Anybody using daz for traditional art?

bjebenstreitbjebenstreit Posts: 0
edited December 1969 in The Commons

On my loooooonnnnnggggg quest to learn to draw I've reached a stage in which I'm fed up with drawing stiff stick figures with all the natural grace of ancient Egyptian wall paintings. So I turned to using pictures for reference and even done the occasional quick study with life drawings.

On the other hand though, looking for a *specific* pose on deviantart, google or whatever is a pain in the lower backside. And for live models... even the patience of beloved family members is not endless. The good old wooden manikin... let's just say, trying to attach wings to it and pose it in a flight pose is... not easy.

Thus I have begun to consider using a modelling software like daz (or Poser - are we allowed to mention that program here?) for what is stated as the intended purpose: as a reference tool for traditional artists.

I downloaded daz and... How shall I put it? It comes with a steep learning curve, does it not? It may be free to use - but it will cost at least a lot of learning time. And possible the price of add-ons.

What is keeping me back from investing the time - and possibly money - is that I'm not yet sold on the merit of using this or other programs as a reference tool for traditional art. Online searches among artist communities were luke-warm about the use in traditional art as best, downright contemptous and condemming at worst.

On the other hand: those comments often refered to *much* older versions of those programs. And from the comments I assume that many traditional artists haven't been able to use those programs successfully because they haven't invested in learning the basics.

So, I'm looking here for feedback: are programs like daz or Poser useful for the traditional artist? Is so - how important have they been to you? And (hopefully I'm not getting in trouble for asking this) is a free to use program like daz as useful for it as a pricey program like Poser?

As I said, I am looking for a reference for traditional art. I don't see myself going to digital art anytime soon. (Not that I don't like digital art - it just isn't my cup of tea at the present time to make any.)

Any feedback or suggestions are welcome.


  • SzarkSzark Posts: 9,061
    edited December 1969

    I can't draw to save my life so I am no help but I will say that you have not said anything wrong at all. We have a Poser section here. :)

    I would have thought that using a posed figure as reference isn't a bad idea.. Plus if you look hard enough you should find many free poses. Plus it is not as though you need skin textures and the like as the grey figure we have in DS4.5 would be good enough as a reference surely?

  • FSMCDesignsFSMCDesigns Posts: 1,345
    edited December 1969

    I feel you are putting to much thought into it. While i can see the merit of using either software to help in figure posing for drawing/sketching/painting references, I doubt many are using it for that. When i was studying art in school, there were tons of books on the techniques, these would probably be more useful in learning how to rather than any of these apps. Also keep in mind, the characters for these apps are not 100% realistic in their posing. You would be better off looking at real photos. It's funny, i look at real photos when posing my digital characters, LOL.

    as for the learning curve, every software app has a learning curve, best to just dive in and figure it out rather than contemplating it.

  • Outré LimitsOutré Limits Posts: 49
    edited December 1969

    Absolutely. Poser actually got its start as a replacement for live models for artists.

  • PendraiaPendraia Posts: 2,535
    edited December 1969

    Maybe this might be useful

    There are some who use it as a reference...there was a thread not so long ago. Sorry I don't have a link.

  • GhostofMacbethGhostofMacbeth Posts: 650
    edited December 2012

    Yes, I have been using it for that for years. I started using Poser because I got tired of hoping up and down and the mirror and scribbling with the wrong hand to get a reference. You can use it for that fairly quickly. Even if it is just the base model with nothing else.

    Post edited by GhostofMacbeth on
  • mrsparkymrsparky Posts: 168
    edited December 1969

    Well if you're cash rich and time poor, the title below is a defacto guide for traditional artists.
    Even the likes of Jack Vettriano have used it before.

    The Illustrator's Figure Reference Manual

    Both the book and what poser/studio does is the same thing. They provide a visual reference for artists.
    Indeed thats what poser was originally designed for.

    Also don't let anyone say thats wrong, because it's not. It's another tool like using a wooden manikin, or a life model. It's how you use and what YOU create thats the thing.

    Personally I'll use things like that book, poser, life models, manikins, photography etc etc to get the result I want. Heres a recent example...

