So you’ve downloaded DAZ Studio to give the wonderful world of 3D rendering a spin, and now what you need is content – and lots of it! You’re tired of seeing Victoria 4 prancing on the beach, and want more figures, scenes, lights, clothes and props to fill out your Runtime folder.
But you’re still not sure about it all. The last thing you want to do is throw your hard earned pennies into something you might use once or twice and decide it’s not for you, yet at the same time you want top quality models that really let you put DAZ Studio through it’s paces and show what this brilliant, awesome program is capable of.
Trust me, I understand. I’ve been there.
Starting with this post, I’m going to highlight the best of all the free (and ridiculously cheap) content out there so you can make the most of DAZ Studio with as little (or no!) money spent at all. We’re going to begin with what’s available directly from the great guys at DAZ3D themselves. In later posts we’ll be cherry-picking from sites across the whole of the internet. Some of this is old ground I’ve already covered in past tutorials, but time (and product availability) marches on, so it’s worth taking a fresh look at what’s out there in the wonderful world of 3D Rendering for free or dirt cheap.
The first thing to so is register your copy of DAZ Studio, right here. This drops a load of Free Additional Content for DAZ Studio into your Available Downloads as a thank you for registering, and also adds a special STUDIOSTART coupon to your account too. We’ll be coming to that shortly.
Download and install the Additional Content, and you’ll find a couple of Fairy scenes setup in Scenes->Faerie Forest and reduced resolution version of Victoria 3 in People->Victoria along with a Fairy outfit (People->Victoria->Clothing), hair and poses. As a starting setup, it’s a darned sight better than Vicky and her beachball! :D
But there’s more. DAZ3D offer a whole shedload of free bundles and content on their site. Probably the single most useful one is the 3D Bridge Starter Pack which includes Aiko 3 complete with hair and sci-fi outfit, a dragon, cat, dog, elephant, toon emotiguy and rather cool Stinger Aircar. I’ve raved about this particular free bundle before – it’s a terrific introduction to a wide range of 3D styles and models.
To complement this bundle, I recommend snarfing two more. The free Sarafi Starter bundle updates your existing Cyclorama backdrop with an excellent Serengeti background set and models of an African Elephant, Pronghorn Antelope, Panther, Rhino and Zebra too.
The Anime Uniforms bundle includes the full (rather than Limited Edition) Aiko 3 complete with full morphs and texture maps as well as manga-style Sailor and Captain’s uniforms. XinXin is also included for free. This is an excellent manga character and hair set for Aiko 3, and with this bundle and the goodies from the 3D Bridge Starter Set you’re all set for your manga-inspired renderings.
That’s a LOT of content just to get you started! Most of it is older (but no less high-quality and useful) stuff from DAZ3d’s back catalogue. Moving more up to date, the Michael 4 and Victoria 4.2 base figures are an essential download. They are the latest generation models from which all new DAZ3D characters and figures are based. For Victoria 4.2 grab the wonderful Shadow Dancer set too. Alongside your existing Casual Clothing and Basicwear Sports Top and Bra that should give you more than enough clothing combinations to get started. Michael will have to stay in his second skin boxers for now, though next time I’ll be showing you where to find some great free clothing to cover his bones too.
We’re almost done, but let’s not forget that STUDIOSTART coupon. This gives a whopping 97% off the price of any bundle listed on these pages – including those items already on sale. For example, the Kay Bundle is currently $23.97 (reduced from $39.95 until the end of July), but use the STUDIOSTART coupon at the checkout and it’s yours for just 73 cents!!! Considering the full price of the individual items is close to sixty bucks, that’s one heck of a bargain.
Which pack you use your coupon on largely depends on the kind of renders you want to produce. As it’s a one-shot offer (use the coupon, and it’s gone) it’s worth looking carefully at all of the packs to decide which one offer the best value for you. Order them by Newest First and you’ll see that the newer bundles easily eclipse the older one both in terms of quality and value with only the FREAK Bundle imho worth consideration out of the older packs. That’s a personal favourite of mine as it includes the FREAK himself as well as a full set of textures, morphs and the all-important bodyuit – perfect for superhero renders!
I guess the choice boils down to this: if you want to render absurdly muscled superheroes, get the FREAK Bundle. If Dinosaurs are your thing, it’s Predator vs. Prey. If Sci-Fi, grab the SciFi Sets and Vehicles, and if you want to create realistic modern scenes, grab the Modern Apartments bundle.
When it comes to fantasy renders, there’s two choices – either the Kay Bundle, or DM Briana. Either are excellent and include a full character and texture set for Victoria 4, poses, scenery, weapons and more. Either is likely to get tons of use, though for my money the Kay bundle just edges forward in terms of re-usability.
Here’s the thing though. All of these bundles are currently on sale so the most one of them will cost you is a buck eigthy after your STUDIOSTART coupon is applied. For what you’re getting in terms of great quality content, that’s a steal!
And I’ve still only scratched the surface of what DAZ3D has to offer the freebooting render junkie. There’s the two free Dystopia city packs (here and here, and I’ve written a tutorial or two how to use them, here and here), the regular weekly freebie with the newsletter, the sizeable freebie archive and the Freepository forums. Phew! And that’s before you even sign up to their Platinum Club ($100/year, and well worth it) and be given a hole load of even more free content to fill your Runtime as a thankyou.
Next time, we’ll take a look at the best of what ShareCG has to offer, and find some clothes for Michael.