DAZ 3D: A Freemium program with not so limited capabilities
If you’ve always wanted to do a little 3D but are intimidated by the big boys of the genre like Cinema 4D, 3D Studio or Blender, DAZ Studio could well seduce you. Very useful to make a little preview before shooting or to illustrate a mood board, it is quite possible to create short animation films. Its rendering engine called IRay offers impressive performance, optimized for NVidia graphics cards, it is also possible to render on the fly in OpenGL for greater speed. The program is available on Mac and PC and is completely free of charge: it is its options that are not free of charge, especially the downloading of 3D models.
An extended Marketplace
Daz Studio comes with an online store whose content is enriched day after day. It is possible to buy models but also textures, even animation sequences or specific poses. We won’t lie: the human models are beautiful, as well as most of the environments. Technically, the risk of error is low, since the content is checked by the editor and the templates are delivered fully rigged: It is quite simple to modify their pose or expression.
An easy-to-use interface
Daz Studio presents 4 panels to work with your models: Actors, Wardrobe & Props in which you will choose your actors and set up the decor. Pose & Animate which will allow us to animate the models and choose the facial expressions for example. Lights & Cameras allows, oh surprise, to adjust its lighting and animate its cameras while the Render tab will allow to set the rendering. This separation offers the enormous advantage of being able to structure the work and to have a viewport adapted to each stage. For animation, for example, you can choose a wireframe display to speed up the work, while you can opt for a high quality rendering when setting up the lighting and camera.
A large choice of presets
Do you want your heroine to grit her teeth while driving at 300Km/H on the highway? There is a setting for this. Basically, the software gives you a choice. You can of course set everything, but it is often more efficient and faster to apply a preset, even if you have to modify it to get the perfect pose. For those who wish to do so, it is of course possible to animate from a neutral position, but the program cannot compete with the big names of the genre. That’s why most of the advanced users will prefer to export their scene from DAZ3D and then rework the animation in another software, Iclone being the reference in this field.
Many rendering possibilities
Daz Studio offers Open GL rendering which allows for near real-time image calculations, using the optimizations specific to 3D video game engines. But if you want to go further and get a photo-realistic rendering, you will have to opt for the iRay engine, developed by NVidia and supported only by cards equipped with CUDA processors. For the others, they will have the possibility to use a third rendering engine, slower but just as powerful: the 3D Light.
Big configuration and risk of burning credit cards
With use, DAZ Studio becomes more and more intuitive and pleasant to use. There is really not much to know about 3D and it is very useful for example to test lighting before a shoot. A large configuration is recommended as well as an NVidia card with at least 4GB of RAM to avoid heavy slowdowns in the interface. The Marketplace is well supplied but you have to be careful because you tend to heat your paypal account.
Daz 3D is a real find that can save you time with an easy to use interface. Not only is it fun, but it also allows you to create great images very quickly. A must try.