Dabbling With D-Formers And Polygon Group Editing: Examples / Tutorials / Do You Need Help?

NovicaNovica Posts: 23,725
edited August 2014 in Art Studio

Need a mesh bump, hump, stretch or shrink? (We all need shrinks, but I digress.) Welcome to the wonderful world of D-formers. Move that mesh and create the surface to fit your needs. Simply put, a D-Former creates a grid with colored dots that is over your mesh. Depending on the color of those dots, the mesh will have a low, medium, or strong pull out of it's current position when you move the D-former.

I'm going to show you an example of a D-former in action- including how I had to adjust it. So you really are going step by step. As a bonus, I'm going to Polygon Group Edit the scene too- and make things go POOF. (Warning- it's addictive.) If you need help with the PGE (Polygon Group Editor) feel free to ask!

If you have examples of D-formers or Polygon Group Editing, please feel free to share. These are really powerful tools.

If you want assistance with D-forming or PGE, there's a few requirements.

1.) You have to tackle it and put in the effort. The D-Former tutorials already exist which tell you what to do. Do not say, "How do I do this?" from the very beginning. You will be directed to the tutorial. My tutorial on this thread will show you the PGE (Polygon Group Editor) basics.

2.) Tell us exactly what it is doing, and what you want it to do.

3.) Include screenshots for #2.

4.) For D-Formers, use the template below and give the coordinates for the Base, D-former, and Field.

5.) Provide the product name and LINK so folks can quickly check to see if they have the product.

6.) Please note you should do your d-forming when the basic scene is loaded and before you move everything around- if you kit-bash and change the product drastically, don't expect a mentor to try and re-create that. They are here to help with products "as is" where they can easily re-create your problem.


Novica’s Q&As; and Jaderail Tutorial: http://www.daz3d.com/forums/discussion/41191/
Carnite’s Video Tutorial For Landscapes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SEBV2GHJHA
For Clothing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoGqfV8E7Co

Creating For People: (In German, just watch it- you’ll learn how!)
Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y18VtTZoFC4
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MC94UrfBtqU
Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jt_emdJZnNw
Part 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INS2fwTBnqY

Post edited by Novica on


  • NovicaNovica Posts: 23,725
    edited August 2014


    If you have
    http://www.daz3d.com/neitherhenge (FLOOR)

    I am currently toying with these three things, there's no guarantee they'll all be in the final render but I wanted some tropical buildings to put on a very inhospitable rocky location. We are going to flatten out a rocky outcrop ledge, add a random ground plane on top of it, and then Polygon Group Editor the ground plane to remove extra rocks, and also what sticks out over the edge. We are also going to take some unused rocks, stretch and scale them to create an overlook ledge, and turn this place into a nice retreat. Because the tropics are lush with waterfalls, I'll experiment with adding tropicals and totally transforming a rocky place to a vegetation paradise.

    If you have The Hidden Waterfalls, play along. If you don't, grab any rocky scene. You need a ledge that would normally not be suitable to plop a building. To experiment, I recommend the Beach Pod- it's a PC item and fantastic.


    Photo 1: One view of the ledge before changes. It slopes down and has a varied surface that would poke through any floors of the buildings.

    Photo 2: Another view prior to changes. The rocks on our left will be lowered and the ledge will go in there. With this view, you can see more of the ups and downs of the ledge surface.

    TIP: Before D-forming, see if scaling the set overall will assist you. (Just "Scale.") You might also want to just scale the ledge (prop) that you are D-forming. (XYZ Scales) I also used rotate to get it in position. These little tweaks BEFORE you D-form will make it easier.

    Step 1:
    I scaled the Hidden Waterfalls to 125% overall.

    HighHillLeft2 is the ledge in this set.
    Scaled: X: 82.5 Y: 70
    Rotated: Y: -46 (to level it) Z: -4.16

    Step 2:
    Select your ledge/prop that you are going to change in Scene tab.
    Photo 3: Go to Create>New D-Former. Name, click Accept. The D-Former is now in your Scene Tab, as a sub menu under that ledge/prop.

    Photo 4:You will then see the D-Former field appear over your selected prop. CLICK TO ENLARGE, CLICK AGAIN.

