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Understanding the DAZ Multiplane Cyclorama

Author: TSquare

Tools Needed

  • DAZ Multiplane Cyclorama
  • Your Favorite Graphics Editor

Support Files

Introduction

This tutorial shows, step-by-step, how to create your own textures for the DAZ Multiplane Cyclorama, found in the DAZ Platinum Club. It also covers how to create textures for the three planes to add more depth to your renders. Included with this tutorial is a great set of poser utility files that will help you easily step right into your cyclorama texture, making the task of checking for flaws a breeze.

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Step 1 - The Source Photo(s)

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Begin with a photo that suits the background. The upper portion (the background part) will look better if you'remember it IS the background and put a bit of thought on what you want there to begin with. Make sure you add depth and interest, or your scene will look flat and lifeless in the final render.

A good starting point is a picture without a lot of foreground clutter, and a whole lot going on in the back area. For this tutorial, I found a photograph I took with my Sony Mavica which takes a 1024 x 768 pixel area. The picture is of a super fine hanging glacier down south of me at Portage, Alaska, one of my favorite spots. The lake in the foreground makes it easy to make the ground texture, as you could leave it a lake in your finished texture, or you could take it out and add a grassy ground. The ground texture can be a seamless tile, but non-tiling textures work as well. Just use your clone tool or smudge or whatever to create an overall texture that works without looking icky.

Hunting around in the same set of photos, taken on a windy September day, I found another part of the lake that had a goodly amount of water without stuff in it, and some great little features for our planes.

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Step 2 - The Template.

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In the T2_Tutorial.Zip file, I have included the TSquare Cyclorama Template.

Looks a bit like an Easter Egg, ya?

I have colored it carefully to help you to easily visualize where your elements could be placed for full effectiveness. The template found in the support file looks like this except for the notations, which are just for this tutorial.

An explanation of the template notations and color scheme:

  • Side Folds: On the upper portion of the cyclorama, the two areas marked Side Folds will be folded at almost 90 degrees from the back.
  • Middle Line: This is just a guide that I find useful.
  • Black Squares: The black squares show how the cyclorama shows perspective when rendered. Notice how the closer to the camera, the larger the squares, and farther toward the back part the squares are smaller. Your ground texture will follow this pattern too.
  • The Blending Zone consists of three distinct areas:
  • That BIG RED Fold Line: Look at the renders of the template to see what happens to this line. This is the beginning of the whole blending area. It needs special care so that your textures don't look distorted. Keep the main background area of above this line.
  • Light Violet: These are nothing to worry about normally, just be aware that they will render a hump at those points and don't put stuff on there that would look odd with a hump. :)
  • Darker Violet: The rest of the blending area isn't so fiddley as the first two areas. Just be aware that it needs just a bit of attention to blend it in so that the back and ground portions look integrated and not distorted.

Step 3 - Looking sharply at the rendered template.

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Backing away from the normal settings, I rendered the template in poser to show you the inner workings of the cyclorama.

As you can see, the small light violet humpy areas have been pushed up just a tiny bit. We will cover these below, in Step 4.

Step 4 - Beginning to texture the template.

400-03b51.jpg

After a small bit of cloning to take out the tiny bit of foreground bush in the mountain scene, we are ready to play.

A small note here: I have used Ulead PhotoImpact version 6 in these examples, as I find it easier than layers in Paint Shop Pro sometimes. For those who are experienced at using layers in Paint Shop Pro or Photoshop you can do the neccessary things to get the same results.

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I placed the main background picture into the template and turned the transparency of the picture to around 45% so the template shows through. This allows you to place the picture shoreline very close to that dreaded BIG RED Fold Line.

If using a photo that doesn't quite fit into the top portion perfectly, fit it into the center, then use your favorite editor to clone the sides and top to suit. The picture I have chosen, when placed over the cyclorama template, just about fits width-wise, so instead of needing to clone a bit of extra stuff in there around the sides, I can just stretch the entire final texture a tiny amount (with the foreground water attached) without causing distortion.

