Over the holidays that ended 2020 and began 2021 I took some time to learn more about using Daz Studio as a CG Rendering Studio instead of the assistant plugin for Carrara I've been treating it as in the past.
It was right at the time when Daz 3D released Daz Studio 4.14 General Release.
Daz 3D always was keen on adding the latest from tech papers and strategies from the industry. Say what you will about Daz Studio and/or Daz 3D, but one thing is certain: their hearts are truly into this!
I know, I've been preaching my respect and support for Daz 3D for ten years now. Well I've been behind the scenes. I've worked with the developers of Carrara 8.0 and 8.5 and I've been witness to their store nearly since their beginning. Daz 3D always runs that forefront of technology and publishes incredibly high-end art from amazing CG artists - and they do it with heart!
Daz Studio 4.14 was the first General Release to include the new PBR real-time engine - Filament as well as some nifty inclusions of GoFigure's GraftMate (and KeyMate?) into the timeline, that latter of which being of the most interest to me, but a real-time render engines sounded fun too!
I have notes about my initial experiences in this holiday Daz Studio adventure in my Discovering Daz Studio article. What a Trip!
Yeah, I'm still a major Carrara fanboy - probably always will be, and for good reason - Carrara ROCKS!!!
But now I'm also on board with saying that Daz Studio ROCKS as well!
I'm right in the middle of learning Daz Studio in an all new light, when Daz 3D sends out an email about Octane Render and some new Octane Render Kit.
I actually ignored it for a bit because I knew I simply could not afford a subscription-ware product. But curiosity got the best of me and I started looking into it. There's actually a Daz Studio version of Octane that's entirely Free! Yes! So I grabbed that Octane Render Kit (called ORK! I love that name!) and signed up for the free OctaneRender and I've been just loving that ever since!
Click the logo on the left to visit my Free OctaneRender page
In the middle of all of this my friend, Mindsong, nudged me into breaking out my lip sync software and start teaching Rosie how to speak.
I was deep into my Daz Studio adventure at the time and working with my new Rosie 8 figure. Misty Carrara, from the Carrara forums has created presets for Genesis 3 and 8 males and females, and are available at Renderosity. I have links HERE for them.
So I used Veronica Wr8th (Misty's G8F Preset) in Carrara and used Mimic Pro for Carrara to get Rosie 8 lip syncing.
Although Fenric says that it doesn't work on Genesis, I used his BVH/PZ2 Exporter for Carrara to export the results as BVH files, which work nicely, but don't export morphs - so those I had to do by hand. This is not a limitation of his plugin but of the BVH format, which is really only meant to transport rigging/skeletal information.
Maybe I'll consider uploading some of those tests for posterity. We'll see.
Along with lip syncing, I was also trying to nail down hair that would work on Rosie 8. I bought and love Linday's dForce Classic Long and Curly Hair for Genesis 8 Females, but was so used to Carrara and working with Carrara dynamic hair that it was a bit of a burden how much time it took to simulate in Daz Studio compared to Carrara.
I wasn't (and am not) judging. This is entirely different tech and an entirely different thing altogether. Besides, I think Linday's hair looks a Lot better.
The other obstacle I was trying to hurdle was the fact that I own so little Genesis 8 products, since it's not compatible with Carrara officially. Why would I buy something that isn't supported when there's so much available for things that Are compatible, right?
Well I bought a bunch of stuff during my adventure so I could test all of this stuff. Aeon Soul helped out a bunch, putting literally Everything on sale over the holidays. It felt good to grab up so much Aeon Soul that I've been lacking due to compatibility. Many other artists as well. I got some really good stuff!
Image on right - Rosie 8 wearing a kit-bash of Aeon Sole's Legend with customized AlphaKini
I'm still planning to progress forward with Genesis 8 and the new 8.1 along the way, but in the end, I've decided to go back to using Genesis 1 along with Genesis 2 and 3 and generations 3 and 4 (M3/4, V3/4, etc.,) with Rosie 5 so that I have all of my work on animation files, clothing, skin shaders, etc., to work with. I have so many years invested in these generations, and I truly enjoy working with Genesis 1.
Thanks to Genesis Generation X2 (GenX2), we can add any morph (Any Morph!!!) from generations 3, 4, 6 and/or 7 to Genesis (generation 5), and we can also add from any of these generations to any of the Genesis generations, except 8 since the developer, Dimension3D, is no longer with us :(
You are missed, my friend!