    Step 3:
    Photo 5: Select the Base- you want to see where it is and get it positioned. As explained in the docs for the base...
    "The Base looks like a flat, circular disk. It loads into the scene directly beneath the D-Former Handle. The Base defines the baseline point from which mesh deformation occurs when you move the D-Former. Move the Base to where you want the center of the deformation to occur."

    TIP: If you have your object selected in the Scene tab, when you click on the View Frame in the viewport (+ with the 4 brackets around it) you will zip right to the object! Very handy for large scenes.

    TIP: (from Docs)
    TIP! If the vertex colors in the Field are hard to see, or if you want to display different colors to show the amount of strength, select the D-Former in the Scene Tab. Then open the Display group in the Parameters Tab. You will see options to change the minimum and maximum strength of the colors, and a slider to change the Point Size. Move the slider toward the right to increase the vertex size. You can also use the Display Weights button to turn off the vertex display.

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    Post edited by Novica on
  • NovicaNovica Posts: 23,725
    edited August 2014

    Step 4:
    Photo 1: See if your Base is where you want it- I have to move it over to the left because I want that ledge leveled- and the base is over to the right. BTW, that's the Beach Pod you see in the scene- it's not placed on the ledge because I need to get that done first.

    Photo 2: Go to Top View to move your Base. After you get it where you want it, then change your view so you can raise and lower the Base (Y Translation.)

    Photo 3: Here are the Base settings in case you are trying to duplicate this scene.

    Step 5: Scale your Field- get it manageable and covering the size of the area you want to affect. You will need to tweak the location and size- back and forth- until your red/strong dots are over the mesh you want to have the most impact. Your orange dots will also have quite an impact too. Your Field is under your selected item in the Scene tab (mine was the ledge.)

    Photo 4: Playing around with the Field settings. Note that the higher rock surface on our right is no longer the red dotted area- that isn't the area I need to level. I DO want the gradual slope going up to that area to be affected slightly, so there are yellow dots.
    It may first seem that 60,000 is a lot for the Field, but if you are doing a ledge, a room of a house, etc- that's a good starting point. Some of the fields are enormous.

    Photo 5: Here's the exact settings for the Field. Coming up, the exact settings for the D-Former after I tweaked it.

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    Post edited by Novica on
  • NovicaNovica Posts: 23,725
    edited August 2014

    Photo 1: The final settings for the D-Former. So now you have the Base, Field, and D-Former and can re-create this ledge D-former. Be sure and skim the thread where Jaderail and I discussed why my D-former wasn't working. If you don't have the D-Former DOING something, it won't morph.

    Photo 2: How about THAT folks? :) There's your flat ledge with the D-Former applied.

    Step 6:
    Photo 3: You currently have a D-Former that will show up in Parameters as such. (Shown on left side of image.)
    To create the morph, go to Window>Panes/Tabs>Dform. (Shown on right side of image.) Click on D-forms.

    Step 7:
    Photo 4: Click the three boxes as shown, then "Spawn Morph." When the popup appears, name your morph. Hit "Ok."

    Step 8:
    Photo 5: If you are TOTALLY done doing any D-Formers, go ahead and click "Yes To All" when the next box appears and asks if you want to delete the D-Former.

    TIP: If you want to make more adjustments to that item, or even the surrounding area, do not delete the D-Former. You already have this one as a morph under your object, it's SAFE. Permanent. So if you are still wanting to play, why start from scratch? You can easily use that D-former again and change the settings! (This is helpful for characters- you might want the nostrils to widen. Then you might do a D-former for nostril height, and you want separate morphs for that.)

    So just click "No" if you want to keep the D-former. That has NO impact on the morph you just created.

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    Post edited by Novica on
  • NovicaNovica Posts: 23,725
    edited August 2014

    Photo 1: And now you have your morph under your item. Move the slider back and forth and TEST your morph. If you don't like the pull, guess what? You still have your D-Former set up and can change the location of the base and tweak the field. Another great reason NOT to delete the D-former at the first opportunity.

    Photo 2: Because I had yellow and orange dots from my Field on those rocks to our right, watch what happens when I move my morph slider. Fun! (This photo has 3 images together.) Look at how the rocks change- you can raise or flatten them. CLICK TO ENLARGE/CLICK AGAIN.

    Photo 3: TIP: If you are morphing terrain, do spot renders or render a small area to see if the materials/surface need to be bumped or displaced. Because my morph stretched the terrain a bit (and I also scaled and pulled it) I upped the bump and displacement. Here's the settings.

