I joined in mid-September 2012, didn’t start on my first project until February 2013, five months later. It was so overwhelming with zero experience in 3D. I posted my first render, what I learned after working on it for five weeks, and also direct you to the threads where I got assistance. Here’s tips that have helped me. There are screenshots, renders, WIPs (work in progress.)
Feel free to laugh at my boo boos- although I’ve read constantly about this-and-that… it seemed this-and-that usually got-up-and-went about the time I tried to apply the concepts. There’s too many terms for newbies who haven’t heard any of them. I remember asking “Did I just Uber?” (No, I rendered.) And UberEnvironment2 is not a second-room-on-the-right somewhere, it’s lighting.
Some of the links scattered throughout are now in one place. If there is a *** by a link as you read this thread, it is in the Reference Links section. You’ll use this first post often to hop to the sections of this thread- I sure do. However, these are not all the links, the mini tutorials are not included, nor the wealth of other information in the thread.
The thread evolved from having tips and renders to also included product reviews and recommended purchases. Six months after the thread started, in August 2013, with over 24,700 views, I asked SereneNight to join the thread as a co-host. She’s a good friend, talented artist, and will also help showcase the products, provide tips, and share her renders.
Use these links to get to the main sections of the forum:
Novica’s Reviews: Light Presets http://www.daz3d.com/forums/viewthread/19756/P1005/#403475
See what the sets do from World Center (XYZ Translations 0/0/0) This is very helpful- MOVE YOUR SCENE and leave your figures where they loaded in at World Center, and you have a quick and easy way to choose your lighting (and add to it.) This is the alphabetical list for easy reference and the images showing you the lights.
My Art Studio~ L’Atedolce Opus Studio http://www.daz3d.com/forums/viewthread/19756/P1290/#412630
How to combine/completely makeover sets by changing materials, textures, and using Shader Presets! See aspects of L’atelier, La Dolce Vita Restaurant, Opus Magnum, and Studio Paris combined to make a brand new art studio.
Babies First Bug (My Very First Render) CLICK TO SEE FULL SIZE!
This is my first render, totally teaching myself from scratch by just experimenting. Five weeks. I can speed YOU up if you want to learn a bit faster.
Enjoy the ride! Here’s what I am currently working on- Kaetl (pronounced Kay-tul) and the two lost baby dragons.
Details and tips for beginners from beginner me: TIPS
1.) Is something blocking your view? Getting in the way of posing another object? Go to Scene tab, select the item blocking your view (if you aren’t sure what it is called, hover the Universal Tool over it and it will tell you) -and close the eye. That will make the blocking object “disappear” so you can get a clear view of the object you’re working with. Don’t forget to go turn all the hidden objects back on- just click on the closed eye.
2.) Next, ZOOM IN if you are working with hands. The hands in the image took hours- but are correct from all angles- and I learned all about the Universal Tool cube vs Parameter tab sliders.
3.) Even though you think you have the hands (or object) well placed in relationship to other objects, check from other views. Your hand may be floating in space instead of holding or touching another surface. Kaetl’s fingers are exactly placed on that back scale, from all angles. Her hand is holding the dragons, from all angles. When you get ready to render, it makes it SO much nicer to be able to move around without worrying about screw ups from different views.
4.) See image. The most important tip is know what setting your character is going to be in- I knew Kaetl’s legs, stretching behind her, would be a problem in some sets, and that she might have limited turning room. Posing before adding the set helped my spot render time- so did the simple clothes instead of the armor- and I could see her features easier.
5.) Put your character in simple clothes and perhaps no hair- when posing. It speeds up spot render time. I got the general poses before adding the scene.
6.) Create your own scene by using bits and pieces of other sets. I used the floor from one, plants from another, temple from another.
Create a plane and make your own floor!
So this sample will show you the different face, shoulder, hip twists experimentation- only a sliver of those that took to get the final pose. The back hand was completely changed to rest on his scale.
EDIT: The clothes used in the pose renders were the 50’s outfits. They load quickly and fit well without much tweaking- I just can’t work with naked people, the clothes make it similar to what the character will actually look like.
Kaetl’s hair includes a geometric shell. (Might as well jump in with both feet, right? The first character with a custom head shape that was hard to fit the Pyrit Hair to, and then to put a shell on top of it…) I have to say, I have had NO problem with the Pyrit Hair except on Kaetl- ScottLivingston and I experimented and I posted the settings for the fit. Will insert that thread and Scott’s hair tutorial here when I find them:
The geometric shell is mentioned in the tutorial (and yes, I adjusted both the shell and the hair to get the effect in the picture) The shell gives you more strands and can reduce render time if I recall correctly. It thickened Kaetl’s hair. Love it!
Don’t forget to make the fingernails, claws, and teeth glossier. Click on the image and look at the dinosaurs eyes and claws. Subtle, but makes a difference. Kaetl’s nails are glossier too. Same with lips! Will post the settings for the eyes to give you a good starting point.
Will also post the nail color, although it will vary depending on your lighting.
