In this video I’m demonstrating how to export a character from DAZ Studio, apply a geometrical change in Blender, and import that change back into DAZ Studio as a Morph Target.
First we’ll prepare and export a Genesis 3 character (Eva 7) as OBJ. Here are the steps I’m using in the video:
Continue reading How to create DAZ Character Morphs with Blender
Turntable animations show an object or a collection of objects from all sides. They’re usually rendered as a loopable image sequence. The above is such an example of Michael 7, assembled as a GIF image. He’ll keep spinning forever!
Let’s see how we can create something like this in DAZ Studio. Continue reading How to create a turntable animation in DAZ Studio
To export a single Shape Key as OBJ file, all we have to do is set the desired Shape Key to 1 (or whatever value we like) and use the File – Export dialogue to create an OBJ with the shape/morph applied.
However, if you have several dozen Shape Keys that need to be exported, repeating the above several dozen times can be tedious and error prone. Blender hasn’t got an built-in option for such a batch-export operation, but thanks to a lovely man named TLousky, we can use a handy Python Script to do the job.
Here it is, with minor amendments by yours truly:
Excellent… what exactly does it do?
This script will iterate over each Shape Key of the currently selected object, set each shape key to a value of 1, and export it to the desired path as OBJ file. Feel free to change the scale upon export if you like, and don’t forget to set a valid path for where you’d like your OBJs to be saved.
Awesome… how do we run this thing, Cap’m?
To run a script in Blender, open a Text Editor window (NOT the Python Console). I like using the Timeline Window for that. Click the New button to create a new text file. Now copy the entire code from above into the otherwise empty window inside Blender and hit the Run Script button at the bottom of the window.
Blender will go to work and do its thing. With a bit of luck, no error message will be displayed. Your destination folder should now contain the desired OBJ files.
I’ve explained how to do it all step-by-step in the above video.
Blender stores Morph Targets as Shape Keys. Those can be accessed and created in the palette that resembles the Flux Capacitor icon (it reads Data when you hover over it).
To store one object’s shape in another one as a Shape Key, do the following:
- import both objects into Blender
- SHIFT-select both objects
- make sure that the object you’d like to store the Shape Key in is selected last
- using the Specials Menu under Shape Keys, select “Join as shapes”
The Specials Menu is hiding under the little triangle, underneath the plus/minus icon. Note that your master object needs to have a Basis Shape Key defined (you can do that by clicking the plus icon in the same menu).
Now you can delete the second object from your scene and use the slider to morph your master object into your second object.
And finally, both objects need to have the exact same amount of vertex points, otherwise the operation isn’t going to work.
While we were discussing how to generate a terrain in my previous post, the next question is of course how to we give our terrain different colour values depending on its height.
For example, at the very top of our terrain we may have snow covered mountains. Slightly further down we have yellowish rocks on the steep walls, followed by green grassy planes, and more earthy brown tones further down.
Blender does not have a specific heigh shader like Carrara does, but we can use a Texture Coordinate node, extracting the Z axis value from it and feeding that into a colour ramp node. The result is something like the render above.
Here’s what the Cycles shader looks like:
There are other approaches, and this does not cover how to give each height a distinct image texture, but perhaps we’ll cover how to do that in another article (when I figure out how it works).
Sometimes we need to scale an object in two axis at the same time. Think of making a cylinder thinner rather than shorter at the same time, which would happen if we’d scale the whole cylinder. However, scaling the X and then the Y axis is cumbersome during modelling.
Carrara has such an option: hold down S to scale, then notice the off-centre white squares that appear on every axis. Click and drag one of them, and two axis will be scaled at the same time.
The principle is just like using the middle square to scale all three axis of the object.
Notice that this trick only works in the Vertex Modelling room, not the Assembly room.
Thousand thanks to Diomede who told me about this gem in the Carrara Forum.
Did you know that Blender can create fabulous terrains from nothing but a greyscale height map? Of course it can!
In this article I’ll show you how to do it step by step. Grab your height map, fire up Blender and let’s get started.
Continue reading How to generate terrains from heigh maps in Blender
I was trying to import a texture into ZBrush from an object I had created and UV mapped in Blender. The above shows an example of such an object, looking all nice and dandy in Blender.
However, when I imported it into ZBrush (after figuring out how to do that), I was shocked to see how ZBrush displayed my texture. Take a look:
That’s neither funny nor necessary. I’ve tested the same principle in DAZ Studio, Carrara and Poser and they all played ball, displaying the texture without a hitch. Only Hexagon wanted the texture flipped vertically, but – just like Carrara – offered handy tick boxes as to which direction an imported texture needed to be mirrored.
Zbrush also has such an option, but it’s not next to where you select the texture.
In this article I’ll show you how to import and apply a texture in ZBrush, to an object that has been created and UV mapped in another application. Let’s do this step by step:
Continue reading How to apply textures in ZBrush
I’ve just learned that Blender has a wonderfully helpful function called Local View. This will isolate a selection, zoom in on it, and hide all other items in the scene. Using Local View again will bring back all items as they were seen before.
Thanks to Darrin Lile for this tip!
We can execute Local View with the default keyboard shortcut “Numpad /” (the division operator on your numpad) – but of course that only works if you have a numpad. On my Windows system I have one, but sadly on my Mac and my laptop I do not.
In this article I’ll show you how to map this shortcut to another key. Let’s get started!
Continue reading How to map a keyboard shortcut for Local View in Blender
Sometimes you experiment with keyframe animations, but frequently things can go wrong and you want to start afresh. Like clearing the sheet of paper you were sketching on. How do we do that to a timeline?
Easy: even though there’s no magic button for it, it can be done using the same technique in both Poser and DAZ Studio. Let’s take a look how.
At the bottom of the interface, you’ll find your timeline controls. Notice the frame counter in the middle there.
This means we’re on frame 1 of a 30 frame animation. To clear all keyframes of all objects, set the second number to 1. This will shorten the animation and thereby remove all keyframes from the timeline.
When you’re finished, set the animation duration to the correct length again and keep working.
In DAZ Studio we can do the same thing as in Poser: shorten the animation to become only one frame long. This is done in the timeline pane, in the field that reads Total (at the bottom left usually):
Set the total field to 1, then save your scene and close DAZ Studio. When you re-open it and load your scene again, all keyframes will be gone.
I know it’s a hack, and there’s probably a script out there somewhere. If I find it I’ll post a link to it here.