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About Digital Art / Professional Premium Member Ken KawashimaMale/Brazil Groups :iconmusic-deviantart: Music-DeviantART
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Content Creation with DAZ Studio Pro 4.6

Journal Entry: Mon Oct 20, 2014, 12:41 AM

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** Content Creation with DAZ Studio Pro 4.6 **

       

           

I have been creating contents for Poser for about 10 years now, and last year I have decided to start supporting HiveWire 3D's Dawn figure for both Poser and DAZ Studio (DS4). By then I wrote a review of my experience with DS4, though I had just got started with it. Now a year has passed, and I think I can tell more about it, so I decided to write another article.

Basically, both Poser and DS were designed to do the same things. Though Poser has more features right out of the box, DS can have them added by purchasing 3rd party plugins. Even when part of these are useless, there are some gems to be found. This is where I draw the line for when I want to use Poser, and when to use DS. Hey, but didn't I just said that both do the same thing? Yes, but there are things that one does better than the other.

In a nutshell, I [personally] prefer DS4 for content creation, and then Poser for everything else. For once, Poser is now in version 10, and it still doesn't know how to save its own contents to the library. It cannot create its own runtime folder structure, and all products depend on that. Even if I manually create the runtime folder structure, it still doesn't know where to place geometry and texture files on its own, and here again, all products depend on that. Poser also tends to embed geometry into the CR2 files, which is typically unacceptable in commercial products. In other words, there is a lot of manual work and file hacking involved.

DS4 uses a metadata system to handle all files and folders on its own. It always knows where to place its files, it creates its own folders, so contents always end up at the right places without manual hacking of anything. In addition, DS4 handles morphs and manages memory in a completely different way than Poser. Poser requires manually injecting morphs into your base figures, and always loads all morphs into memory, even if you are not using them. This results in performance penalties and a sluggish viewport response.

As opposed to Poser, DS4 stores geometry, morphs and UVs into separate folders, organized by figure and author using metadata. Each morph is stored as a separate file, and these are only loaded when and if the user spins the respective dial. If no morph was used, nothing is loaded into memory. If you use only 1 morph, only that one is loaded. This is one of the reasons why DS4 performance and viewport feedback is so much faster and optimized. This is also why content creation is more efficient with DS than it is in Poser. You can instantly know which morphs are included by simply looking what files are in a folder.

In addition, DS4 offers [by far] many more tools for rigging with weight maps than Poser. In DS4 you can paint weights with individual polygon precision, with extra tools to expand/contract poly selection, locking parts you don't want to affect, weights smoothing tool by percentage selection (local selection or global), and much more. In Poser all we can do is use a brush to add, smooth or remove weights, and that's about it. The Poser brush suffers from performance penalties depending on the mesh density, and the weight transfer tools offer basically no options of how it is done. The options are either to transfer the weights or not, and the whole thing might still fail silently if you forget to make hidden morphs visible. Since we have no control, doing this in Poser can yield unpredictable results.

Conversely, DS4 offers a wide range of options to control how we want the weights to be transferred from figure to conforming clothing, all the way down to vertex level. We can choose to transfer weights, groupings, material zones, and everything else individually. We can even choose to transfer groups from different donors into the same conforming outfit in different passes. You can either create your own groups for your conforming outfit externally in your 3D modeling application, let DS create it automatically for you, or manually create them in DS afterwards. You can do this last part in Poser too, but I often have issues like not being able to select or deselect polys that are facing certain ways, making the work impossible.

Weights in Poser can also be difficult to see because they show as tiny colored dots, while in DS the geometry itself changes color, making it much clearer picture of what we are doing. With popular figures such as Vicky4, the mesh density tends to slow Poser down significantly when painting weights, making the brush sluggish. Sometimes we have to wait a moment until we can see the results, while in DS the update is immediate.

