DAZ 3D Halloween – 500 Items 50% Off

As is often the case, there are some fantastic sales going on over at DAZ 3D. At the moment there are 500 items in the Halloween sale. There is a bit of everything in there, and while some have a very Halloween feel to them, there are many more that have a general sci-fi, fantasy or even modern contemporary feel to them. So, there’s lots of character/texture packages, morph sets, hair, outfits, monster figures, IBL sets, shaders, environment props etc – a bit of everything.

I’ve picked out a selection of some of my favourites as well as some that have been sitting on my wishlist.

I won’t talk much about the products, they speak for themselves, but I do have a bit to say about a couple of these. Right at the top of the list is Age of Armour’s Atmosphere Effects Camera (DAZ Studio only). This handy tool is great for rendering volumetric lighting effects, depth masks (great for adding depth related post work effects like DOF and haze), haz and fog.One reason I always hung back on buying this one was because DS comes with Ubervolume, which does volumetric effects, but I have found the Uber plugin somewhat buggy nad lacking in features.

Next we have Skeleton Dungeon. This bundle is pure value right now at 70% off. In this bundle you get the M4 skeleton, the M/V4 skeleton textures, and Dreamlight’s environment prop, The Dark Corner of the Dungeon. This package is shipping for less than the standalone M4 skeleton, which is itself on special for 40% off.

Here’s one of my own early Reality 2/Lux experiments done with M4 Skeleton.


The Super-Physicality Bundle is another great value package. If you are just starting out with DAZ Studio or Poser or just looking for some good character content, but aren’t interested in Genesis 1/2 then this is for you. It’s even great for those that have a few of the included products in their inventory as the saving are still significant. This bundle includes the base Michael and Victoria 4 figures as well as their morphs++, muscle morphs, elite body morphs, and creature morphs packages. Also included is She Freak 4 and Freak 4 base figures.

And the others

Click image to visit item store page at DAZ 3D.


Other Happenings in DAZ 3D’s Store

Stonemason’s Sci-Fi Corridor 2013

There have been many notable releases of the last few weeks. Stonemason’s Sci-Fi Corridor 2013 is, as usual for a Stonemason product, highly detailed with great attention taken in the construction of materials and texturing. Included are movable walls, stairs, doors, med beds, and all manner of fixed details we have come to expect from one of DAZ 3D’s most trusted and well known content creators.

Age of Armour’s Advanced Ambient Light

The last item I will mention is Age Of Armour’s Advanced Ambient Light. This particular product has been causing a lot of excitement among the DAZ Studio crowd. Here’s part of the product blurb:

“This custom coded light casts pleasing, super-soft ambient light and occlusion based shadows. Use the light by itself to produce a fashion shoot style lighting or even overcast skies. The Advanced Ambient light also works great as a soft-box fill light used in conjunction with spotlights, and it also provides a beautiful bounce light look when used with distant lights.”

The light set is highly customisable with features like radius and falloff control, and light only certain objects. The product also comes with an in-depth user guide, something that is very much appreciated and something that Age of Armour’s products are known for. This is one item I have been intending to do a full review of since I picked it up, so hopefully that will be up very… ermmm… soon (hopefully soon, soon).

Oh, and Carrara 8.5 Sales Chugging Along

So I lied, I have another item I want to talk about – just quickly draw you’re attention to Carrara 8.5 (Pro and standard). There is no doubt about it Carrara has been selling well. Ever since I started paying attention to the top 30 sellers at DAZ 3D, Carrara has held in there at position 25 – 30. Right now, standard is sitting at position 18, and Pro at 19. The current positions are no doubt related to the recent 8.5 release promotions, but Carrara is and has been doing rather well.

I’ve been saying it for some time now, but I’ll say it again, hopefully Carrara’s sales performance will spur DAZ 3D on to giving the budget 3D suit some TLC. Maybe they have been? With Carrara 9 due in the first quarter of 2014 let’s hope DAZ give us all a nice big surprise. With no feature list out in public we’ll just have to wait and watch and hope that Carrara 9 will be a big fat, juicy update.

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Artists Feature Jeremy Mowen (Exyle Studios)

fdc674d34505786946f2fd6dbd2Jeremy Mowen was one of the first friends I made in the Poserverse. He was one of those cool guys with an awesome gallery that doesn’t mind slumming with the initiates and sharing his thoughts and knowledge. Getting any sort of feedback in a crowded environ like deviantART is a rare business, especially for those among the endless ranks of lowly newbs, so I always enjoyed talking shop with someone that had a good head start on me. Eventually we moved to exchanging correspondence and WIPs via email and began collaborating on joint projects, all of which have languished long in a mutually agreed murk and may never see the light of day in their fully intended forms.

