So I had a bright idea…

So I had this bright idea for a Valentine’s Day image for my husband. If I had only known how many things were going to kick my butt, I probably would have re-thought the whole project. Oh who am I kidding, I probably would have done it anyhow.

Anyhow, idea was to have furry teddy bears sitting on some clouds with hearts raining down on them. Doesn’t sound too complicated, especially considering that I already had a teddy bear modeled that I liked from a previous project.

But we all know how quickly I can turn what should have been a “slam dunk project” into a logistical nightmare of epic proportions.

So how did my simple little project turn into such a nightmare? Well I’m glad you asked because I planned on telling you anyhow.

First up, I wanted my teddy bears to be sitting, which of course requires a rig of some sort. I had played with rigify just the week before so this should have been easy. And it was, right up until I realized my weight painting (courtesy of Auto weighting and probably bad topology on my part) was horrendously messed up.

So obviously I lost a few days getting my weights evened out to something semi useable. And I do mean semi. There is still some very nasty pinching at the shoulder and hip joints. Something that would need not only better weighting but better geometry to resolve. Luckily I was counting on fur to cover up the pinching and overly ugly spots.

Yeppers, that would be where my next headache reared its ugly little head.

Now in my defense, I don’t normally make fur or hair for that matter. Most of my characters don’t need it. So I was not overly familiar with the latest options.

Then pure dumb luck jumped up and kicked my tushie. I had downloaded a recent build from graphical.org and actually managed to get some decent fur even though the options looks considerably different than last time I had played with them.

Then I saw a post that mentioned ray tracing speedups in latest builds and I decided that might be useful.

Yep, totally messed up my fur. Apparently ray tracing wasn’t the only new thing in that build, because there were different particle options now. And I had one hell of a time trying to get nice soft fur again.

Sigh… Note to self: DO NOT change builds mid-project, you might be in for nasty surprises.

At one point my teddy had some seriously spikey fur. And I mean SPIKY!

Luckily ITRAB gave me some great tips and I finally ended up with some decent fur. Or more accurately, not dangerously spiky any more. ๐Ÿ˜›

At this point major problems should be over with. And they would have been if I hadn’t decided to give Render Layers and compositing a try, for of course the first time, EVER!

LOL, surprisingly, that part didn’t actually go so very bad, just slow as can be. Too much fur and then clouds equals long render times.

Which of course would have been far shorter if I hadn’t screwed up my math. And I mean seriously screwed up my math. I was obviously very tired when I decided I needed final render dimensions of 4500 X 4500.

I needed a final image 4.5 inches x 4.5 inches at a minimum of 100 dpi, which would give me dimensions of 450 X 450. But I was obviously tired because the 4500 X 4500 I had previously decided on is 10 times more than I needed. And of course explains the spectacular Blender crash it created when I tried to render it. ๐Ÿ˜›

I didn’t discover my little math error for a few days. Because of course after the 4500 X 4500 crash, I set it to 3000 x 3000, which crashed too. Dang it! Boy fur must take a lot to render.

So I set it to 2000 x 2000 and hoped I had enough resolution for a decent printout. Which I went with for quite a few test renders.

Silly me, I was sitting there waiting for a test render to finish rendering, staring at the Dimensions panel which read 2000 x 2000, when the “math error” finally dawned on me.

2000 รท 100 dpi = 20 inches

OMG 20 inches!, that can’t be right. I don’t need it that BIG! Where’s my calculator.

Damn, I so suck at math.

Sigh… well now I know why this is taking so long.

Double sigh…. note to self: actually use calculator before deciding final render resolution.

Okay after numerous test renders, I finally settled on this one. I am only one week late for Valentines Day, which is beyond typical for me.

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