This is not to say that working in DS4 is all wine and roses. The frequent updates sometimes break things that were already working, which can become quite unproductive. Some DS updates change the way things work, to the point where we can't find the tools, or figure how it works, especially when they change the tool names and locations. Since DS is given away for free, we have no saying about the way they change things, or/and add new features. It is what it is, and we have to cope with it.

Finding information about how things work for content creation in DS4 can also be frustrating, since the local and online documentations are missing, incomplete, or just outdated. Most (if not all) available tutorials (commercial or free) no longer work with the current version at some point. Some tools have so many parameters that trying to figure them out by trial and error will end up taking hours of your life that you will never get back. Conversely, the Poser documentation is pretty much complete, updated, and ships with the program with examples that you can follow to learn how to get things done.

It's important to note that both programs have their pros and cons. I've got first introduced to content creation with DS4 in August 2013, when I decided to support HiveWire 3D's new Dawn figure, which is the only weight mapped figure to be released natively for both Poser and DS4. Being unfamiliar with DS4, my first product was created in Poser, and soon enough I realized there was no simple way to migrate it to DS4. I basically had to create it all over again for DS, and that was when I realized I must start the process from DS if I want to release something that also has a Poser version.

Poser offers no support for DS4, period. Perhaps this is not Smith Micro's fault. DS4 keeps changing so fast that any support offered in Poser would stop working after each DS update, and there were many. As an example, since DS 4.0 came out, DAZ3D has changed the file formats 3 times, completely changing how things work internally. It started with .DS files, which in DS 4.5 were replaced by .DSF files, which in DS 4.6 were again replaced by .DUF files. I see no way Poser could possibly support such an ever changing chameleon. Even commercial tools I had purchased to edit DSF files no longer work with the current version because file formats have been changed.


           

  On the other hand, DS4 can export fully rigged weight mapped figures back to Poser native format, complete with morphs, rigging and materials. This is possible because Poser file formats haven't changed much for the last 10+ years, so it's easy for DS to export to that format. Therefore is an injustice to just claim that Poser "doesn't want" to support DS4, when DS4 files are incompatible even with older versions of itself. Poser has been priming for backwards compatibility for over a decade, while DS has been burning bridges in every version and update, which can make a content creator's life miserable. One can say that DS4 has evolved a lot in the past few years comparing to Poser, but that comes at a rather high cost when it comes to backwards compatibility, and our ability to learn the tools because they change so much without notice.

Having that said, I see DS4 as a much better tool for content creation comparing to Poser. It offers more options, better general performance, and a way to export contents back to Poser at the end of the pipeline. The exported Poser contents will sometimes not be perfect, but they are a much better starting point than redoing everything from scratch. Things that will typically need adjusting in Poser are the weight maps and definitely the materials. As of today, there is just no way to export a Poser weight map rig to DS4 TriAx format, so I see no other way than to start the process in DS4.

The fact that DS4 is mostly undocumented for content creation makes the information even rarer and valuable, which is probably the reason why many don't want to share it. To make things worse, the way things work in DS4 also keeps changing after each update, so we may find ourselves eventually not knowing how to get things done anymore at some point. So don't be surprised if some people may get mad if you ask them how this or that works in DS. This kind of information doesn't come easy, cheap, or at all.

Nonetheless, DS4 is still my tool of choice for content creation, and then Poser for everything else. There are still many things I still couldn't figure out how they work in DS4, but I am learning as I do them. Thanks to the utter lack of DS documentation, this environment can sometimes be uncooperative and even hostile, so I have learned not to ask too much. I have submitted many feature suggestions to SMS with hopes Poser could become the better tool for content creation, but SMS tech support has a tendency to automatically ignore any comments comparing Poser to DS functionalities, so it's no use.

If you want to create contents that will exist natively in both Poser and DS4, these are the kind of things you will be dealing with. Now you may understand why this content market is so divided, with products released only for one or the other platform, making a lot of people unhappy. Since HiveWire 3D's Dawn figure came out, I have committed to support her in both platforms, but I admit this has been done to great sacrifices from my part because of this market split, and also the fact that SMS and DAZ3D just hate each other's guts. The more time passes, the larger the gap between these two.

