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[Tutorial][Requested] DAZ Studio Characters to UE4 (via Blender)

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    [Tutorial][Requested] DAZ Studio Characters to UE4 (via Blender)

    Daz Studio to Unreal Engine 4 (via Blender)

    I've seen several requests on these forums asking how to bring characters from Daz Studio into Unreal Engine 4. I've got a pretty decent workflow for doing this so I thought I'd type it up for anyone who might be interested.

    Before I get started, though, I want to make a few points. A lot of people new to game development look at a tool like Daz and think it will allow them to cheaply get good results without paying for an artist or becoming an artist themselves. That's not exactly the case, for a number of reasons
    • Licensing: DAZ content is not licensed for redistribution in games. Just because you've bought a character, clothing, or props, doesn't mean you can use them in your game. In order to use the content in a game, you have to specifically get a license designed for game dev. You can buy a license on the DAZ store that will let you use their base content. It's currently $500 if you or your company make less than $100,000 per year, otherwise it's $2,000 (these licenses do sometimes go on sale, so worth keeping an eye on if you're interested). There's a catch, though. That license doesn't cover the vast majority of the content that DAZ sells on their store. Most of figures, outfits, and accessories are actually created by third parties, and you have to license separately from each third party whose content you use. Some of the content creators offer licenses right on the DAZ store using the same exact pricing model ($500/$2,000), though many do not, and you have to contact those creators individually to negotiate a license. So, looking at a cost estimate: if you build a character with content from three content creators in addition to the DAZ base content, you're looking at $2,000 or $8,000 (depending on your current revenue) to license the content. You might be better off spending that money to hire a freelancer, which would give you a game-ready model that's exactly what you want and tailored to your game and target hardware.
    • Topology: The models aren't designed for games. The edge loops are very different than what you typically find in game models and there's a lot of stuff going on under the hood in DAZ Studio to make sure, for example, that bent limbs look right. The models look fine in the game engine, but can be a challenge to work with and tend to be on the high poly side.
    • Process: It's far from a one-button export to get something from Daz into UE4. Even the simplest, most straightforward path takes time and effort, and if you want your models to look good, you have to invest even more time. It's less time than creating a character from scratch, but a lot more time and effort than most people assume.


    That all being said, DAZ models can be a good option for some situations, and they're a great tool for knocking out prototypes and proof-of-concepts that won't be released, so I thought it was worth typing this up.

    Tools Used in this Tutorial:

    This tutorial uses the following tools:
    Click on images for full-size version.

    Build the Character

    Start by assembling the character you want to use in DAZ Studio. I'm not going to cover that part of the process, but it's pretty self-explanatory and there are plenty of existing tutorials out there on the subject. If you're planning to use the model in an actual game that will be publicly released (even if you plan to release it for free), make a note of every piece of content you use when creating the character so that you can secure the appropriate licensing before you release for your game. For demonstration purposes, I quickly threw together this character:



    This character uses assets from DAZ3D (base content, hair), P3Design (character and texture), and 3D Universe (clothing). Unfortunately, neither P3Design nor 3DUniverse offer a game developer license on the DAZ Store, so that means if I wanted to release a game with this character, I'd have to try and find contact information for both of these content creators and individually negotiate a license -- if they're willing to. Good thing I'm not going to release this, because that sounds like a pain.

    Make sure you've saved the character in a DAZ Studio scene then export the model using Collada. Going from DAZ to Blender, Collada gives (by far) the best and most predictable results. Here are the export settings I use:



    Export the Character

    It's important that the "Merge Skeletons" option is NOT selected. It has a tendency to screw up the rig, sometimes very badly. I also haven't had great luck with the "Merge Diffuse and Alpha" option, so typically avoid using that and do the merge manually in Blender. Once the export is finished, go to the Scene pane in DAZ Studio, expand the little disclosure triangle next to your model. Select all of the items (clothing, hair, props, etc.) except the base model. These should all be children of your base model though, depending on your settings and the version of DAZ Studio, it's possible they won't be. Either way, select everything except the actual body.



    Make and Export the Base Character

    We're going to export just the naked base model by itself. Remember how we didn't use the "merge" skeletons option before? Even without that option, DAZ often does some funny things when exporting multiple objects in a single file like I've done here. The model we exported is going to have multiple rigs with different combinations of bones. Sometimes the scales on the different rigs won't match. Exporting the base model will give us a working base armature with no problems. With everything except the base body selected in the Scene pane, just tap the delete key to get rid of them. You'll be left with a bald naked figure, which is exactly what you want… um… as weird as that sounds.



