Archive for Content Management

Daz Studio Thumbnails

Sometimes the thumbnails that our content artists provide aren’t very helpful, or we’d like to have thumbnails for our own files, or maybe a folder named “Lilly’s Dress” isn’t enough to remind you what the dress looks like and you’re tired of opening the folder to find out it wasn’t what you’re looking for. This article is to provide some guidance on how I use thumbnails in Daz Studio to make finding content easier.

Minor Rant: There are some vendors who have taken to creating their thumbnails as “clay” renders without textures. This is really unhelpful when so many skirts and dresses are similar in shape. Without the textures it’s hard to tell some pieces apart. Even worse is when it’s not only a clay render, but a closeup of the neckline of a top or the waist of a skirt and I can’t even see the full product.

Thumbnail Sizes

Daz Studio has two thumbnail file standards. The first is the standard thumbnail that shows up in your Content Library and Smart Content panes. The second is an optional “tip” file which will be displayed (along with other information about the item) when you hover over a file in the content trees.

  • *.png – 91 x 91 pixels – This is the standard thumbnail that you’re used to seeing.
  • *.tip.png – 256 x 256 pixels (standard) – This is the image that is shown in the popup information when you hover over an item. If it doesn’t exist, Studio reuses the standard thumbnail. Also, technically, it can be larger than 256 pixels square. 256 x 256 is just the standard Daz enforces when content is being submitted.

Example

If I have a product called “Lilly’s Dress”, and I browse to the folder on my hard drive where that product is stored in my content library, I may find the following files:

  • Lilly’s Dress.duf
  • Lilly’s Dress.duf.png
  • Lilly’s Dress.duf.tip.png

Note that technically, the thumbnail files can also drop the “.duf” part of the file name and they will still work. This is an important point that we’ll come back to later. It’s only really required if you happen to have two or more files with the same root filename (e.g. “Lilly’s Dress.duf” and “Lilly’s Dress.dsa”) and you want to have different thumbnails for each file.

Tip: The fastest way to find the files on your hard drive may be to just right-click on the file in the content library view and choose “Browse to File Location”.

Creating Thumbnails

If you don’t like the thumbnails that exist, or Studio didn’t create a thumbnail (for example if you save a scene, it may not create a useful thumnail for the .duf file for that scene), it’s easy to create your own.

All I do is to setup a camera with my render settings to render a square (1:1) image at 256 pixels. Usually you don’t want this to be very artistic; so a bright scene that lets you clearly see what you’re rendering the thumbnail for works best. I will save this render as “<product/scene/whatever>.tip.png” (e.g. “Lilly’s Dress.tip.png”).

Then I will create a copy of the file and call that “Lilly’s Dress.png”. I edit that with my editor of choice (usually GIMP). I may choose to just resize it down to 91×91 or I may crop it first. I especially do that on my character presets that I save where the main thumbnail I may only want a head and shoulder shot, but the tip thumbnail is a full body shot.

Then I copy these PNG files into the folder where the product is stored. You may either need to overwrite the existing thumbnails or remove the “.duf.png”/”.duf.tip.png” files to get yours to show.

Saving Thumbnails

One thing that’s important, if you’re going to be overwriting the thumbnails the vendor provided is that you should save them somewhere! This is because if there’s ever an update to that product, there’s a high probability that the update will overwrite your customized thumbnails. I have a folder tree on my hard drive where I store customized thumbnails so I can go back and grab them after DIM updates my files.

Folder Thumbnails

I’m not a big fan of using Smart Content. I have too many old things or stuff I have customized that I’m just not confident that Smart Content will find for me. So I tend to use the Content Library view a LOT when I’m browsing my stuff. One issue I have with that is that I’ll be looking at “My Content Library\People\Genesis 8 Female\Clothing\” and see a folder called “Lilly’s Dress”. But I may not remember what that dress looks like. Even worse can be when the name is something like “Sassafina” and I don’t even remember if it’s a dress or a pair of shoes!

This is where that point I mentioned above about the “.duf” not being important comes into play. We can create thumbnails for folders in our content libraries. The best part is that these ones won’t typically be lost either if there’s an update to the product. The exception to this rule would be if the folder is renamed or moved in the content library folder structure.