    Thats a 6ftx6ft Vue render printed on chromavision (see through on 1 side) for an exhibition centre.
    The other part is it's tail so it looks like theres a massive dino behind the wall. Yea I could've painted it, which with traditional media would've taken weeks, but I figured let the tech do the work

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  • carrie58carrie58 Posts: 959
    edited December 1969

    I got into useing DS for similiar reasons wanting a model ,I sculpt in polymer clay ,and while they are more caricatureish,I want to see proper (or at least close to ) bending.I have to admit to not haveing picked up any clay since starting to play with DS though .......not enough time in the day to squeeze everything in to.But the plus side is I do have a number of characters I've created who are waiting to come to life in clay ......someday ...

  • JoeQuickJoeQuick Posts: 878
    edited December 1969

    when i got into the hobby it started out as a reference tool for drawing. as time went on, i've found myself spending more and more time making content and less and less time drawing it

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  • Mr LeongMr Leong Posts: 304
    edited December 2012

    My original intent for Daz Studio was for using their base characters (Michael 4, Victoria 4, Freak 4) as artist's manikins. They're great for getting custom poses in unique camera angles which you normally wouldn't see in real life, like those action poses in comic books.

    I'm fed up with drawing stiff stick figures with all the natural grace of ancient Egyptian wall paintings.

    I downloaded daz and... How shall I put it? It comes with a steep learning curve, does it not? It may be free to use - but it will cost at least a lot of learning time. And possible the price of add-ons.

    Your Daz manikins can also have the natural grace of ancient Egyptian wall paintings too. You'll have to put in the time to learn how to pose them. The little things in a pose make a huge difference. Yes, there is a price for add-ons, but I see it as customizing the software with only contents that I want and need.

    What is keeping me back from investing the time - and possibly money - is that I'm not yet sold on the merit of using this or other programs as a reference tool for traditional art.

    You've said you've already spent a long time trying to learn how to draw. Spending more time learning something new would only be a benefit. When you're starting out, I would suggest taking notes on what is found where and how you got something to work. So the next time you want to do it, you won't have to waste time trying to figure it out again.

    So, I'm looking here for feedback: are programs like daz or Poser useful for the traditional artist?

    Depends. For me as a budding comic book artist it's one the best things ever for getting dynamic poses. For others who don't need extreme poses and camera angles, it may be more of a hassle to learn.

    And (hopefully I'm not getting in trouble for asking this) is a free to use program like daz as useful for it as a pricey program like Poser?

    For your needs, I would say Daz Studio has so many features included which you may never even use.

    Post edited by Mr Leong on
  • RarethRareth Posts: 1,457
    edited December 1969

    traditional art, fantasy art, sci-fi art, pinup art, DAZ does it all...

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  • JabbaJabba Posts: 1,133
    edited December 1969

    Ah yes, contempt and condemnation are never in short supply, hehehe, good old "art snobbery" strikes again... It's a bit of a Catch22 - you're "cheating" if you use anything rendered as a base for painting, and on the other side, the render merchants consider you a "cheater" if you enhance a render via painting.

    For my digital art, I do it all the time (I only paint digitally, I used to be pretty good with pastels but too messy and not enough space to keep it up etc etc)... many of my pin-ups are DAZ Genesis renders that have been painted post render (I find using a spatter brush on the smudge tool can give me similar results to blending with pastels).

    No matter how good a custom morph is, they still fall short of looking exactly like a well-known face e.g. a celebrity (anonymous faces can be a lot more convincing, as we have nothing to compare them with other than general human proportions).

    What would take me four or five days to paint from scratch, I can do in a single day by using a render as a starting point.

    Free tip for anyone wanting to digitally paint a render - In general terms, my DAZ render would be approx 2000-2500 pixels high, but I'd blow this up to 6000 pixels high to then start painting (you can add amazing detail quite easily this way), then reduce back to render size, reassess and adjust accordingly - this almost always includes sharpening image and applying a layer of grain, at least it does for me :)

    Due to the nudity in many of my pin-ups, I can't share them on the forum...
    ...but if you browse my dA pin-up gallery, you'll soon come across them

    If I get time, I'll do some forum-compliant images so that i can actually post a couple of examples.

