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V3 on the Cheap

Author: tedcox

Tools Needed

  • DAZ Studio 1.2
  • Victoria 3.0
  • DAZ Studio Base Content

Introduction

I'm a videographer. I've invested thousands of dollars on expensive software packages for projects I work on. Sometimes I use them a lot and the investment pays off. Sometimes the purchase was clearly a mistake. So anytime I can avoid making the purchase and play with the product a bit, and even better maybe use it in a project without dropping the dollars, I'm a happy man.

  • When I read about DAZ Studio I was excited. I thought, finally, I can try to learn a bit about character animation without spending a bunch of money! The release of DAZ's Victoria 3 for free just made studio even more appealing. There was only one problem, I didn't want to render a naked, bald, plastic woman.
  • I've now spend a fairly extensive amount of time searching google, and the renderosity freestuff section, and I wanted to pass on some things I've discovered.
  • First, the ground rules. I won't use anything in this guide that isn't free to download and available for commercial use. You can do better – particularly in the textures department – if you drop the latter stipulation, but in some cases commercial use is a must, so I'm avoiding the non-com stuff.
  • We want to be fair to our model. I think we can all agree that Victoria is not at her best naked and bald, but the truth is, she's unhappy and we don't want that.

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Step 1 - Organization

Before we start making Vicky look stylish I want to briefly talk about organization. When you're out downloading things for free, you have a tendency to just grab everything that strikes your fancy and install it quickly so that you can see what you got. This will very quickly lead to a mess of folders and files that is nearly impossible to sort through. DAZ is now offering a search plug-in for Studio to resolve just this problem. But it costs money, and we're cheapskates. :)

You can take many approaches here, I'm just going to explain the one I use. One of the really great things about DAZ Studio is that it will read content from Poser. But DAZ has taken it a step further. It will also make fake poser folders to read. If you've installed Victoria 3.0 into your folder without Poser, you've already done this. You have a dummy Poser.exe file in your content folder, and a Runtime folder that contains all of Victoria's files.

What I have begun doing, is creating custom poser content folders for various freeware items to keep them organized. For example, I created a Victoria 3.0 folder and moved the Runtime folder containing my Vicky files into it. Then I copied the poser.exe file in as well. Now in Studio I have a special file for Vicky. Then I created a Victoria 3.0 Commercial Use Items folder. All of my free content that is Vicky specific and available for commercial use goes in another runtime folder here. So all my Victoria content is now separate from M3 or A3 content that I may have downloaded. No more trying to apply presets that are incompatible by mistake.

You don't have to do it my way, but I highly recommend you come up with something before you begin downloading and installing content.

Step 2 - Hair

We'll begin by giving Vicky some hair. There are some really fabulous hair files available on Renderosity and other sites, but the best all seem to come from Koz's web site: Kozaburo I chose to use his basic V3 long hair, but there are many wonderful choices here. Pick one, or grab them all. Just be careful, not all of his hair is for Vicky 3.

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As you can see Vicky is still pretty unhappy. I don't think she likes that plastic look, and I'm sure those eyebrows are a real downer!

Step 3 - Texture

This is probably the most difficult piece. Decent textures are very difficult to find. The Odyssey Rebirth texture on Renderosity is very good if you don't mind a non-commercial use texture. I should also mention that Ecstacy's free Sekusu texture is excellent, if you don't mind that she's covered with tattoos and looks possessed. Otherwise, I have yet to find anything great. However, there are still some good options.

The free content pack for DAZ Studio comes with a “Reduced Resolution” Vicky figure and she has texture. So, while her texture isn't the best, highest res texture out there, it does work. But there's no mat file to apply it.

You can also download a character from renderosity and struggle through the missing morph targets and such to get the texture. For example, Syltermermaid's Gwynor texture on Renderosity is excellent and fairly easy to apply.

We'll start with the Reduced Rez Vicky:

First off, finding the textures can be difficult. They're located in the Runtime directory with your Victoria figure under textures\DAZ\Characters\MilWom\V3Maps.

