mcjTeleBlender:Daz Studio scenes/animations w/Blender's Cycles Engine

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Comments

  • Curved DesignCurved Design Posts: 57
    edited March 2013

    Casual said:
    jgstyle said:
    Hey Casual,

    great work, man. This is seriously upping my Daz Studio game.

    is there an update for the mcjblendbot files?

    I don't see the zip for that one listed at the bottom of the site with the rest of the files.

    the last version I have is from Oct. 2012.

    Now when I try to import into Blender 2.66 (Mac version) I get the spinning beachball and it just hangs.

    I'm definitely using the latest Feb. version of the Teleblend to export, so I guessed maybe it was the Blendbot.

    Thanks much for any assistance.

    hi jg

    today i added a new script for Carrara users to mcjBlendBot , it's the same as the october 2012 one, just with an added script.
    http://www.daz3d.com/forums/discussion/17967/

    i'm still using Blender 2.64 but i'll get 2.66 and see if there's issues.

    you're saying mcjTeleblender worked on the Macs? i think i tested it on Linux but i didn't think it worked for Macs

    if you could try with a very very simple scene like just 1 primitive-cube we'd know the basics work, then try a cube with a texture-image, then maybe use a shader .... shaders can be a problem.

    also note that when i tried rendering Aiko5 , she has too many large texture-images, and they dont fit on my 2GB graphics card, so i had to resize the texture images ... or render with the CPU . sometimes using "tiles" in the renderer settings helps.

    ... so, i'll get Blender 2.66 and test it right now


    ==============================
    in unrelated news, rendering RiPoints in 3Delight

    Casual,

    Your DAZ 3D teleBlender export scripts work perfectly on Macs, except of course they do not like the C: paths. Also, the Mac executable is here /Applications/Blender 2.66/blender.app/Contents/MacOS/blender and it wont let you put in that full path on a Mac.

    Your Blender teleBlender scripts works on Macs, with some tweaks, and I am using Blender 2.66 with no problems.

    I have a render with Victoria 5 in a shirt and jeans with 197421 Faces ( or Polygons ) that renders with astounding results on my Mac mini (Mid 2011) that has 8GB RAM and a 2.7 Ghz Dual Core i7. My GPU is the AMD Radeon HD 6630M 256 MB.

    Actually instead of running your generated scene.py script I just import the .obj file that your script creates into Blender.

    I get the beach ball during the obj import for about 4 seconds, I think because of the number of polys, but after that everything works fine!

    Then in Blender 2.66 console I run these two commands.

    >>> import mcjMakeCyclesNodes
    >>> mcjMakeCyclesNodes.fixObjects()

    I then set the camera up in Blender so that it tracks Victoria so I can try different camera angles and it still points at her.

    I then add an Emission "light plane" as show in this video ( http://www.blenderguru.com/videos/introduction-to-cycles/ ) and I am getting some phenomenal results! I hide or delete the environment Sphere, I don't need it since the "light plane" lighting is so natural!

    I can upload a pic if anyone wants to see it. Also, there are certain settings in your DAZ 3D teleBlender export scripts that work best, I could put that up here too.

    Thanks,

    Marcus

    Post edited by Curved Design on
  • mCasualmCasual Posts: 3,802
    edited December 1969

    jgstyle said:

    you could try what Marcus/Curved Design does on his Mac -- load the obj scene/file then run these 2 lines in the text editor

    import mcjMakeCyclesNodes
    mcjMakeCyclesNodes.fixObjects()
    
    

    he also mentions there's care to be taken about the way the paths are specified

    also, since mcjTeleBlender uses Daz Studio's internal .obj exporter to export the scene
    you could try to manually export a very simple scene, to make sure the exporter is
    set up in a way that exports the materials, the UV coordinates and the normals.
    Because i know that recently i had that problem with Daz Studio 1.8, the export settings
    were set not to export the materials at all, so there was no .mtl file produced and Blender hated that

    if it still doesn't work, you could open Blender's "system console" it's in the "windows" or the "help menu"
    and you could possibly see an error message that would show you where Blender gets stuck
    ---
    another possibility : maybe your Blender imperatively needs to be in Cycles render mode before running the python scripts
    --
    or the .mtl file contains paths to texture-images which don't exists or are in some restricted area
    --

