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DAZ 3d Studio 4.5 Surface Tab – Diffuse, Specular and Lighting Models

Diffuse is the color of an object in 3d programs including DAZ Studio 4.x. Here is the Wiki Page for Diffuse – http://docs.daz3d.com/doku.php/artzone/pub/software/dazstudio/reference/st_diffuse

You can find the Diffuse on the Surface Tab. loading most objects will load the DAZ default shader.

A discussion about the Surface Tab is incomplete unless you discuss the Lighting Model. Many objects load with the lighting model of plastic unless the author made more specific shader presets. The Lighting Model are choices in the way the render engine interprets the specularity of an objects surface. So with the previous statement you would assume it has no effect if you are only playing with the Diffuse Channel. Not so. It seems that the Skin Lighting model does effect Diffuse. See below.

DAZ Plastic Lighting Model. Diffuse only 100% Glossiness 100% 100% Spotlight.

DAZ Skin Lighting Model. Diffuse only 100% Glossiness 100% Spotlight 100%.

The Glossiness of the Diffuse surface seems to be expanded and softened compared to the plastic lighting model. But also brightened or stronger. Glossiness is directly tied to specularity so this make me even more curious since the Specular Channel was at 0%. So I will now turn the Specular Channel up to 100% and show the effects of Glossiness.

Specular and Diffuse at 100%. Plastic Lighting Model. Spotlight 100%. At Glossiness 100% with these setting there is no specular highlight.

DAZ Glossines 95%

DAZ Glossines 90%

DAZ Glossiness 70%

Daz Glossiness 50%

There are really billions of different settings and combinations of settings for the DAZ Studio 4  Surface TAB. Diffuse and Specular are the 2 most used shading channels in any product. Many times there are maps associated with the channels. Next chapter will continue with Diffuse, Glossiness, Specular and Lighting Models on the DAZ 3D Studio 4 surface tab. Happy rendering.

Daz 3D Studio 4.5 – Installing Content – My Library

I have been putting off the final chapter of installing content into Daz studio 4.5 because it is a little messy. At some point you are going to have to decide whether to keep filling the Poser runtime directory or adding content to the Daz “My Library” folder. There are numerous reasons why this is happening.

Studio 3 has a “Content” folder where the DAZ Studio specific folders are located. With DAZ Studio 4 this was changed to be called “My Library”. Not sure why but it happened. So older content installers from DAZ will extract a content folder as the top folder. The folders inside are the same as what is in “My Library”. So you have to take them out and put them into “My Library”. More on that later.

Daz reads bump, specular and displacement maps differently than Poser. I read the specifics in another tutorial and will have to look to find the details. But when you visit a product description page you want to see if there are Daz Studio specific material setting files. In earlier (pre-Genesis era) installers there were 2 methods of reading DAZ studio specific files.

At one time DAZ used files with the extension of .DS and DSA. These files are ascii files and are inserted into the poser “Pose” folder. You know this file is in the folder by the little scroll on the top left of a files PNG (As seen below). This indicates there are DAZ specific material/shader scripts. You had DAZ specific material/shader files contained in the same poser folder.

Then the DAZ Studio 3  “Content” folder occurred and there were different installers for Poser and DAZ Studio content. You can tell these file by looking at the installer.
A typical installer will have the nomenclature of : 600_Name of Product_version number_dpc. The dpc means the files are compatible with DAZ-Poser-Carrara. If you see a file that has just the letters “ds” then that is a DAZ Studio specific installer. Now there are no absolutes in DAZ world but this is usually the content you install into the Content/My Library folder. It contains DAZ Studio specific files that Poser can’t read.

At one time the “ds” installer only held D/S (Daz Studio) specific files without the Textures (This is now different, I call the new installers POST Genesis installer). So you still had to run the “dpc” folder to retrieve the textures and move them into the Conten/My Library Runtime folder. Fast forward to current installers and the “ds” version now installs all of the textures and DAZ specific files into My Library.

I hope I explained the dilemma involved in installing content that DAZ Studio 4 can read. The problem in a nutshell. You once had a runtime that both Poser and Studio would read and have program specific scrips for the materials/shaders. Pure genius in my mind. Simple.

You also have a DAZ Studio folder system That is different and separate from your Poser runtime. If you use the DAZ Studio files which are specific material/shader instructions they only read from the texture library in the My Library Runtime folder. Or you can use the poser cr2, pz2 files and make adjustment in the surface tab. But there is another wrinkle that DAZ hopes will cure all these ills.The DAZ solution. METADATA files.

Files now come with metadata. Sometimes it is included with the initial ‘ds’ installer and sometimes it is a separate installer. But DAZ Studio 4.5 will automatically recognize where the file was installed, inside or outside of the “My Library” folder and list it in the Content Tab under —> Daz Studio Formats —> My Library. Underneath My Library you will see a list of new products installed outside of the My Library folder system as long as it has METADATA. Older products don’t usually have MD but it can easily be created. But even this does not always work.  I have had folders that list there but show no content.