One of the primary factors in this agreed stasis was Jeremy’s shifting efforts to push out his literary/graphical chimeras before they wither on the vine. The foremost front runner in his undertakings is the Autumn Risen (set amidst a cataclysmic war-torn US), with Revenant emerging out of the frozen wastes of distant UV Prime.

Jeremy primarily works with Poser and Photoshop, but he also makes heavy use of DAZ Studio, Vue, and Reality 3D among others. Whatever the programs used you will notice bold contrasting colours, grungy vivid postworking techniques, strange beings and flawed heroes, big weapons, and lots and lots of wings.

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Assorted DAZ Genesis Figures 70% Off

Huge Savings on Victoria 5 and friends

With many DAZ Studio users hanging on to the Generation 5 figure (Genesis), now is a great time pick up a bargain. Victoria, Stephanie, Michael, Hiro, and Freak (all gen 5 Pro bundles) are currently up on Fast Grab for 70% off.

The Pro bundles already come with a massive amount of content including at sizable discounts, so the total savings are huge. For the price of a premium outfit or hair prop you can pick up a Genesis figure with enough content variety to fit just about any role. Content in the typical pro bundle includes multiple hair props, texture sets (usually at least 1 “elite set”), poses, and outfits. Typically, the bundles mean a saving of hundreds of dollars over buying all the content separately, so at an additional 70% off the deal is better than good.

Save yourself another $5 with coupon code PAFEST-5 when you spend over $30.

So, great time to fill in the blanks in your content and add even more diversity to that intermorphable Genesis genetic pool.

Don’t forget that Victoria 5 textures can be used with Victoria 6, and that all Genesis rigged clothes and hair can be fitted to V6. All content is also Poser ready with DSON support.

Graphics Card Addendum 1: DAZ Studio Display Optimization and Preview Improvements

Since putting up the graphics card upgrade article a few things surfaced. The first came to light on the DAZ Studio forum at DAZ 3D. The latest beta includes some chunky OpenGL, and therefore, graphics card related updates.

DAZ Studio 4.6x Introducing Texture Shaded 2.0

In their latest Beta, DAZ 3D have added a new preview mode to their viewport currently referred to as “Texture Shaded 2.0”. This new preview DrawStyle gives a much more accurate preview of bump, normal, and specular effects with DAZ Studio’s default distant, spot, and point lights. At this point the new preview mode is very slow when compared to the older “texture shaded”, but produces a much better preview. To put the new system to the test I loaded one of my heavier scenes (600k polygons), which I also used to test OpenGL response in the previous article. Graphics card used in both articles is a tired Radeon HD 5770.

Texture Shaded 2.0

DS’s new DrawStyle is slow but pretty

DAZ Studio Texture Shaded preview

Texture Shaded – lightening fast with Display Optimization

Using Texture Shaded 2 in this scene caused the viewport to all but grind to a snail’s pace. In this instance the difference in quality between the two preview modes is very noticeable.

The current state of Texture Shaded 2.0 is unlikely to be a reflection of performance in future releases. At the moment it appears to put extra load on the CPU when idle, but seems to have similar usage to the previous texture shade version while viewport manipulations are occurring. The new preview mode seems to move less of the load on to the GPU than the previous version.

 Display Optimization – It Makes A Difference!

The second addition I would make to the previous article is that since then I have discovered the “Display Optimization” in the Interface preferences. With this turned to “Best” the Texture Shaded preview was much, much quicker. In fact, this scene ran almost as smoothly as a simple scene with a single Genesis figure. What display optimisation does, according the documentation, is load more of the scene’s geometry into the graphics card’s memory.

Embarrassingly, this somewhat changes my findings from the last article, but perhaps only slightly. With just about any graphics card of the last 4 years or so, with the most current drivers installed, it should be able to get good viewport response with quite large scenes. With larger scenes, particularly those with lots of textures with the Texture Resources (also in interface preferences) turned all the way up, having a graphics card with a gig or more of RAM will make a huge difference.

DAZ Studio 4 texture shaded 2.0

Genesis 2 default with current Texture Shaded preview.