  • Curved DesignCurved Design Posts: 57
    edited December 1969

    Casual said:
    jgstyle said:

    you could try what Marcus/Curved Design does on his Mac -- load the obj scene/file then run these 2 lines in the text editor

    import mcjMakeCyclesNodes
    mcjMakeCyclesNodes.fixObjects()
    
    

    he also mentions there's care to be taken about the way the paths are specified

    also, since mcjTeleBlender uses Daz Studio's internal .obj exporter to export the scene
    you could try to manually export a very simple scene, to make sure the exporter is
    set up in a way that exports the materials, the UV coordinates and the normals.
    Because i know that recently i had that problem with Daz Studio 1.8, the export settings
    were set not to export the materials at all, so there was no .mtl file produced and Blender hated that

    if it still doesn't work, you could open Blender's "system console" it's in the "windows" or the "help menu"
    and you could possibly see an error message that would show you where Blender gets stuck
    ---
    another possibility : maybe your Blender imperatively needs to be in Cycles render mode before running the python scripts
    --
    or the .mtl file contains paths to texture-images which don't exists or are in some restricted area
    --

    Here are the settings that work well on a Mac with Blender 2.66 if you are going to use the approach of running the two python commands mentioned above.

    mcjTeleBlender_screen_shot.png
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  • dotokindotokin Posts: 8
    edited March 2013

    .

    Post edited by dotokin on
  • dotokindotokin Posts: 8
    edited March 2013

    Good day to all!

    I recently tried to export test scene from daz studio 4.5 pro to blender 2.66 and got some questions. I attached my renders from DAZ (3Delight) and Blender Cycles. I can see the following changes:
    1) Faded image with little or no shadows. I used "Use this color" option set to White with Strength = 0.33. If more - image gets very bright and faded. If less - too dark.
    2) White strip on a lower eyelid.
    3) Kind of blink on a pupil that makes it "flat".

    I created basic genesis fugure then added material for eyes from Michael5 library to have it a bit human like (standard genesis is not good). Then set Opacity Strength to black image for 5_Cornea. . Then exported via mcjTeleBlender using Collect maps = On. How can I resolve this inconsistencies?

    Many thanks!
    Alex

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    genesis_M5y_daz.jpg
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    Post edited by dotokin on
  • mjc1016mjc1016 Posts: 15,001
    edited December 1969

    dotokin said:
    2) White strip on a lower eyelid.


    I'll let Casual answer the other two...but that one is easy.

    It's the 'tear' material and it needs to be set to transparent, too.

  • mCasualmCasual Posts: 3,802
    edited March 2013

    dotokin said:
    Good day to all!

    I recently tried to export test scene from daz studio 4.5 pro to blender 2.66 and got some questions. I attached my renders from DAZ (3Delight) and Blender Cycles. I can see the following changes:
    1) Faded image with little or no shadows. I used "Use this color" option set to White with Strength = 0.33. If more - image gets very bright and faded. If less - too dark.
    2) White strip on a lower eyelid.
    3) Kind of blink on a pupil that makes it "flat".

    I created basic genesis fugure then added material for eyes from Michael5 library to have it a bit human like (standard genesis is not good). Then set Opacity Strength to black image for 5_Cornea. . Then exported via mcjTeleBlender using Collect maps = On. How can I resolve this inconsistencies?

    Many thanks!
    Alex

    ( sorry for the delay i didn't get the daz-forum email it seems )

    to get shadows, usually i create a cube ( add/mesh/cube ) ,
    then create a material for it,
    change it to from "BSDF Diffuse" to "Emissive" then set the strength to, 100 -- then move the cube up and away ( out of view )
    else the light comes from everywhere and doesn't produce many shadows.

    to nake the "tear" material transparent instead of white, you can delete its material then create a new one, change it from "BSDF Diffuse" to "BSDF Transparent" , then set its color from almost white to 100% white to get perfect transparency

    when you're in Daz Studio, if you set the Opacity texture to a fully black image, it makes the material tranjsparent in Daz Studio and in Blender ---- just turning the opacity down to 0% makes it transparent in Daz Studio, but not in Blender ... as you could see

    note that if a material in Daz Studio has an image applied to its reflection channel, it becomes a mirror in Blender, to remoce this effect you'd have to change the blender glossy material from "sharp" to "beckman" and make its color (strength) to black

    the pupil in your example seem to have too much gloss on it, maybe not a full mirror effect, though

    Post edited by mCasual on
  • Curved DesignCurved Design Posts: 57
    edited December 1969

    dotokin said:
    Good day to all!

