Software Tips ‘n Tricks

DAZ Studio Quick Tips: Editing/Fixing Morphs – How to Remove Unwanted Vertices From Morphs

October 23, 2017 Leave a comment

In this video I show how to remove vertices from a morphs influence. This can be useful if you want to break a morph in separate individual morphs by body part, accidentally tweak a part of an object you didn’t mean to, or to break a full body morph into separate head and body morphs.

Skill Level: Intermediate/Advanced

ZBrush – Creating Characters and Morphs for Daz 3D Figures: Preparing to Sculpt, Plus Tips

March 29, 2017 Leave a comment

Preparing the Figure for Sculpting

  1. Draw out Genesis 3 on the canvas, if you haven’t already.
  2. If you need help importing Genesis 3, refer to:

  3. Make sure you’re in Edit mode (hotkey T).
I like to keep my head and body morphs as two separate project files. I find it makes it easier to manage my layers and helps keep me from accidently creating deformations on the body that I don’t want included with the head morph. This is just a personal preference; however, you will want to make sure to keep your body morphs and head morphs separate from each other (either by using two separate project files, or by using separate layers). This will give you more control inside Daz Studio and will create a better product, whether for personal or commercial use (but you can do whatever you want, just don’t say I didn’t warn you).

Preparing to Create Body Morphs

Fortunately, sculpting on the body doesn’t really require any pre-setup. I just want to point out the fingernails and toenails are separate meshes, that way you’re aware and can use the masking techniques described below to assist you when working on the hands and feet, if necessary.

Preparing to Create Head Morphs

Masking Certain Features

I like to be able to easily mask off certain features of the face to avoid distorting those that I didn’t intend on; mainly the eyes and sometimes the teeth. Since eyes are typically always at least mostly round, I like to mask them off while I do most my sculpting on the face and then deal with them when I’m basically done.

Depending on how much you plan on changing the jaw and mouth, you may also want to mask off the teeth and deal with them at the end as well. Sometimes they’ll move appropriately with the jaw when left unmasked.

Here’s my method for masking them off

  1. Turn on Draw Polyframe

    I find it easier to have visual feedback as I go through the steps, so I like to turn on Polyframe (hotkey Shift+F).

  2. Group similar features
    1. ZBrush Polygroups

    2. On the tool palette, Expand the Polygroups Palette.
    3. Click Auto Groups to group individual features of the mesh into separate groups.
    4. Click Merge Similar Groups. This will merge symmetrical features into one group, grouping the eyes together, the top lashes together, the bottom lashes together, etc.
  3. Set up your Masking
    1. CTRL+Shift+Click any part of the main body’s mesh to hide everything except the body.
    2. CTRL+Shift+Click+ drag on the background to invert the visibility.
    3. CTRL+Shift+Click+ drag and draw out a box around the teeth. This will set the teeth as the only visible objects.
    4. Sometimes some of the teeth will get grouped with the eye lashes, so we’ll manually group them together to be on the safe side.

    5. Click Group Visible. This will group all the teeth together as a separate group.
    6. CTRL+Shift+Click the canvas to unhide everything.
    7. CTRL+Shift+Click any part of the main body mesh to hide everything except the body again.
    8. CTRL+Shift+Click+ drag on the background to invert the visibility again.
    9. CTRL+Shift+Click everything you want to leave unmasked (it will toggle visibility by group, meaning both upper lashes will be hidden when you click on one of them). I usually click the upper lashes, lower lashes and the lower lash line.
    10. If you want to mask off the teeth as well as the eyes, leave them visible at this point, otherwise click on one of them.

    11. CTRL+Click the canvas to invert the mask. This will mask off everything that is visible, even though nothing was masked prior to this step.
    12. CTRL+Shift+Click the canvas once again to unhide everything.

At this point you should have something that looks like this (your polygroups may be different colors).

ZBrush - Genesis 3 Grouped and Masked

Congratulations, you now have your masking set up! You can turn off Draw Polyframe now if you want.

Pro Tip, Use Layers!

Now before you start sculpting away, I highly recommend using layers!

I like to create layers as I go for each feature I will be sculpting on. For example, if I want to start sculpting on the nose, I create a new layer and name it Nose 01, and record all the sculpting I plan on doing to the nose, at that point in time, to that layer. I do this for every feature as I go along, then when I get back to the nose, I create a new layer and name it Nose 02. You can also go back to the original nose layer and record more sculpting to it if you prefer, or be more specific with your layers and create layers like Nose Width, Nose Height, Nostrils, etc.

Some people like to create all their layers before they even start sculpting, then select them as they go when they plan on sculpting on each feature. The point is to figure out a system that works well for you.

  1. First create a Base Layer and name it.
  2. Don’t record any sculpting on this layer, save it as is just in case you ever need it.