Step 5 - Filling the lake.

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After I placed the main background picture in, I took enough of the water from the second source photo, so that three copies were enough to fill in the ground part of the cyclorama.

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Laying these into the texture template, I flipped two of the copies horizontally. Making sure that all the elements, including the mountain scene, were centered vertically, I merged the water pieces together, cloned the icky stuff out, and color corrected to come very close to the water values in the mountain scene. The water and the mountain scene were then merged together and stretched to the width of the texture template.

Here are the test renders:

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Step 6 - The blending area..

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When rendered, the water will hump up on the sides a bit at 30mm camera setting. But by pushing the focal point to 39mm, you will not see it.

That might or might not be acceptable to you. If not, just carefully clone a bit of the shoreline and some on the trees further out, over the humpy areas which are outlined on the texture template.

Final render of cyclorama:

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That wraps up the cyclorama texture. I included the two final textures in your tutorial zip file. The planes for this texture are done in Step 9.

Step 7 - The planes of multitude.

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There are three planes attached to the cyclorama. They are not as hard as they first appear to deal with. Here are a few facts about the planes:

  • The three planes use the same size texture map.
  • They aren't stuck in one place forever!
  • You can move them around the cyclorama until satisfied with their placement in your render.
  • The X, Y, and Z Translate Dials are shown below:

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  • They can be made to hide, or you can place your own textures on them and bring them out of hiding.

(Poser xyz controls are shown, but similar controls will have the same or similar effects on the moveable planes in DAZ Studio.)

Step 8 - Multi-ways to hide show the multi-planes.

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  • Use the show/hide pose files included the tutorial file.
  • Use the trans-off / trans-on files included the tutorial file.
  • You can use the hierarchy window in poser to hide and unhide any of the planes.
  • You can also just double click on the plane and check or uncheck the visibility option in the properties.
  • Also, if you select the plane of your choice in the body parts and do one of these three things…
  • Alt OP
  • Control I
  • Or just click on Objects - Properties on your Poser menu bar.

(These commands are for Poser 4 or Poser PP. I have no idea if these work in Poser 5)

(Poser controls are shown, but similar controls will have the same or similar effects on Hide/Show in DAZ Studio.)

Step 9 - Texturing the planes.

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There are several ways you can go about texturing the planes. I will outline three ways that I have found to be useful.

1) The first way is to draw the texture in color, then make a transparency map like this:

  • make a copy of the color image
  • make the copy a gray scale
  • invert the copy
  • then push the contrast up until the background is black and the pieces that will show are white.

2) Using a white brush.

Another way to texture your planes is to flood fill the planes with a color or pattern, then make a transparency flood filling another file black and by writing and/or drawing the required seen areas in white.

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3) From photos.

Getting your bits of stuff for your planes from the same source photo, or a photo close to the same light and tonal qualities the source's is next on the list of techniques. This is a bit more fiddley and time consuming, but very much worth it if you are going for good depth and reality in your final render.

First, grab a goodly lot of your “ground” (the water in this instance) texture from the cyclorama texture you just made. Flood fill this into your Plane Template.

Cut the bits you like out of the source picture(s) with the lasso tool of your editor. Place these bits around the bottom of the Plane Templates for your three planes.

There are your textures for your planes. Save these files.

For the transmaps:

Duplicate your texture over the existing one, flood fill the duplicate layer black and then turn the transparency setting to like 65-75% so you can see your texture below. Choose a white paint brush and brush on white anywhere you want the texture to show, while leaving the areas you wish invisible gray

Once done, check the transparency layer by changing the transparency settings so that the layer is again black to make sure you didn't leave holes in there.

Save the black layers out to a file using the same filename as the texture and with TR on the end of the name so you know it is the trans map.

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Step 10 - File listing of support files.