    I recently tried to export test scene from daz studio 4.5 pro to blender 2.66 and got some questions. I attached my renders from DAZ (3Delight) and Blender Cycles. I can see the following changes:
    1) Faded image with little or no shadows. I used "Use this color" option set to White with Strength = 0.33. If more - image gets very bright and faded. If less - too dark.
    2) White strip on a lower eyelid.
    3) Kind of blink on a pupil that makes it "flat".

    I created basic genesis fugure then added material for eyes from Michael5 library to have it a bit human like (standard genesis is not good). Then set Opacity Strength to black image for 5_Cornea. . Then exported via mcjTeleBlender using Collect maps = On. How can I resolve this inconsistencies?

    Many thanks!
    Alex

    dotokin,

    What helped me on the eyes are the recommendations that Causual has up on his web page https://sites.google.com/site/mcasualsdazscripts/mcjteleblender-for-ds1-2-3-4 ( see attached ) you may have to search the page for "lib_cornea.blend", there is a lot on that page! :-) I used those exact settings.

    For lighting, traditional 3D lights don't work well with Cycles because they were not designed with natural lighting in mind as described in this video http://www.blenderguru.com/videos/introduction-to-cycles/

    I get perfect shadows and lighting by using a Emission object, in my case I use a Emission plane. If you haven't already I would watch the above "Introduction to Cycles" video all the way through in its entirety.

    Marcus

    libco2.png
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  • dotokindotokin Posts: 8
    edited March 2013

    Casual said:

    to get shadows, usually i create a cube ( add/mesh/cube ) ,
    then create a material for it,
    change it to from "BSDF Diffuse" to "Emissive" then set the strength to, 100 -- then move the cube up and away ( out of view )
    else the light comes from everywhere and doesn't produce many shadows.

    I tried this and got no shadows. I think I have some issue with lighting in Blender. I performed a little experiment with pupil setting its material to Diffuse BSDF with Black. Then I rendered and see that Cycles first showed a pure black pupil which got fade and more like a grey on 2-3 pass. So the result was grey and not black as I set in material. I suspect that something in Blender can cause to fade all the scene. Will try to investigate further.

    Casual said:

    to nake the "tear" material transparent instead of white, you can delete its material then create a new one, change it from "BSDF Diffuse" to "BSDF Transparent" , then set its color from almost white to 100% white to get perfect transparency

    when you're in Daz Studio, if you set the Opacity texture to a fully black image, it makes the material tranjsparent in Daz Studio and in Blender ---- just turning the opacity down to 0% makes it transparent in Daz Studio, but not in Blender ... as you could see


    I solved tear problem adding black image as Opacity Strength in DS. Thanks.


    the pupil in your example seem to have too much gloss on it, maybe not a full mirror effect, though
    I tested this and descovered it was not gloss that caused this. Cant say yet where it comes from.

    Post edited by dotokin on
  • dotokindotokin Posts: 8
    edited December 1969


    What helped me on the eyes are the recommendations that Causual has up on his web page https://sites.google.com/site/mcasualsdazscripts/mcjteleblender-for-ds1-2-3-4 ( see attached ) you may have to search the page for "lib_cornea.blend", there is a lot on that page! :-) I used those exact settings.

    Thanks Marcus. I did this but no result. lib_cornea is in the list of materials and all params are ok but it is not applied to cornea. I mean I can see preview of lib_cornea material and it is like a gloss (ok). But it is not visible on a final rendered image.


    For lighting, traditional 3D lights don't work well with Cycles because they were not designed with natural lighting in mind as described in this video http://www.blenderguru.com/videos/introduction-to-cycles/

    I get perfect shadows and lighting by using a Emission object, in my case I use a Emission plane. If you haven't already I would watch the above "Introduction to Cycles" video all the way through in its entirety.

    Marcus


    Will watch this. May be this will be of help. Many thanks!
  • dotokindotokin Posts: 8
    edited March 2013

    Good day.

    After recent investigation I discovered this:
    1). World settings in Blender degrade colors of original scene significantly. If set to white background - image gets faded. If set to another color - one gets colors of original scene combined with a color of World environment just like we have object in a room with a lighting of this color. So I had to set background color to any (I go with white) and Strength to 0. Even if I did not turn this option on in mcjTeleBlender I have to do this in Blender cause it has a default one to be grey. My error was from assumption that I could use this to set my background color.