      ZBrush Layers

    1. Expand the Layers Pallette.
    2. Click the New Layer button.
    3. Click the Name Button and type in Base
  3. Now let’s create our first layer for sculpting
    1. With the Layers Pallette still expanded.
    2. Click the New Layer button.
    3. Click the Name Button and type in Nose 01 (or whatever you want).
    4. Make sure Record is on.
  4. Sculpt away (don’t forget to make sure X symmetry is on, unless you’re going for asymmetry)!
  5. You can also change the strength of each layer

    This may come in handy as you’re fine tuning your sculpts.

    1. Click the 1 that’s directly to the left of the name of the Layer (when you hover you mouse over it) and enter a value between 0 and 1, or use the slider below the name.

Pro Tip, Dynamic Subdivision

Since you’re working off the base mesh inside ZBrush, you’ll probably want to know what your morphs will actually look like once they’re loaded into Daz Studio and subdivided. You can always send the mesh back and forth between ZBrush and Daz Studio to check your progress (which I recommend doing every now and then anyway, to check your progress by seeing what it looks like rendered), but there’s another way. You can also use Dynamic Subdiv to see what the mesh will look like when subdivided without actually subdividing the mesh, that way you get to see the results, but will still be able to send it back to Daz Studio as a morph!

You can also leave it on as you sculpt!

    ZBrush Dynamic Subdiv

  1. Expand the Geometry palette.
  2. Expand the Dynamic Subdiv options.
  3. Turn it on by clicking the Dynamic button.
  4. Set the SmoothSubdiv value between 0 and 2 (there’s not really any point setting it higher than 2).
    1. 1 is the Daz Studio default for the viewport.
    2. 2 is the Daz Studio default for rendering.

DAZ Studio Quick Tips: Hidden Face Bones

January 29, 2017 2 comments

In this video I go over where to find the Genesis 3 Hidden Face Bones. These bones are great for fine tuning your character’s expressions and can also be used as a morph resource kit to change their faces.

Skill Level: Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced

DAZ Studio Quick Tips: Spotlights for Iray

March 27, 2016 Leave a comment

In this video I go over a couple quick tips: setting up Spotlights for Iray in DAZ Studio. From producing softer shadows, configuring spotlight specific render settings, to pointers that should help ease the process of aiming your spotlights.

Skill Level: Beginner

What You Need to Know About NVIDIA Iray

March 9, 2016 Leave a comment

What You Need to Know About Iray

If you haven’t figured it out already, I’m a big fan of using Iray for rendering with Daz Studio 4.8+. While spending time cracking out on it, I’ve figured out a few things I thought were important and worth sharing. I think they’re especially good to know if you’re considering buying a new GPU.

With that being said, I’m just going to dive right in…

    • If you’re tweaking a scene, rendering then canceling, rendering then canceling, eventually your VRAM will get full and Iray will stop using your GPU for rendering and switch to your CPU. Which typically equals longer rendering times. It can even happen when letting the render finish completely, though, for whatever reason, it seems to manage the VRAM better in this second scenario.
    • The solution, when it switches over to your CPU, you have to close Daz Studio and restart it. Then everything will be back to normal again. Also, if you keep the number of render preview windows open at a time to a minimum, when your Render Target is New Window, it seems to help the VRAM from getting as full.
    • I have verified that this is a known issue with the Daz Development Team.
    • When it first happened to me I thought one of my GPUs went out. When Iray switches from GPU to CPU I can hear it, because the fans on my water cooler crank up. I then fired up my GPU monitoring software and saw one of the cards wasn’t being used. Long story short, I finally realized the only reason the other card was running was to run my monitor, my GPUs were fine, then I contacted DAZ…
    • When using Iray with multiple GPUs, all the data being processed for rendering has to fit into each card’s VRAM independently. Which means if you have a 4GB card and a 6GB card, and the scene to be rendered requires over 4GB VRAM, the 4GB card will be excluded.
    • I’ve verified this with folks from both Daz and NVIDIA.
    • If your NVIDIA card doesn’t have at least 4GB VRAM, Daz Studio will default to CPU rendering.
    • I also confirmed this with Daz. (After the public release of Daz Studio 4.9.)

NVIDIA

Well, I hope you learned something! If you found this post valuable, don’t forget it to share it with someone else.

Catch you on the flipside…

LayLo

 

DAZ3D Shortcuts to Material Presets & Renaming a Product

January 12, 2016 Leave a comment

While working on my latest product (keep your eye out, it should be released soon) I decided to change the name when it was nearly finished. What sounds like a simple task isn’t if you want to also update the texture file names as well. Normally this would involve re-saving all the Material Presets while going through them one by one, updating the path and file name of each texture. With 11 Material Presets for the top and 11 Presets for the pants, each with 3 references to texture files you can see how this could quickly become an annoying task. Fortunately there’s a better way…

This video is probably most beneficial to content creators, but could also benefit any hobbyist that likes to make custom materials for items in their content libraries. I’ve also used the techniques I demonstrate in projects outside of the CG world. They can work great for HTML. Sometime when you’re trying to import a word document into HTML, HTML editors will create unwanted page breaks and other random things when maybe you just want paragraphs. You can use Replace Text to help in those situations as well.

In this video I demonstrate my method of renaming a DAZ Studio product and updating all the Material Presets to use a new folder structure and new material file names.