    Export the naked figure using the exact same settings you used to export the full figure. Make sure to select a different name. I also typically save a second DAZ Studio scene with the base character, in case I need to come back and re-export, or if I want to come back and create morph targets.

    Gather the Maps

    DAZ Studio's exporters only export the diffuse and alpha map. Most models actually have a number of other maps, often including specular (or gloss), bump, normal, and SSS. You're going to want all the maps that are available when it comes time to build your shaders in UE4. The way I find them all is to simply search my DAZ 3D directory for the filenames that were actually exported. For example, the face diffuse map that was exported for this character is called `P3DMariaFace_1001.jpg`. Searching for that in my DAZ 3D directory, I find a directory containing all the maps for that character. This particular model comes with diffuse, specular, bump, normal, and SSS maps. Many models will have additional diffuse maps, as well (for, e.g., different color eyes or different makeup options). Not all objects will have every kind of map. All the maps for a single object will usually be in a single folder, so don't spend time looking for missing maps once you've found its texture folder. I copy all these extra files over to the same folder where I exported my character, in a subfolder called "Extra Maps", so they'll be readily available from Blender and UE4 (and so I won't accidentally overwrite the original). This process has to be repeated for every separate object in the original export. If you've applied any options like makeup or tattoos or if you've mixed and matched features from different characters (e.g. base texture from one character, eyes from another), you may have to do additional searching to find all the maps.

    Over to Blender

    At this point, we have all we need from DAZ Studio to get a character over to UE4, so you can shut it down and fire up Blender. Make sure you've got Lui's tools and both of my addons installed in your addons folder and turned on in settings. Before we import anything, select the UE4Tools tab, click "Scene Tools", and select "Set UE4 Scale". This will set up Blender so that we can export to UE4 with no scale issues.



    Import the Base Character

    From the File menu, select "Import", then "Collada (.dae)". Navigate to the folder where you exported the files earlier, but don't import anything yet. Before you import, look in the lower left, at the Import COLLADA options. Make sure "Import Units", "Find Bone Chains" and "Auto Connect" are all selected. The last option, "Keep Bind Info" isn't strictly needed, but I usually select it, as it preserves some metadata that will be included if you ever export back out to COLLADA. It doesn't hurt anything and doesn't add much to the file size, so I usually use it. If you're running 2.78c (or earlier) and don't see the "Keep Bind Info" option, don't worry about it - I only started noticing it recently. It may be a new 2.79 feature and, like I said, we don't really need it.



    Once you've set your import options, select the base character you exported earlier -- the naked one -- then hit the "Import Collada" button. It should open up in Blender looking something like this:



    Right-click on one of the armature bones to select just the armature. Find the properties panel and select the Object tab (box icon) and change the name of the armature object to "Armature". UE4 4.16 and later will automatically remove the additional root bone that Blender adds if you name your armature "Armature".



    Now click on the Armature tab (stick figure icon) and change the name of the Armature itself also to "Armature". I also like to change the armature type to "Stick" and turn on X-ray.



    Now your imported figure will look something like this:



    Right-click the mesh to select the body instead of the armature. You probably want to give the mesh a unique name rather than the default name of Genesis3SkinInstance, which you can do on the Object (box icon) and Data (triangle icon) tabs. Next, on the Data tab (triangle icon), find the UV Maps section, and double-click Genesis3Female-geom-uvs-array and rename it to UVMap. By default, every object that comes in from DAZ Studio comes in with a unique UVMap name. We need to make sure they all have the same name before we export. This will allow us to join or separate objects without inadvertently creating multiple UVMaps on an object. If two objects are joined and have UVMaps with the same name, it will merge them. Otherwise, it will create separate maps, which can be a pain to deal with and can cause problems once we get into Unreal.

    On the Properties Shelf on the right side of the 3D view (press N-key with cursor over the 3D view if it's not showing), find the Material Tools button. These buttons from my Material Tools add-on above, so if they don't show up, make sure they're installed and turned on under preferences. With the body mesh still selected, press each of the Material Tools buttons once. This will do some of the necessary configuration on the imported materials for us and will make sure we don't have any materials we don't need. While you're here, also look for the "View" section on the Properties shelf, and under that "Clip:". Set the End plane to a smaller amount - maybe 20m to avoid see-through geometry.