    2). After main issue has gone any lightings are ok. But if lights are exported from DAZ one should correct light Size and Strength to get better results. May be swith to "Sun" type. Default Size after export is 0.1. One may need to have 1 or even 10.

    3). To have a white (or any other) background for my scene I had to render with "Transparent" set On in Blender Render tab then save and have any background in external tool.

    Many thanks for the great tool!
    Alex

    Post edited by dotokin on
  • daveleitzdaveleitz Posts: 459
    edited March 2013

    There is only so much that an automated script can do. Frankly, while Daz Studio is a fine character generator and content source, it is not a serious animation tool, imo. While the technology is impressive, there are still some serious limitations that become especially apparent when characters are put into extreme poses. See the attached screenshot. No script is going to fix the problem of mesh collisions that I have in this work in progress. Yes, you can probably tweek the settings in DS before exporting to Blender, but how do you know that it will work every time? You don't.

    Problem? No problem, at least for still frame artists (sorry animators, you're SOL). Just go in and use Blender's sculpt and mesh editing tools to fix these issues. I've even used the sculpt tool with Cycles viewport rendering enabled. It's a little slow on my laptop, but I get real-time feedback on whether a shirt or tights or whatever is out of place.

    As far as the materials and scene lighting is concerned, I say forget the DS settings. The Renderman settings for 3Delight simply don't convert well enough to Cycles. You can do so much more, more creatively, by getting familiar with the Cycles nodes and Blender compositor than you ever could by just using Blender as some kind of 'plug-in' renderer for DS. Don't get me wrong - this is all just my opinion. ;) The script can be a great starting point, but to be an artist you really have to know your tools.

    Edit: I don't know how much help this might be to new Blender users, but I could post some screenshots of my custom node groups. The thing is, if you don't already understand the nodes, they're not much use to you anyway. Kinda like me not understanding Daz Studio shader nodes. Fortunately, there's lots of free tutorial videos out there to help in ways that I can't. It's more important to understand what you're doing than to have a solution given to you that you don't understand.

    Screenshot_from_2013-03-09_08_26_54.jpg
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    Post edited by daveleitz on
  • Curved DesignCurved Design Posts: 57
    edited December 1969

    There is only so much that an automated script can do. Frankly, while Daz Studio is a fine character generator and content source, it is not a serious animation tool, imo. While the technology is impressive, there are still some serious limitations that become especially apparent when characters are put into extreme poses. See the attached screenshot. No script is going to fix the problem of mesh collisions that I have in this work in progress. Yes, you can probably tweek the settings in DS before exporting to Blender, but how do you know that it will work every time? You don't.

    Problem? No problem, at least for still frame artists (sorry animators, you're SOL). Just go in and use Blender's sculpt and mesh editing tools to fix these issues. I've even used the sculpt tool with Cycles viewport rendering enabled. It's a little slow on my laptop, but I get real-time feedback on whether a shirt or tights or whatever is out of place.

    As far as the materials and scene lighting is concerned, I say forget the DS settings. The Renderman settings for 3Delight simply don't convert well enough to Cycles. You can do so much more, more creatively, by getting familiar with the Cycles nodes and Blender compositor than you ever could by just using Blender as some kind of 'plug-in' renderer for DS. Don't get me wrong - this is all just my opinion. ;) The script can be a great starting point, but to be an artist you really have to know your tools.

    Edit: I don't know how much help this might be to new Blender users, but I could post some screenshots of my custom node groups. The thing is, if you don't already understand the nodes, they're not much use to you anyway. Kinda like me not understanding Daz Studio shader nodes. Fortunately, there's lots of free tutorial videos out there to help in ways that I can't. It's more important to understand what you're doing than to have a solution given to you that you don't understand.

    Great post daveleitz68, I don't think we expect Casual's script to do everything for us but it is great in getting the "DAZ content" that I know and love into Blender. I can then play around with that content and use it to learn Blender. A lot of the time Causal's scripts get me 80% to 90% there but you are right you need to know what you are doing in Blender also.

    I am learning DAZ Studio, Carrara, Hexagon, and Blender all at the same time! :-) It is amazing how they are all very similar in many ways, especially with respect to 3D concepts, but also different but surprisingly not that different once you really know what you are doing!

