Subscribe to GameFromScratch on YouTube Support GameFromScratch on Patreon
13. February 2012

 

 

I have been playing around a bit with Daz 3D Studio since it was recently made freely available. At first I struggled to find an actual use for the program, then I realized how exceptionally easy it made creating animated sprites. The following tutorial will walk through creating the following walk cycle using Daz Studio:



The above image is actually a web animation generated from this spritesheet that we will create. All told, the process will take about 5-10 minutes, most of it will be you waiting for your computer!  If the above image isn’t animating, that means your browser ( most likely Internet Explorer ) doesn’t support the keyframes CSS attribute.  Trust me, it works. Smile

 

 

You are going to need a couple things to follow along this tutorial, all of which are (currently) freely available.

 

You will need:

 

 

 

Install all of these products.  Now we fire up Daz Studio.

 

We are going to use the default human, feel free to drag and drop and design your guy however you want.  That said, do not move the person from the default screen location.

 

Once your guy or gal is dressed/decorated however you want, its time to add some animations.  On the left hand panel, select Content Library, Walks then start-(N) and drag it down to the beginning of the timeline.

 

Like so:

 

imageimage

 

If done correctly, if you press play your character will now have a walk cycle.  You can drag down as many animations as you would like to capture, just add them one after another in the timeline.  In this example we are just going to do the single walk cycle animation.

 

Now comes the key part, you don’t actually want your character to be moving like it does currently, you want him to remain stationary.  First lets frame things into the left.  Click the view selector box to rotate to the left view.

 

image

This is the guy you are looking for, click the red section labeled left.  Now ideally your window should look something like this:

 

image

 

 

Now we need to strip out the movement part from the animation.  To do so, first we need to convert to Studio keyframes.  This is done by right clicking in the blank gray area above the timeline and selecting Bake to Studio Keyframes, like so:

 

image

 

You will get the following message:

 

image

 

Simply click Yes.  Now we can edit out your animation.  What we want to do is remove movement along the Z-axis.  In order to do this, select Parameters along the right hand panel, then you want to select the Hip ( the root of all animations ).  You can do this by either clicking it within the scene Window, or selecting it from this drop down:

 

image

 

 

Now that you have the Hip selected, in the Parameters panel ALT+Left click the zTranslate panel:

image

 

This process should reset it’s value to 0.  Now if you press play on the timeline, your animation should now be stationary.  Now its time to render our images out.  To do so in the menu select Render->Render Settings…  like so:

 

image

 

The following window will appear:

 

image

 

If not already done, make sure at the bottom right it is set to “Show Advanced Settings”.  Now drag the quality/speed slider down to 3 ( or it will take forever, for little visible gain ).  Now you want to scroll the options down a bit.  First we want to set our image render resolution.  I personally went with 128x96, but you can use whatever you want.

 

image

 

 

Now scroll the options down a bit more and select the Render To: drop down.  You want to select Image Series like this:

image

 

 

Now we want to select where to render it to.  Leave Start and End Frame at the defaults ( the entire animation ), file in a name and leave it as PNG so we get transparencies.  Switch the location from Library to Folder and pick a directory you want it to save your renderings to, like so:

image

 

Now click the green “Render” button.  You will get a warning like the following:

image

 

Simply click OK.

 

Now we wait… there is absolutely no indication it’s actually doing anything, but Daz Studio is now rendering your sprites.  The only real indicator it’s doing anything is the spinning “busy” mouse icon.  Let it do it’s thing, it took approximately 4 minutes on my PC.

 

Once it is completed, in Explorer navigate to the directory you told it to render to.  If all went well, your directory should be populated with 51 PNG images.  Here’s mine:

 

image

 

 

Now that we have our sprites, we need to make them into a sprite sheet.  If you haven’t already, install The GIMP and the sprite sheet plugin I linked earlier.  Now load up The Gimp.

 

In GIMP select File->Open As Layers…

image

 

Navigate to the folder you saved your images to, then CTRL+A to select them all ( or CTRL + Click to select them one by one ).  When finished press Open:

image

 

If everything worked correctly, your layers list should look like this:

 

image

 

Now select the Filters Menu->Sprite-Sheet->Create From Layers…  If this menu option doesn’t show up, you haven’t installed the spritesheet plugin correctly.

 

image

 

Gimp will now merge all of the layers together into a single sprite sheet in a new window like so:

 

image

 

 

Simply save this file and you are done.  My end results are this.  You may want to do some editing, like making your spritesheet square instead of one wide and short image, but this can be accomplished in a few minutes of copy and paste.  All told, one remarkably fast way to generate a walk cycle sprite animation.  Rendering other angles or different animations is simply a matter of repeating the process from a different angle or dragging and dropping different animation sets.

