My Daz Studio Workflow

I’ve typed this post multiple times on the official Daz 3D Forums; so I thought I’d write it up here so I can just refer to it instead. Maybe this will help some people or at least give you some ideas about how to create your own workflow that works better for you.

My Scene Creation Workflow

As for my overall workflow, I tend to build scenes using this process. Sometimes I short cut it if I’m doing a quick scene “just for fun”, but anytime I want a quality result, I use this process.

  1. Scene Blocking
    1. First I’ll figure out the setting (environment) and rough camera angle I want to use. I make sure to use an actual camera and not just the perspective view or so I don’t lose the blocking of the image.
    2. I may also rough in the lighting at this time like adding HDRI skies and other lights I think I’ll need.
    3. I save this as a scene, and start a new one.
  2. Character Setup
    1. I load one of the gray background HDRI presets from Colm Jackson‘s PRO-Studio HDR Lighting package. I like the even, low-contrast lighting for character setup.
    2. I load my first character I’m going to use, tweak skin, eyes, add hair and clothes.
    3. A recent addition to my workflow is to add Canary’s Cameras as they provide a quick way to look at my character setup from multiple angles. Saves me a lot of time.
    4. I will do several test renders to make sure things look okay rendered.
    5. If the character is going to pose by themselves in the scene, I may choose a pose for them at this stage. If they will be part of a “couples” pose, then I leave them in default.
    6. I save this as a “Scene Subset” rather than a “Scene” because the Subset won’t include the HDRI I loaded for the setup or any cameras I created for test renders. (Refer to the note about Scene Assets below for an alternative for frequently used characters.)
    7. I repeat the above for each character in the scene.
  3. Optional – Couples Posing
    1. If the characters are going to be posed using a couples pose, I’ll create a new “character setup” scene with my standard HDRI
    2. Then I import the Scene Subsets for each character and apply the couples pose to them.
    3. I will adjust the poses if necessary, doing some quick renders to make sure that the intersection of characters, clothing, etc. looks correct. V3Digitimes‘ Ultimate Pose Master has made this process SO much easier and quicker for me!
    4. Then I create a group with the two characters and save this as a new Scene Subset, excluding any cameras and lights I added.
  4. Character Placement
    1. Now I’ll reload the original scene and merge the character and/or couple scene subsets into the main scene and move the characters into their positions in the scene
    2. This is where the couples group comes in handy because I can move them together without having to adjust each one individually
    3. Now I’m tweaking poses, adding or removing other props, etc. to get the final look for the image I want.
    4. During this time, I use the Aux viewport set to my main camera view while I’m using the Perspective View to move pieces, adjust poses, etc. That way I can see how the changes look from the main view.
    5. I also swap from Perspective to Main Camera on my full viewport to make sure I’m getting the results that I’m trying to and that I’m not spending too much time on something that won’t even show in the final render. I can’t tell you how much time I wasted trying to get a hand to be in the correct place only to realize it was blocked from the camera anyway and nobody would notice all the time I spent getting the fingers to just lightly touch the other character’s waist.
  5. Lighting
    1. Once everyone is in place, I start tweaking my final lighting, doing test renders and adding Ghost Lights, etc. to get it looking correct
    2. With some renders, this is the longest part of my process as I feel the lighting has the greatest impact on the overall quality of my images
  6. Final Render
    1. I always do my final renders using Iray canvases, even if I only intend to use the Beauty pass. Canvases contain richer information about the image and so are a better basis for any post processing I want to do.
    2. For higher quality images, I’ll also create canvases for each light source so that I can adjust their strength in the postwork
    3. I also always render about 20-50% larger than I want the final image to be. That allows me to downsample the image post-render which can help reduce any remaining “noise” in the image.
    4. If my goal is the highest quality I can produce, I’ll disable Iray Tone Mapping and set the render quality settings to 100% convergence, Quality factor of 8, and both max samples and max time constraints to max values to allow the render to go as long as necessary.
  7. Postwork
    1. I use GIMP to import the EXR files from the Iray canvases and perform exposure adjustments, layering the light layers, etc. I save this as a GIMP file so I can come back to it if necessary.
    2. I will export the image as a PNG in it’s full size, then open the exported file and resize it. This way I don’t mess up the post process file I saved in the previous step.
    3. Even though I calibrate my monitors regularly, I’ve found that mobile devices display them much differently; so I’ll open the final file on my mobile phone and use Adobe Lightroom to perform final tweaks to the exposure and color balance settings before I post it anywhere.

An Aside about Support Assets

For frequently used characters, consider using the “Save As -> Support Asset -> Scene Asset”. This has a value over saving a scene or scene subset in that updates to the components of the scene are reflected in scenes that use them. To put it more clearly, if you have a character you use often that is setup using Aiko 8 with OOT’s Linda Ponytail hair. You get her basic setup and save her as a Scene Asset (let’s call her Aikolinda). Then you load Aikolinda into one (or more) scenes you’re going to render. Then you decide you don’t like her as a blonde and want her to be a redhead. If you go back and update Aikolinda with the new hair color, that change will automatically be reflected in every scene you loaded her into. If you had saved her as a Scene or Scene Subset, you’d have to apply the hair color change manually to every scene you used her in.



  1. w3kj Said:

    Thanks for the excellent article!

  2. truepowerz Said:

    That support asset tip is gold thanks for sharing.

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