    I am curious if you have any pointers or know of any good tutorials for the Blender sculpt or mesh editing tools. I have a DAZ 3D shirt with a small poke through that I fixed using the method in this video ( DAZ Studio 4 - Smoothing and Collision Detection Genesis and Gen 4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBGzfNgfdyo ) but that fix does not seem to import into Blender using Casual's scripts.

    I am also learning the Blender Compositor and Texture base nodes and I have watched some of the tutorials on Blender Guru. If you could post your custom node groups or images of your node recipes and what problems they solve that would be great too!

    Thanks,

    Marcus

  • mCasualmCasual Posts: 3,802
    edited December 1969

    concerning poke-trought

    note that in the Scene tab, in Edit/Geometry menu, there's a "bake smoothing Morph" operation

    which seems to be important.

    without this the poke-trough fix doesn't seem to be applied during the export

    and consequently doesnt reach Blender

  • daveleitzdaveleitz Posts: 459
    edited December 1969

    Casual, I will look into that. Also, let me once again express my appreciation for your work. It is certainly the inspiration for my current way of working even though I'm now doing my own thing. :)

    Marcus, thank you! I'm just a learner myself. There are great tutorials over at Blender Cookie. Many of them are free. I will see what I can do about explaining my nodes in a mini tutorial. As always, it's a work in progress and my way may not be the best way for someone else.

  • 3dtoday3dtoday Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    I don't know how much help this might be to new Blender users, but I could post some screenshots of my custom node groups.

    Hey there,

    Id like to see some of those screenshots, for one.

    thanks!

  • mCasualmCasual Posts: 3,802
    edited March 2013

    a 1 cubic ft cube with an emissive surface , emissive strength of 55
    was placed 2ft away from the chair

    the World / environment map / equirectangular-mapping has a strength of 1

    --

    second image is yesterday's render

    eventually this chair will be on my site for free

    sittin.png
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    ditchchair.png
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    Post edited by mCasual on
  • daveleitzdaveleitz Posts: 459
    edited December 1969

    3dtoday said:
    I don't know how much help this might be to new Blender users, but I could post some screenshots of my custom node groups.

    Hey there,

    Id like to see some of those screenshots, for one.

    thanks!

    Sometime this week I will upload my node groups .blend file to Blend Swap and post a short tutorial here, if that's okay with Casual.

  • mCasualmCasual Posts: 3,802
    edited March 2013

    3dtoday said:
    I don't know how much help this might be to new Blender users, but I could post some screenshots of my custom node groups.

    Hey there,

    Id like to see some of those screenshots, for one.

    thanks!

    Sometime this week I will upload my node groups .blend file to Blend Swap and post a short tutorial here, if that's okay with Casual.

    yes it's ok with me, i dont know if it really fits the forum guidelines but anyway it's directly related to the freebie, so i'd say it's relevant

    ( someday someday the scene export/import may be done through RiB files )

    Post edited by mCasual on
  • daveleitzdaveleitz Posts: 459
    edited December 1969

    This weekend's project: My new Aiko 5 on MacLean's city streets. Set up in DS 4.5. Exported with mcjTeleBlender. Modified with custom node groups for Aiko/Azumi, her hair and clothes. Lighting, camera, and compositing entirely in Blender 2.66.

    I have posted my .blend file of custom node groups to BlendSwap. Once it has passed moderation, I will post a written tutorial here. I'll save the screenshots for any problems or questions that the .blend file and tutorial don't answer.

    city_girl.jpg
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  • daveleitzdaveleitz Posts: 459
    edited December 1969

    Slightly off topic... I just bought that new Luxus product! Can't wait to try it out. Still, I think that it won't necessarily replace Blender in my workflow. Cycles is just way faster that Luxrender!

  • mjc1016mjc1016 Posts: 15,001
    edited December 1969

    Slightly off topic... I just bought that new Luxus product! Can't wait to try it out. Still, I think that it won't necessarily replace Blender in my workflow. Cycles is just way faster that Luxrender!

    LuxBlend...

    I've actually done a scene in Lux by using Teleblender to get it into Blender then using Lux as the Blender renderer...using the 'normal' Blender materials is easier than using the Cycles materials if going to Lux from Blender. I just did to see if it could be done...it was just primitives and nothing fancy.

  • Curved DesignCurved Design Posts: 57
    edited December 1969

    This weekend's project: My new Aiko 5 on MacLean's city streets. Set up in DS 4.5. Exported with mcjTeleBlender. Modified with custom node groups for Aiko/Azumi, her hair and clothes. Lighting, camera, and compositing entirely in Blender 2.66.

