Three things to love about DAZ Studio 4.5 RC1
The Release Candidate for DAZ Studio 4.5 has been made available (link may or may not be working – DAZ3D are upgrading their site so things are a bit hinky right now), and the accompanying blurb makes it sound like nothing more than a minor incremental improvement over what has gone before.
Don’t be fooled, folks! This is one game-changing build of my favourite render application, and there’s new stuff hidden within that will completely alter the way you make your pretty 3D images.
The first thing you will notice is the dramatically improved viewport speed. Even on my little netbook manipulating figures and moving the camera is now silky smooth. But that’s not one of the three things I want to talk about. Nope.
No screenshots or renders of these awesome new goodies because, quite frankly, I haven’t had time. I encourage you to try them out for yourselves. I think you might like ’em too.
Create a figure, then with the figure selected go to Create->New Node Instances… in the top menu, and click OK. you now have 10 identical figures. These are entirely in-memory duplicates of the original figure that take all of their parameters and settings from the original. Each instance can be repositioned independently and any changes to the original base figure is replicated across all of the other instances. As they are nothing more than “ghosts” they take up very little memory – far less than creating a scene with 10 Genesis figures, for example.
What use is instancing? Well….
Hello, instant army. Hello, instant forest, crowd scene or field of swaying grass. Hello horde of goblins or instant city. all you need is a couple of different figures Instanced a few times in varying clothes and poses (or different buildings, trees, etc) and you’re ready to go. This is tech from higher-end applications such as Vue or top-ranged 3D Studio Max rigs, dropped right into our little biddy character rendering app.
There’s also a menu item to create just a single Instance. because sometimes all you need is a pair of guards.
3. Geometry shell
In the same Create menu you’ll find an option to create a New Geometry Shell. As with Instances you need to have an existing item in the scene selected to use it, and as with Instancing this creates a duplicate of the base figure, but in the same space as the original figure and scaled up just a tiny bit.
Unlike Instances this Geometry shell has its own material settings which means it can be retextured to give the figure 3D body hair with depth, a super-tight conforming bodysuit, 3d layered skin, a glowing effect, or anything else you can think of. The potential within the Geometry Shell is massive and I’m really looking forward to seeing the uses content creators put it to. 3D translucent alien skin, anyone?
The Geometry Shell for individual body parts can be disabled meaning this is a super-quick way to put gloves or stockings onto a figure. Finally.
3. New save format
One of the problems with most 3d applications is that their save format sucks. It’s almost impossible to transfer saves between computers (or use a save after you’ve wiped-and-reinstalled on the same computer, even) as so much of the data is just pointers to content which may or may not even exist on a different system. It’s even more frustrating when you do have the same content, but it’s not necessarily in the same file location.
DAZ Studio’s new scene file format should (hopefully) help do away with most of the headaches. If elements in a scene are missing, it will load anyway and alert you. If it can’t find stuff, you can tell it where to look. This would have been a godsend for me a few months ago when I wiped my computer and found all of my old Scene files were now totally useless. Thanks, DAZ, for solving my problem a few months too late! :D
One thing I haven’t tested yet but sounds particularly useful is the ability to selectively merge in items from an existing saved scene. For example, if I’m creating a scene but want to use a background I had already created in a previous file, I could import only those elements I wanted without having to merge in the whole thing. Nice.
I’m sure there’s (much) more to DAZ Studio 4.5, but these are the ones which caught my attention so far.
Till next time!