3D -- offers Modeller/Renderer/Animator
EXAMPLE: http://www.blendernation.com/2009/06/02/steampunk-mousetrap/
SITE: http://www.blender.org/

Anim8or --Modeller ONLY; typically used with POVray
EXAMPLE: http://www.anim8or.com/main/index.html
SITE: http://www.anim8or.com/

POVray --Renderer/Animator
EXAMPLE: http://www.zazzle.com/the_kitchen_poster-228809930854201063
SITE: http://www.povray.org/

GMAX -- 3D Modeller
EXAMPLE: http://www.thegenieslamp.com/dreams/checkout.gif
SITE: http://www.turbosquid.com/gmax

Please note:

    * I don't use any of these.
    * I don't know which are easy or hard to use. The more widely used it is, the older it tends to be, and older free 3D programs tend to be harder to use than newer ones. (By that principle, "Blender" and "POVray" may be the worst choices for the newbie.)
    * I don't know how to get Furcadia perspective in them (except for GMAX). If you figure one out, please post here and I'll put a note in by the entry showing that it has a function of this kind.
    * GMAX is the "training" program for 3DS Max, which is what I use at home. (I used to run classes in GMAX but can not currently do so because I've lost the graphics that I used to help teach it.) GMAX definitely has a no-perspective Furcadia-compatible mode.

Please try out more than one free 3D art program, then, let me know which one(s) are the best.

-----

A related post on using 3D in a Furcadia Dream:
http://forums.furcadia.com/index.php?&showtopic=59836
I type fast.  Try not to mistake my wordcount for actual excitement.

 
        

Offline Pocketmew

Re: 3D is finally free.
«Reply #1: June 04, 2009, 04:42:51 PM»
Wow thank you very much O3O I'm going to try all this right away.

Offline Azula

Re: 3D is finally free.
«Reply #2: June 04, 2009, 05:17:48 PM»
rigging bones is the bane of my 3D existence.

Offline Talzhemir

Re: 3D is finally free.
«Reply #3: June 04, 2009, 07:32:18 PM»
I did want to quickly quash the fantasy, right from the start, that 3D gives us 'finished' things...  I think we should  look at it as a generator of incomplete things right from the get-go.

At least for me, the paint program phase is definitely not "clean-up".  "Clean-up" implies if you could just twiddle a pixel here and a pixel there, it'd all be perfect.  My own proportion of time consistently turns out to be, 1 part 3D to 2 parts Paint Shop Pro.

There's countless things I'd like to make that I just *couldn't* make using a 2D program.

The treasure chest is still do-able because it has perfectly vertical walls.  The moment those walls slope outwards like some charming treasure chests' do, however, I have something I'd go batty trying to do in a 2D program.

The same is true of the tiger striped couches.  If you can do *that* in 2D, my hat is off to you.  How long would doing ALL of those take *you*?

If I'd done it in 2D, I think it would have been 4-5 hours work.

I made these in 1, and they are not cribbed from a catalog, they are an actual original furniture design out of my head.  I don't know a better medium for sketching furniture than a 3D program.  :)

http://fc05.deviantart.com/fs42/f/2009/154/b/d/Tiger_Chairs_for_Furcadia_by_Talzhemir1.gif

1 hour.  One.  Uno.  Ichi.  Une.  1 hour.

Whether or not something looks plasticky is a setting on the material.  All you have to do to produce something that doesn't have glaring highlights is to define the material without it.  It's very trivial.

-----


Looking plasticky is due to 4 predictable flaws:

1.  The material was set to high gloss.  Southeast row demonstrates this.

2.  The lighting was too intense and too white to be natural.  It should be slightly brownish or grayish, and not from a single point source.  This picture demonstrates that, too.  It has a white glare; it looks like it was video taped in a studio rather than filmed on-location.

