Rendering in Daz vs Maya quality/detail difference question

brettnucklesbrettnuckles Posts: 46
edited February 4 in Daz Studio Discussion

Hi everyone, I'm a 2D artist who wants to get into some simple 3D to use as reference for my illustrations. So frankly I don't know much about the technical side of 3D rendering as it relates to things like textures, shaders, materials and the like (althought I am trying to learn). So heads up that I know this is a super naive question but I hope that someone will bear with me :)

First a tiny bit of context. I love Daz because the figures are amazingly detailed and beautiful and versatile. However I aboslutely DON'T love using the Daz software itself. I have some basic experience in Maya and I can say that Maya feels 100x nicer to use IMO. Just navigating around the viewport in Maya is super fast. I can set up a variety of elements,  and then move, rotate and scale them very quickly and easily. Ditto with setting up lights to experiement with different lighting scenarios. In comparison, the Daz UI is incredibly slow and clunky IMO. Maya also allows me to quickly throw in simple custom-modeled 3D elements as part of my scene which is very important to me because I don't want to always rely on expensive pre-made props from the Daz store.

So here's my question. Long story short, I was very excited about the prospect of importing Daz figures, props and environments into Maya, then manipulating, lighting and rendering them in that software. Getting all my models into Daz is all relatively easy and straightforward if I import them as FBX or DAE, either using the new DazToMaya plugin or just doing the import manually. But the thing I'm wondering about is the loss of detail and texture quality when I render those Daz figures in Maya. I know this is probably a very naive question but I was wondering if someone could give me the layman's explanation of why a simple single-light-source render of this orc looks so much nicer and more detailed in Daz than in Maya using the Arnold render engine. Not really in terms of the render quality itself, more in terms of what seems to be the loss of actual geometry in the musculature. And is there anything I could do to preserve some of that muscular definition and detail in Maya? I suspect probably not, but I thought it couldn't hurt to ask. Thanks!

Here's an example of what I'm talking about:

https://imgur.com/a/mPksa

 

 

orc render.jpg
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Post edited by brettnuckles on

Comments

  • Not an expert on DAZ Studio, and don't know much about Maya other than the obvious, but there's a preferences setting in DAZ that's turned off because of low quality cards. >>Preferences>Interface>Display Optimization>Best - that will speed up things in DAZ Studio.

  • brettnucklesbrettnuckles Posts: 46
    edited February 5

    Yeah, to be honest, I just think that if you've used any other 3D package most people would agree that Daz is just really slow and clunky in terms of the user experience, in ways that are not related to performance settings. Even just panning around and zooming in and out of various parts of a scene is insanely slow compared to other 3D software (that's one aspect of Daz that I will never understand, and it's absolutely TERRIBLE when you're working with large environment scenes).

    Plus, translating objects around in a scene is clunky because you have to zoom out enough to find the manipulator and click on the tiny translation handles, whereas in Maya you can click anywhere with the middle mouse button to translate an object. Rotating objects in Daz is a pain because you have to click on the XYZ axes instead of being able to free rotate ilke in Maya or Blender. Etc etc etc. I just think it's the clunkiest, slowest UI I have ever seen in a 3D program by far for setting up scenes, and it has nothing to do with performance settings.  I mean, I purchased the "through the woods" environment for Daz Studio and I find that navigating around it inside of Daz Studio is an absolute nightmare because of the slow navigation options in Daz. When I import it into Maya I can zoom around it with ease, placing characters, duplicating/deleting trees quickly and changing their orientation, etc. Add on to the fact that I want to be able to use hand-modeled elements in my scenes, so I can add quick custom architecture and the like.

    Plus, Daz on my PC suffers from this terrible jumping viewport issue that's described in this thread: https://www.daz3d.com/forums/discussion/152156/jumping-viewport-problem-is-driving-me-insane-gifs-of-the-issue-included/p1

    It all makes Daz Studio a real drag compared to Maya which feels smooth and fast in every respect. If only my characters looked nice in Maya...

     

    Post edited by brettnuckles on
  • joseftjoseft Posts: 108

    There are two main reasons why there is less detail in Maya

    The first is that most characters in Daz have HD details, basically details that are sculpted into the subdivided mesh (HD Morphs). These HD morphs do not transfer on export using any format except OBJ. So if you dont want to do all your posing in Daz and then export as OBJ to retain the HD details, at the moment your two main options are to sculpt your own HD details in Maya after export, or replicate the HD details using normal/displacement maps either created by you or others that are around.

    the second is that the shaders that are created using FBX export/import or the DaztoMaya plugin are only basic shaders, at least from what i've seen. You will get better results tweaking the shaders, which would require some knowledge of Arnold or whatever other render engine you want to use in Maya

  • Intereseting. Ive tried posing in Daz and then exporting as OBJ but when I import into Maya my figures lack texture or color, they are simply smooth grey objects. Is there some way to import OBJ figures into Maya while retaining materials and textures?