    DAZ STUDIO or POSER? - I can't really say, it's horses for courses I suppose... but I can recommend the Genesis figure for ease of use in obtaining all sorts of body types & shapes. There would be cost involved (top priority would be the Evolution morph packs), but if you're simply using as a visual aid for traditional art, then there's no need to go overboard buying-up everything in the store.

  • JabbaJabba Posts: 1,133
    edited December 1969

    Here's a few that i forgot about, albeit they're not figure studies... all renders that I subsequently painted in Photoshop -

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  • MistyMistMistyMist Posts: 16,002
    edited December 1969

    easel won't hold up my computer. falls down goes boom

  • edited December 1969

    I've been using Poser as a reference for traditional art ( graphic novels) since version 2. However, lately I've been gravitating more and more to DAZ Studio 4.5 Pro because Genesis and all the other neat goodies coming out :-). Also DS works a lot more smoothly on my PC than Poser 9+ DSON ( windows 8)

    The beauty of either software package is that you can produce stunning images without having to spend a lifetime developing traditional art skills. It's also cheaper in the long run, especially with DS being free and the amount of free content and instruction available.

    I guess it all depends on each artist's goals..For new traditional artists, DS can speed up the learning curve significantly. One can set up and pose figures and then export a simple, non- rendered image to use as a reference for exploring anatomy, action and proportion. Or an artist can choose to let the software do all of that and instead focus on learning lighting, color and rendering.

    Personally, I have always loved drawing, but trying to figure out how to render an image in DS or Poser makes my head spin. So I don't even try :-)

  • edited December 1969

    Having a "digital" model was one of the reasons I got into Daz Studio. Though I must admit, I still end up having to look at photographs of actual people when it comes to some parts of the anatomy or coloring. The good thing about Daz is that I've gotten a bit better at drawing perspective which was one of my weak points. It has helped me a little bit and that's good.

  • mjc1016mjc1016 Posts: 8,255
    edited December 1969

    A bit of a history lesson, since it seems that most here forgot it...

    "For the fine artist, Poser provides the reference models for sketching or drawing the human form, replacing reference photographs and books."

    That's from the original ad copy for the first version.

    A little more is revealed in this letter from Larry Weinberg...

    Basically, what it boils down to, when cutting through the ad copy and hyperbole, Poser was written because Larry didn't like the wooden mannequin and wanted something 'better'. In other words, his intention was to create a tool for traditional drawing, not an entirely new art form...

  • Mr LeongMr Leong Posts: 304
    edited December 1969

    And now as part of the free content included with Poser is a wooden mannequin. LOL.

  • MattymanxMattymanx Posts: 3,495
    edited December 1969

    Learning any new app can be difficult and time consuming even with proper documentation. Though sadly DS4 has no decent documentation.

    While it can be a bennefit to use digital models for drawing, it will not teach you proper human movement and posing. If the poses you use on the digital model are not realistic then you are no better off then before.

    As someone who grew up with doing art, icnluding drawing, I would recommend figure studies that teach you to observe so you can better learn and later know how the figure is posed.

    This person make some very good points for drawing -

    And really like this simple tut -

  • JOdelJOdel Posts: 2,222
    edited December 2012

    I'm a designer, not an artist, so all of the "fine art" arguments, to me, are begging the question.

    I am not the message. I am not hired to "express myself". The audience does not give squat about what I "feel" about the subject. My purpose is to organize and present information in a manner in which it may be understood. Yes, I should try to make it look as attractive as is reasonable, so people will at least look at it to see what the information is. Yes, perhaps I should try to "set a mood" to provoke a favorable reaction. But, whether it is event signage, a map of proposed development for a public meeting, or a cover or illustration for someone else's work -- fiction or non-fiction, it all has its own content, and it all has its own purpose which have nothing to do with me.

    That said, after several years of building signs, or maps, or modifying commercial clip art or photographs in both vector and raster graphics programs to produce said covers and illustrations, I added 3D rendering to my toolset for the sake of having a far higher degree of likelihood of being able to produce an image that showed precisely what I needed, as a starting point. Commercial clip art is all very well, but it is not the best source for producing specific illustrations.