 

Of course, you can also create your own animations quite simply in Daz.  You can also import your own meshes and props, although I haven’t really experienced this part yet, so I do not know how painful the process is. 

Art


10. February 2012

 

 

Sculpting is all the rage in 3D these days, and for good reason.  You can quickly and fairly easily make incredibly detailed models in a very intuitive manner.  Many professional studiossculptris_logo have slotted a sculpting application like Autodesk Mudbox or Pixologic ZBrush in their workflows.  Only one catch… got 800$?  In the world of 3D, that’s rather affordable, but in the world of my wallet, that’s a bit more harsh!  Of course Blender, Maya, Max et al. all have sculpting features, but they simply don’t approach the abilities of a dedicated application.  Fortunately for us, there exists a free option, Sculptris.

 

 

 

 

 

image

 

 

Sculptris began life as a hobby project of Tomas Pettersson, in an attempt to make a free version of ZBrush.  Thing is, he did a damned good job, so good in fact that Pixologic hired him on.  Even cooler for all of us, Pixologic made Sculptris on of their official products and continued to offer it for free!

 

So essentially, you can think of Sculptris as ZBrush lite, but don’t go thinking it’s a demo version or a toy, it is a remarkably capable and streamlined application.

 

If you have never used a 3D sculpting app before, its rather like modeling with virtual clay.  With Sculptris you start with either a flat plane or a 3d sphere, then start pushing, pulling, smoothing, creasing away until your model takes shape.  It really is a remarkably fluid way to work.  Tools are kept to a minimum, in Sculptris you model using: Crease, Rotate, Scale, Draw, Flatten, Grab, Inflate, Pinch and Smooth.  That’s it, and frankly, that’s about all you need.

 

Once you are done shaping your 3D model, now it’s a matter of texturing.  You click the Paint button, choose the texture size you want it to create and it goes to work for a few minutes.  Once your texture map is generated, you can now paint in 3D using the same interface.

 

 

Sculptris is Paint mode ( click for larger image )

image

 

 

Performance is good as is feedback.  I have never experienced a crash, although I have experienced some oddity using Sculptris on my laptop in power saving mode ( the buttons are all in the wrong location and the top menu bar disappears ), but then, using Scultpris in power saving mode isn’t particularly a brilliant idea, so I wouldn’t worry too much.

 

You can of course also import your own models, this is especially useful for creating displacement maps for your lower polygon work.  Sculptris supports importing OBJ ( wavefront, format, but nearly ubiquitous at this point )  as well as GoZ format ( ZBrush format ).  You can also export in the same two file formats.  Be careful though, your exported files aren’t going to be “light”.  Consider the model in the screenshot, it was imported as a 200K OBJ, and after a few minutes in Sculptris when it was exported  it was 14MB in size.

Cool Thing of the Week Art


8. February 2012

 

 

As I mentioned in my earlier review, all the links for Hexagon’s documentation are currently broken.  Since then, I have noticed a fair bit of search engine traffic  of people looking for documentation, for good reason too… this program is downright confusing!

 

I have noticed that although all of the links to Daz3D.com are broken and you can’t use the help menu in Hexagon itself, the help files are actually installed on your computer!  Go to the folder you installed Hexagon 2.5 to, in my case it was C:\Program Files (x86)\DAZ 3D\Hexagon2\docs.  Inside should be the PDFs you are looking for.

 

In case you cannot find them, I will make them available here ( hopefully this is ok… ).

 

Keep in mind, these are the manuals for Hexagon 2.1 and appear to be about 6 years old!  That said, it’s better than nothing!

 

 

Hexagon 2.1 US Manual (PDF, 11MB)

Hexagon 2.1 US Keyboard Shortcuts (PDF 1/3MB)

Art


2. February 2012

 

 

 

Not sure the catch, if there is one, but this is a pretty epic deal on face value, hard to beat free!  I just finished the checkout process and as you can see, it really is free:

 

Your order contains:

DAZ Studio 4 Pro                                 1 @ $429.95   = $429.95
Bryce 7 Pro                                      1 @ $249.95   = $249.95
Hexagon 2.5 - Download...      Hexagon - Bo... 1 @ $149.95   = $149.95
Tax:                                                           $0.00
Shipping:                                                      $0.00
Discount:                                                     -$829.85
Paid via Gift Cert/Voucher/other credit:                      ($0.00)
Total:                                                         $0.00

=========================================================================

 

You have to sign up, and they will confirm your email address, so use a real one.

 

Oh, and their servers are getting absolutely hammered right now, so have some patience.  For those wondering, these are real applications and those are their real prices, so this is quite a bargain and time limited to my understanding.