EDIT: Here’s the nail settings. Keep in mind this is not spot rendered. The nails look very natural (at least in this setting. But it will give you a good starting point.) Not shown- Ambient was white. 255 255 255 at 25% strength.
EDIT: The eye settings- Diffuse, Specular, and Ambient all on white (255’s) but Specular was 81.5%, Glossiness 88.6%, Specular Strength 100%, Multiply Opacity OFF. Claws are the same settings except Diffuse is a gray blue (192’s)
I reread this in the spot render thread, by Szark- (I am a SLOOOWWW learner, keep that in mind.)
“... making something transparent and trying to keep reflections and highlights when the surface is invisible or nearly invisiable-Just think about it logically. You make something transparent in Daz Studio then the highlights and relfections will disappear..yes? So when we want something that is see through and want full highlights and reflections we turn Multiply Through Opacity OFF.”
QUESTION- I HAVE THE MULTIPLY THROUGH OPACITY TURNED OFF for the nails, I’ll have to go back and experiment and see why I have that. Do you have it off or on when you do fingernails?
How to use Surfaces-Make sure the Surface Selection tool is selected. (it looks like three sheets of paper, in the same row as the Universal tool.) Then click on Surfaces tab. Make sure Editor is selected (you have three choices, Presets, Editor, or Shader Baker) Click on the part of the object you want to do the surfaces for.) REMEMBER TO SPOT RENDER!
Tip: Check the product page for the Resource Files- imagine me rolling my eyes this past week (yes, after MONTHS of buying stuff) when I read those files have additional options for the product. Well, duh.
Tip: Use spotlights to change the color of your light colored objects (easiest) such as the dragonfly- which was mostly a light blue! I stacked three spotlights on top of each other to get the bands of color.
Tip: To stack spotlights- after you have created your spotlight (Spotlight one, let’s say) and it is selected in the Scene tab, go to Create and select Spotlight, then when the popup appears, choose the option which copies your Spotlight one) Then just use the Parameters tab and the sliders to move it SLIGHTLY up and down (try Y first) Repeat and add as many spotlights as you need for all the bands of color (which you change in parameters tab/light)
Here’s where I tackled the dragonfly and a good discussion on lights and settings- I posted the settings for the dragonfly, give them a try! (It’s Noggin’s dragonfly, btw) THIS THREAD HAS AWESOME CLOSEUPS OF THE DRAGONFLY.
Tip: for Depth of Field simply put, here’s the thread where I asked for clarification. Pop in here and then surf to the links in the thread, if you haven’t tackled DOF yet. Note the waterfall behind Kaetl and the dragons has (ta-duh) depth of field. Sikeus was a big help too- tackling it the same time I was- and thanks to Scott-Livingston, Jaderail, Szark, SickleYield, InaneGlory.
Biggest tip on rendering: TURN OFF PROGRESSIVE. Anyone know why it should be on? After 4 hours 15 minutes, I was at 51% with it on. I was at 85% after only 40 minutes when it was turned OFF. Found that in a forum post, can’t find it.
Tip: Don’t forget to spot render. Your scene may look TOTALLY different from what you see. Somehow, that little tidbit of info played dodgeball and went right past me- I did WEEKS of work on Kaetl and what a shock when I spot rendered! (and you should see what the geometry shell looks like- will try to get a screenshot for you.)
Here’s a peek at the hours I spent on the hands- getting the fingers right, checking from all angles. Remember, you can turn off objects so they are not in your way by clicking in the SCENE tab (click on the eye that appears by the item name.) I didn’t know that when I was first trying this- then it was SO nice after I did that! The last picture on the lower right was almost the final hand poses. You’ll see the fingers overlap, are not bent correctly, etc, in the other poses. It just takes fiddlin’ with.
TIP: A Good Explanation of Tools *** http://www.daz3d.com/forums/viewthread/18135/P15/#267348
This thread is where I asked about hiding the universal tool cube (and you’ll notice it has all kinds of names!) It’s the cube that is where the object pivots, it’s activated when you use the Universal Tool. But more importantly, Szark does a very nice job of summaring the Region Navigation Tool, Active Pose Tool, Surface Selection Tool, etc. If you’re a newbie, check it out! (And bottom line, can’t hide that darned cube, you just have to use a different tool.)
Thank you- I’ve learned how to “get by” so to speak- but certainly would NOT have been able to even get a final render without you!
It’s just frustrating not knowing what all the stuff is that is impacting the scene- I am using render settings without knowing WHY I am using them. For instance, when I did depth of field, I increased the x and y pixel samples like a good lil soldier-but haven’t a clue WHY I did that. I know it decreases the graininess…but why?
I don’t know if you checked back on the hair tutorial thread, but yes, doing stuff with the shell did change the hair properties. At least, I think it did! I had to do settings for the shell and the hair. That’s one of the things I’ll be posting here as soon as I can get a closeup of the hair. (Yes, our beloved Pyrit hair that you and I were trying to do smoothing/collision, lol.)