    I have posted my .blend file of custom node groups to BlendSwap. Once it has passed moderation, I will post a written tutorial here. I'll save the screenshots for any problems or questions that the .blend file and tutorial don't answer.

    That looks great daveleitz68! Looking forward to your tutorial!

    Marcus

  • Curved DesignCurved Design Posts: 57
    edited December 1969

    Slightly off topic... I just bought that new Luxus product! Can't wait to try it out. Still, I think that it won't necessarily replace Blender in my workflow. Cycles is just way faster that Luxrender!

    Wow, DAZ Studio now has an unbiased renderer.

    http://www.daz3d.com/luxus

    It will be interesting to compare it to Cycles!

    I haven't had time to try it out yet!

    I wonder how Luxus handles materials? I am not sure if it will be as flexible as Blender's node base materials?

    Has anyone played with Luxus yet?

    Marcus

  • SphericLabsSphericLabs Posts: 598
    edited December 1969

    Slightly off topic... I just bought that new Luxus product! Can't wait to try it out. Still, I think that it won't necessarily replace Blender in my workflow. Cycles is just way faster that Luxrender!

    Wow, DAZ Studio now has an unbiased renderer.

    http://www.daz3d.com/luxus

    It will be interesting to compare it to Cycles!

    I haven't had time to try it out yet!

    I wonder how Luxus handles materials? I am not sure if it will be as flexible as Blender's node base materials?

    Has anyone played with Luxus yet?

    Marcus

    You may also want to take a look a a WIP Eluxir - Hypergraph/Shader Mixer for LuxRender
    -> http://www.daz3d.com/forums/discussion/18555/

  • daveleitzdaveleitz Posts: 459
    edited December 1969

    My initial impressions with Luxus is that it will be a powerful tool for those scenes that have volumetrics and caustics that Cycles doesn't do. I don't think the Blender developers are as concerned with making the ultimate hyper real render engine anyway. I have also tried exporting from DAZ to Blender and then setting up Lux materials. It is a more tedious process than setting up Cycles nodes, and the results are just too slow in coming to make it a worthwhile practice.

    On the other hand, Luxus eliminates all that in between work. I was rendering a similar scene to the one in my post above last night in Luxrender. Sadly, it just wasn't finished by the time I got to work. Eventually, I'll figure out how to optimize speed and still achieve quality in Luxrender. In the mean time, I'm still going to devote most of my effort to Cycles rendering.

  • daveleitzdaveleitz Posts: 459
    edited March 2013

    Hmmm. It seems that my .blend file was rejected by BlendSwap. Maybe I need to remove all references to DAZ and try again. Then I can post the link here.

    Edit: The rejection email had some BS about crediting CC sources in it. I have no idea about legalese, but I personally think that's code for "we don't serve your kind here." There's some fine stuff on BlendSwap, but considering the loads of crap you have to wade through to get to it, well, I figured a set of simple material nodes would be no problem.

    Anyway, let's just do these screenshots one at a time. You can ask questions, and I can answer. Casual, if you see something you like in anything I post, use it. I don't need any credit. I don't care about legalese. I'm just an artist with a (very) little technical know how.

    Post edited by daveleitz on
  • daveleitzdaveleitz Posts: 459
    edited March 2013
  • daveleitzdaveleitz Posts: 459
    edited March 2013

    ________________________

    Custom shader nodes for Blender 2.66 mini tutorial
    ________________________

    The DAZshaders.blend file is available at ShareCG.
    When you've got your scene the way you like it in Daz Studio and then export it to Blender, save your .blend file right away in the same location as your 'Maps' folder (but not inside the 'Maps' folder). From my experience with the TeleBlender script, your environments, clothing and hair textures should all be in you 'Maps' directory. However, your character(s) might be missing a few textures, usually specular and bump maps.

    Of course, I might be doing something wrong with the script for all I know. If you do discover missing textures, you may be able to simply copy the character's texture folder from your Daz Runtime to your 'Maps' folder in its entirety. However, some PA's have more complicated set ups and you will have to hunt down the appropriate texture sets that you have chosen for your character(s). Just be sure you don't accidentally remove textures from your Runtime by dragging and dropping them into your 'Maps' directory!

    I like to organize my textures into sub-directories inside 'Maps.' This makes it easier when I reassign materials and textures in Blender. The TeleBlender script does make material and texture assignments. However, when I append my custom node groups, I find it easier to just open a texture and assign it directly instead of scrolling through Blender's list of textures associated with the scene.

