How to open a layer as a new document in Photoshop

Sometimes it’s nice to extract a layer from an intricate Photoshop document and turn it into its own isolated document. Here’s how to do it:

Select your layer and head over to Layer – Duplicate Layer…

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This will bring up a menu that lets you choose what you’d like to call it, and most importantly where you want to duplicated it to. Under Destination, choose New for a new document. You can even pick an existing (open) Photoshop document and your layer will be added to that. The Destination Name will be the new file name.Screen Shot 2015-05-22 at 09.22.32As soon as you hit OK your layer will be opened as a new document tab, with all layer effects, blending options and opacity settings intact.

How to move the pivot point of an object in DAZ Studio

The pivot point is the location at which the universal manipulator gizmo is shown on a 3D object. From this point you can usually move the object, or rotate it around this very point. Carrara calls it “hot point”. I’m not sure if DAZ Studio refers to it as anything in particular.

The location of the pivot point is of strategic importance, and it may not always be where you want it to be. New primitives and figures usually have it at the centre bottom, which work well for positioning the whole figure.

It can however be undesirable when you’re trying to rotate an object (like the cube below) around its centre. We’d need the pivot point to be at a different position to pull this off.

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But how do we change its location in DAZ Studio? Let’s find out.

Continue reading How to move the pivot point of an object in DAZ Studio

Murano Textures for Seana Dress – now available at Renderosity



Inspired by our Bayside Bikini Textures, Julia has been busy last week and made some textures for the beautiful Seana Dress by Nikisatez. It is with great pleasure that I give you our second ever Rednerosity product: Murano Textures for Seana Dress!

The dress fits all Genesis 2 Female characters, such as Victoria 6, Stephanie 6, Aiko 6 and all the other Generation 6 figures. Take’em out for a stroll this summer with a pretty dress and 8 new additional textures from us :-)

Continue reading Murano Textures for Seana Dress – now available at Renderosity

How to use Smart Objects in Photoshop

Smart Objects are a great way to employ non-destructive editing in Photoshop. The idea is that Photoshop “remembers” what was applied to a layer rather than apply an effect.

Take a background image with a blur effect applied for example. You could simply select the layer, head over to Filters – Blur – Gaussian Blur and apply the effect. However if you decide you needed a little more (or less) blur on your image, then you’re stuck – unless you’ve made a copy of your original image first.

This is where Smart Objects come in handy: before you do anything destructive with a layer, head over to Layer – Smart Objects – Convert to Smart Object.

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Notice that little extra icon at the bottom right corner of your layer thumbnail. This shows you that a layer is indeed a Smart Object.

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Now apply a filter, just like you always do: head over to Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur (for example). And there we have it: your layer isn’t just blurred, it now gets another editable tab applied so you can modify the value of your filter later. Simply double-click on the effect and you get the filter settings dialogue again.

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Smart Objects work for other image editing options as well, for example transformations, scaling, distortions, warps and all the other good tuff.

If you ever want to get rid of a Smart Object and apply the effect to the layer, head over to Layer – Smart Objects – Rasterize. It’s like applying the operation directly to the layer.

There’s a ton of other stuff you can do with Smart Objects. This Adobe article explains more:

How to lock objects in Carrara

It happens to me time and time again: I want to select an object in a busy scene, move it from a far away view, and it turns out I’m actually moving something else – perhaps the ground plane, or vital objects in the background.

Wouldn’t it be nice to lock objects that you never want to move in Carrara? Lucky for us – there is such an option! It’s done using the Constraints Tab (under Motion).

First select the object you want to be come “immovable”. You can even select several objects by holding SHIFT. Do this either in the scene or in the scene hierarchy.

Now head over to Motion and examine the Constraints drop down menu.

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Set your object(s) to Full and they can’t be moved anymore. Easy as that!

Constraints are quite powerful as you can see from the various options in the drop down. Some of the interesting ones are:

  • 2D Plane: allows you to move the object in only two directions
  • Axis: allows movement along a single axis
  • Ball Joint: specify how far rotation is allowed along any given axis (used in rigging, for example so that a door can only open so far in one direction)

How to reset surface materials in DAZ Studio

When texturing an existing model, I find it helpful to start from scratch and apply a simple basic material to an object. The same is true if I’ve been modifying something so much that I forgot where things went awry, and a “reset surfaces” button would be handy.

The good news is that there is something like that built right into DAZ Studio. Here’s how to use it.

First, select your object and all surfaces you’d like to reset. Do this in the Surfaces Tab, or use the Surface Selection Tool.