DAZ Studio Texture Shaded 2.0

Same scene with Beta Texture Shaded 2.0 preview

To push my card as far as it would go I loaded a jumble of scenes which resulted in 15.5 million polygons (+ subd), and 108 megabytes of textures (much less than I expected). The mish-mash produced more texture information than the graphics card could store in its own RAM, almost 2 and a half times over. There was a good five minutes or more of unresponsiveness – got a low memory warning – but after everything loaded in, the viewport went back to running almost as smoothly as with the original 600K polygon scene.

With Display Optimization turned off and Texture Resources all the way down I was using 429 MB of the card’s RAM. With both of these fully enabled, 945 MBs of the card’s 1024 MBs of RAM was used with 1441 MBs pushed back onto system RAM. With optimization on best and texture quality turned down. the usage was 507 MBs of dedicated RAM and 98 MBs of system RAM.

We see that, while Display Optimization lumps very little on the graphics card, it can make a huge difference. Getting the best possible Texture Shaded preview, turning texture quality all the way up, adds a huge load to VRAM, even when using quite conservative textures – 213 of 290 were under 500 KB.

Turning Texture Shaded 2.0 on with full optimization and texture quality set to second highest caused DAZ Studio to grind to a halt as textures endlessly washed in and out of the VRAM and back into the system. With more system RAM and a graphics card with more memory bandwidth would probably give a quicker turn around, but the end result for most older or entry level cards, working on a scene this size and at this level of preview quality, would probably be beyond unworkable in terms of viewport interaction, posing etc. When texture quality was turned down to lowest settings viewport response was still painfully slow and unworkable.

When it comes to working at the highest possible preview settings in DAZ Studio it seems that newer mid/higher level consumer cards do definitely have a place. For those happy to work with lower quality texture settings on large scenes, older cards and upper entry level to mid-level cards are good enough. With further refinement of the Texture Shaded 2.0 preview it is likely that its usage, even on bigger scenes, will be less problematic.


Not all cards, specifically ancient cards that are barely likely to meet the minimum requirements for DAZ Studio 4.6, will support Display Optimization. Some cards will offer varying degrees of compatibility, depending on drivers, VRAM capacity and level of geometry/texture detail. I encountered some graphical glitches when posing characters when VRAM and GPU were fully loaded.

Of course, RAM is not the only consideration with this feature, GPU loaded tended to be high when performing most viewport tasks such as posing, so bigger is better. Even my HD 5770 chomped along happily in instances with a good deal of geometry, but choked up under the weight of copious textures at high texture quality settings. Something like a Radeon HD 7850 with 2 GB GDDR5 or a GeForce GTX 660 would be more than sufficient. A HD 7770 would be similar to my current card in terms of a simple comparison, but has a newer GPU architecture and faster clock speed. The 7770 is compact (don’t need huge tower to fit the bugger in), works happily on a 450 w power supply (depending on the rest of your system) and draws everything it needs direct from the PCIe port, without need for additional cables.

GPU rendering AMD OpenCL Compile/Kernel Issues

The third item is not actually related to DAZ Studio, unless you also happen to be a LuxRender user. In that case there is an indirect link. This issue is something I had some awareness of, but due to the technical nature of the issue, I was not able to wrap my head around it and didn’t feel comfortable writing about. It turns out the issue can rather simply be put into laymen’s terms. To quote directly from my informant, again from the DS forum at D3D, “There is a bug in the OpenCL compiler of the catalyst driver that makes the kernels too big (using much more memory than nVidia compiler).”

What this means is that in certain situations OpenCL will chew up all your system memory and crash. As far as I can tell this will have little or no effect on current LuxRender users, but this problem could put the brakes on LuxRender GPU development, and has already seen Blender Cycle’s implementation of OpenCL put on the back burner. Thankfully AMD seems to be quite keen to fix the issue, but when a fix will be available is anyone’s guess.

Final Thoughts

poser ds preview comparison

DAZ Studio Texture Shaded 2.0 VS Poser Pro 2014 preview

With Texture Shaded 2.0 DAZ 3D seem to be making good advances in catching up to Poser in terms of real-time OpenGL viewport preview. At the moment it is slow, and unusable for real-time in all but the smallest scenes (at least with texture quality maxed out), but it will undoubtedly see a good deal of optimisation. With improved shadows in the preview, DAZ would be getting very close to the superb quality of the current Poser offering. At this point Poser’s much better quality to speed preview is undoubtedly the winner, and if this is anything to go by, then anything more than an entry or mid-range card would be over kill for most users.