There is a chance that at some point in the future, Poser and DS may become completely incompatible with each other, but so far, in spite of the difficulties, it is still possible to support both with some level of reusability. The drawback for Poser users is that they will have to switch to DS4 to start development of new contents, where documentation on how to get started is generally unavailable. This can discourage people right away, but I think it was well worth the effort when DS4 is a much more powerful tool to create contents for both platforms.

That is still something Poser just can't do, unless you want to work in double - either because Poser content creation tools are over-simplistic, or because there is no existing process to convert Poser weight mapped contents to DS4 TriAx format. This is a major factor since the future of Poser/DS figures will obviously rely on weight map rigging, which at the moment has become the splitting factor between Poser and DS compatibility.

The bottom line is if you only sell to one side of the market, you will be reaching only half the profits. Conversely, supporting both sides has become a burden when DS4 is the recommended tool to start the process, but it's undocumented and therefore challenging to learn. On the positive side, DS4 is a much better tool for content creation than Poser, which can be an incentive to overcome the difficulties. As an added bonus, DS4 also ships with game content creation tools that are way superior to the newly released Poser "Game Dev" edition in almost every aspect of the pipeline.


           

But before one could jump to the conclusion that DS is better in everything, that is just not true. I still prefer Poser for everything else besides content creation, especially in the areas of animation, dynamic simulations of both cloth and hair, materials, lights and rendering. Even though these last 3 things have become less relevant after external renderers such as Lux and Octane have come out, I still find the Poser plugins much better in features and support. So here again, both programs have their pros and cons. None is better than the other in everything, and for Poser content creators, DS4 can be added to the pipeline for free. If you can manage to learn it, it can become quite an asset in your pipeline.


       





Clubs I joined:
:iconposeraddicts: :iconcatgirl-zone: :iconkawaii-neko-club: :iconglossy-legs-club: :iconpantyhoselovers: :icon3danimationgroup: :icontradewinds3d: :iconarizona-art-history: :iconpanoramaclub: :iconworld-of-catgirls: :iconkemonomimilovers: :iconanime-manga-artists: :iconflanimate: :icondemons-n-angels: :iconanime-catgirls: :iconfemale-incorporated: :iconbrazilians: :icondarkskin-love: :iconsexyvoluptuousvixens: :iconhouse-of-fetishes: :icondawn-of-a-new-era: :iconpwfa: :iconpinup-club:

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-Night Run Animation- by ken1171 -But isnt that stupid- by ken1171

MY COMICS:
-Nonsense is in Fashion- by ken1171 -Master Usajiro ep01- by ken1171 -Master Usajiro ep02- by ken1171
-Pirate grudge- by ken1171 -Private Study- by ken1171 -Creature comforts- by ken1171

MY PANORAMAS:
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-Oklahoma Beach, NY- by ken1171 -Fain Park, Arizona- by ken1171 -Quailwood Park- by ken1171

MY WRITING:
-Metal Seduction- by ken1171 CollectionsCollections
Chances are that nearly everybody likes collecting things during their life. My mom collects dolls from different countries, my friend collects stamps, another one collects buttons and so on. I collect Anime videos and have been doing so for over a decade now.
But the funny thing is that those collections only have a meaning to us. You might have a grandparent who passed away and left their own collections of something behind, and your family doesn't have a clue on what to do with it. If it's valuable maybe it can be sold. If not, it will either be dumped somewhere or donated to whoever might want it.
My wife and I went to some antique shops the past weekend and I couldn't help noticing how many meticulously preserved collections we found there. We found things of all sorts, like Coca Cola collectables from the 1950's and classic car miniatures from the 1960's. I remembered some of those things from my childhood (I was born in the late 60's) but never imagined someon
-Inaho's Homework- by ken1171
ShadoGal Mai Chronicles IShadoGal Mai Chronicles I: Living Forever
There are many vampire stories based on the fact that life loses its meaning if you cannot die. Those stories tend to emphasize that life itself can become a burden in such cases, because after a few centuries there is nothing much of new to be seen or learned, especially because history tends to repeat itself over and over.
That's how I defined the personality of ShadoGal Mai, my wacky half-vampire (damphyr) character. One can become quite bored after living for 500 years, and many books and movies have covered aspects of it, such as "Interview with a Vampire" and "Highlander". But in those stories the characters were nearly all male, and I here I wanted to show a female side of the story.
Human nature dictates that we will value the most what we don't have, or things that are rare and thus, precious. But immortality makes life itself worthless. In a vampire perspective life has advantages, although they have to live without a good deal of the
ShadoGal Mai Chronicles II====================================
ShadoGal Mai Chronicles II: Fay and the Scroll of Dhakr
====================================