    My most recent addition to the toolset is AlienSkin's SnapArt3, a Photoshop plugin (also will run in Photoshop Elements and Lightroom), which is a suite of filters designed to make an image (usually photographic, but can be applied to any raster art) to make it look as though it was produced by some method of traditional analog art. I'm sure that anyone who knows what to look for will not be fooled for a minute, but it will soften the look of a plain render and assist in setting a mood.

    The example below was run through the Oil Painting filter. The original was a composite composed of several renders, layered in Photoshop and further enhances with some of Ron Deviney's fog brushes.

    800 x 1097 - 328K
    Post edited by JOdel on
  • FauvistFauvist Posts: 427
    edited December 1969

    Absolutely - I use Poser/DAZ3D models instead of live models or photo references for all my traditional art - painting and drawing - which I seem to be able to sell, which means I guess I'm a professional artist.

    I also use the 3D models to make pictures (renders) which is a lot of fun in itself - and which I also seem to be able to sell as art.

    The different software programs - DAZ Studio, Poser, Carrara, Vue, Blender, etc. all have different user interfaces - and different learning curves. You pose the 3D models in a different way in each program. I found it almost impossible to get the models to pose the way I want in Poser 9, but Carrara 7 Pro makes me feel like a genius. That program, for me, makes it possible to pose the models *exactly* the way I want, and the poses are often very complicated fighting or dance poses using more than one model.

    But don't expect to be able to pose the 3D figures right away in any program. Your hands and brain have to learn how to make them move - you have to play with it - there are no instructions for posing 3D figures.

    For the cost of hiring a live model for one hour, you can buy everything you need to do it with 3D software and figures - which you can use for years. Learning how to use the stuff is intimidating at first, but the time you put into it becomes fun.

    Another big payoff from using 3D software is that you will be inspired by the talent and imagination of the artists who create the 3D content, the characters and clothes and environments - inspired to create something unexpected with it.

    And, as I've said before in this forum, Leonardo DaVinci traced the Mona Lisa using a glass lens projecting the image of his model onto his canvas. Many many legendary painters throughout history have used optical devices to project pictures onto their canvas which they traced - Caravagio and Vermeer being two that come to mind - all the way up to Andy Warhol, who didn't even bother tracing the image, he just printed the image onto the canvas and colored it in.

    The English artist David Hockney has written a book about it called Secret Knowledge, and there's an 8 part BBC video of him explaining it on YouTube starting here:


  • LycanthropeXLycanthropeX Posts: 2,265
    edited December 1969

    My background is actually in traditional art. I was drawing long before I ever even new what a computer was. I have found that my traditional art skills benefit me greatly in doing 3D computer art. I can also see the reverse being true. I don't do nearly as much traditional art as I used to, but I can definitely see using Poser to help block out a scene or pose a figure that i am drawing.

    Use what ever tools you can get your hands on.

  • DogzDogz Posts: 755
    edited December 2012

    Coming from a traditional art background i will say this., If you want to learn traditional art. Its probably best to learn it the traditional way.
    I suppose you can technically use poser or DS as an artificial still life for hand drawing, but I wouldnt recomend it as means of learning for a number of reasons.

    1) Unless you have a 3d printer, you would be drawing from a screen or 2d print, which is like drawing from a Book, - which is widely considered bad practice. Ask any art teacher and they will all say the same thing.
    Unfortunatly The way your brain translates from 2d to 2d is nothing like the way it translates from 3d to 2d.
    While Daz Studio is '3D' in computing terms, its is not 3D in real world terms. To the human eye, its a still just representation of 3d on a FLAT 2d screen.

    2) While Its a good representation of 3d and perspective, its by no means a perfect one.

    3) Poser Daz characters can and do look rather good - and quite real a face value, but they are still 'not real', And compared side by side to real people they look and behave in a very VERY limited way.

    4) Posing a Das / Poser character is quite easy, but posing them well (or naturally) really is not, I suppose you could buy pose presets, but even then....