    Now, go to the Materials tab of the Properties pane. DAZ characters come in with several materials. These materials only have diffuse and alpha maps, and the alpha isn't configured correctly. Transparent materials aren't configured correctly either. Let's fix that. First, select the eye lash material (probably called "Eyelashes", but can be something different). Switch to the texture tab (checkerboard icon) and make sure the texture is selected. Expand the "Image Sampling" section and click on "Calculate" under "Alpha:". To make sure it worked, click the "Show Alpha" checkbox under the preview. While you're here, find the Mapping section and select "UVMap" for the Map: combo box. You'll want to do that for every material. It's not strictly needed as long as there's only one UVMap per object, but it's safest to explicitly specify which map it should be using.



    I usually get rid of the DAZ eyeballs and replace them with the UE4 eyeball from the Content Samples project, but for this first tutorial I'll stick with using the DAZ ones. Go back to the Materials tab and find a material named "EyeMoisture", "EyeTransparency" or some similar name. It should be a pure white material right now. If it's not blank white, it's not the right material. Once selected, go down under Transparency. Make sure Transparency is checked, change Transparency type to Raytrace, and change Alpha to 0.0 and IOR (which stands for Index of Refraction) to 1.33.

    Now, look for an eye material. It might be called "Cornea" or "Eyes" or "Pupils". If there's more than one, look for one that has two textures, one of which looks like two white dots on a black background (or vice versa). This is a transparency mask that we're not going to use. Delete this texture. There may also be a reflection texture on this material, especially if it's an older character. If there is, delete that texture too. Go back to the Material tab and set "Transparency" to unchecked. Hit the tab key to go into edit mode, and from the material tab of the properties view, with the eye material still selected, hit the select button to select all the eye faces. Hit Shift-H to hide the rest of the geometry. Now, select the following faces (you can switch to face selection mode using control-tab) and assign them to the EyeMoisture or EyeTransparency material.



    Press Alt-H to bring back the hidden geometry, press A to unselect all faces, and press tab to get out of edit mode. At this point, your model should look mostly right in Blender if you go to materials mode or Render mode.



    We have a couple of choices at this point. We could set up the materials fully in Blender, or we can leave them as-is and then import the extra maps directly into UE4 and create our materials there. Another option is to use Blender's baking functionality to combine several of the maps (all the skin ones) into a single map, combining the diffuse and alpha into a single texture. This makes the character easier to work with in UE4 and also gives you the ability to easily make texture edits in ZBrush. These are all more advanced topics, though. I may cover them in a future addendum but, for now, let's keep it simple. We're going to keep these materials like they are in Blender and later, we'll use the extra maps we got to make the materials look right in UE4.

    But we're not ready to export to UE4, unless what you need a bald naked character, so let's pull in the clothing and hair.

    Importing the rest of the Character

    Switch to layer 1 (the default layer is layer 0) using the layer buttons at the bottom of the 3D view:



    The model you were working on will disappear - don't wory, it's still there, just on a layer that's no longer visible. From the File menu, select Import->Collada(.dae) again. Using the same settings, import the full character you exported earlier, the one with clothes and hair. Once it's done importing, it'll look something like this:



    Right-click on the armature to select it. Make sure nothing else is selected, then hit X to delete it. Everything will drop to the floor. That's okay. Now, right-click on the face to select the body mesh. We don't need two bodies, so press X again to delete that. You'll be left with the hair and clothes. Press A to select all, then press R to rotate, then press X, 9, 0 on the keyboard to rotate everything 90 degrees and back into the correct position. You can quickly eyeball to make sure they're in the right position by shift-clicking the button for layer 0 to make it visible.



    Usually everything will line up perfectly, but once in a while, especially with props, you may have to manually move the object to get it to line up.

    Now, for each of the clothing, hair, or prop items, you need to do select them one at a time and do the following to each:
    1. Press each of the Material Tools buttons like we did earlier with the body.
    2. Change the name of the object's UVMap to "UVMap" (make sure capitalization is the same every time)
    3. For each texture in each material, set the UVMap to "UVMap"
    4. Most props and clothing items won't use transparency, but hair will, and sometimes clothing that includes lace or other similar materials may, as well. For those, you need to find the transparency texture in the material and click the "Calculate" checkbox under Alpha so that transparency works properly. Some objects will have more than one material, and you may have to fix the transparency under every one.
    5. With the object selected, shift-right-click the armature and hit ctrl-p. When the menu pops up, select "Armature Deform".
    6. Optionally, feel free to change the object and/or data block name and material names to something that's more descriptive.

