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“The Complete Guide the DAZ Studio” Book Review

dragon attacking egg thieves dragon centuar
Daz studio is a great tool for artists who would like to setup test shots and compositions for researching ideas for projects, for example a illustration. The Dragon and Unicorn are heavy altered genesis models I made using a external 3d package. The clothing was also made in a external 3d package. The centaur dragon monster is the SubDragon and Genesis model combined inside DAZ Studio. The Props are stock scenery that came with DAZ Studio and Poser. (C)2013 Maugryph

“The Complete Guide the DAZ Studio” by Paolo Ciccone was provided to me by the publisher. I was intrigued by the book, since I haven’t seen many books dedicated to learning Daz Studio. Please note: Although I am certainty not a professional critic by any means, I was willing to give my best to make a solid unbiased review.

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I will discuss each chapter of the book, and what I found interesting within.

I was going to skip the first chapter, being well antiquated with DAZ. But thankfully I didn’t because it showed me how to stop DAZ from loading the genesis figure in the scene at start up. I would always have to take that extra step in deleting that stupid thing. I been using DAZ for one year and didn’t even know I could do that. I feel like an idiot. The rest of the chapter covers the basics of adding a figure, adding clothing and hair, setting up the clothing to conform with the figure. and finally how to pose a figure.

Chapter Two focuses on customizing the DAZ user interface which is in my humble option one of the worst UIs to ever grace a 3d program. The author shows you how to change the interface to get more screen space and to make the program more bearable. He also shows how to customize the shortcut keys. Although I knew most of this stuff from tinkering with the settings. I do encourage anyone who is serious about working with this program to follow this chapter and save your self some headaches.

Chapter Three is the most important chapter for a beginner. The book shows you how to take a figure and pose it both the parameters and the gismos. One important point the author made, is ALWAYS use a reference for you pose. It is very easy to distort the model and make a pose the feels entirely unrealistic and uncomfortable.

Chapter Four is all about Morphs. Morphs are the meat and potatoes of DAZ studio. The book shows you how to take the base genesis mesh and turn it into different people and creatures using built in morphs. From a woman to a monster. I doesn’t go into detail on how to make you own custom morphs with a external 3d program. That is a disappointment. The true power of genesis is the ability to export the figure and modify it in an external 3d program. This allows you to make something unique that doesn’t look like it came from out of DAZ and Poser.

Chapter Five is about setting up your cameras and lighting in your scene and how to render them into an image.

Chapter six shares some websites where you can buy pre made content and how to install you purchases into DAZ. I’m not big into buying pre-made content. I enjoy making my own, or modifying what I have. This chapter also has some useful tips on installing for those who are beginners.

Chapter sever goes into more detail on how to control the cameras in a scene. How to organize your content in the content library. Especially useful in this chapter is how to import objects from other 3d software packages into your scene and getting it scaled correctly. It also mentions setting up the textures on obj files.

Chapter Eight guides you though the process of making a full scene and addressing how to fix issues with clothing not fitting the model and goes into more depth about adding materials and Uvs. Strangely enough this short bit is all the information on materials provided on the book. It would of been nice to have a complete chapter on the subject.

Chapter Nine concerns lighting. The author makes it clear for the reader not to use lighting just as a way to illuminate an object and makes a point that you can use lighting to hide things as well. Lighting is an artist tool that can make your scene more dynamic. It would of been nice for the author to go into more detail, as the information is rather basic.

Chapter Ten is solely concerned with the author’s own rending plug-in ‘Reality’. It uses the LuxRender open source renderer. Reality allows you to render more realistic images then the crappy built in renderer. Although he said he would be objective in this chapter concerning his own plug-in, he failed to mention his competitor’s plug-in Luxus.

Chapter Elven the author shows you, step by step, how to make a custom dress in a commercial 3d app called Modo. I was impressed with the author’s ability to simplify something so complex for a beginner. It shows how export the model out of DAZ to use as a reference, polygon modeling, slicing UVs, making texture maps. For a year now, I have been making morphs and customized clothing in Cararra and Hexagon. It was interesting to see his work flow compared to mine. The author bypasses setting up any custom clothing riggs, another missed opportunity.

Chapter Twelve, the final chapter focuses on animating your characters in DAZ Studio. I personalty hate animating in DAZ as I had so many issues with it. The chapter explain basic animation concepts such as key-framing.

Although most of content in this book I’ve already known from struggling with the program for a year. It would of saved a lot of frustration and time if I had this book when I first started using DAZ3D. I only wished the author would of went into more detail on making customized morphs. Regardless, the author’s writing is very clear and easy to follow. My hat goes off to him for his chapter on making custom clothing , that is a complicated subject that he has explained with relative ease.

I recommend this book to any beginner who is interested in using DAZ Studio to make 3d imagery, although I wish it had a bit more information on materials, and that he wasn’t so biased about his own plug-in. However if you a expert with DAZ Studio, you probably know most of what’s in the book already.

I was given a copy of this book to review by the publisher.

If you interested in finding out more information on the book, visit the Packt website at http://www.packtpub.com/the-complete-guide-to-daz-studio-4/book or on amazon http://www.amazon.com/The-Complete-Guide-DAZ-Studio-ebook/dp/B00FWIP0T6.

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Daily Painting No.14 (Gandalf the Grey)

gandalf gandorf ian mckellen film study artwork painting

I have been wanting to paint Gandalf (played by Ian McKelley, who appears to have no problem showing his underwear on stage) since I watched the Hobbit last week. One of my more challenging paintings so far. Due to the fact it its a well known actor so I have to get his likeness down to near precision.And also because I had chosen a ref with BACK LIGHTING! I reworked the nose and eyebrows over and over again, I was having issues with the nose proportions.. The reference was a still in the Lord of the Rings movie “Fellowship of The Ring’ (I paused the movie when I saw a interesting pose then when looking at the tv screen, I painted it on my computer).

Update: self critique: The eyebrows are still too dark and need to be lighted up (tried to fix it). the left side  of his face needs a bit more light. Any feedback is appreciated

Painted in Photoshop. Time Taken 1 hour and 30 minutes

Speaking of the Hobbit. Although the the movie in my opinion was very  enjoyable, it was obviously stretched out causing the the film to slow down to a crawl in places. This Two hour and forty five minute movie could of easily been cut down to about a hour and a half. Added content like Radagast’s epic adventures, and the dwarves’ battle with the giant golmes in the misty mountains feels tacked on.  Truthfully the entire book could of been done in ONE three hour movie ( I read the book, it is short and sweet at a brisk 300 pages). It’s like Peter Jackson wanted to relive his glory LOTR days. Ian McKellen and Martin Freeman’s performances alone make it worth watching.

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The Babysitter – Poster Version

dragon knight epic battle cat king cat prince glory toon dragon artwork illustration

Update: Replaced the dragon in the background with a knight. It makes more sense to me do do it that way. A role reversal.. However the original image is below

The completed Illustration. The dragon in the background was from another painting I done and was a place holder, but it looked so cool so I left it. Changed the illustration to a poser/book format, where text could be easily added (book/movie title, credits, etc). Made the dragon guardian old, and changed the eyes. as of now it is done. I cant think of anything else to do with it. Let me know what you think of it.  Painted in Photoshop.