Some different scenarios you may encounter.

Without Metadata the procedure is this…  run the ‘ds’ installer into my unpack folder. I see it unrolls a folder named Content. Inside of this folder are two folders named people and data (results may vary. There may be more, different or less folders). I run the ‘dpc installer and this unpacks a runtime folder with the usual folders inside that Studio-Poser-Carrara can read. The traditional Poser Runtime format (flawed as it is).

This is where you have to make a decision. If you have material/texture instructions in the Content/My Library folder then you should use these files. Copy them into your D/S folder structure. then copy the texture folder and put that in the Runtime folder. Simple right.

Now there are DAZ files that are no brainers to install directly into the My Library” folder. Those are shaders and lights. These are usually always DAZ studio specific. I usually always include an unistaller when upacking these products because they WILL change as newer versions of D/S are released.

Another situation I just encountered is running a product outside of my D/S runtime. Unpack the metaata. The product was recognized and listed on the Content Tab but no files showed up. So I ran the “dpc” installer. Inside there were those ‘ds” ascii script files that add the scroll to the tile icon (mentioned above). I added the poser runtime and categorized it. Actually, everything is “Categorized. I run everything from the Categories menu in the Content Tab. Visit this page if you use the Content Management Service.

Onward and upward. The My Library file system is rather self explanatory. Shaders are in the shaders folder, Lights in lights folder. They point to the runtime folder if textures are required. In essence, you can change any of these files around. Sometimes an author will name a folder something else. It may be a shader but he named the root folder shaders adding a new folder. You can take the shader files out of that mislabeled folder and stick them into the original shader folder. Dreamlight seems to Always self promote by make a separate folder which gets aded to your D/d My Library. I just move this around to the appropriate folder.

Same with the people folder. You can arrange files inside of the folder to suit your needs. Even rename them. They are pointing to other folder that have structure that CAN’T be changed. The texture folder is one as well as the data folder.

This page may change over time as I reread it, think of other things or DAZ makes new changes. If you have questions please drop me a comment. I hoped this helped you understand the dynamics of installing content into the DAZ Studio 3, 4, 4.5 or any future incarnation Content/My Library runtime system. Remember,unpack-install those files into a separate folder before committing them to your runtime file structure.

DAZ 3d Studio 4.5 Tips and Tricks – Content Management Service

The Content Management Service is a brilliant idea from DAZ. When it works correctly. I have had it crash on me numerous times. making me have to rebuild everything from scratch.

The issue seems to occur during the process of Categorizing products. To avoid problems NEVER, NEVER, NEVER create a new Category when/with the “Select a Parent Category” window. This is an option but it seems to crash my DAZ Studio 4 program and knock the Content Management Service out of service (sometimes) in the least and permanently damage it in the worst. This is only for categorizing a Runtime folder/Subfolder.

For example…Last time around I did the usual, right click on a newly imported Runtime, choose create category from, choose the level of folder categorization (this folder only…) and the “select a parent folder” box opens up. Now you CAN create a subcategory folder from this window, it is an option. But when i do this my DAZ Studio 4 crashes and the Content Management Service becomes corrupted. Last time I created a folder through this method my CMS stopped recognizing any files inside of newly categorized folders.

I tried the stop, start CMS trick but it didn’t work this time. I uninstalled and reinstalled DAZ Studio 4 and the CMS but that didn’t fix the problem. CMS was running but not recognizing files inside categorized folders. So I had to go to a hidden file in my Windows Program, erase the Content Management Folder (to reset it, since uninstalling does not eliminate this folder). Uninstall DAZ and CMS then reinstall. Yes, it wiped out all my CMS settings, again. But this is when I realized this problem always came after creating a folder via the “Choose a Parent Folder” pop up menu.

Only Create a New Folder (Parent or Subfolder) via the Categories selection. I think this will eliminate the CSM from not working anymore.

If you need to reset your CMS here are a few good forum posts at DAZ.

Content Management Server.exe – http://www.daz3d.com/forums/viewthread/7454/

Starting and Stopping the DAZ3d Content Sanagement Service – http://www.daz3d.com/forums/viewthread/1810/

The CSM is becoming more important and is now integrated in the new Carrara program. I hope they fix this little bug soon.

DAZ 3d Studio 4.5 tips and tricks 1 – Affinity

Anytime you render in a 3D program it will take up ALL of your computers resources. My 7 core 17 computer kicks in the fans instantly after hitting render. One trick I learned is to change the affinity of Daz Studio 4.5.

