You've just stumbled onto one of the easiest ways to
get your feet wet with making 3D computer graphics
that feature realistic human figures.
DAZ products have a beautiful modular approach: you can
start with just the bare necessities, and add more bells and whistles later.
DAZ Studio is where it all begins. This is the main program
for your computer that loads all your figures, textures,
props & scenery, lights & cameras, allows you to place everything
exactly where you want, and renders the final images and
Daz Studio works with both its own native figures & props,
but also those of the popular Poser 3D system.
...And it's FREE??!?!
As of this writing (March 2006), Daz Studio can be downloaded
for free! DAZ hopes to be able to continue to let the main
program be free for as long as we support them through purchasing
their other products and add-ons. Do check them out before
this offer expires (and maybe it won't have to):
Next, you will want some human figures.
DAZ's most popular
figures are the very versatile Michael 3.0 and Victoria 3.0:
These figures bend at all the joints, allowing you to pose
each one into any position your heart desires. There are also
many "morphs" that allow you to change the expressions on their
faces by arching eyebrows, smiling or frowning, opening eyes
and mouth wide or shutting them tight. Try it out!
As of this writing, the Michael 3.0 and Victoria 3.0 base products
are also free. This great deal may very well not last forever,
so check it out while you still can....
...All this free stuff... so where's the catch?
Well, if you've enjoyed DAZ so far, you'll probably want some
of the following add-ons, which allow you to begin to show
your support for DAZ financially $$$:
The head & body morphs allow you to change the ethnicity, weight,
and overall look of Michael 3.0 and Victoria 3.0, creating a wide
variety of characters out of the same basic figure. You could then
stick three Michaels in one scene, and have them all look like
completely different people interacting with one another. It's
even possible to turn Micheal and Victoria into aliens or other
creatures with these... lots of fun.
Clothing is one category of add-on that is very worthwhile.
If you check out places like
renderosity.com, you will find a lot
of free items of clothing to put on your figures.
But reading the fine print can save you a lot of hassle and
Conforming vs. Dynamic
These two words do not mean the same thing. If you're a beginning
DAZ Studio user like me, you may find "conforming" clothes a LOT
easier to work with. Once an item of conforming clothing is
"fitted" to a character figure like Michael 3.0 or Victoria 3.0
(which is as easy as selecting the item and clicking a button),
the clothing will bend and move along with the character wearing
it. Also, if you have used the Head and Body morphs to change
the shape or size of your character, the clothing will automatically
adjust as well.
A lot of the free stuff that may catch your eye isn't really
a complete item in and of itself either. For example, if the fine print
mentions "for the V3 MCD", this is short-hand meaning that you first
need "Victoria 3.0's Morphing Cocktail
Dress" from DAZ, after which you can apply the free texture
to change the look of that dress.
So keep in mind, when you buy an add-on from DAZ, like the MCD,
you will in many cases also find lots of free extras to download
that allow you to change the look of it in ways you may not have
Here is the basic MCD:
And here is the MCD after several of my favourite free MCD textures
have been applied:
Hair and skin textures are other elements you will probably want
to look for to give your figures as realistic a look as possible.
You can check out a whole additional page of hair options
Need inspiration for posing your figures and getting the expressions
on their faces just right? Poses and expressions can be independently
saved as "pose" files, and shared, traded and sold over the internet.
Have a look around, and you may find some cool stuff.
What would the finished result be without props and scenery?
There's plenty of stuff out there.
There are many other basic figures from DAZ and other places that
work in DAZ Studio, from humanoids of all types and ages,
to animals and fantasy creatures.
It's so easy to dive into all this stuff. Check out DAZ Studio,
and begin to realize your own artistic vision....