I’m also sending you a PM to check over a video tutorial if you don’t mind. If it’s error-free, I’ll post the link here. It’s for newbies- brand new newbies. I see this question asked over and over again in the new users forum, so thought I’d make it really easy on you CV’s and do a tutorial. (I was a training manager for 20,000 folks in the army, and thousands as a regional training manager for the state. It’s what I did for a living. NO ZIPPING MOUSE MOVES, NO NARRATION, all in print, all very slow. Try not to fall asleep watching it!)
The Babies First Bug is one of the renders (of many) featuring those three characters, to teach kids how to read. I’m working on the second part of the story, that happens a few seconds after the bug. Somethings coming at them from the woods!
Wanted to point out a few things for the new folks.
1. Don’t forget to spot render. Look at how weird my person looks! But here’s something Jaderail answered for me- yes, if you are NOT WORKING ON SOMETHING AT THE MOMENT, and doing a spot render of the scene, turn the objects off over in the Scene tab (shut the eyes) and your spot render will speed up.
2. The blue is the geometry shell hair! Kaetl (my character) has black hair with blue highlights. I’ll try to post the settings for the shell and the hair, but this shows you just how hard it is to “picture” what something looks like without spot rendering. (It’s that camera up there in the row with the Universal tool.)
3. Use both surfaces (In Surfaces tab) and lights to get the look you want. Look at Kaetl’s neck- I reset part of it to the daylight surfaces so you could compare the night surfaces vs the daylight scene surfaces- see how different they are, due to different lighting requirements. (And that may just be because I am new, but it gets the look I want.)
4. BIG TIP- dont set collision and smoothing if you don’t need it. See Kaetl’s hair? It wasn’t showing in the first render so I didn’t set it. Sped up my render time. (See how strands are blobbed, and one in her eye? That side was away from the viewer. Not shown!) In this second render, I’ll have to address the hair issue. Drats.
This will show why you should spot render often. I am just at the stage of posing the characters for Render Two, the lights are those from Babies First Bug and not set for this scene, but I am using the same set. So, I am testing to see how they look. Look at how much more detail the armor has- and the difference in illumination.
The glossiness of the eyes changed with the spot render too. Look closely at the very first picture, the lower right corner is not rendered yet, compare it to the rest of the eye. The second image, the eyes are done spot rendering.
Come up with your own system- there are all kinds of presets- characters, lights, cameras- but I write down my favorite diffuse, specular, and ambient colors such as light peach, light blue, light gold- and which light setup they work best with.
Oh wow. Nice to know this- well, let me start at the beginning for newbies. I’m going to tell you why you shouldn’t forget the teeth when you are posing- in the EARLY stages. And what I found out about the mouth and teeth- which was an “OH!”
Genesis has a mouth full of teeth. Big teeth. Distracting teeth in many situations. Nice to have, but you need to know how to tone those suckers down so they don’t look like dentures. But alas, you go to Scene, click on Genesis, then Abdomen 2, Chest, Neck, Head- and there’s no option for teeth.
1. Teeth are NOT found in the Scene tab. They are in Parameters>Actor
2. Make the bottom teeth smaller first- the top ones aren’t as distracting as the top ones (in my opinion) Look at the photos- those bottom teeth take away from the scene, not add to it. The focus is on her open mouth (she is caught off guard) and NOT the teeth. They do not help the scene.
3. Deal with teeth color later, if you hate snow white teeth. You may not need to adjust teeth color, depending on the lighting. Why create work for yourself that is unnecessary? But the main point is- don’t forget SIZE and COLOR of teeth, those little details make your renders even better.
4. HERE’S THE BIGGIE- Imagine my surprise when I changed the bottom teeth size, and it CHANGED MY MOUTH SHAPE AND SIZE. Look at the first two set of lips- just by changing the bottom teeth, my mouth changed! The third picture, I enlarged the mouth a bit. (.36) The last image, I increased the mouth further, to compensate for the mouth change. It went from a -0.12 with big bottom teeth, to a .44 with smaller bottom teeth!
In the next post, I’ll tell you about the lip colors you see in these images, and do screenshots of the Surfaces tab. This was a “custom” mix of colors by tweaking Surfaces. I changed the very last one slightly so you can see the variety of options available with the main color I am using.
EDIT: I found the claw color that dimmed the ultra bright white- it is a grayish blue, 192/192/192 for the Diffuse color. I’ll probably try that on the teeth.
Here’s the colors for the lips- orange is the color that gives the lips such a nice glowing frost I’ve still got to figure out how to get lips glossy. Any tips on the surfaces settings- jump right in! BTW, the original lip color was just a bit lighter than the base color shown.
Here is Video 1 for brand new users of the studio.
If you ever see any errors, DO please let me know. I am a beginner! My background is extensive in training folks so I’m trying to create a SLOW moving (no zippy mouse movements) video series that has the instructions in PRINT instead of voice narration (hate having to rewind and go back, over and over again, because people are talking too fast and zipping the mouse along. Or the videos with “uh…uh…uh” and unprepared dialog. UGH.
Most of you will be bored with the videos right now if you’re using the studio AT ALL, this is THE basics. I’m not trying to cover everything, or every way to do something, just to get newbies going!