Every time I open Studio I then open Task manager (Ctrl+Alt+Delete), open the processes tab, find DAZStudio.exe, right click on it, open the “set affinity” which pops open the list of your processors cores. I usually chose 4 or 5 of my 7 cores to run with Daz Studio at any one time.

It probably slows down my render times but I can do other things on my computer as well as not maxing out all my computer power at one time. I don’t think it is healthy for my computer to be running at full bore for hours at a time while rendering an image. Or even when you are test rendering to be stopping and going a hundred times. Daz Studio 4.x will each all of your computer resources. Control this by changing the affinity.

DAZ 3d Studio 4.5 – Content Management – Runtime 2

Daz3D Studio 4.5 – Installing content – Runtime 2

This is the second post in installing content in your Daz Studio 4 Runtime. I suggested having a separate folder to install content into then cut all the files into your Daz My Library.

I rarely allow the Daz installer to create an uninstaller. This might not make Daz very happy but I do not want a huge uninstall list in my start menu. If I need to uninstall a product I run it again with the uninstaller being created then uninstall it. the products that I do install directly into my Daz My Library folder would be lights and Shaders. I will go into these things more directly when I talk about Daz Studio 3/4 Content/My Library Folder.

I will admit I am very organized with my Runtime folder. I have a Poser folder on my computer. Most suggestions I have seen would say separate these into content subjects. So you would have a clothing runtime folder. A character runtime folder and so on. You can create as many different folders and make category separations these as minutely as you want. But in the end, this method was too messy for me. I was always searching inside of those individual Runtime folders for too long.

My Method. I keep almost EVERY product in a separate Runtime folder. I rarely ever mix different products.

Daz

Inside My Poser Runtime Folder

For example. I have a folder called clothes in my poser runtime folder. This is separated into more specific categories such as full outfits, bathing, leather and latex, etc. In each of these folders is each product as an individual folder with the runtime inside. So I will have Leather Suit 1 in a folder and Latex Suit 2 in another folder. I will load each one of those folders as an individual Runtime into Studio 4.x.

Inside my Clothes Folder

Inside my Leather Latex Folder. Each product is a separate Runtime.

I have tried the other methods of organization and they always seemed very UNORGANIZED. I spent endless amounts of time clicking in folders hoping they matched up with the product. No more Shoe Runtime folders where I have to search for the MAT files. The only time I have to search for something with my method is when I want to remove a Runtime folder from my Poser Format list. If I want to uninstall something I only have to find it once in a list. The Poser Format List. Delete the runtime from that list and then delete the individual folder from my Poser Runtime folder. The old way of deleting something from a runtime (Renderosity products without uninstallers) was to look at all the folders. Geometry, Character, Pose, and Texture finding and erasing the products folders. Now the folder is self contained.

The ONLY reason I can organize my Content like this is because of the Daz Studio 4 Content Management Service. This ingenious addition keeps everything very well organized. So my content loading workflow is to install a product in a separate folder inside my Poser runtime folder. Add it to Daz Studio 4 by:

Right clicking on the Poser Format folder in the Content Library tab. Then click add a Runtime Directory. Choose the product folder you installed or unpacked. This will add the folder to the bottom of the list. I then right click on that folder, click create category from. This opens a pop up window which is your Content Management Service Categories folder. This is where the real organization come into play.

daz categories

A look at my Daz3d Studio4 Categories

For example, I have a clothing folder. Inside of this folder you can make as many subcategories as you like. Some of the best things about the Content Management is:

You can put anything you want in multiple folders. If a character has jewelry, you can have that jewelry in the characters folder and a more precise, jewelry folder. So you can make just one tile or multiple tiles in different folder categories. So an endless amount of categorizing is a good thing because I can control the tools.

Changing a folder or individual item categorization is as easy as drag and drop.

CAVAET – I am sure I am over doing this Runtime organization compared to other people. To me, each product is an artistic tool. A brush, a camera lens, a canvas. I don’t want to waste time always looking through my tools. I always want to know where my tools are at every moment. That is the way I create. I want my workflow to be smooth. I was a photographer for many years. When you post process thousands of photos a day you want a smooth workflow with as many shortcuts as possible but with the greatest results possible. The initial organization of my Runtime take a little more time but in the end I know exactly where everything is at a moments notice.

Part 3 The DAZ Content/My Library. Installing content into DAZ Studio 4.5.

Daz 3D Studio 4.5 – Installing Content – Poser Runtime

I remember starting with Daz3D and loading in my content. My files ended up all around my runtime folder, unorganized and sometime undecipherable. Character folders, pose folders that hold more than just poses and then there was the material folder. Sometimes the files worked in Daz Studio and sometime they didn’t. Daz has done some really good work starting with DS4 in organize the endless amount of content a person accumulates over the years with the Content Management System. We will discuss this later in the installing content series.

