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Submitted on
December 26, 2012
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(Contains: nudity)
LuxRender to 7900S/p

(Flagged mature since the chess pieces are all topless.)

This was an experiment with object instances in LuxRender; each of the chess pieces is defined as a Lux object and then instantiated one or more times in the scene as required for a standard chess board. The pedestal bases are an example of nested instances in Lux, as the pedestal is defined once and a reference included in each of the piece definitions, such that they are placed automatically with each piece.

To create the instances, each of the chess figures was designed in its own DAZ Studio scene at world origin coordinates. They were then exported via Reality, and the resulting .lxo file modified by hand to convert the entire figure into a Lux object definition. The .lxm was mostly thrown away, except for necessary alpha and displacement map settings, which were included directly into the .lxo so that there was only one file to include for each chess piece. To place the pawn the player is holding, I temporarily merged the pawn into the overall scene to move into place and fine-tune the pose of the player's fingers. The pawn's location was then noted down and it was removed from the Studio scene of the player and the environment. The only chess item in the overall scene is the board.

During my initial feasibility tests, I had the pawn figure and clothing fully textured, and object instancing easily replicated all the material definitions. My thoughts were to use a pale white skin texture and white leather/silk/lace theme for the clothing. However, I ended up deciding against this for two reasons:

1) It would have required a lot more RAM to load all the different texture maps for the figures. Switching to the procedural marble texture reduced the required maps down to just a handful of alpha and displacement maps. (The bump map for the marble is also procedural.) As you see it here, this scene required just shy of 12GB of RAM to render. While my master rendering machine has 24GB and could have handled the extra texture memory, the slave render nodes only have 12GB of RAM, and would have been unable to assist in rendering this scene had I used full textures.
2) I'm lazy, and didn't want to spend several days re-texturing all the clothing to fit a common theme.

Based on my initial tests, I also made the decision to avoid alpha maps as much as possible, hence why all but the king and queen figures have hoods of some sort on, rather than hair.

The procedural marble texture is from the LuxRender materials database. I changed its coordinate mapping from local to global, however, so that the marble pattern is different on each placed instance.

A note on scale: each of the chess pieces is 'life sized'. It's the player and the environment that have been scaled up to give the illusion of the pieces being small. Each of the chess pieces was also prepared with my standard export procedures, including two levels of subdivision. Surfaces with displacement are subdivided to anywhere between 300,000 and 1,500,000 tris depending on the fineness of the detail in their displacement map. So even with the instancing, this scene was fairly heavy with geometry; it effectively has six and a half 'full resolution' figures worth of geometry in it. (The half is because the player has all geometry below the table turned off, since you can't see it anyway.)

For the player and environment, I had to scale the bump and displacement strengths up to the same scale I had magnified them in the scene (which worked out to 1655% to get the squares of the chess board as close to one meter square as possible to facilitate easy placing of the piece instances). Bump and displacement strengths in Lux are ultimately in absolute units; Lux doesn't know that the player or environment were scaled so large. Without adjusting the strengths up (which required hand editing the scene file, since Reality's UI caps the strength levels at 200%), none of the bump or displacement would be visible for the up-scaled geometry.

For the purple part of the player's bikini top, I kept only the displacement map from the original texture set I used. The displacement map was used for both displacement, and as the mix amount between Lux's cloth material (with the polyester_lining_cloth weave preset and warp and weft diffuse set to a solid purple) and a silver metal2 material for the stones. The string/trim, however, I left with the original textures.

The apparent rotation and size difference of chess pieces of the same type, particularly seen in the pawns, is an optical effect of using a wide angle camera setting. They are all the same size and facing straight forward.

Lit with an IBL for the sky, plus Lux's sun lightsource lined up with the sun in the IBL for a booster to get the sharper shadow lines.

The chess player, as well as the bishop, king and knight chess pieces are all Genesis. The pawn, queen and rook are V4-based (hence the awful looking knee bend in the pawn).

Closer view of the chess pieces:
Hi-resolution detail of the King piece:
The chess pieces with real textures instead of the procedural marble:
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:iconbeasty52:
Beasty52 May 4, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Great Work
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:iconcwichura:
cwichura May 4, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks!
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:iconfsmcdesigns:
fsmcdesigns Dec 27, 2012  Professional General Artist
wow, saw the link for this at DAZ, tremendous and ambitious imagery. My fav parts are the chess pcs (like the topless call), the lighting, and the POV. Funny how you say you are lazy, well editing the LUX files by hand is far from lazy, LOL. Lots of thinking outside the box on this one. Good call on the hoods and the procedural shaders, it worked out perfectly. Yeah, we need to talk to Paolo about fixing the strength limit in the UI, it has hindered my efforts also.
Kinda curious on the styles though. the chess set is clearly fantasy based and her head looks kinda elfin/fantasy (jewelry), but the top/drink are modern.
Like the bungalow, where'd you get it?
Great job!
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:iconcwichura:
cwichura Dec 27, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks! :)

I suppose the what we consider 'lazy' is a matter of perspective. I hand-edit pretty much every scene I create with Studio+Reality, so I consider that normal. Granted, this one was a lot more editing than I normally do. (A LOT!) But the editing was pretty straight-forward. Whereas re-doing all the textures takes a lot more creative thought and time.

I was after a fantasy theme, particularly for the chess pieces. The player does have elf ears, as you noticed. And the Appolonia Hair fits with fantasy style. But the rest isn't really that fantasy-like, though, agreed. The bungalow is modernish, too (though perhaps less visible since the really modern elements are inside and not particularly visible in this render). The top was more because I was thinking outdoors in the sun at the bungalow, than fantasy. The drink is mostly a function of glassware objects I had that are properly modeled (e.g., inner and outer walls with space between them instead of a single, depth-less plane for the wall of the glass), which is critical to getting the proper look in Lux. None of glassware I have that is fully 3D has a particularly fantasy style to it.

The bungalow is the Oversea Bungalow by Larsen, available from DAZ: [link]
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:iconeight-clovers:
Eight-Clovers Dec 26, 2012  Student General Artist
The chess pieces look awesome, and there's some nice light-action going on with the drink. Beautiful!
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:iconcwichura:
cwichura Dec 26, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks. The drink is kind of a "freebie" with LuxRender, since it's a physically-based unbiased renderer. Index of refraction effects like that are simple to set up; the key is to make sure the glass is modeled fully in 3D (has both an inner and outer wall with space between them) and not just a single plane with no thickness (which, in the world of Poser/DAZ content, is very common since low polygon counts are favored so people with ancient computers can still render things).
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:iconmobile707:
Fascinating work -- and a complete success!

Do such chess-pieces actually exist?
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:iconcwichura:
cwichura Dec 26, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks. :)

I wouldn't be surprised if there is something akin to this, albeit they'd probably be fully clothed rather than topless. I wasn't modelling them after anything I'd seen in real life, though. I was going for a fantasy look for them, and kitbashed the outfits from various 3D clothing sets.
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:iconbigloader69:
Fantastic results on all your work. Look Great!
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