The Bug Hunt

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"Bug Hunt" was an experiment for building a set entirely within Poser, as I had no other modelling program available to me. The piece introduced an armored figure using my own textures and allowed me to experiment with spotlights. The figure was another experimental element. I had been trying various texturing techniques for it, and this was the first real render of the figure.

While the image was originally slated to include a number of background figures, the air of tension turned out to be heightened by using just the one lone hunter. Offset placement allowed the empty environment to become just as prominent as the figure, thus making him appear more vulnerable. Using veiled light to partially obscure the background further enhanced the effect.

CREATING THE SET

I began the image by creating a single corridor section, which would act as the basis for the set. This section included a floor, a wall, a ceiling, a light fixture, and other small props. It was held together by parenting all the pieces together. All corridor pieces were created from prop primitives that were resized to suit. The ceilings and floors were flattened boxes, and the lighting fixture was a squashed sphere. I created the walls using a component of an old car engine, which was part of a modelling project that I had made using a demo software package and had long ago given up. Extra parts, such as boxes and nodules (spheres) that I created from primitive props, were added to the walls to break up any plain looking areas. Many of these details were eventually lost during the render and postwork phases.

A temporary pole/cylinder prop, lengthened to the height of a Poser figure, allowed me to rescale the corridor to a suitable size. I removed the prop once the corridor was done. Using a simple prop instead of an actual figure for scaling purposes prevents the usual long pauses encountered between adjustments when using more than one type of figure or prop in a scene. I saved the completed section as a .pz3 file and then repeatedly imported it to build up a larger set. Adjusting position and orientation with the Parameter dials allowed me to make accurate placement of these sections.

When all the desired sections were in place and parented to each other, I imported a background picture and added the spotlights.



LIGHTING

The process for setting up the lighting may not be the best method for everyone; it was just the route I happened to take. After selecting the light-fixture object, I adjusted its surface material in the Materials window. Colour, highlight size, and transparency were altered to create a glow effect. For the fixture to actually emit light, I created a spotlight and parented it to the object. This spotlight was oriented downward, and its properties adjusted until it produced the desired effect.

Once I was satisfied with the effect, I created another spotlight with the properties of the first. I then moved the second light into position and parented it to the next fixture further up the corridor, and so, on until all the light fixtures had spotlights parented to them.

To create an ambient glow around the fixture, I placed a new spotlight on the ground directly beneath it, pointing upwards, and once again adjusted the properties for a pleasing effect. I used the same process of copying and pasting for the lower lights until the entire corridor was lit.

I also included infinite lighting, with blue-white hues, to illuminate the corridor, both through the view ports and directly up the corridor.



THE CHARACTER

The battle-suited figure, which is the centerpiece of the image, is a test-bed character that I created using elements from a number of characters; namely Obiwan's Space Marine figure, which provided a base to work from, some pieces of armor from jbezorg's Titan character, and Joerg Weber's Space Suit for the foundation of the helmet. All were heavily modified and retextured.

I imported the figure, placed it under a light, and posed it and rendered it. This turned into a rather long process, as the figure's position and pose required tweaking after each render to get just the right kind of shadow and highlight effects I was looking for. Once I had eventually achieved this, I exported the final render to Photoshop.

POSTWORK

Because Poser is unable to produce volumetric lighting, I simulated the effect in Photoshop simply by using the airbrush on a large brush setting and a low opacity pressure setting. I added or augmented various details during this process, such as weathering effects on the battle gear and flooring. I found it handy to see how different metals and shapes become weathered and worn over time by using reference material, such as photos of aircraft and other vehicles.

Set creation, lighting setup, positioning, posing the figure, and postwork took approximately 11 hours to complete, although this could be done more quickly the second time round.

Software: Poser 4, Photoshop 6





About Frank Berger:
Frank Berger is a typical struggling artist, trying to make a living from his work. When he isn't working on commissions, or spending time with his young family, he is playing with his Renderosity buddies in the "Expansion Project." This collaborative sci-fi series of images sprang into existence from the Renderosity chat rooms as a result of Bug Hunt, and is still going strong.



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Member Opinions:
By: billy-home on 9/15/03
Nice to see how you put this awesome image together matey, especially using just the 2 progs you did, this is one of my favourite images of your pre-'Expansion' work, along with your ogre thingy one. Great work mate.

Cheers

Billy

By: StolenHeart20 on 9/15/03
Wow thats some nice work you got there... you might at least look into get the demo to Cinema 4D 8 cuz the would have rendered for you in 11mins lol.. depending on your machine and all i can give or take that this scece the way it came out would have been about no more about 10mins on my 1.0Ghz 512 machine, at about a render 1024x768 IMAGE.

By: Luthoricas on 9/15/03
Wow! And thank you for telling us how you did it.
Awesome work!

By: Fillingim on 9/15/03
Cool... This is one of my facorite images online. The tutorial you wrote should be a reference for all that want to know how a master works!

By: ralbright on 9/17/03
This is good stuff. You are a master, sir

By: timoteo1 on 9/18/03
Nice work, Frank. Love the "atmosphere." Very cool.

By: Elcet on 9/18/03
Really great, especially because you only used Poser and Psd6! Quite fascinating! If you can inform me of your new drawings and tutorials I would be glad, or say me if you have a site and give me your adress.

I'm quite fascinated by all the science-fiction too!

I somewhat share your situation, cause I learnt how to draw very late, but was obliged to earn my life only as an artist since; so I have been faced with many difficulties, I had many clients for some time 1 and 1/2 year after having officially registered as an illustrator; this happy situation lasted 3 years, then the crisis arrived in Europe and I had a hard period, things are going a little better now. If you may have an interest with my artistic way, you can visit my sites either www.elcet.net (drawings) or http://formations.elcet.net (formations, I apologize only in French today).

Great to keep in touch with you

Elcet

By: shadow-walker on 9/18/03
great picture and very good tutorial, its nice to see members of R'Osity share the details of how they do the excellent pictures that they have done.

By: Spkr4TheDead on 9/19/03
Nice images. Your expansion images are extremely awesome!

By: Moebius87 on 9/20/03
Beautiful work, my friend. I enjoyed reading it in the magazine, and I am very happy that it's now online for the rest of the community that hasn't had a chance to grab the printed version.

Truly great image. And it really is extremely generous of you to share your knowledge and experience with us all. BRAVO!

By: Frag-O-Matic on 9/21/03
Dude! That is so cool! I love it! Wish I could do that! You make it sound so easy. I'd love to learn how to take a 3d image like this and annimate it.


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