One thing to keep in mind is that Mai us a supernatural being. She inherited a vampire hypnotic gaze that can paralyze humans with ease. After a "love bite", they become addicted to her highly arousing ways and will tend to come back for more at regular periods, which is very convenient for both sides. It's like the next step in the vampire symbiotic evolution, which is described in the "Unification Prophecy".
Mai doesn't like fighting and in most cases she never has to. That's the nature of vampires. She can paralyze any human just by looking at them in the eyes, no matter their physical strength - the gaze paralyzes a human (or even animals) by freezing their souls right at the core. Besides that, Mai has the strength of 10 men, which means trying to defeat her by brute force is unlikely to work by all means. It's not physical strength, but rather a
ShadoGal Mai Chronicles IIIEpisode III: Dawn of the Ancients
Fay was sitting comfortably on a sofa in this magnificent mansion. She was used to be at different places every once in a while, because her job forces her to move from place to place every few decades. There were five men around her, looking very suspicious of the new location. The older one, Vance, was particularly uncomfortable with the place because it has too many windows. He was not concerned about his privacy or anything, but instead about his own safety, since sunlight can be quite inconvenient to most vampires – especially the older ones.
They spent the following hours painting all of the windows black, and only then Vance could finally sit and rest on the large and decorated sofa where Fay had already fell asleep. How long has it been since the five of them have been faithfully following this woman? It becomes hard to keep track of time in terms of human years, since numbers in that system can quickly grow large. Vance thinks to himsel

-ShadoGal Chronicles IV-~ShadoGal Chronicles~
Episode IV: Legend of the Primal Princess

Legend claims the queen of the extinct race of the "Ancients" had four beautiful daughters, where the youngest was Mai (500 years old) and the oldest was Sethalus (8,000 years old). None of the girls knew of each others existence or of their significance on the events to come. As far as they know, they are the only ones of their kind although deep inside they want to believe there are others. Vampires have mixed feelings about them because they are not harmed by most of the common things they fear, such as direct sunlight and holy objects. The girls have become outcasts of both human and vampire societies, often seen as abominations. To some others, they are perhaps the answer to a long forgotten vampire prophecy that foresees the return of the "Ancients", from whom legend says the first vampires descended from.
With her fixed bat wings and pointy ears, Sethalus can walk in broad daylight and even eat human food. Ev
-Fatal Delivery- by ken1171 -A bird? A plane? No, it's...-
~A bird? A plane? No, it's...~
PART I:
One of the advantages of being 500 years old is that you have probably already seen it all. ShadoGal Mai was in a trip to the Big Apple when she spotted an interesting male figure flying in cape & tights over the city - but without any wings. Well, Mai has many superhuman powers, but flying without wings is certainly not one of them. Even less at speed! Very curious, She followed the man in tights until he landed somewhere in the streets. He apparently found somebody in distress and went down to help. Mai was very impressed by him: how can he have so much strength? Dad said I can't go out with human pets, but what about him? He can't be human!
PART II:
Mai followed the guy in tights until he went back home. As she hid inside his house, she sneaked around until she found the perfect opportunity to give him a little surprise 'love' bite from behind. Mai used her inherited vampire powers to keep the guy still while taking a sip. She immediately notic


