You may have seen the announcement about DAZ Central recently, DAZ’s new content management app. I’ve had a look at it as soon as I heard it and I thought I’d give you my impressions and opinions about the new software. I’ll also try to answer the question why it even exists, considering that we can already do what it does with other means.
Note that what I’m telling you in this article is based on observations, opinions and speculation rather than insider knowledge or hard facts. Call it “fan fiction” if you will. It’s more about sharing those thoughts and an attempt at explaining the often mysterious and unexplainable.
I get this question regularly, in which new users ask me something along the lines of, “can I make my own clothes for Genesis, and if so, how do I do this?” Little do most people know what a huge undertaking this is, so I thought I’d outline the principle in basic strokes, to give y’all an overview what’s involved in the process.
Note that I’m not a clothing creator myself, so I’m not the right person to ask about details. If I knew the ins and outs as well as some of the PA’s do, I’d sure share it with you as articles or videos, trust me.
Hence this is not a tutorial, but rather a very in-depth answer to a comment I frequently get, in the hopes that it will give readers an overview of the whole process, without getting lost in too many details.
I’ve had this question twice recently, and it’s another interesting nugget of information I thought I’d share with you: why do DAZ figures take so long to load? Especially the no-frills base figures? And why does this only happen for some users, and not for others?
The two guys who contacted me about this (Richard and Hans-Werner) both had large amounts of content installed on their systems, and the first logical question is, could a different organisation of the content speed up the figure loading process (i.e. move content to another drive, or split content into multiple folders). The answer is: sadly no.
Likewise, a faster drive won’t make much of a difference either, be that an SSD or an even faster M2 drive. Those are great of course, and they will speed up content load times in general, but the root issue of excessive load times with DAZ figures are morph files.
I was talking to a viewer recently about how he had made some changes in his DAZ Studio installation by manually moving folders, and as a result, nothing appeared to be working anymore: Install Manager didn’t show any content, DAZ Studio didn’t either, and a complete reset was in order. I mentioned briefly how this could all be reset during a Stardew Valley stream, and the information was so helpful that I thought I’d share it as a stand-alone clip.
When I was done editing, I thought perhaps some written instructions on this process might be a good idea, so here they are. This is all I know about how to completely reset your DAZ Studio Installation. Use it as a last resort if nothing seems to be working anymore and you’d like to start with a clean slate.
Note that these steps will remove ALL traces of ALL versions of DAZ Studio and Install Manager from your system!
I often get questions in regards to Animations in DAZ Studio. It’s a complex topic, because it combines “animating in general”, and “using the animation tools in DAZ Studio”. I recently described my animation workflow to a reader/viewer (Nkem) and thought this information might be useful to others too, so here’s what I said.
Most new users have an issue with the time it takes to both build the animation itself, but also the enormous time it takes to render an animation out. Something relatively short and simple like this is a good example:
Aside from the setup, rendering an animation frame should be treated differently to a still image. We need to live with compromises, because we’re rendering quite a few images (30 frames per second, on a 10 second animation, that’s 300 images). If each of them would take 6 hours to render, the whole thing would take about 75 days, or nearly 3 months. And that’s a very short animation.
Let’ see how we can trim that down to a few hours or less instead.
I get a question every now and then that goes something like this:
I bought content from (non-DAZ store), but I don’t know how to use it in DAZ Studio. Can you help?
It’s a complex situation, so perhaps I can shed some light on it. Let me explain the basics of what’s happening here, then we’ll move on to the process of making a compromise work.
First of all, transferring content between multiple 3D applications is a pain. You’d think for an advanced society like us there would be a “universal format” of all things 3D, but sadly that’s not the case. Every 3D professional is struggling with this fact. If you’ve ever tried formats like FBX, Collada, OBJ or Alembic, and have been disappointed with how they transfer content, then you’re not alone. They all work to a certain extent, but usually not perfectly.
Most 3D applications (DAZ Studio included) can import 3D objects from other applications and display them somewhat. The trouble lies not in the 3D shape of an object, but mostly in the material descriptions. These are very much dependent on the render engine for which the source object was intended. Hence, while the diffuse texture map is usually imported correctly, none of the other parameters are (such as bump, transparency, normal, etc). Furthermore, the material properties (like shiny, rough, translucent, emissive etc) are not working, because each render engine has different ways of describing such properties.
When you convert keyframes to an aniBlock, there’s a phenomenon that can happen in that the figure seems to sway left/right. It’s not something that is present in the keyframe animation, and I’m not entirely sure why this happens on conversion. The above shows how Darius 7 does his keyframe funny walk, while the bottom shows what happens after conversion to an aniBlock. In a word: terrible!
aniMate is a powerful tool, and in this article I’ll take a look on how to fix such shenanigans.
If you’ve ever tried to upload a G3 or G8 character to Mixamo, you’ll have noticed that it’s a complete and utter nightmare. Seemingly nothing will work in the plethora of export options, and a ton of time has been wasted globally, leading to anger, depression, frustration and many other feelings we as creatives cannot afford to indulge in (for our wellbeing’s sake).
I’m here to tell you that there is in fact a workaround, but it requires us to “think differently” about how to accomplish our goal of applying Mixamo animations to Genesis 3 and 8 characters. I’ll show you what works for me at this moment in time – technology is fickle, so by the time you read this, the process might very well have stopped working. Let’s think positive and hope it hasn’t 😉
In a recent stream I got accustomed with some of the options of the Octane Plugin for DAZ Studio. It’s easy to get brain overload with so many sliders! After some fiddling though, I discovered how to render the final image. However, there appear to be four different types of options on how to achieve that. These are:
Rather than read the manual, which I’m sure would explain what the difference between each option, I did a few test renders of the scene we built. Let’s see if we can visually detect any differences.
The renders below were done at 2000×1500 with the built-in denoiser, which kicks in at the end of the image. Until that point, minor grain is visible. These were saved as 16 bit PNG files (click to enlarge).
In this episode I’ll tell you much of what I know about the Environment Lighting in DAZ Studio. This technique is also known as Global Illumination. I’ll explain the meanings of such cryptic abbreviations as IBL and HDRI, and how all these pieces fall together to make your scenes look handsome.
This is a continuation of the previous episode about Mesh Lights. If you haven’t already, you can watch it here.