    There are four basic texture types: Diffuse, Bump, Specular, and Transparency. Actually there is a fifth type, but it is a special case - the Normal Map. With these four textures we can get a fair approximation of reality using Cycles. Of course, the textures were designed with DS in mind, but with a little adjustment here and there, we can make things work in Blender just fine.

    Diffuse maps are just the color of the object stored in an RGB image. Bump maps are usually greyscale images that simulate a non-smooth surface, but they don't actually displace any vertices on the mesh. Specular maps are greyscale images that determine glossiness. Transparency maps are greyscale images that show what parts of a surface are visible or not, kind of like alpha transparency without the alpha channel.

    Normal maps do a better job at giving detail to your objects than bump maps. You can recognize them by their blue-cyan appearance. If you have normal maps for an object, use them! It is possible to assign normal maps to your shader nodes, I think. However, I use a displacement modifier instead. Be sure you add a subsurface modifier to your object first, though. The more subdivisions your mesh has, the better the displacement will work, but don't get carried away unless you don't mind bogging down your computer.

    In Cycles there are essentially three kinds of functions: Color (RGB), Float (greyscale), and Shader (it's complicated).

    Color values are represented by yellow circles on the nodes. Colors can be set by the standard color picker or with textures like diffuse maps. It is generally good practice to only connect color outputs to color inputs. Blender won't prevent you from connecting a yellow circle to a grey or green one, but you may be disappointed with the (lack of) results.

    Float values are represented by the grey circles on nodes. Simply put, they are just numbers that are accurate to three decimal places. You can perform all kinds of mathematical functions using nodes. Also, greyscale images can be used to influence math functions. For example, if a pixel in a greyscale texture is black, then the corresponding float value is 0.000. If a pixel in a greyscale texure is white, then the float value is 1.000. Many nodes have a check box called 'clamp.' That simply keeps the output of the node (if it's a float output) between 0.000 and 1.000, which can be useful in certain situations.

    Once again, it is good practice to only connect float outputs to float inputs. There are converter nodes to go from color inputs to float outputs, if, for instance, you want to use an RGB color texture as a bump map. This may not always be necessary, but I find it to be a good practice anyway.

    One of the most important float values in Blender's nodes is called 'Fac' which is short for 'factor.' Let's say you're mixing two shaders. You can determine the importance of one over the other in the output of the mixer using a factor input value. A factor of 0.000 will turn the top shader input on full and the bottom one completely off. A factor of 1.000 will do the opposite.

    So, if you connect a greyscale texture of something like eyelashes to the factor input of a mix shader, the black parts of the image will tell the mixer to favor the top shader input, and the white parts of the image will tell the mixer to favor the bottom shader input. If you then assign a Transparency shader to the top mixer input and a Diffuse shader to the bottom input, your otherwise solid mesh will mathemagically turn into eyelashes.

    Shaders are beyond my ability to explain here. Simply put, though, they determine how the light in your scene interacts with the surface of your object. In Cycles shader functions have green circles. You don't connect color (yellow) or float (grey) outputs to shader (green) inputs, or vice-versa. Take my word for it.

    If color, float, and shader functions are the mortar, then the nodes themselves must be the bricks. In other words, there are essentially three kinds of information that gets passed around in Cycles, and it's important to understand the differences between these. What gets done with that information depends on the nodes themselves. Like rocks in a stream, the nodes are static, but they direct the flow of information that is constantly changing in a scene.

    So how do we use all this math to make art? It would be troublesome to have to build nodes from scratch every time we set up a scene. Even though we've got this great TeleBlender script to get our content into Blender, what do we do if we want to change things? What if we made some changes to the nodes and like the results? How do we use them again and again? Node Groups!

    So that's where I'm at. I've come up with some basic node groups that allow me to get predictable results and yet make quick changes with a click of the mouse. So, use the Teleblender script to get your Daz Studio scene into Blender, and then you can load custom node groups...

    In Blender: File > Append [Shift F1]. Go to "DAZshaders.blend" > NodeTree. Press 'a' to select all and press Enter.