 

As to the applications:

 

Daz Studio Pro

 

 

DAZ Studio 4 Logo

DAZ Studio is a feature rich 3D figure customization, posing, and animation tool that enables anyone to create stunning digital illustrations and animations. DAZ Studio is the perfect tool to design unique digital art and animations using virtual people, animals, props, vehicles, accessories, environments and more. Simply select your subject and/or setting, arrange accessories, setup lighting, and begin creating beautiful artwork.

With DAZ Studio 4 you can...
  • Create custom 3D characters and avatars
  • Produce illustrations for books, comics, and graphic novels
  • Make your own CG movies
  • Quickly make your own editorial artwork
  • Create graphic design elements
  • Design virtual environments with animated fly-throughs

 

 

So, basically it sounds like Poser, not sure how much this one use would be but worth checking out for free. 

 

 

Bryce 7

 

 

Bryce 7: The First Name in 3D Landscapes

Discover why Bryce has earned its place as the favorite 3D modeling and animation package of so many for so long. Bryce 7 Pro combines powerful features with a smart and simple user interface to make the creation of digital landscapes easier and more realistic than ever. Bryce 7 Pro proves that the only limit to creation is your own imagination.

 

 

 

Bryce I’ve used in the past, it used to be a rather one of a kind package, although now it’s functionality is often included in game engines like UDK.  Anyways, it allows you to easily build and render landscapes and terrain easily.  The results are actually rather amazing too.  This is surely a tool to add to your arsenal, especially for free!  The Pro version exports to Callada, so can easily be slotted into your workflow.

 

 

Hexagon 2

 

 

Hexagon delivers all the tools a graphic artist needs to create detailed 3D models ready for final render. Packed with features such as; DAZ Studio Bridge, sculpted primitives, freehand modeling brushes, micro-displacement modeling tools, comprehensive UV-mapping modules, advanced 3D paint, and instant ambient occlusion. Hexagon provides you with all the options of expensive competitor software, but at an affordable price.

 

 

 

Basically it’s a modeling package, I have absolutely no experience with this application, but again the price is right.

 

 

Oh, and your “purchase” gives you Mac and PC binaries!

 

 

 

In a world of 3000+$ graphic apps, this is an offer too good to ignore!  So, go check it out before it expires!

Art


16. August 2011

 

Well if you are a student that is, yes!  Autodesk has made an absolute ton of their programs available on a 36 month license for students.  That said, there is a very big but… and we will get to it in a moment.  First off, here are the applications they made available:

 

AutoCAD®
AutoCAD® for Mac
AutoCAD® Civil 3D®
AutoCAD® Electrical
Autodesk® Alias® Design
Autodesk® Alias® Automotive**
Autodesk® Ecotect® Analysis
Autodesk® Inventor® Professional
Autodesk® Maya®

Autodesk® Moldflow® Adviser
Autodesk® Mudbox™
Autodesk® Revit® Architecture
Autodesk® Revit® MEP
Autodesk® Revit® Structure
Autodesk® Simulation Multiphysics 
Autodesk® Smoke®
Autodesk® Softimage®
Autodesk® 3ds Max®

That is a pretty awesome list and making them available to students for free is an absolutely brilliant idea for locking in future users down the road.  Now here are the buts…

 

If you are creating a game, you are violating the license.  This license is explicitly for personal learning.  The personal part even excludes use in a lab or classroom environments, however more to the point, if you want to use the software to work on a game that is going to be distributed ( even freely ) you are violating the license!  If you use the software to create graphics for a website, you are violating the license.  In a nutshell, legally, you can only use the software to learn or post your works to Autodesk’s community.  Now posting your work to a 3rd party like DeviantArt for non-commercial gain, I do not know the legal status of that.

 

As to who qualifies as a student, I will let Autodesk themselves answer that.

 

A faculty member is an employee at a primary or secondary educational institution or any degree-granting or certificate-granting educational institution or any learning, teaching or training facilities and who upon request by Autodesk is able to provide proof of such status.

A student is an individual enrolled at a recognized degree-granting or certificate-granting educational institution for three (3) or more credit hours in a degree-granting or certificate granting education program or in a nine (9) month or longer certificate program, and upon request by Autodesk is able to provide proof of such enrollment.

An Autodesk Assistance Program participant is either a veteran or unemployed individual who has previously worked in the architecture, engineering, design or manufacturing industries, completed the online registration for the Autodesk Assistance Program, and upon request by Autodesk is able to provide proof of eligibility for that program.

 

 

So if you are thinking the cost of your game just went way down because you are a student, you are completely wrong.  However, if you wanted easy free access to learn and evaluate various Autodesk products, you will love this opportunity.


GFS On YouTube

See More Tutorials on DevGa.me!

Month List