You can also use these techniques when creating Material Presets as well. Sometimes when creating them, all the settings in the preset will be the exact same except for the actual texture files themselves. I have found it more convenient in certain situations to make one Material Preset, save it uncompressed, create a copy and use Replace Text to change it from referencing one texture file to another. Then just rename the copy, and repeat for all the materials you’re trying to make for that one item. This is especially useful when one Material Preset references the same texture file in multiple locations, i.e. Base Color, Glossy Color, etc. Then when you’re finished creating all the Material Presets in this manner, you can use DAZ Studio’s Batch Convert to re-compress them all at once (I show how to do this towards the end of the video).

I mention WinRAR as my favorite archiving program, here’s a link to the website. It’s not free, but you can download a trial and check it out. The trial never actually expires, after 30 days it will just start asking you to buy the program when you open it up. If you like the program, I’d recommend buying it, you can find it for around $25-$30.

Other programs used in the video (All are Free):

ZBrush Preferences Tips ‘n Tricks

December 20, 2015 16 comments

ZBrush

I recently purchased ZBrush 4R7. At first for me, getting used to the interface felt a whole lot like trying to pick my nose with a baseball glove on. The hardest thing was getting used to how to navigate the viewport. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very powerful program and I am happy with the purchase, but there were a couple things I wanted to customize that I couldn’t find the ability to do so within the user interface.

Here are a couple things that I wanted to customize, how I was able to do so, and a couple other tips ‘n tricks that may be helpful for both the beginner and more advanced user as well:

Set ZBrush canvas to fill entire viewport

Depending on your monitor size and screen resolution, you may be annoyed when you open up ZBrush the canvas doesn’t fill the entire viewport. Fortunately, there’s a simple fix.

Go to the “Documents” menu. Next to the “New Document” button, make sure “WSize” is highlighted, then click the “New Document” button.

A new document should be created with the canvas filling up the entire viewport.

Now to make it like that when you start up ZBrush, navigate back to the “Document” menu and click “Save As Startup Doc” button.

Bam, you’re all set.

Add mouse wheel zoom functionality

I simply was losing my mind not being able to zoom using the mouse wheel!

Thankfully I found a plug-in to add the function.

Here’s a link to the main thread with the plug-in and installation instructions.

*For it to work with ZBrush 4R7, refer to post #83, here’s a direct link.

Change ZBrush’s scratch disk location

If you’re like me and have both a SSD and a HDD, you may not like temporary files being constantly written to your SSD. If you don’t know, SSDs wear out faster than HDDs. In normal use scenarios most people probably don’t need to be concerned about this, but I like to keep things in tip top condition =). Another reason a person may want to change the location of the scratch disk is to conserve precious SSD space for other things.

There are a couple ways to change the scratch disk location:

The easiest way is to go to your “C:\Users\Public\Documents\ZBrushData” location, open up the “ZBrushScratchDiskPath.TXT” and change the file path located in the document to wherever you would like the scracth disk to be located.

*Now make sure whatever path you specify actually exists (ZBrush won’t automatically create the folders, you have to manually create them) or it won’t work properly.

The 2nd way is a little more advanced, but in my opinion, is the way to go if you also want to change where the “QuickSave” files will be saved as well.

Change where ZBrush saves it’s QuickSave files

To change where ZBrush saves it’s QuickSave files you have to create a directory junction. A junction is similar to a desktop “shortcut” except programs will also follow the path.

To create a junction fire up the good ol’ “Command Prompt”, make sure to run it as administrator. Now simply type in:

mklink /J “C:\Users\Public\Documents\ZBrushData\” “D:\YourNewLocation”

*Important: type in exactly as shown, except replace D:\YourNewLocation with whatever path you would like.

**Note: this is to change the location of all the files in the “ZBrushData” folder. If you only want to change the “QuickSave” files location see below.

To paste into Command Prompt, right click on the Window Title, select Edit > Paste.

The command I used was:

mklink /J “C:\Users\Public\Documents\ZBrushData\” “D:\Users\Public\Documents\ZBrushData”

Finally, cut and paste the original “ZBrushData” folder to its new location.

Now every time ZBrush tries to write to it’s default “C:\…\ZBrushData\” location it will actually be writing to whatever location you specified.

If you only want to change the location of the “QuickSave” folder, add “QuickSave\” to the end of both paths and only move the “QuickSave” folder to the new location.

Change GoZ Cache location

Navigate to “C:\Users\Public\Pixologic\GoZBrush” and change the path specified in the following 3 text documents:

  • GoZ_ProjectPath.txt
  • GoZ_ObjectPath.txt
  • GoZ_ObjectList.txt

You may not have all 3 files depending on how many times you’ve used GoZ.

*Again, make sure that whatever path you specify actually exists (ZBrush won’t automatically create the folders, you have to manually create them) or it won’t work properly.

A couple of other useful resources

A keyboard shortcuts cheat sheet pdf with the most important items – download here

full list of keyboard shortcuts as a printable pdf – download here