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesTR OFF plane1.png

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesTR OFF plane1.pz2 —- Sets Transparency Off - Plane 1

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesTR OFF plane1.rsr

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesTR OFF Plane2.png

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesTR OFF plane2.pz2 —- Sets Transparency Off - Plane 2

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesTR OFF Plane2.rsr

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesTR OFF plane3.png

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesTR OFF plane3.pz2 —- Sets Transparency Off - Plane 3

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesTR OFF plane3.rsr

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesTR ON plane1.png

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesTR ON plane1.pz2 —- Sets Transparency On - Plane 1

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesTR ON plane1.rsr

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesTR ON plane2.png

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesTR ON plane2.pz2 —- Sets Transparency On - Plane 2

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesTR ON plane2.rsr

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesTR ON plane3.png

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesTR ON plane3.pz2 —- Sets Transparency On - Plane 3

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesTR ON plane3.rsr

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesALL TR OFF.png

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesALL TR OFF.pz2 —- Sets Transparency Off - All Planes

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesALL TR OFF.rsr

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesALL TR ON.png

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesALL TR ON.pz2 —- Sets Transparency On - All Planes

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesALL TR ON.rsr

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesALL WHITE.png

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesALL WHITE.pz2 —- Material Settings - All Elements of Cyclorama White

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesALL WHITE.rsr

Pose 2 cyclorama utility poseshide plane1.png

Pose 2 cyclorama utility poseshide plane1.pz2 —- Hide Plane 1

Pose 2 cyclorama utility poseshide plane1.rsr

Pose 2 cyclorama utility poseshide plane2.png

Pose 2 cyclorama utility poseshide plane2.pz2 —- Hide Plane 2

Pose 2 cyclorama utility poseshide plane2.rsr

Pose 2 cyclorama utility poseshide plane3.png

Pose 2 cyclorama utility poseshide plane3.pz2 —- Hide Plane 3

Pose 2 cyclorama utility poseshide plane3.rsr

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesshow plane1.png

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesshow plane1.pz2 —- Show Plane 1

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesshow plane1.rsr

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesshow plane2.png

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesshow plane2.pz2 —- Show Plane 2

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesshow plane2.rsr

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesshow plane3.png

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesshow plane3.pz2 —- Show Plane 3

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesshow plane3.rsr

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesALL planes hide.png

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesALL planes hide.pz2 —- Hides All Planes

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesALL planes hide.rsr

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesALL planes show.png

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesALL planes show.pz2 —- Shows All Planes

Pose 2 cyclorama utility posesALL planes show.rsr

light 2 cyclorama utility lights 2 Cyc WorkLights.lt2

light 2 cyclorama utility lights 2 Cyc WorkLights.PNG —- Set of lights to help with layout of Cyclorama Textures

light 2 cyclorama utility lights 2 Cyc WorkLights.rsr

camera 2 cyclorama utility cams 2 cyclorama1.cm2

camera 2 cyclorama utility cams 2 cyclorama1.PNG —- Main camera settings to help with layout of Cyclorama Textures

camera 2 cyclorama utility cams 2 cyclorama1.rsr

camera 2 cyclorama utility cams 2 cyclorama2.cm2

camera 2 cyclorama utility cams 2 cyclorama2.PNG —- Main camera settings to help with layout of Cyclorama Textures

camera 2 cyclorama utility cams 2 cyclorama2.rsr

camera 2 cyclorama utility cams 2 cyclorama3.cm2

camera 2 cyclorama utility cams 2 cyclorama3.PNG —- Main camera settings to help with layout of Cyclorama Textures

camera 2 cyclorama utility cams 2 cyclorama3.rsr

Templates 2_CycloramaTBMP —- Templates for the cyclorama and planes

Templates 2_PlaneTBMP

Original Photossource1BMP —- Original photographs used in the tutorial

Original Photossource2BMP

t2 plane1 TRBMP —- the planes and transmaps I made for illustrating this tutorial

t2 plane1BMP

t2 plane2 TRBMP

t2 plane2BMP

t2 plane3 TRBMP

t2 plane3BMP

t2 hanging aroundBMP —- the finished cyclorama textures made for this tutorial

t2 hanging around2BMP