This my introductory post on DAZ3D. In this post I will not specifically show you how to USE it. That will be coming in the up coming tutorials. Instead I want to introduce you to a few of the terminologies and product likes that I found confusing when I first started using it.
I have been aware of the existence of DAZ 3D and Daz Studio for some time. I also knew of Poser before it and briefly messed with Poser. Until last year though I hadn't really considered DAZ 3D a tool useful for my own personal project ideas. Since that time I have spent thousands of steemit earned dollars buying products to increase what I can do with Daz Studio. As with most things I purchase I tend to wait for deals and purchase at that time, so if I would have bought these things outside of sales it would easily have cost me anywhere from 3 to 10 times what I actually paid for it.
Daz Studio allows you to place and manipulate 3D models that are available for it and manipulate them a great deal. This includes scenes, props, weapons, PEOPLE, monsters, animals, lighting, etc. It is commonly used to produce tons of static single image are of high quality. I frequently see it used for ads, posters, book covers, etc. It does have some possible animation potential, but that is very limited. What it has become extremely versatile at is clothing, and creating characters.
I was not really interested in the style of images it seemed to be mostly making for my games. It always seemed to be focusing on centerfold style designs, and the clothes always had lots of holes, slits, etc in places for female clothing to further illustrate this centerfold style approach. So I didn't really think of it in those terms. It was not the tool for me, or so I thought.
So as I continued my Unity 3D game development plans I began making a list of assets I wanted for my dream game I wish to make. It is fantasy and needs a lot of different people and variety. I soon found my wishlist for Unity filled with things like the following:
At the time I was pretty amazed I could get all of those rigged characters complete with animations for those prices. That seemed like a great deal I simply had to manage to save up the money and buy them a little bit at a time since Unity is very slow about how often stuff goes on sale on its asset store.
In hindsight I am glad I couldn't afford it right away as odds are I'd end up not using any of that. The characters that Daz Studio produces are of much higher quality, and can be infinitely tweaked to my desire. The biggest problem with DAZ 3d is that you have to buy clothes, hair, and different figures separately. At least that seemed like a problem to me at first.
I also wasn't certain how friendly it would be with Unity until I spoke to a fellow developer from back in my Bioware Neverwinter Nights days. He told me not only can you export them and they work great with Unity's mechanim, they also can be modified using some tools to become even more game friendly. It was his urging that made me take the DAZ Studio plunge. Please note though I do most of my work in Unity because I have so much invested in it, you can also use these characters in Unreal, and other game engines. If games are not your thing but movies and such are you can use them in Blender, Maya, 3D Studio Max, etc and go to town making animated movies and CGI special effects.
To get started with DAZ Studio costs you nothing, as they will give you some free things that are enough to start having fun immediately. They know they have a good product, and all they need to do is get you hooked and soon you'll be wanting more clothes, people, monsters, scenery, and hair products. Giving you all of these things for free is very much a lost leader for them.
So visit their website at https://www.daz3d.com/ and simply click their Get Started Here button.
Once you register you will have access to quite a few starting figures, clothing, hair, and scenes to mess around with.
Before you BUY anything
At this point I've told you how to get the free starter assets. Before you purchase anything you will want to know some things concerning licensing, and then I also have some tips on how to start saving yourself a lot of money immediately. The money saving tips were given to me before I purchased anything and I am glad they were.
Licensing: If you are going to make still images, or video you can do that to your hearts content and even sell your works to your hearts content commercially without needing to purchase additional licenses. If you are like me and eventually would like to produce some games using these assets there are some things to know.
If you are making sprites that are themselves 2D like some I happened to make yesterday then you can still do that without any additional licensing. Here are some examples of some I made yesterday as I was kicking around some ideas in my head for some roguelike style visual appearance so all I needed was 2D sprite atlases and no morphing, etc.
