Salute friends and fans!
What a week it has been. Regretfully the update that we wanted to post did not get completed. Our schedule had us releasing both Jane and Amanda’s next scenes for v0.6.0, but we simply ran out of time. Version 0.6.0, which will be ready early tomorrow evening, will only contain Jane’s next scene. Depending on your choices in Cassie’s first scene, you may get one of two variants. The variants are therefore technically two different scenes with different dialogue, different choices, common themes, and a combined total of 36 new renders. I won’t say we didn’t get anything done. Now you may ask, what were we doing that caused us to accomplish so little? Lighting.
When we first downloaded Daz 3D we also purchased about $75 worth of tutorials to help us learn how to get the best out of our Iray renders. The biggest take away from all of those lessons was that HDRI will save you from having to do a bunch of complicated lighting. For our first month of working on this project, we adhered to this philosophy and stuck almost exclusively to HDRI for our lighting needs. (Our opinion is that reliance on HDRI led to some very unsatisfactory renders for Emily’s first scene in the shower). At the end of the day, working with HDRI in interior environments is a dreadful pain in the ass. Thus we decided to break rank and strike out on our own.
We fished around for the best books on digital lighting and I think we found them. The first is “Digital Lighting & Rendering” by Jeremy Birn, the second was a book on studio lighting for photography, “Lighting for Digital Video & Television” by John Jackman. We spent a hundred bucks on lighting books and studied every word printed. HOLY SHIT WAS IT WORTH IT!
We immediately jumped back into Daz and scrapped all of our HDRI images. Using traditional lighting techniques developed for photography, we were really able to get the look and feel that we wanted for the midnight Jane scenes. There is so little light to begin with in these scenes, and so it was crucial we figure out how to do it right or risk grainy unsaturated images. It is my opinion that the Jane scenes are now some of the best we’ve done so far in terms of light, texture, surfacing and quality.
While we might not have delivered what was promised for the week, we did expand our knowledge in such a way that image quality is only going to get better from here. Hopefully you agree that this is a fair trade-off. But don’t despair! The Amanda scene is scripted and partially coded. Barring complications or additional quests for knowledge we should have it out before the end of the week.