MY FANART:
-Yuna Fanart- by ken1171 -What are you looking at?- by ken1171 -Bleach Orihime fanart- by ken1171
-54K DOAX Hitomi Kiriban- by ken1171 -Street Fighter ChunLi Fanart- by ken1171 -More Space Angel 80- by ken1171

MY ORIGINAL MUSIC:
-If Penguins Could Fly- by ken1171 -Techno Heavy Metal Revolt- by ken1171 -27,000 Exotic Journey- by ken1171
-Madoka Memories- by ken1171 -Bouncy Piano- by ken1171 -98K Rockit Bunny- by ken1171
-Heavy Metal Kitty- by ken1171 -Bluish Metal- by ken1171 -Gimme da Blues- by ken1171

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deviantID

ken1171
Ken Kawashima
Artist | Professional | Digital Art
Brazil
Current Residence: Brazil
Print preference: Biiiig, laaaaaarge, gigaaaaantic
Favorite genre of music: Female
Favorite photographer: Ken1171
Favorite style of art: Anime, Manga, semi-realistic
Operating System: Windows 7 Home Edition
MP3 player of choice: Apple iTouch 4
Shell of choice: Lobster :D
Skin of choice: Women's
Favorite cartoon character: Yoru & Eru (Shugo Chara!)
Personal Quote: Creation is just the beginning
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Shout out to Ken1171 --> desouzaweb.deviantart.com/jour…
Sun Jun 15, 2014, 12:04 PM
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hi
Fri Nov 8, 2013, 10:15 AM
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happy boythday
Sun Oct 13, 2013, 2:18 PM
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happy new year!
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You do beautiful work =D
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Hey! Happy Birthday! I hope you have fun and a nice day! :airborne:
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Feliz Aniversário!!!!!!
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Happy Birthday - Deviant Art says it is....
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Thank you for the PP2012 review; I'll be picking it up this week after waiting so long!
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Really enjoy your gallery. Hope to see more posted up soon!
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:iconsherberttcat:
SherbertTCat Featured By Owner 6 days ago  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Any time I need a reminder of how far Star Wars games have fallen in overall quality over the years, I boot up the 1994 collector's edition of Tie Fighter in Dosbox.
Reply
:iconken1171:
ken1171 Featured By Owner 6 days ago  Professional Digital Artist
Haha guess what? Last week I've reinstalled "Universe at War" (2007) and was having the fun of my life, but not before going through the gymnastics of making it work in Win7. How far behind do we have to go to play FUN games these days? >___<
Reply
:iconsherberttcat:
SherbertTCat Featured By Owner 6 days ago  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That's why I prefer running older dos games to older windows ones. 99% of the time I just run Dosbox and there's not much fuss involved. Old windows games use a lot of DLLS and APIs and outdated code that new Windows doesn't understand.
Reply
:iconken1171:
ken1171 Featured By Owner 6 days ago  Professional Digital Artist
Hmm, I think DOS games are way more prone to incompatibilities because they pre-date a common HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer) that only exists in Windows. Before HAL, DOS games were coded to run on very specific hardware, in many cases with specific versions to run on hardwares from different manufacturers. I know this because my first games were created for DOS, and it was a challenge to make them run in PCs from different makers. For example, there was no standard to program games for different video cards, and there were multiple (and conflicting) APIs for different sound cards makers. It was living hell for programmers, man... >___<
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(1 Reply)
:icononitonari:
onitonari Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2014
Awesome gallery, dude :)
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:iconken1171:
ken1171 Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you! ^^
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:iconargoncyanide777:
ArgonCyanide777 Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2014
Your insight from experience for DS4 vs Poser is well acknowledged.   Now I at least have a general picture of what I'll be working with and how.  For which I am grateful.