    5) The biggest problem of them all - LIGHTING! arrgggghhhh!! :D and this is really a big deal.
    3d lighting is hard to master and even when you do, it doesnt behave the way lighting does in the real world, the biggest problem is simply that the 3d universe cannot easily replicate our solar system!
    There is no way to tell a 3d program to recreate some global illumination that accurately represents a 1400000 km wide ball of burning hydrogen sitting at about 150 million Km from your scene :D (and lord know i wish there was :))
    So you have to have to coble together many multiple lights to try and fake it! You can be a master of 3d lighting fakery, but its still not the same as the real thing.

    Learning art is pretty much (in most cases) learning how to take something from the 'real' world around you and put in to some kind of visual interpretation of your own.
    Daz Studio is one such interpretation, hand drawing is another, both are valid in that sense.
    But If you are making an interpretation of an interpretation, you are well... effectively cheating yourself out of an important (even critical) part of the learning process.

    My advice, get yourself signed up to a life drawing class instead if you can.

    Post edited by Dogz on
  • IceScribeIceScribe Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    I like DAZ models because they are a little more posable and decorative than the wooden mannikin. But it was not easy to pose them initially because my then computer wasn't powerful enough. Art supplies always cost money. My new computer was purchased with digital art in mind so it can easily handle posing.

    One can buy ready-made poses fairly inexpensively and then tweak them to suit a particular goal without having to wrassle the model a lot.
    There are romantic, yogic, dance, battle, sport, and other types of poses available. I'd recommend trying that, if the computer is not powerful enough to move the model's limbs individually. There are even hand-grips or the fingers can be bent twisted separately. Objects like balls, swords, flowers, pets, etc can be positioned exactly so you can see the light fall where you want.

    As for the argument by "fine art" purists regarding pure vision to hand art, let's not forget the "cameral obscura" which helped even the venerable old ones perform landscape paintings. They probably used them with models, too as well as "magic lanterns". Oh, I seen some amazing drawings by artists who have the knack of seeing and drawing. In my art class of 20 there are 2 that do that effortlessly while the rest of us cannot even see the paper for all the erasures and redos, LOL! Turns out they spend over 45 years in the illustration fields related to advertising and magazines. They just come to class for socializing and help out. None of them can wrap their heads around 3d digital art. They can do it faster by hand, while I can get my results more satisfying and faster by Daz. Yay for "Undo".

    I can also use a camera, blend "real" and "created objects" and add filters, like another poster suggested. That is a lot of fun, I have the early Snap Art version 1. It certainly got more expensive, and I don't have Photoshop. But there are less expensive digital art supplies, like the free DAZ which can get you on the path to some satisfying creations even if the path diverts somewhat from original plan.

  • edited December 1969

    I'm a professional full time traditional artist and I use Daz for my references. I write about it occasionally on my blog. but I find it the most useful thing in the world for an artist. especially one who specializes in nudes and likes to work at 1am!

    I create the render then paint from it in oils. you can check them out on my website or facebook page (I don't want to annoy the censors here!) I had an opportunity to meet a friend from these forums at an exhibition and he said how cool and surreal it was to know the models I had used and to see them painted.

    a few tips to get you started.
    * do look at live people, look at how they move, look at how gravity affects them. this will help with posing and filling in the realism gaps.
    * draw your hands and feet. if you have a few minutes or are bored, just take your shoes off or hold your other hand up and draw it. this was advice I was given when I was a kid and it has helped constantly. if you are feeling adventurous you can always sit at a cafe or food court and draw the faces you see as well. the key here is to learn to see and to draw what you see, not what you think you see.
    * read up on anatomy, it can be a dry subject but it helps to understand how muscles move under the skin and how bones and tendons work. again it's about filling in the gaps.
    * draw, draw and draw again. do as much as you can. keep trying different media, keep improving and challenging yourself :)
    * keep a sketchbook and jot down ideas for poses and concepts. you never know when inspiration will hit!

    I wrote about why Virtual models are better than live ones and also why live ones are better than virtual ones. this may help a bit :)

  • bjebenstreitbjebenstreit Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    Wow - thanks everybody for your feedback, ideas and suggestions. You've given me a lot to think about...

    There's a good chance I'll be back with more questions. :)

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