Well, I learned a lot about rendering in DS this week. The settings I was using before work fine for a single character. When trying to render a whole scene, though, with multiple characters and a location, the result is either a pixelated mess or DS just hangs for ten minutes and I have to kill the process.
So I’m taking a step back, and working on a simpler idea. Just a few characters, and no “setting” to speak of. I also switched to some new render settings and lights. So far it’s working better.
I’ve also started working with dForce, which lets you have cloth physics. Basically for most items, the item looks however you pose it. If the item doesn’t have the pose you want, you can modify the mesh manually. With dForce, you can set basic parameters like gravity and wind direction, create a pose with or without motion, and run a simulation, and the dForce items will flow naturally. For instance, this frame, which is probably the first thing I’ve rendered that will actually go into a comic! The skirt is dForce, with wind coming from the front. The hair and jacket are just regular posed.