My thoughts and feelings are: I refuse to go just one way or the other.  I'll have to go along with DS4 because it's the cheaper option.  However I had invested in prior smith micro products as well (anime studio 6 debut, manga studio 4) and feel something of a loyalty, plus looking at what others have made with Poser...Yeah I don't want to ignore this completely. 

I look and still see Vcky 4 (I guess just 4.2 now?) and the majority of content out there for her and similar figures of that generation.  So I'm wary of dropping anything into the newer generations.

So essentially what I'm aiming at is a shrinking platform with time.  I may be forced into genesis 2 and figure generations 5 & 6 at some point (which I understand don't jive with poser). 


Situation:
 
My old machine is in hospice (still functioning but so slow it's dead for most intent and purpose, poor lass), I'm on a tentative machine right now built from old hardware.  

Where I am at...

1) I played with DS4.6 briefly and got the first tutorial out of the way initially.  (comp crashed a lot, then decided it hated me)
2) I have it on this somewhat inferior makeshift machine.  Can't really do a lot with it, but learning as much as it'll let me.  (tutorials are missing some things though) 
3) Still a ways away from a new functional machine but slowly edging closer... 
4) For time being I'm taking advantage of the weekly freebies and content being given out by Daz.  Much as possible.  Less I have to spend.  I've already scored quite a bit and have it to my account... Aiko3, Vicky6, and stuff. 

So it's gonna be rough starting out.  I've already considered I will have to occasionally just ask others for commissions, hire out help for some things, draw things up by hand, put a lot on hold, wait on hardware (wages permitting), and develop some alternative things to do in the meantime.

So...yeah...
Reply
:iconken1171:
ken1171 Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
One of the major reasons DS4 or Poser crash on older computers is lack of enough memory. In reality, most other 3D software are memory hogs and will also crash for lack of it. The current version of DS has some bugs that cause it to crash, and I have reported them to DAZ3D. They said they are working on fixing it, but I am not holding my breath for it, since it's a free program and they owe us nothing.

It's important you know that DAZ3D figures are NOT the only option. HiveWire 3D is a brand new company started by DAZ3D's co-founder, Chris Creek. They are creating brand new figures that work natively in both Poser and DS4, which is something DAZ3D still refuses to do. I have been using their female figure (Dawn) since last year, and she just received a SR-2 upgrade this week, adding a whole lot of new features and improvements. I personally believe Dawn's posing and mesh quality are superior, and worth checking out. ^^

It's a good idea to make your hobby pay for itself with commission jobs. I know it pays for mine here, which is great, :)
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:iconargoncyanide777:
ArgonCyanide777 Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2014
Ah.  Noted.  Thank you I will be sure to look into that.

"since it's a free program and they owe us nothing."
Ah, a non-entitlement minded sort.  I like that attitude.  We will get along fine. 

Actually that's only a problem with this...golem of a machine using a 2005 mobo.  But it's healthy so I can't complain!

As to crashing...My 'dead' machine (emachines T5274) handled it okay despite feeling miserable.  The problem was instability.  To make a long story short I was an idiot for not having made a physical copy to back up my OS, believing my partition had me covered.  Low and behold I got hit with a worm one day.  I was able to clear it out (mostly) but without a fresh reinstall for the OS, it was a sinking ship.  Still more or less runs but has gotten SO slow it's barely usable for net browsing.  :(  I suspect at full health it would handle all the lower end Daz stuff just fine, and take a *L O N G* time to render.

I hear that.  But I think it also important not to lose track of why it's a hobby in the first place.  I'm getting ahead of myself though--I still have much to learn!


It's really a waiting game for me at this point.  I do what I can... which isn't much.
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:iconken1171:
ken1171 Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
It just happens that 3D rendering is one of the most hardware-demanding tasks a computer can do. In that aspect, emachines are not the greatest for the task, even if brand new. That's why 3D can be such an expensive hobby, and that's why [at least to me] it must pay for itself. All computer parts I have used for 3D work and rendering was always bought using money from 3D commission jobs. Otherwise I couldn't justify the time I spend on it, all the books, training materials, software, and hardware. :)
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