3.  The artist used shapes that were too simple, making them look like polygons instead of something made from an actual substance.  Compare the "chamfer cubes" at the SW to the sharp-edged cubes right next to them.

http://fc06.deviantart.com/fs42/f/2009/155/0/d/Gloss_Test_by_Talzhemir1.jpg

4. Too simple.  Compare the red and white couches at upper left with the three at the bottom of the page.  Surface texturing with a pattern at the right scale makes a big difference.  ...Sometimes 3D doesn't hide an artist's laziness-- it accentuates it.

http://thesims2store.ea.com/productList.html?scategoryId=10477&categoryId=10473
I type fast.  Try not to mistake my wordcount for actual excitement.

IPGD

Re: 3D is finally free.
«Reply #4: June 04, 2009, 08:41:14 PM»
I really dislike that sort of grainy, noisy coloration 3D patching results in. I think using 3D for blocking out the basic shapes, or even as a simple reference, is a good idea, but when you can clearly tell that the work was done in a 3D render, it ends up looking awkward and out of place. Maybe it wouldn't be so if the majority of Furcadia patches were done in this way, but they're not; it'd make me neurotic to see one of the couch examples you posted next to, say, the default pillow, since they were obviously made with very different methods and do not function as a set cohesively. Consistency is a big deal.

3D has many more applications than just Furcadia patchwork, though, so learning it is a worthwhile endeavor either way.

Offline Heimdall

Re: 3D is finally free.
«Reply #5: June 04, 2009, 08:58:26 PM»
Agreeing with Youlanda and Matter here. That graininess really turns me off, especially when it clashes with other things.

I do sorta like those tiger chairs, though...

Offline Hugo

Re: 3D is finally free.
«Reply #6: June 05, 2009, 07:30:28 AM»
Noooo.

Offline Azula

Re: 3D is finally free.
«Reply #7: June 05, 2009, 01:37:41 PM»
you can technically use cel shading for the coloring and lighting of the models. it'd look a little off; however, you'd be able to easily clean it up in photoshop or something.

the reason reason why it looks so glossy is because there are absolutely no textures on the models and because they are rather small and a lot of detail is lost.

3D for furc is really impractical.

Offline Talzhemir

Re: 3D is finally free.
«Reply #8: June 05, 2009, 02:31:12 PM»
Re: Graininess

I think you're talking about the results of LOAD PALETTE algorithms, which *is* admittedly what Furcadia currently requires:

http://fc07.deviantart.com/fs44/f/2009/156/7/4/A_Person_of_Color_by_Talzhemir1.jpg

Here we have Mr. Obama in living color, then he's gone through "Error Diffusion" Palette Loading, then he's been put through "Nearest Color" Palette Loading.  At the end is the result of the standard FOX Editor's palette force.

Yes, that's grainy alright.

But, that has very little to do with the original art being 3D.

Furcadia's art system is going to change.  You'll still be able to use the same 256 colors you always did, if you so choose.

But, with the new system, EVERY Object may now have its OWN 256 colors.

To accomplish that with a 3D rendered item, you don't use a Load Palette function, you use a Palette Reduction function.

Here's an example using some rendered objects.  Over on the right are the same objects with the palette reduced to a shared set of 256 colors. 

That's to simulate if you modelled King Henry the VIII's desk using Bubinga wood and had some items of parchment, gold, silver, turquoise, lapis lazuli, and blood coral on it.

http://fc08.deviantart.com/fs43/f/2009/156/9/0/Color_Reduction_Methods_by_Talzhemir1.jpg

==========

Re: Compatibility

Youlanda, I'll be the first to agree these will NOT "go" with Furcadia's current default art.

I think, though, that by today's standards, Furcadia's original art looks pretty crappilicious.

Vince, I agree, 3D is impractical.

Then again, so is drawing everything by hand in the FOX editor, dot... by dot... by dot...  which is what I did for the first 2 years because the only art program we had was Deluxe Paint II.   :D

What I love about it is that there's <i>always</i> going to be that hand-made quality to a Dream, where everything is lovingly crafted.

I hope nobody is getting the impression that  I now think EVERYTHING on Furcadia should now only be done in a 3D program.

For some of us it'll be an assist, a sketch.  For some of us it'll be a doorway to perspective that we never could quite master.  For some of us it'll be totally useless.

The new graphics system opens the doors to much better hand-drawn art.