Rosie 8 did Not make this an easy decision, except for how few costumes she has and how few animation files I have work with her. But she Is adorable!
My new aim is to take advantage of both Carrara and Daz Studio for all of their strengths and work back and forth between them.
On this heading, I made a Daz Studio version of Rosie 5 by going back and forth between Carrara and DS adjusting the morph dials by hand. If I'd have built her in Daz Studio in the first place, I could just open her in Carrara. But since she was designed and tweaked in Carrara, there was no simple means of porting her over to Studio.
By the time I was done, and started testing her expressions, etc., it hit me: I had to do some mesh editing on her base figure to get her to work due to the Manga shape of her head. I was able to make these changes using the Daz Studio <> Hexagon Bridge and get her Millennuim Teeth and EYEdeas 3+ eyes ported over and installed, shaded, etc., and there she was - Rosie 5 in Daz Studio!
It was just as I was finishing her final touches when I decided that I really liked Rosie 8's slightly less stylized appearance.
So I started from scratch in Daz Studio and got to work making Rosie 5.5 using Rosie 8 as a reference.
Rosie 8's face is mostly based on Thorne/Handspan Studio's Lara character for Genesis 8 Female. I have no means to port a G8F morph to Genesis 1, so I decided to use another Thorne character as my base, Ysabeau 6!
I kept the new design nearly the same as Rosie 5 original, but less stylized and Ysabeau's face is dialed up a lot more this time.
I used some clever morph use from other generations to adjust her teeth down to size, shape and position and am still using Genesis 1 eyes, although I'll likely be adding the EYEdeas 3+ eyes to this new version as well - possibly even Millennium Teeth.
The current version of Rosie 5.5 is mostly optimized for Iray, fully optimized for OctaneRender 2020 DS and opens nicely in Carrara as well, where I've set her up with the latest working systems I've created for Rosie 5 - the hair with forces and collision objects, enhanced shaders, etc., so she's currently an entirely cross-platform (I call it Cross-Technology) figure!
Further, I've used Transfer Utility in Daz Studio to turn Linday's dForce Classic Long and Curly hair into a Genesis 1 figure that is otherwise the same - works with all presets and settings, etc., from the original package - and it works great on the new Rosie.
VWD has been busy working on clothing as well as simulating soft-body tissue on Rosie herself. I've been learning a Lot about All of these things in the last very short time span - which is why I've been so internet silent of late.
And our first look at the new Rosie 5.5
She's not entirely 'mission complete' yet, but she's really close - still a few kinks to work out for faithful, consistent animation duties.
This whole Bridging of Technology that Mindsong and I are on has inspired this project, which couldn't have happened at a better time for me.
There are issues with Rosie 5 and 8 that have mostly been resolved already with Rosie 5.5, and she's helping us to ever drive forward with what we were intending to do in the first place, simply by finding solutions for her. Big Win!
I owe a lot to him for nudging me and opening my eyes to more and more ways to push this whole thing forward into positive directions and taking advantage of the really great tools that we've had all along - and will be stepping into brand new ones as we go!
Really looking forward to all of this!
Content Creation Tools and VWD
This whole bridging of technology across generations of figure and through several choices of software and render engines wouldn't be nearly as fun without the incredible power, flexibility and sheer possibilities offered through Daz Studio's Content Creation Tools and Virtual World Dynamics Cloth and Hair Simulator.
One of the most wonderful things about going back to using Genesis 1 is the fact that so many products made for other figures work well with it - male or female. Sure, I have quite a few Clone products to help with this, but even with just the Auto-fit technology built into Daz Studio and Carrara 8.5 Pro Genesis 1 is an amazingly compatible figure!
With Daz 3D's Transfer Utility, I've been loading in things that are made for Genesis 8 and making them compatible with Genesis 1 - even that amazing Classic Long and Curly Hair - and the morphs, textures and dForce still work beautifully!
VWD is So Fast! I Love it and wouldn't ever want to be without it again. Yes, I use it to simulate cloth. But I also use it to take clothing that doesn't convert well, no matter what we try, and fit it to my characters almost as if it was made for them in the first place - often even better than that!
Mindsong has also just taught me how to use it to simulate soft-body tissue in the figure itself, taking this adventure to whole new levels!
More on this page, and further pages on this to come - Stay Tuned!