    In the Properties editor, you select one of the materials that the TeleBlender script has set up. You need to also have the Node editor open at this point. You should have the TeleBlender nodes visible unless you exported as 'Blender Internal' from DS. Click on the 'Material Output' node and then press Ctrl-i (invert selection). Then press Delete. Now you will see in your Materials tab that your Surface is currently "None." Click on "None" and you will see the pop up with a selection of Shaders on the left and Groups on the right. Select the group that corresponds with the body part or other item you are working on at the moment.

    In the Node editor you should see the node group appear and the Surface panel of the Materials tab in the Properties editor should also fill up with stuff. For the moment focus on the node editor. If the node group has a 'Bump' output, connect that output to the 'Displacement' input on the 'Material Output' node. It's important to do this now because you'll be copying and pasting this material to other parts soon.

    Back in the Properties editor in the Surfaces Panel of the Materials tab you will likely see some text like 'TransTex,' 'DifTex,' 'GlosCol,' 'SpecVal,' and some colors (usually just shades of grey), and some numerical values. First of all, the numbers are just default settings. You can change them later. DifCol and GlosCol are also just default colors. You can play with them as you like later. The important and tedious part involves the textures, which I'm sure you've guessed by now, will need to be changed from their default colors into image textures.

    Click on the block to the right of the color (only for colors with labels ending in 'Tex'). From the pop up select 'Image Texture.' Now you'll see that a new Image Texture node has been added to the corresponding input of your node group. Click 'Open' and locate the texture you want assigned to that node. NOTE: There is NO NEED to set up UV Mapping nodes or anything else. The UV layout that is associated with that section of the object's mesh will automatically be mapped to your image texture, unless you tell Blender to do otherwise. So, just add the texture map. That's it. Do this for each texture associated with this material.

    You'll notice that some node groups have more texture inputs than others. This is based on the fact that most Daz characters and props are set up that way. Obviously, hair needs a transparency texture, but skin does not. For some reason Daz characters don't have specular maps for the inside of the mouth. Inside my node group for the mouth I use the bump map to influence the amount of glossiness. This may not always work, I suppose, but it seems better than applying a uniform specular color to the entire mouth. Of course, you can play around with some of the colors and values in the Surfaces Panel to get the look you want. Also, sometimes a character won't have a bump map for the eyes. In this case you can just leave the BumpTex input at its default color.

    Now that you've added all the textures, you're ready to copy this material to other parts. In a Daz Genesis figure there are several main sections, but the materials themselves get broken down into even smaller parts. For example, you have one set of textures (diffuse, bump, and specular) for the character's face. But in the Blender materials you will see a number followed by a body part. In this case perhaps '1_Lip.' So, you've assigned the material and textures to the lip. Do you have to repeat the whole procedure for the nostrils and face? No. Just select 1_Lip and click the little 'down arrow' icon on the right. Select 'Copy Material.' Then locate 1_Nostril and 1_SkinFace and paste the material in each of them. Do the same for the torso, limbs, and mouth. The eyes will be similar except for the cornea and tear materials.

    Some materials like cornea, tear, and eyelash are pretty simple. Tear requires no textures at all. The cornea texture is optional. The default black color will just use environmental light to reflect. In the future I may use a Light Path node on this group to tweak it further. As always, it's a work in progress.

    The Cloth node group deserves a special mention. I've included a Velvet shader node in the group that you can turn on or off with the Velvet value input. The default setting is midway at 0.500. I've also included the Sigma setting. I honestly don't know what it does, but since it is an input to the Velvet shader node itself, I've connected it to the node group input so you have access to it in the Properties editor. Also, aside from setting up the textures, you can simulate quite a few different kinds of materials by adjusting the other colors and values... Experiment!

    That was the hard part. Once you've got your character set up with hair and clothes, the real fun begins!

    Post edited by daveleitz on
  • mjc1016mjc1016 Posts: 15,001
    edited December 1969

    Hmmm. It seems that my .blend file was rejected by BlendSwap. Maybe I need to remove all references to DAZ and try again. Then I can post the link here.

    Edit: The rejection email had some BS about crediting CC sources in it. I have no idea about legalese, but I personally think that's code for "we don't serve your kind here." There's some fine stuff on BlendSwap, but considering the loads of crap you have to wade through to get to it, well, I figured a set of simple material nodes would be no problem.

    Anyway, let's just do these screenshots one at a time. You can ask questions, and I can answer. Casual, if you see something you like in anything I post, use it. I don't need any credit. I don't care about legalese. I'm just an artist with a (very) little technical know how.

    Did you use any Creative Commons released stuff?

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