--You'll be able to make a Wild Things Dream that evokes the original Maurice Sendak illustrations.
http://plaidout.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/wild-things.jpg

--You might adapt art to make a Fallout 3 tribute Dream.
http://www.gamewiz.ru/uploads/posts/48359592801_fallout_3-18.jpg

--Without palette constraints, that Lisa Frank world you've always wanted is a real possibility.
http://mashadutoit.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/lisafrank2.jpg

Yeah, Lisa Frank.  Start... screaming... NOW.   ;D
I type fast.  Try not to mistake my wordcount for actual excitement.

IPGD

Re: 3D is finally free.
«Reply #9: June 05, 2009, 02:44:46 PM»
Quote
--Without palette constraints, that Lisa Frank world you've always wanted is a real possibility.
http://mashadutoit.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/lisafrank2.jpg
THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING

ALL HAIL LISA FRANK

Offline Talzhemir

Re: 3D is finally free.
«Reply #10: June 05, 2009, 03:56:41 PM»
Dear Youlie,

if I'm intending to do *most* of the artwork in a 2D program, I don't start from a normal Mesh.

It's just a blocky thing, which takes far less time to create than a "real" Mesh.

1.  Make the Materials self-luminous so that they are just one shade or just a few shades.

2.  Make parts of the item different Materials.

3.  Output a render that is 200% of your final size.

4.  In the paint program, Select a color using the Magic Wand capture.  Use Modify --> Select --> Similar  to capture all parts that are that color.  Set the Tolerance to about 20%.

(If you like Layers, put it on its own layer, but, personally, I never bother.)

5.  Make a 5 square "palette" consisting of white, black, and 3 shades of color between them.  Use CTRL or Eyedropper to access the "palette".

6. Spray paint.  Use digital painting to improve the silhouette, add shading, and details.  I generally use brushes set to 10, 7, 3, and 2 pixels.  Translucency of 45% to 10% is typical.

7.  Funny thing-- It really doesn't matter what color you paint with, because you can change the Hue in the final step anyways.

If you did bother to use Layers, you can really tweak your color combinations to make a more sophisticated design.

8.  Reduce the art to 50%.

The following file took me 12 minutes to create the Mesh and Render it, then 15 minutes to paint the main part of the chair.

http://fc09.deviantart.com/fs49/f/2009/156/4/c/The_Winged_Chair_of_Destiny_by_Talzhemir1.jpg

Will the final product be compatible with something made from a much more finished Mesh?  Probably not.  :)

It's just a different style, though.
I type fast.  Try not to mistake my wordcount for actual excitement.

Offline Raver

Re: 3D is finally free.
«Reply #11: June 05, 2009, 05:32:39 PM»
Nooooooo. D:

When I first joined Furcadia back in 2005, I was really really attracted by the simplicity of 2D, pixel avatars that were isometric. Because of this, I gained a huge love for pixels. I think the whole concept of "old fashioned" pixels in a high tech world really makes Furcadia unique and adding 3-D items makes it no less different than some of the other MMOSGs out there.

Offline Sync

Re: 3D is finally free.
«Reply #12: June 05, 2009, 05:40:41 PM»
Nooooooo. D:

When I first joined Furcadia back in 2005, I was really really attracted by the simplicity of 2D, pixel avatars that were isometric. Because of this, I gained a huge love for pixels. I think the whole concept of "old fashioned" pixels in a high tech world really makes Furcadia unique and adding 3-D items makes it no less different than some of the other MMOSGs out there.

i think she meant just using 3d to make the patches, not making the game 3d...

Offline Electric Guitar

Re: 3D is finally free.
«Reply #13: June 05, 2009, 11:45:21 PM»
Is 3D really expected to become a big thing for furcadia? I don't understand.

I'd probably stress myself out trying to learn it, being so used to making 2D objects. I don't like change...  :(

Offline Lovedoll

Re: 3D is finally free.
«Reply #14: June 06, 2009, 08:24:17 AM»
I think this is a 'whatever floats your boat' thing. Some people will enjoy the 3D feel the patches can give to a dream if done right. Others will stick to the 2D pixels. Both will remain possible for a very long time to come I'm sure, so I don't get why people are getting their panties in a twist over which is better.