Just realize that Daz Studio 4 and ALL 3d programs are VERY file intensive. You are going to have folders inside of folders inside of folders all around your computer and after awhile, numerous external drives. Be organized, deliberate and have a strong file organization system.

Right now you will have a Poser Runtime folder system and with a newer Daz Studio folder structure. After reading the next 3 posts you will understand as well as anyone can where all the files go, what they do and more importantly get rid of them if need be.

There are hundreds of posts of people saying they had to rebuild their Runtime folder and spent days doing it.

The best starter advice I can give anyone is to go slowly when loading content into the Runtime folders. Down just throw 20 products into your Daz Library all at once. You will spend more time trying to locate associated files in the Library system than it would take you to slowly unpack one product at a time, look at the files in an alternate folder then commit them to your Library. Adding to the complexity, Daz has decided to start a different file system (Than Poser) with the advent of DS3/4.

I have “Unpack folders” all around my external files. I suggest you make at least one empty folder, someplace near the Daz Studio folder and name it whatever you want. Like I said, mine is called unpack. Anytime you run a Daz installer, point it to this empty folder so you can peek inside and look at the files before committing them to a Runtime folder. If you don’t know the file structure and what each file does then removing a product is very difficult at first. I know Daz includes “uninstallers” for every product. But I don’t want hundreds of uninstall files on my computer. After awhile you will pend more time looking through the uninstall list and once again, waste time. If you know the system then you can do it manually and gain important insight into how a product works.

The basic Poser Runtime file system goes like this.

—-> Geometries                       Characters

Runtime —-> Libraries ————————-> Pose

—-> Textures                           Props

We will start with the folders listed above. When you open a product these days (older products might not have exactly the same system) you should have these folders.

Geometries Folder holds the 3D models mesh information. All 3D programs read OBJ files. When you model something in a modelling program and you want to send the mesh or geometrical information to another program you can create an OBJ file.

Texture Folder Most products have textures. of course it does not have to have a texture. There are other ways to code surface information onto an object but most products will have textures. This is graphical information a 3D program can will read and project onto your mesh. A leather shoe mesh (OBJ) will see if there is a picture of leather in this folder to project onto the surface.

Libraries Folder Libraries can have numerous folders inside that direct the mesh (OBJ file) program to do something with the mesh. This is where the folder structure can get messy.

For instance, you would think that a pose folder would be only poses. Nope. it can hold all kinds of different information. And, it can also have a different folder name than the product. Sometimes it is the product name, sometimes it is a folder called MAT and sometime the creator uses their name and then places the products pose folder inside as a subfolder. So if you have 100 products in your runtime, matching up your CR2 Figures folder to the materials in the pose folder can become very frustrating.

I am not going to list the types of files (file extension) that can be in the Libraries Folder but the function of the files.

In the Characters Folder you are going to find the CR2 file. This is a text file that the program reads in order to do something to the mesh. It is the master command file for the object. Something that can be confusing about the folder system is that there is no Character Folder in your Content Library. You will see these CR2 files in the Figures Folder.

So if you want to load a Victoria 4 figure mesh, you go to the Figures Folder in the Content Library Tab – which of course has subfolders – so open the People Folder and look inside the Victoria 4.2 folder. If you want to load an object you find the CR2 in the Figures Folder (unless the object is listed in props) which corresponds to the Characters folder in your Runtime. Yes I just said there is actually another folder to open if you want to find an object to load.

In the Pose Folder you are going to find numerous types of file that do many different things. Essentially this is a catch all folder. You will find:

Materials (Poser name) or MATS folders : these are going to tell DS4.5 the objects surface information. The settings after you run one of these files will be found in the Surface Tab. If you load an object from the figure or prop folder you will normally find the surface information files to load onto an object in here (but sometimes not – we will cover that later)

Morphs – yes morphs will be in here too. If you load a Victoria 4 figure then you will open the pose folder and look for the subfolder that holds the V4 morphs.

Poses – yes there will actually be poses in the POSE folder. These files hold pose settings. You want Victoria 4 to sit down, look through some pose folders for a sitting down pose.

In the Props Folder you are going to find, you guessed it, Props. If your product is a clothing set you can find anything from shoes to earrings in here. But more importantly, the Props Folder hold sections of a scene.

Many times you will find one CR2 file for a scene in the Figures Folder. If you open the products Props Folder there is a good chance you will find different sections and items to load individually. You may find a basic room setup, without furniture. You may find individual objects such as chairs, vases or a fireplace. It all depends on the products creator. These are usually PZ files. Short for Poser Scene files.

The type of file extension is less important than understanding what is in the Props folder. Always take a look inside of a products props file.

In the next post  (Part 2 link) I am going to walk through other folders that are in the Libraries Folder and what is inside of them.

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