From what I understand I can use those art assets in a game without needing to purchase a game developers license. This is not why I made those as I do finally own the Daz Originals Indie Game Developer License.
So if you want to use the 3D models in your game, the morphs, and all of the great 3D designs you need a Game Developer License. They come in two varieties. They have an Indie Game Developer license which is only sufficient if you make less than $100,000 in a year. They then have a Commercial Game Developer license if you make more than that.
I believe knowing these license fees up front is important if you are considering using DAZ Studio and don't want to be blindsided by it later. As with anything on DAZ there are ways to get these prices for a lot lower than they normally are. It just requires checking to see when things go on sale and then patience. I got my DAZ Originals Indie License for 50% off. If I would have waited just one week longer I could have gotten it for 75% off. I didn't realize one of their huge annual sales was just around the corner. This is a big deal because the Indie licenses normal price is $500, and the Commercial is $2000. Those may seem high, but with the capabilities of Daz Studio they are substantially less than I would have spent on the Unity Asset Store for less quality, less flexibility, etc.
This was me searching for Game Developer so it shows me the licenses. You'll see that one of those is currently 30% off. Also note that none of those are DAZ Original and there are many of them. I will explain this momentarily.
SAVING YOURSELF SOME MONEY IMMEDIATELY: If you are planning on buying ANYTHING on this site there is a very good chance becoming a Platinum Club + member will immediately save you more than it costs to be a member. The more you purchase the greater the savings. You can pay quarterly which is how I started out and I did it several times, and I'd let it lapse for a few months here and there. Recently I caught a great SALE on those memberships when I happened to have the money and I simply purchased an annual membership. These memberships have saved me a tremendous amount of money.
Remember those Game Developer Licenses I was mentioning above. Well at least the Daz Original one is subject to that 30% off listed in the membership. So if you are planning on buying either license then signing up at least for the quarterly PC+ membership will immediately save you more than the cost of the membership.
What is Daz Original?
The website assumes you know a lot of things when you start out that are not very clear. There is so much stuff for sale here that a lot of these things don't make sense. I want to help you with some of the things that confused me the most as I was starting out.
If you click the SHOP button at the top of the website it will take you to basically a place that you can browse everything in the store and there will be banners for current specials, programs, etc at the top of the screen.
The specials will scroll by and look something like this:
If you scroll below these you'll get to your browser for the actual products:
You can see things I wish listed there indicated by the little yellow hearts over the products. I have begun doing this extensively so I can keep track of things I want that I have a license for or do not need one for.
Now look at the FILTERS at the top. I have it hiding things I already own which it does by default. I can check ONLY SHOW PC+ and it will show me only things I get an immediate discount on for being a PC+ member. I several times a week (at least once) will come here and change the SORT BY to Lowest to Highest pricing rather than newest. I do this so I can make sure not to miss the FREE things they give out each week.
In this case though I want to explain what it means by Daz Originals. If you click on the Artist drop down you will see something like this:
You'll notice Daz Originals is at the top. So if we check that it will only show Daz originals which is what was being referred to in the PC+ benefits. It also happens to be what my Game Developer license is for.
You should see that there are other artists listed there. If you are thinking they are a clearing house for many people to produce new clothes, people, figures, etc that work with this product and sell them on this store. You would be correct.
You'll likely often want to use something by another artist. Sometimes the partner with Daz Originals in which case the license I have covers that. This is kind of like the artist working and making an officially sponsored product.
In the example above you can see in the artist section Daz Originals, Silver, and Raziel are listed. Those are the artists involved in making this product. Since it lists Daz Originals my license will cover it.
Most artists do not have their own game development license and I am not 100% clear on what the use case is for those circumstances. An increasing number of them are starting to have them. I do have the Daz Originals license, but there are a few more for my own personal needs that I will be getting in the future. These needs may not be for you, but for a fantasy game and my plans they are hard to say no to as they add so much to the tool.
Another artist I will be getting a license for is RawArt...