    Okay, done with D-forming. Now just some general workflow tips and transforming this area into a tourist or private outlook. Let's do Creating Groups and how that can save you time.

    Photo 3: TIP: If you are loading a lot of flowers and vegetation into a large scene, load it up and don't bother to move it. Select them all in the Scene Tab (you can Control and click each one, or Shift and click the first and last one) then go to Create>Group. Now they are really easy to move to one central location, and you can disperse from there by simply clicking on the individual object. I did that with the flowers (they came in at the bottom of the cliff, I need them up at the overlook.)

    Photo 4: So you can see the Group in the Scene tab and I moved it to the overlook by the waterfall. I also brought in the Beach Pod. Not worried about exact location or whether it's level, I'm just getting possibilities to the location.

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    Post edited by Novica on
  • NovicaNovica Posts: 23,725
    edited August 2014

    TIP: Although you can leave the ground plane as it is, ask yourself, "What could I put there to make it unique?" So because I might want this to go from rocky to rocky/tropical (Think Hawaii- lots of gorgeous waterfalls, rocks, and rich vegetation together) I am going to bring in a dirt floor. I can always hide it. Regardless of whether the dirt floor stays or goes, I needed the ledge under it to be smoothed.

    I brought in Neitherhenge. It has rocks sticking up, but also embedded. It goes well with this environment- seems more natural than just a dirt floor.Which leads me to...

    TIP: use Scene>close the eye and turn off an item- OR use Opacity in Surfaces and take out items that distract from your floor or scene.

    Photo 1 TIP: And also turn off the items in Scene (or Surface>Opacity) and hide things that are in your way while working. As you can see, I've taken out some rocks that were blocking my view in front. You can see how I am hiding those small, chunky rocks from Neitherhinge- they would go through the Pod or other buildings' floors.

    Photo 2 Are there any props in your scene that you can morph? I took squarestones 28, 39, and 40 and created long rectangles for the outlook ledge. Again, when stretching props, adjust your bump and displacement.

    Photo 3 Here comes another stone to stretch into the next piece of ledge- and notice the ground plane seems better. I lowered our original surface that we morphed, and left some rocks coming through at the edges. If I want to use this as a rocky surface later without the dirt, I have my level, morphed surface and can do that.

    Photo 4 If making ledges, Top View really helps. I'm going to Polygon Group Edit out part of the ground plane that extends past the ledges. I'll start that the next post. I really wouldn't HAVE to eliminate the edges of the plane because my camera angle would be from the Pod side, but in case I want to do a shot pointing IN from the waterfall side, it's nice to have it done.

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    Post edited by Novica on
  • NovicaNovica Posts: 23,725
    edited August 2014

    Polygon Group Editor
    There are a lot of things you can do with this, and I am just covering the basic making of a surface area/material zone so you can hide part of a landscape or prop.

    Photo 1 Change your view (out in the viewport) to Wire Texture Shaded so you can see the polygons. Notice the Neitherhenge has nice, large squares- love it! Will be easy to select and hide with this tool. You want to move your camera so you can easily click all the squares. Once you start selecting them, yes, you can still rotate your view- but be sure you are still holding down

    Photo 2 Have your item selected in Scene. Go to Tools>Polygon Group Editor and click it.

    Photo 3Right click in your viewport and select the mode you prefer for highlighting the polygons. I like the drag feature- I click on each polygon when I need precision work. For larger areas, the rectangle tool is handy- you create a rectangle around a group and they are selected.

    Photo 4I held down Shift and moved my cursor over the squares. When they turn yellow, they are selected. You can also click on the squares (hold down Shift though or only one will stay selected.)

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  • NovicaNovica Posts: 23,725
    edited August 2014

    Photo 1 When you have your polygons selected, right click in the viewport again and choose Polygon Assignment> Create Surface From Selected. You will get a popup and you should name your material group. It will show up over in Surfaces for your item.

    Photo 2 The area will turn white- you haven't done anything wrong. If you go to the Surface tab (if your item is selected, and it should be) you will see your new material group!

    Photo 3 If you want to hide that group, go to Opacity and turn it to zero. Voila, POOF.

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    Post edited by Novica on
  • NovicaNovica Posts: 23,725
    edited December 1969

    reserved group 8. If I need anymore, I'll link from here. Folks can go ahead and post.

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