Discovering Daz Studio
When I bought Carrara 7 Pro, back in 2010 Daz Studio was already a formidable design, pose and render suite and was offered in three versions - Free, Advanced and Pro, where Advanced and Pro versions increased the number of high-end plugins and tools (and likely content) that comes with it.
The basic, free version still had the 3Delight render engine and the magical interface designed to be fluid, allowing artists to shape their experience to match how they wished to make art.
When Daz Studio 4.0 Pro was released, Daz 3D announced it to be free... yep... absolutely Free! Not only that, but they had bought out the incredible plugins that made their previous Pro version an absolute Powerhouse for content creators and enthusiasts who always wanted to step out and do more than just what's available for download. These plugins are now a part of the free Daz Studio Pro!
Daz Studio 4.0 and Daz 3D's next new 3D figure generation were not only released together, they were developed around one another! So with the free Daz Studio we also got Genesis and the power to do literally anything we wanted with Genesis. More on that first Genesis figure in my Genesis 1 Rocks page
Carrara users were polled by the developers at Daz 3D regarding a next gen figure, then called Unimesh. I was one who voted for Carrara compatibility. I'm in this for animating 3D figures, and if Daz 3D is releasing new ones, I want in!
I got my wish!
Carrara 8.5 Upgrade was released with incredible support for the new Genesis platform along with a whole slew of important and wonderful fixes, changes, additions and improvements.
Deep into being a Carrara user didn't mean that we could ignore Daz Studio, however. Along with the release of Genesis, Daz 3D incorporated tools into Studio that made an experience with Genesis truly magical for anyone wishing to modify or create custom objects for Genesis. Automated processes backed by the power to go in and tweak the results by hand - and for the most part with basic things, the automation did a good enough job.
Carrara being a Daz 3D stepchild, there are plenty of things that never got updated past that initial release of Carrara 8.5 and many lingering nuisances remain from previous versions as well.
I never really let these things bring me down since Carrara, for what it does is an amazing suite for doing nearly anything 3D - and the animation tools are spot-on-Awesome! Nice and fast render engine to accompany those animation tools make Carrara still the software I would recommend to anyone wanting to make CG Movies - especially if they're going to do this by themselves!
That said, I was one of those Carrara folks intrigued enough with the new Genesis that I couldn't help but try out these tools in Daz Studio. I was doing these things to accelerate my experience in Carrara - period.
To this day, many of my Carrara-using friends think of Daz Studio as a plugin for Carrara, and it excels at being that. With the addition of just a few plugins for Carrara, we can utilize Daz Studio to perform a multitude of things to just about any figure or prop to better our overall experience.
We can get very impressive conversions from BVH motion files into aniBlocks, which can then be used in Carrara via the aniBlock Importer for Carrara.
We could also simply save the result as an animated Daz Studio Pose file (DUF format), but I've never liked how incredibly long it takes to import those into Carrara. They just take forever.
Besides, GoFigure's aniMate 2 is great for linking together separate aniBlocks into a single sequence, with a plethora of great tools to tweak nearly anything with any animation.
Check out my aniMate 2 page for more on that wonderful animation toolbox.
I also used Daz Studio with its Hexagon Bridge to add new morphs to things like clothing and hair. Just send an item to Hexagon, make a tweak to the mesh, send it back to Studio, at which point Morph Loader Pro kicks in and asks if we want to create a morph using these changes to the mesh. Give it a name and we've just added a new morph!
So I do this over and over for as many new morphs as I need. Save the final figure in Studio for use in Carrara.
Studio also excels at turning any mesh into conforming cloth or hair for any of the supported figures. Again, this can be entirely automated if we don't hold extra special needs for this thing, and we're not planning to make a living from selling it, etc., It just plain works - out of the box.
I've used Daz Studio like this - as a plugin as long as I've had it - ever since the very first release of version 4.0. I've had earlier copies of Daz Studio, but mainly just to try it out of curiosity. It was free and capable of doing amazing things - so why not?
Not long ago, as of this writing, someone posted in one of my threads in the Daz 3D forum that the Beta of Daz Studio 4.14 has a new real-time PBR engine called "Filament", and was planning to try using it for making movies, etc.,
Intrigued, I had to try it.
