As most of you know I am a Poser user. I’ve been using it for a couple of decades now, and while it has its flaws like odd anomalies rendering out of nowhere and the occasional unexpected crash that seems to happen after an hour of work and I forgot to save, it generally is pretty reliable at its one main job: Rendering images from 3D scenes you create.
The majority of my friendly competition prefers Daz Studio for a couple of pretty obvious reasons: 1. The base program is free vs a minimum $200 buy in to Poser. 2. The models, especially the ones based on Genesis 3 and 8, are prettier. Both legitimate reasons. But despite it’s popularity, is Daz Studio really the superior product? Well no, in fact it sucks.
You had ONE job!
There are things that Daz Studio does well, like load in purchased products from the DAZ3D website. The library is organized really well and you can quickly find the items that go with your model. Items are often categorized so it is easy to find exactly what you are looking for. I like this part. The Daz Studio Library is frankly better than Poser.
But here is the problem. The library interface is used everywhere. It is used in lighting, it is used in rendering, it is used in posing, it is used in positioning, and every one of these come off as poorly thought out. The good news: There are tutorial videos to help you make sense of all this. The bad news: The videos were made for 4.8, and we are on version 4.12, and a lot of them are now wrong.
But here is the truly bad part: Once you spend hours putting together a scene, getting the lighting just right, and the angle just right and you finally hit the render button… you get something completely different. Usually something lot darker than it should be. This is the main job of these programs, to render what you modeled, and not getting a render that looks as good as the Open GL preview is seriously a big failure.
I am a novice to this software so maybe it’s my inexperience causing this problem? Nope, experienced Daz Studio users say the same thing happens to them. They have learned to crank up the lights and implement sunshine to work around it. That should not be needed.
So what Daz Studio really is is a way for Daz to sell more stuff to its users. That’s the one thing that works flawlessly. The rendering — the thing that is supposed to be easy and flawlessly integrated is needlessly difficult to get right and poorly integrated.
By the way the really good images at the top and the bottom of this post have Poser rendered backgrounds. The foreground models are lit with spotlights on 200% intensity to get them light enough to render, and then I still had to increase the brightness in a photo editor after.
The two renderers
Daz Studio features two renderers 3Delight and Iray, and you can add on others if you like to customize all your textures to get them to work. Neither renderers were actually made by Daz.
3Delight is developed by Illumination Research and is a ray trace renderer similar to ones that can be found in other professional 3D rendering programs like Katana and Maya. The version used in Daz Studio is a trimmed down version to the expensive quality professional software. It compares poorly to the Firefly renderer used in Poser which has a lot of features the Daz Studio version cannot touch.
Iray was developed by NVIDIA to take advantage of NVIDIA graphics cards, and only works if you have an expensive NVIDIA graphics card. It is comparable to Poser’s Superfly renderer, and it is actually better than Superfly, except that Superfly works with any video card. NVIDIA provides the renderer to Daz Studio at low cost on the correct belief that it will sell video cards. As far as I can tell it has worked well for them. Almost everyone on the 3D rendering scene has an NVIDIA card.
Daz Studio just provides the modeling software that sends your model to these renderers that were independently created. Based on the quality of renders, it is obvious that there is no actual coordination with the makers, and that is the fatal flaw of the software. Having the render look like the preview is super important.
Ariane in G8?
On a completely different but related topic, one of the reasons I started playing in Daz Studio in the first place is because there seems to be a fair amount of interest in what would a G8 version of Ariane look like. Of course there are actual tools that can be used to convert V4 to G8 and some people have used them to create G8 versions of Ariane and Rachel. (Link is very NSFW).
As I have explained before, Ariane was created by combining the no longer available MRL Ariana body and texture with the MRL Andromeda head. Interestingly enough MRL now works exclusively in Daz3D and MRL Gem for G8 looks surprisingly similar to MRL Andromeda for V4 and therefore Ariane’s head.
But the truth is, I’m not satisfied with any of these converted solutions. If I were to do a G8 version of Ariane, I would probably just use Aurore which is what the fan art linked above was using as a base. Sure the eyebrows are slightly off, but give her brown eyes and black hair and she passes just fine, (as the pictures above attest) and you don’t have to get the conversion problems involved.