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DAZ3d Scene (building/props) to iClone workflow?

Posted By Renaissance Man Studios 2 Years Ago
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Renaissance Man Studios
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I tried the internet and this site and I can't seem to find a tutorial for a DAZ3d Scene (building/props) to iClone workflow?

Can someone either give me some tips or point me in the right direction so I can learn properly.

Thanks in advance!

Kelleytoons
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Would that it would be so easy.

It's a bit of a trial and error process, because "props" in Daz can be a lot of different things, in a lot of different ways, depending on how they are constructed.  I can give you some *very* general rules but you will find that there is no specific workflow, just a whole lot of them you will need to try if one doesn't work.

To begin with, try exporting from Daz as an obj, with the objects in "Node Names", and make sure you have Write Surfaces checkmarked.  Bring this into XChange and make sure you have the "man" in XChange enabled so you can adjust the size if necessary (sometimes it is, sometimes not).  Look at the various nodes -- you may see some you'd like to make sub-props (good candidates are doors and chairs, for example -- this will allow you to move them in the scene separately from the main prop).  If you create a sub-prop, make sure you adjust the pivot for it.  Export.

If you are VERY lucky most of the textures will come over, but not adjusted for PBR, so you'll have to go into each one (sigh) and do it.  This can take hours, or days (hopefully Python scripting will automate this process when available).  Adjust your lighting as needed, and voila!

Except it will seldom work that way.  Sometimes you'll need to use Surface Names instead of node names, sometimes Existing groups.  Sometimes you'll need to export only selected items from XChange, so you can break up the prop into needed sub-items.

And sometimes it will be a figure, not a prop.  Yep, even a building can be a "figure", which is a PITA   If it's a figure and you need to have separate parts of it (like doors) you will have to go through a process I'm too tired to explain.  Come back here sometime and we might help (oh, and you can also try exporting as FBX but this seldom works, IMHO, UNLESS it's specifically a figure and not a prop you want).



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Kelleytoons
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Ooo, thought of some more things.  You will almost surely have to adjust the bump/normal maps IF they got loaded correctly (sometimes they do, sometimes they don't -- if they don't you'll have to manually locate and load them).  They will nearly always be too "hot", at 100%, so you'll have to dial them down to around 15% or less.  Except when you won't have to.  No particular reason as to why, though.

Good indicator a normal/bump map is too hot is when it looks very odd in the lighting - it might turn completely black (or at least very dark).  

Also, sometimes the tiling will be off.  I just spent an hour trying to fix the tiling in a prop I imported, on a wall, only to find the roof (which had a completely different texture) was somehow linked so the tiling also affected it.  I had to bring it back into XChange and make it a sub-prop, at which point things started working correctly.   That was the first time I've ever encountered that, but it won't be the last.

That is another thing -- when you export from XCHange (either direct to iClone or as a prop you load in) you can always re-edit it back in XChange if you find you didn't make something a sub-prop and should have (or forgot to adjust a pivot).  When you re-import it you'll need to delete the existing prop (it's too bad that it just won't substitute the existing one, but it don't work that way).

Oh, did I mention that iClone is very sensitive when it comes to texture sizes?  Daz props are often at 4K texture size, which will quickly bring iClone to its knees and are really unnecessary anyway for anything other than a face.  In those cases you will need to resample all the textures BEFORE you load the prop into Daz (I use Photoshop for this as it has an automated script -- probably other ways of doing it but I have no idea).  I usually resample down to 1K and this looks and works fine.

With textures resampled you'll almost never have a problem with too big a prop in iClone.  Even something with millions of faces can work just fine.  Some folks say to use Decimator in Daz, for example, but I don't own it and have never needed it.  But you might need a good video card (I have 8gb of memory -- smaller cards might have issues with more faces).

The good news?  After working hours you WILL have something worthwhile.  Daz props light and work extraordinarily well in iClone - IMHO, much better than any iClone developer has done (with rare exceptions).  And they are nearly always cheaper.



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Renaissance Man Studios
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Thank you Kelleytoons for responding to my question so quickly!
I believe you gave me the foundation to achieve what I am shooting for.
The tip about pivot points was a bonus, especially since I am hoping to animate a door opening also.
The scene I am working with is DAZ's Cabin in the Woods.
Again thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge and insight in such a detailed manner.
Kelleytoons
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No problem -- I'm doing a LOT of this so it's on my mind.

I also bought the Cabin in the woods pack (was thinking about some Halloween type things) but haven't gotten around to importing it into iClone (so much software, so little time).  If you run into any problems let me know and I'll see what I can do about it.



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I'll take you up on that offer - sparingly I promise
I was able to export the cabin as a fbx file and import into iClone along with its props separately and make them sub props.
I've been trying to determine if I could make the doors, windows and roof as sub props. In addition to opening a door, I would like to be able to turn the roof "on/off" so I can maneuver cameras around from a top view for easier placement.
One last question for you at the moment. Should the cabin be decimated? I don't have the program, but I'm considering to buy it from DAZ. Also, I am researching how to reduce polygon counts using other programs such as Blender. I am truly a newbie so hopefully decimating and reducing polygon counts mean the same thing.
I can't wait to get home from work so I can put into practice the info you shared!
Again thanks a bunch!
Vic

Kelleytoons
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Well, as I said, I've yet to ever need to decimate anything.  Particularly things like props, which generally don't have as many faces to worry about (bringing people in is a whole other ballgame -- if you are going to do that, then decimator would definitely be worthwhile).

You can turn roof and walls on/off for camera placement, but in general I've found this almost never works.  It will screw up your GI lighting, which you should be using (this is assuming you're using iClone 7 -- if not, then don't worry about it).  With a wide enough camera angle you won't have to worry about such things getting in the way, and then you'll have good lighting from the GI bouncing around properly.  But that's just me (to me, the lighting is about 90% of a good animation).



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Kellytoons,
I made a test render based on your advice. I dug around in the online manual and learned how to adjust pivot points.
The below test is just a proof of concept for exporting from DAZ3d to iClone 7 and adjusting pivot points.
Next is to work on lighting and the textures as per your advice.
Thanks again



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Looks like you're getting it.  I think for lighting that scene I'd start with a directional light adjusted to look like moonlight (make sure you turn IBL down to 7-9 and enable GI on it and on the GI tab to let that light bounce around inside and turn off the two default lights iClone gives you, assuming you haven't changed your startup scene, as I have).

For interiors you can use some GI illuminating surfaces assuming you don't have any light emitting props you want to use (I have the furniture pack that goes along with the cabin but I don't remember if there are any lanterns or other lights provided, although that would be cool).



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There is a thread that I started a while ago, asking the same thing.
There is a lot of info in that one too.
And yes, Decimator is a big help.    I bought it when it was on sale for $10,  otherwise it's like $100




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