One thing I do periodically is to find folders where I just have the default Studio folder icon and replace it with a thumbnail that represents the product. Most often I will use a thumbnail that is either already part of the product or material settings, but sometimes I render them myself if those aren’t very helpful. Remember that if you do want to re-use an existing thumbnail, you may need to strip the “.duf” part of the filename as everything before the “.png” must be exactly like the folder name.

All you have to do is put the PNG file in the proper location and name it the same as the folder. So for the example I keep using, I would put a thumbnail file called “Lilly’s Dress.png” in the “D:\My Content Library\People\Genesis 8 Female\Clothing\” folder on my hard drive. Now when I browse to that part of my Content Library, I will see a picture of the dress instead of just a folder icon next to “Lilly’s Dress” in the Content Library tree.

Wrap-up

I hope this information is helpful to some of you. Please feel free to post a comment/question here or at DM me at JonnyRay over on the Daz Forums.

DS Content Management (Characters)

I’ve seen some posts lately in the Daz 3D – New Users forum about people wondering about how to organize their content. While things like Smart Content and Content Categories have made this a lot easier than it used to be, I still find myself typically browsing the content folders.

So, to make things easier on myself, there are some standard things that I do to make content easier to find. In this entry, I’ll talk about how I move / copy / rename folders for my main characters.

Caveats

  1. The method I’m about to talk about does have a drawback. When there is an update to something that was moved, you will need to go and repeat the move / copy of files and folders. I’ll cover that more at the end, but if you don’t want to have to remember to update your folders and files after a product is updated, this may not be the method for you.
  2. This represents how MY mind thinks about content and what’s important. while it might work for you too, I’m sure there are other ways to accomplish similar goals

My Problem

I have three issues when I’m looking for a character to use. First is that when I’m looking for characters, the names of the folders aren’t always sufficient. 6 months after I bought it, remembering that Giada is a young teen looking girl based on Aiko 8 is almost impossible for me.

Second, even if I do remember the character’s name I’m looking for, the number of clicks to get there is annoying. I’d rather have my base characters available at a higher level in the structure.

Finally, I find it annoying to have all those folders with the default folder icon. Wouldn’t it be better to have the character’s headshot instead of a folder?

DAZ Default Character Folders

By default, DAZ wants to organize your character folders like this:

DAZ Studio Character Organization

The default organization of how folders and files are saved for character content in DAZ Studio

So, to load Aiko 8, I’d have to click on People, Genesis 8 Female, Characters, Aiko 8, and then I find the Actor file to load her. Also, unless I magically remember that Giada and Yuka are two Aiko 8 variants, I might have to click on each one, see their icon and then my memory is jogged.

My Character Folders

I will describe the actions I take on my character folders below, but here’s a diagram of the changes I make.

My Character Organization

How I copy and rename character folders and files

My Approach

Several key steps here in what I’m doing with this organization.

  1. All of the main characters start with an exclamation point (!). Since Daz Studio sorts things alphabetically for you in the content folder view, this will force all of the main characters to the top of the list.
  2. I copy of all the actor files (and their thumbnail png files) to the Characters folder. This does two things for me.
    1. First, it means I can see all of my Genesis 8 Female characters in a single folder
    2. Second, since the Actor file and the folder name are the same, it changes the icon on the content browser from the default folder to the character’s Actor thumbnail.
  3. If the character is another layer down (say for example with Giada, the folder path might have been People> GF8 > Characters > FWSA > Giada), then I move the whole folder up one level. While I appreciate the effort that Fred Winkler and Sabby put into their character, the “FWSA” folder is just an unnecessary click to get to what I really want.
  4. For characters that are derived from one of the base character shapes, I add a prefix to the folder, actor, and thumbnail filename. For example, since Giada’s Product Page says that she requires Aiko 8, I add “A8” to the folder and file names. This helps me group my characters into basic families of similar body shapes. Also, in order for the thumbnail trick to work, both the actor thumbnail file and the folder have to be exactly the same. Other prefixes I’ve used include:
    • Genesis 8 Female = G8F
    • Victoria 8 = V8
    • Olympia 8 = O8
    • Charlotte 8= C8
    • The Girl 8 = TG8
    • … you get the idea.

More to Come

As I said, this is a method that works for me. If it at least gives you some ideas on how to help you get your hands around the 3D Content that you own, then I’m glad I helped. Feel free to post questions here or, if you’re on the Daz 3D forums, drop me a PM at JonnyRay.

I will keep adding other categories of content to this series. Check my Content Management category for other similar posts.