Filament doesn't like transparency maps, so long hair and many other things simply won't look right until this is corrected. But while I'm here, I might as well try Iray with my shiny new graphics card!
Loved it! Slow... but I really like the result.
Not long after trying the Beta, Daz 3D announced the General release of Daz Studio 4.14, so I installed that and started playing around attempting to make a Rosie 8 (based on Genesis 8 Female) and started collecting what I need for that.
Very shortly after that, my daily email from Daz 3D was saying something about Octane Render. OctaneRender is an amazing PBR engine with a lot of horsepower and can leverage system RAM to assist the GPU - something that Iray (at least Daz Studio's Iray) cannot currently do. In fact, if the entire scene doesn't 'fit' into the GPU's own memory, Iray will not use the card at all - not even as an assist!
This Octane-talking email was advertising Valzheimer's new Octane Render Kit (ORK), which simplifies the use of Octane within Daz Studio. You see, any render engine foreign to the native software will require all new materials to be built. It's a nature of the beast.
Valzheimer's ORK (I love that name!) does just that. She includes an exhaustive wealth of complete shaders as well as conversion presets to turn existing Iray materials into OctaneRender shaders (while leaving the Iray materials intact!). It'll even convert 3Delight materials, but will convert them from 3Delight to Iray materials in the process - just an FYI on that.
Another thing that Valzheimer includes in her kit are four, very well made video presentations that start off introducing the full kit and its contents, then teach us how to use the contents, then how to step beyond the realm of the kit to do more with Octane, and finally she challenges herself to do a conversion of one of her own pieces of art that she had previously rendered in Iray - and she does this live, with the clock ticking! It's extraordinary!
For more on Octane, check out my Free OctaneRender page
I also have the four videos that come with the kit posted there ;)
In fact, check out my main Daz Studio page for more about things like Daz 3D Bridges to other 3D software, General Daz Studio information, and adjoining pages on
I'm really jazzed about the new Daz Studio and will be populating this thing with more pages and articles as I progress - so stay tuned!
I've always had a dickens of a time trying to key frame animate in Daz Studio, and my new experience with 4.14 was no different. I just don't get it. Why make things so difficult?
The thing is, my hardship in this is really only due to a lack of experience with the software doing such things. The more I investigated the more I found a rich and powerful system that just needed to be discovered without expecting it to be just like the software I'm used to.
I'm still very new with Daz Studio for these things, so I'm still finding a lot of things to be... well sometimes I just scratch my head. It's powerful. It's available. Since I own the paid version of aniMate 2, it has all of those amazing tools as well, and now it also has dForce and I own VWD Cloth and Hair dynamic simulator, so Daz Studio really has a Lot going for it for someone like me - especially the way I have it set up.
Having a great time in the new Daz Studio, one day I needed to go back into Carrara (which was patiently waiting for me as I took time away to learn some Daz Studio) and I was blown away at how Fast it is to do everything in Carrara! LOL
Perhaps that's due to my being in Carrara for ten years now, but manipulating my way through 3D space, placing, aiming and adjusting cameras and lights, rendering... everything just feels FAST in Carrara.
I'm probably not being fair here. It took me a good while to learn what to do in Carrara as well. The wonderful Carrara Discussion Forum at Daz 3D truly helped me get on the right track in Carrara, time after time after time. I asked a Lot of questions. Now I'm always eager to answer them if I'm able.
Okay, I'm going to edit this text with real information when I continue this. I'll be adding images and examples, etc.,
I just really wanted to get a start on a page that documents my Discovery of Daz Studio, especially after using it as nothing more than an assistant plugin for so many years. It truly excels at that, but is capable of being So Much More to any experience, no matter the software used. More on That idea when I return!
Have a Question? Just Ask!
I love to help others as best I can. This is a rather broad topic: CG Filmmaking, so my articles on any particular topic may not answer your specific question.
Most of the questions directed to me are regarding Carrara or How did I do this?
For these sorts of things, post your question at the Carrara Discussion Forum (or another appropriate category) at Daz 3D.com forums, and if I don't see it right away, someone else might. They are such a friendly and helpful bunch! I've learned so much from that forum over the years!
For a more immediate question directed to me, log into those forums and Send me a PM!