  • joseftjoseft Posts: 108

    OBJ does support some material information through the MTL file generated with it, but i have never had much success with it properly bringing materials over. Not that i really tried too hard, because if anything it will only create standard Maya blinn shaders, not arnold ones or anything else. Pretty much anything you want can be achieved through scripts though. There will always be some grunt-work involved if you dont have a script to create all the shaders and apply each texture map appropriately for you. I think i recall seeing others say they had a little success with it though

    When the OBJ comes in grey, it will still have the surface groups applied to it, so you can manually create a shader, apply the appropriate texture maps and then apply it to the appropriate surface group in the Hypershade and/or Node Editor - grunt work. Exporting from daz to other solutions for editing/rendering has never been perfect. It has been getting better recently, but there has always been a bit of a trade-off - advantage of being able to do a great deal more in higher end applications like Maya, but it comes at a cost in time and/or losing some features of Daz characters

     

  • ARealitiARealiti Posts: 64
    joseft said:

    There are two main reasons why there is less detail in Maya

    The first is that most characters in Daz have HD details, basically details that are sculpted into the subdivided mesh (HD Morphs). These HD morphs do not transfer on export using any format except OBJ. So if you dont want to do all your posing in Daz and then export as OBJ to retain the HD details, at the moment your two main options are to sculpt your own HD details in Maya after export, or replicate the HD details using normal/displacement maps either created by you or others that are around.

    the second is that the shaders that are created using FBX export/import or the DaztoMaya plugin are only basic shaders, at least from what i've seen. You will get better results tweaking the shaders, which would require some knowledge of Arnold or whatever other render engine you want to use in Maya

    "The first is that most characters in Daz have HD details, basically details that are sculpted into the subdivided mesh (HD Morphs). These HD morphs do not transfer on export using any format except OBJ"

    Although well intentioned this is incorrect, FBX does export SubD if you first set SubD level to 1 or 2 in the editor before export on the figure and then LOCK the setting. However, I have a current bug with Daz that this then destroys the Rigging, so in effect you can get the FBX export to have SubD but no rigging, this is a real downer for games dev and over external software users.

  • joseftjoseft Posts: 108

    thanks for the correction, however just because you can export subd, doesnt mean the HD morphs will work correctly

    would be great if it did though...and not break the rigging

  • brettnucklesbrettnuckles Posts: 46
    edited February 6

    Holy cow, locking the Subd level before export really does dramatically increase the level of detail on the mesh when imported into Maya! However.... yes it does break the rig. What a crying shame! If this is indeed a bug, I wonder if there's a chance it could ever be fixed, or someone knows a workaround...

    I was hoping that I could just pose in Daz and then export the more detailed figure into Maya, but the rig is so broken that it's messed up when I import it into Maya with anything other than a T-pose...

    Post edited by brettnuckles on
  • brettnucklesbrettnuckles Posts: 46
    edited February 7

    So I thought of a cool workaround. Basically I pose my figures in Daz Studio. Then I convert my figure to a prop to get rid of the rig. Then I make sure the subD levels are locked in the parameters tab inside of DS. Then I export as FBX and import into Maya.

    Bam, gorgeous detailed figure in Maya with all textures intact... albeit without the ability to tweak the pose inside Maya. Still not a bad deal considering that all I want to do is set up static scenes for 2D illustrations. I actually plan to set up my scenes in Maya using a poseable low-poly figure, then when I have the poses locked down I'll manually match the pose in Daz and export the high-poly figure to be inserted into my Maya scenes.

    Post edited by brettnuckles on
  • drzapdrzap Posts: 591
    edited February 7

    I recently had a project that involved both Maya and DS.  Part of the scene was animated in DS with mocap and the closeup facial animation was done in Maya.  Since a main character was in both parts, I had to closely match the shading and lighting.  Here is what I learned from the experience:

    Bump maps and Normal maps are your friends.  Choose models that have both and incorporate them together in your shaders.  They will provide you with most of the HD detail (if not all) you need.
    You can export HD subD figures from DS and apply them as blend shapes to your base figure in Maya.  Again, more HD details are added.
    export JCM's where possible because they can save you a lot of work while animating in Maya.

    Here is a comparison of the two shots from DS and Maya.  The smaller pic is a render in iRay.  The second picture is a Maya Redshift render.  BTW, throughout the job, the Redshift renders were faster by almost 2X and the editor/compositor had to add motion blur to iRay in post, but we saved time working in DS because we had to do much less corrective modeling so that somewhat made up for slow iRay.  I did some shots with hair, but I'm not sure it was in time for their deadline.

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    Post edited by drzap on
  • Excellent info -- I don't know how to do that stuff but at least you've provide the language/terms so that I can Google some tutorials on those topics! Thanks!

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