Next, head over and open the scary Shader Mixer. It’s actually less scary than it looks. The tab is hiding under Window – Panes – Shader Mixer. You’ll see something like this:

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This tab is very similar to the Advanced Material room in Poser. The DAZ Default Material is a light grey and is always there as a sample as soon as you open the Shader Mixer. The “bricks” (or nodes) in the middle of the screen are a different representation of all the options in the Surfaces Tab.

To apply this default material, simply click the green Apply button at the bottom right. Now your object will turn grey, and all those nasty dials you’ve been playing with are reset: all image maps and exotic options are removed.


Wait! Where are the Bump and Opacity channels gone? And all the other exotic options I remember?

They are not part of the basic shader, and there’s no easy way to enable those. Here’s a workaround to bring them back:

Create a new primitive and head over to the Surfaces Tab and select everything. Notice that all those missing channels are available here. Don’t ask me why. Now apply a texture to the channels you’d like to use (any image will do). Any channels without a map will not be imported in the next step.

In the Shader Mixer tab, head over to File – Import from scene. This will bring in the shader and create a node for every texture you’ve applied. Don’t worry if the visual representation doesn’t make sense.

Now select the object and surfaces on which you want those channels (i.e. your original object) and hit Apply at the bottom right. Lo and behold: your object will now have those missing channels, including the image you’ve applied.

How to reload image textures in DAZ Studio

When you edit textures outside of DAZ Studio and save them, they won’t show up on your models until you reload them. In DAZ Studio, the command to do this can be found on the Surfaces Tab. Find the context menu at the top right corner of the tab (three lines and a triangle).


Select it to bring up the context menu and choose Reload Images. Alternatively you can use the keyboard shortcut CMD-I (or CTRL-I).

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DAZ Studio has the option to display Photoshop PSD files on 3D objects, in addition to the usual JPG and PNG formats. The benefit of using PSD files directly is ease of preview during the texture process. It goes something like this:

  • apply the PSD file as texture in DAZ Studio
  • in Photoshop, make a change, even hide and show several layers
  • simply press CTRL-S (or CMD-S) to save
  • back in DAZ Studio, reload this file and see the results immediately

How to subdivide an object in Hexagon

Hexagon doesn’t really have a subdivide function that quadruples the number of faces of an object (like ZBrush for example). But there is a trick we can use to add this functionality.

Take Hexagon’s cube primitive here. All we can do is to specify one without subdivisions. If we need more, we’re stuck.

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There is another cube primitive on the Second Life tab, but it has too many faces, so we won’t worry about it and stick with this guy above for the moment.

To subdivide all faces equally, head over to Face Selection mode (F2), then select all faces of your object. CMD+A (or CTRL+A) will do the trick.

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With all faces selected, choose the Quad Tessellation tool on the Vertex Modelling tab. As soon as you select it, all faces will be divided into quads (when possible). Feel free to choose any of the other subdivision algorithms if you wish.

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To subdivide again, simply select all faces again and choose the tool again. The result is shown on the right. And just to show what’s been hiding on the Second Life tab, the Second Life Cube is shown on the left :-)

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This works with objects other than cubes too of course. The more polygons you’re trying to subdivide at once, the higher a chance you have to crash Hexagon. Therefore it’s a good idea to save your document before attempting to carry out this trick.

And remember: each full subdivision will quadruple the amount of faces on your object. Give Hexagon a moment to calculate this (you won’t receive any feedback while it’s working).

How to reload image textures in Poser

When you edit textures outside of Poser and save them, they won’t show up on your models until you reload them. In Poser, the command to do this can be found under the Render Menu – Reload Textures. I don’t think there’s a keyboard shortcut for this.

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Poser has the option to display Photoshop PSD files on 3D objects, in addition to the usual JPG and PNG formats. The benefit of using PSD files directly is ease of preview during the texture process. It goes something like this:

  • apply the PSD file as texture in Poser
  • in Photoshop, make a change, even hide and show several layers
  • simply press CTRL-S (or CMD-S) to save
  • back in Poser, reload this file and see the results

How to populate the Custom Tools Palette in Hexagon

On the very right hand side of the Hexagon’s toolbar is the Custom section. It sits there unnoticed and unpopulated by default.

We can turn it into a handy modelling companion by populating it with a few select tools that our overworked brains can never remember where to find.

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To add your own tools, simply select one the usual way, from any other tab, and right-click on it. A dialogue box appears asking if you’d like to add said tool to the custom tool palette.Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 17.25.35

Now head over to the custom tool palette and find said tool there. If ever you want to remove one, right-click it. Compile your own tailor made tool collection!

The icon on the far left is an undock option: it will create a floating window of the custom tool palette which will remain visible and always “on top” of Hexagon – even if you close all other tabs. Just in case you enjoy losing yourself in modelling zen.

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To close it again, click the tiny triangle at the top right.