A quick note on Poser compatibility: Most if not all content sold at DAZ 3D has very good Poser compatibility, and often comes with Poser specific configurations.
Affordable 3D Sci-fi content got me to DAZ Studio
Undoubtedly one of the contributing factors in my decision to jump on into DAZ Studio was the huge and inspiring variety of 3D sci-fi content. Science fiction was one of the major focuses when it came to my short stories and for some time I had been toying with the idea of bringing some of those works into a visual dimension as serial web comics or graphic novels. Anyone who has read much of what I’ve written since finding DAZ Studio probably knows I hold DAZ 3D solely responsible for all but killing my drive to write fiction. Of course I could add a little smiley face there to show there are no hard feelings, but I’m hoping my writing skills haven’t dulled so much that a little light-hearted jest isn’t lost.
Anyway, the recent addition of some great 3D sci-fi content to the DAZ 3D store got me inspired to do a little feature on some of my favourite pieces. Some of these I own, others are on my wishlist (or should be). So, let me start with a name just about every DAZ Studio and card carrying Poserverse member will know.
Stonemason is the name in DAZ Studio and Poser sci-fi content
When you put DAZ and Sci-fi in the same sentence it is likely to conjure many images that incorporate one or more of Stonemason’s masterpieces. His meticulously modelled and textured environments and props have graced thousands – tens of thousands – of still renders and animations made with DAZ Studio, Poser and any number of other render engines. From cyberpunk inspired street environments to retro futuristic art deco spaceship interiors, and on to the post-apocalypse, there is something for every sci-fi genre. And then some.
A few months back I wrote a short feature about Stonemason when he posted a time-lapse video to YouTube, showing his process of constructing a cryotube. I remember thinking that it wouldn’t be long before we saw that showing up in the store. Lo and behold… a cryotube! As an upstart modeller, I was very keen to pick it up and have a look over the model in greater detail. Stonemason’s work does not only inspire the production of beautiful art, but also the production of more models. His influence on the hobbyist and emerging/pro levels of 3D will be felt for a long time to come.
And no need to model somewhere to keep your characters in the freezer. Mr Stony has us covered with a place to stash our sleeping beauties and beasties (aptly named CryoEnvironment).With very similar design, undoubtedly intended to be at home alongside the Cryotube and environment,Sci-Fi Consoles 2013, is which come complete with slick screens and “holographic” effects. With these three you could products you could put together an entire short animation or comic.
For a glimpse at the possibilities check out this short test animation.
Few other mechs released at DAZ 3D are as detailed or formidable, and downright cool as MECH 2012 Enforcer. See here in action saving the developed world from the evils infesting its near future streets.
One of Stonemason’s most famous collections would have to be his cyberpunk inspired Urban Future street environments, reaching its creative apex with the huge Urban Future 4: Street Level. Straight “out of the box” this place renders like. The package even comes with a custom camera to add a suitably polluted haze to your renders. At $35 – 40 a set they aren’t among the cheapest environment/scene props in the store, but you certainly get what you pay for. And then some.
Pick up the Urban Future bundle (all four sets) and save yourself over $10
Another stunning environment is the gritty decay of “The Ministry”. Sadly this is one of those on my wish list, but the beautiful images (and animations) I’ve seen rendered with this one leave me with no doubt that this is something I want to have in my runtime. I want to play with it, pull it apart, and to an extent emulate.
A recent hit at the DAZ 3D store is Stonemason’s Planet Lava. This baby is an environment in the true sense of the word. It comes complete with modelled terrain and image dome for distant terrain and sky. It also comes packed with lights and camera presets including atmospheric effects.
On the flipside we have Planet Alpine, for those that prefer ice and snow to the heat of a molten hell rock. All this is only a small part of Stonemason’s catalogue at D3D. There are a number of other sci-fi props, robots and environments I haven’t covered here, and then a lot more.
Cyborgs, androids and robots
As a bit of a posthumanist at heart these guys are one of my favourite sci-fi staples, whether entirely artificial, or a merging of flesh and synthetics. DAZ 3D has a number of great entries into this category. Right at the top of my list is the recent release, Bot Genesis. Before this it was the precursor, Aikobot 2. Bog Genesis is everything that Aikobot 2 was an a lot more. One of my complaints about AB2 was that it didn’t look right when rendered in dark environments. She seemed to be artificially lit due to the way her shaders were set up, particularly in relation to reflections. Thankfully this has been addressed with BG.
A great feature of the newer version is the reconfigured shaders that allow for a mix of raytrace and image mapped shadows. Perhaps best of all is that BG is no longer constrained to female varieties. As the character is designed for Genesis BG seamlessly morphs from male to female and anywhere in between. As far as flexible cyborg/android characters go Bot Genesis is on top of the pile, and cheaper than any of her predecessors (though depending on tastes and needs there might be reason to pick these up too). Win-win-win.
A good deal less cutesy and with a more utilitarian appeal DZFire’s Cyborgs 4.0 (though I’d suggest they are actually android/gynoids) are designed on the M4&V4 bases, but can and are primarily used as standalone figures. These “cyborgs” are hardy and reliable, at home on the frontlines, in emergency services and in heavy industry. They do come with texture/material options for an appearance acceptable to a wide range of other duties, and the “female” version even comes in a glam variety. They can be purchased as together for a small discount or separately as needed.
The Technoborg’s origins should be quite apparent to anyone that has even a passing familiarity with Star Trek. Another Gen4 figure, but as the pack is mostly a texture set it can easily be applied to Genesis, and if you have the GenX plugin you should even be able to copy the character morphs to your genesis figures. The technoborg textures are beautifully detailed and come in pasty necrotic style and a more healthy variety (you pick which ones you need). The cyborg robotic details are simulated with displacement maps (not real geometry), so make the conversion to Genesis very nicely.
3D Spacecraft Models
This was where I was going to leave part one of the sci-fi feature, but as the store of a fantastic sci-fi modeller/artist has just gone on sale (40% off everything), I thought I might as well quickly mention DAZ 3D’s premier supplier of space craft models and their interiors for Daz Studio. While there are quite a number of amazing space craft models in the store most are for Bryce and Carrara. Kibarreto has valiantly sought to fix this imbalance with his impeccable designs and texturing, complete with glowing cockpit dashboards. See Kibarreto’s Shuttlestar doing its thing in this gorgeously rendered clip.