You may want to read on to the shaders section before you actually do this, otherwise it may be necessary to do it twice. As you attempt to apply the texture, you may be confused initially. First of all, there are not near as many texture files as there are anatomical components for Vicky. Secondly, for those files that do exist, there are two of each, an M and a B. The M is your actual Mat texture, the B is your bump map. All of the various parts of Vicky's body are in the V3Lo_BodyM(NG)JPG. All of the parts of her head are in the V3Lo_HeadM(NG)JPG with the exception of the eyes and teeth for which there are individual files.

I'm not going to explain how to use the surface editor as there are several simple tutorials already here that explain. Suffice to say your textures can be applied under the basic tab for each surface, and your bump maps and your Translucency file can be applied under the advanced tab.

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If you opt to download the Gwynor Character (or almost any other character) you can get a much better texture but you may struggle to get it applied. For the Gwynor example, you'll find she comes with two MAT poses, one for an elf, and one for a human. When you apply these you will receive an error message about the missing files: BodyBUM01JPG and HeadBUM01JPG. I am guessing these come in some more expensive V3 package. I simply supplied the V3Lo_BodyB(NG)JPG and V3Lo_HeadB(NG)JPG from the reduced resolution figure above. It's fairly simple to copy these files and rename them and eliminate future error messages.

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Step 4 - Clothes

I know what you're thinking… All that gorgeous skin tone and she still doesn't look happy. Well, it's cold in the studio, and she's still naked. It's no fun to be cold and naked.

This is another trouble spot. If you are interested in dressing your Victoria up in all manner of strange leather strappy things, or like an underwear model you won't have any trouble. On the other hand, if you want her to look like a regular woman we need to find her some approximation of street clothes.

I grabbed Awful Soul's Everyday Vest: Awful Soul

and Morphography's Jean Skirt: Morphography

Awful Soul leans a little more toward the strappy/underwear model set, but Morphography has a number of excellent and modest fashion statements available.

300-01f3.jpg

We have a little problem though. Notice around the belt line the way the vest and the skirt fight to be on top. Both the vest and the skirt have a number of morph targets, but I was unable to resolve this. Perhaps with the DForm plug-in it could be fixed, but that costs money. So I downloaded a belt from Renderosity. I grabbed Fishnose's studded leather belt for Victoria 2. It doesn't fit really well and is missing a chrome texture, but I was able to resize it and get something reasonable. Be creative. If everything isn't perfect from every angle people won't know unless you render the bad angles. :)

Step 5 - Shaders

Vicky's happy, and she's starting to look pretty good. But she still looks dead. Something about her eyes and her skin tone just isn't right. This is where shaders come in. DAZ has provided an excellent skin shader for her that you can select in the surface editor. However, you can download a simple script that will set all the shaders correctly, including the eyes, from here:

http://www.superbadgirl.com/downloads/v3skin.htm

I simply created a folder in the content directory called “Shaders” and extracted all the files into it. When you apply the shader it will tromp your texture and you will have to reapply them. Particularly if you applied the RR Vicky texture you're heaving a big sigh right now. However the results are worth it!

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Step 6 - Final Words

I added Virtual Show's red couch and one of Richabri's satin drapes, and viola! Vicky may not be ready to go out, but she looks pretty comfy on the couch watching TV.

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(I also replaced Gwynor's eye texture with the Michael 3 eyes located here: http://butterflyfish.fools3D.com/downloads.html Somehow those pale blue eyes reflecting the pale blue of the TV screen just looked disturbing)

There are any number of uses to which you can put a detailed digital character. In the end, spending a little money can vastly improve the landscape of what you can do, but I hope this guide will help you get off a few renders that aren't plastic, naked and bald.

Finally, this wouldn't be much of a guide if I didn't point you in the direction of some additional free content sources. IMHO the best can be found right here on DAZ. Check out the Freepository under the forums for many excellent freebies from authors who are looking for feedback from you as you use the product. There are several exhaustive lists of free content on that forum thread. Also, check out the free stuff section at www.renderosity.com (if you haven't already as you downloaded the items for this tutorial). It is filled with excellent content. Just be sure to read the notes as you go.