They make amazing creature morphs and add-ons which I already own quite a few of. I've come to the conclusion that if it is humanoid shaped I can likely make any creature I pretty much want in Daz Studio. If it needs tweaking it can always be pulled into Blender or some other 3D program.
The other one I will likely get is Zev0
For my purposes I can accomplish most of my project Ideas by adding those. Zev0 adds tools for control over the teeth and more refined look there, aging morphs, different skin controls, etc. Things that add a lot of details and a lot of morphs to your figures.
For me another confusing thing to learn was about the figures. There is a lot of assuming that you know what they are referring to. Due to this, I will hopefully save you some time by explaining what I have been able to determine over time.
As I indicated DAZ 3D products have been around for a long time going back to Poser, Bryce 3D, etc. Thus, there have been characters for these for a long time. They are increasingly becoming more detailed and more versatile. This usually requires new technology.
In the time line of things on this site I will show you what I can about what these NAMES mean.
There are a number of things it is nice to know about when you are getting started. The generations can be a pain when you have clothing or hair that work with one generation but not another. This can be a tad annoying. Fortunately there are some purchases that you can make that will fix this. You can FIT clothing, and hair from most lower generations to the upper ones by right clicking on the hair in your scene and telling it to FIT TO the figure you want. However, what if I want to fit Genesis 3 Female armor onto a Genesis 2 Female figure I have that looks more like what I want? What if there is some great new Genesis 3 outfit, or hair but most of my library is Genesis or Genesis 2?
For those circumstances I recommend the Clone products:
These assets are also great for fitting male clothing to a female, or female clothing to a male when dealing with the generations where they have the two separated. Often if a piece of clothing will look fine on male or female you can just purchase one version and skip buying the gender specific versions.
I also recommend getting the various morph and evolution packs for the models as you can as they will give you more and more ability to shape the bodies and faces.
Keep an eye open for bundles as well, they can save you some money when there are enough things in the bundle you are interested in. Such as the following which includes both of the above two packages with some savings.
If you want to make creatures there are often creature morph packs and other things that let you quickly create Orcs, Goblins, Undead, Aliens, etc. There are more specific morphs such as reptiles, Bearmen, etc in other packs. This is partially why I own a bunch of RawArts products and will need to get a game developer license for myself.
Conclusion / Porn / NSFW / ETC
This has turned into a long tutorial and review as I did have a lot of information I needed to cover before making further tutorials. It is likely that all my tutorials (or at least most) will have an NSFW tag and thus be initially hidden. The details of the human anatomy in these by default can be detailed at some times. It does not show male genitalia other than a hump for most cases. Though it CAN show that if that is your interest. I suspect a great deal of the online 3D porn was partially created using this tool. If you want male genitalia, or even female genitalia to affix to female models that the texture or a morph do not show it. You must buy a PRO bundle of a figure in the corresponding generation. If you buy say the Michael 5 Pro bundle it has a little line at the end of it's content list:
Michael 5 Anatomical elements. Once you have that you can add Male Genitalia to any Genesis (generation 5) based figure. Note you can get this from a different male Pro bundle if you prefer just make sure a line is listed in the contents like that.
This is also true of the female pro bundle. It will provide a geograft female genitalia that can be useful if you want a more anatomically correct figure and you are working with one that in that region looks more like a barbie doll.
I suspect most people will not need any of this. I wanted to include HOW to do this as I only recently learned myself. I have no projects planned that need this feature, but I wanted completeness. You have to get a Pro bundle for Genesis 2, and 3 as well if you want these features available in those generations.
I actually purchased a pro bundle for Genesis 3 Male yesterday. It is not pretty, but it will make nice bad guys and potentially some playable characters for one team and it gave me the male anatomy for Genesis 3 if I ever decide I need it.
I hope this helps some of you. Now you will also know why some of my future tutorials may be tagged with NSFW.
As always, thank you for your time.