This post is encouraging people who are interested to look into the 3D creation of patches now to get a head-start on patching when the update comes out. Probably the main maps will be updated to the 3D look and feel over time, it seems like a logical course of action to me.

But instead of debating on which is better, maybe it's more practical to focus on how to get good results with these programs? Because I don't see how debating on whether 3D is horrible or not is going to help people get a head start on this, sorry. 3D sucks right now because Furcadia is still centered around the flat 2D pixels. For all we know we can get some amazing results with 3D once we had the update come around. Sounds to me like preparing now will give everyone an advantage when it happens.

Offline Raver

Re: 3D is finally free.
«Reply #15: June 06, 2009, 09:15:18 PM»
i think she meant just using 3d to make the patches, not making the game 3d...

lol, that much, I know. xD But essentially, the patches make the game, right?

Offline Cormallen

Re: 3D is finally free.
«Reply #16: June 08, 2009, 01:41:30 PM»
As someone with an AS in Digital Media and plenty of experience with LightWave 3D... I actually have to echo a number of Youlie's statements about true 3D items. Palette conversion may actually improve with the next big update, (again, wasn't it supposed to be a 32-bit palette upgrade?) but even still, I'd have to do at least a color-pass correction outside of LW in PhotoShop.

Secondly, will you expect people to actually take their time to understand the modeler? A lot of these are not exactly designed with the user in mind, for Skuld's sake. (Mind you, my copy is version 5.6--it's defintly not version 9.) It takes some serious planning, attribute tweaking, and a lot of horsepower under the hood, even for a 5-minute short on the system. (Not to mention extra bucks if you wanna captialize on neat plug-ins such as fur/hair rendering.)

In short, expect to see good 3D stuff to come from only the hard-core patchers; this isn't exactly like picking up a pen and creating a Monet-quality work on copier paper without prior experience. (And even with experience--they're called the masters for a reason.) And I'm not gonna even bother guessimating how many do exist out there...
Swords: A greatsword is not a one-handed weapon. A greatsword is not fast. If it is fast, it means it's made of paper mache' and will break upon striking anything.

Randomat twirls two greatswords, one in each hand.
GM: Randomat's hands fall off.


--from the Leirune RP Guide

Sookan

Re: 3D is finally free.
«Reply #17: June 09, 2009, 08:41:02 AM»
while i commend anybody willing and able to create 3d art, especially optimized for furc, i really don't see myself ever doing it. i thought about learning 3d once or twice, and to be honest i just don't think it's for me. i mean, i don't even have a tablet. i just like the feeling of drawing something with my own ... mouse-holding ... hand.

the part of dreamweaving i hate the most is inputting numbers for warps in DS, and if i had to do tedious shit like that making the art, i'd probably lose all joy in creating it at all.
it's like going from A to Z to get to B, just to create a simple shape that could have easily taken me 30 minutes by hand.

besides that, my PC certainly doesn't have the "horsepower"  someone mentioned up there.

Offline Skink

Re: 3D is finally free.
«Reply #18: June 09, 2009, 02:07:38 PM»
Alright, before dipping my hands in to these 3D programs and getting them dirty, can anyone tell me if its possible to mae JUST a single pixel thick black outline in any of these programs? I could care less about texturing, coloring, lighting, ect. I prefer 2D manual coloring to texture this adjust that.

But I have to admit being able to make the outline by pulling things around could really improve the consistency of 2D avatars or in creating multipe views of furniture or scenes...

Offline Cormallen

Re: 3D is finally free.
«Reply #19: June 09, 2009, 02:39:56 PM»
WHile I'm not familiar with any of those up there, the type of rendering that includes that particular effect is known as "cel-shading."

But I'd just do that step in post-production--it's a lot less variable, IMO. (I even looked at vertex rendering for games to produce that effect--again, not consistent.)
Swords: A greatsword is not a one-handed weapon. A greatsword is not fast. If it is fast, it means it's made of paper mache' and will break upon striking anything.

Randomat twirls two greatswords, one in each hand.
GM: Randomat's hands fall off.


--from the Leirune RP Guide

 

anything