    Once you've completed these steps for every piece of clothing, hair, or prop, you should then be able to select the armature, press control-tab to go into pose mode, and pose the character. Using either material or render display mode should work now, though with a fairly simple shader that doesn't show bump or specular or SSS.



    Renaming the Bones

    We want to rename our bones for two reasons. One, we want to match the UE4 skeleton as closely as possible so that we don't have to manually specify which bones of the Epic skeleton retarget to which of our bones. We also want to conform to the Blender left/right naming convention so that we can use bone mirroring. I would suggest saving if you haven't done so already.

    The UE4 Bone Tool script you installed earlier should have added some buttons to your 3D View properties shelf:



    Find the appropriate button for the model you're using. This particular character I'm using for demonstration purposes is a Genesis 3 Female character, so I'll right-click the armature, make sure it's in object mode, then click the Genesis 3 Female to Epic Skeleton button. The script that runs will rename the bones and make some minor tweaks to the bone hierarchy so that it imports properly. If we turn on bone names, you can see that our bones now match the bone names of the Epic Skeleton, and bones that don't exist in the Epic skeleton follow a similar naming convention for consistency.



    With the armature selected, go into pose mode. We now need to pose the armature in the same pose as the Epic skeleton, or as close to it as we can. The Epic Skeleton defaults in an A pose while the DAZ models come over in a T-pose. I will often import a copy of the Epic mannequin into Blender as a guide while posing the model. Matching the position involves the following:
    1. Rotating clavicle down and back a bit
    2. Rotating rotating the arms down
    3. Bending the forearm a little on the local X-axis (select lowerarm_l or lowerarm_r in pose mode, then hit R-X-X to rotate on local X axis)
    4. Moving the legs a tiny bit apart
    5. Rotating the feet a bit inward.
    6. Tweaking the finger and hand positions


    We're unlikely to get the pose perfect the first time. We'll likely have to try retargeting a couple of times, coming back to Blender to make minor tweaks to the pose. The fingers are where it can get tricky to match. I usually create a pose library and save the pose there to make sure I can get back to it if I accidentally reset the pose. You'll also be able to import that pose into other blender files and apply to other characters imported from DAZ Studio.

    One super useful trick - once the bones have been renamed, make your tweaks in pose mode to just the left or right-side bones, then select the bones you adjusted and (still on Pose mode) press Ctrl-C to copy the pose. Then invert the bone selection with Ctrl-I and press Ctrl-Shift-V to paste the mirrored bone positions.

    Get Rid of Unneeded Geometry (Optional)

    This step is not stricly needed, but is highly recommended. DAZ Studio layers clothing and props on top of the body, but if you're not building a customizable clothing system, you don't need any geometry you can't see. The way game engines work, there's a lot of work that gets done for every vertex in a model, even if ultimately, those vertices can't be seen. Different types of occlusion can reduce the work, but there is quite a bit of work in the vertex shader that will always happen for all vertices of any visible objects. Since this character has clothes on, all the vertices that make up the body under the clothes are just creating extra work for no reason. So, best bet is to go into the model and delete the vertices that can't posibly ever be seen in-game. Which vertices these are will depend on the type of camera used to view the character. For a third-person controller where the camera can be moved to many positions, you'll need to leave more vertices than you would for a side scroller with a fixed camera position.

    Here's what the model might look like after getting rid of the geometry we don't need:



    Reducing Hair Complexity (Optional)

    Daz Hair tends to be very, very dense. It's not at all unusual for the hair mesh to have several times more vertices than the base mesh. Overall, DAZ hair isn't really great for use in a game engine and typically, I wouldn't use DAZ hair but, for this first tutorial, I wanted to keep things simple and stick with just DAZ meshes. For most purposes, we probably don't need nearly as many vertices. We an probaly decimate most hairs down to 20% or less and not see a huge difference. It will depend on the hair. It also depends on whether the hair has any control bones. This hair does not, so it's fairly simple. Decimation creates really bad topology for animating, so if your hair has bones, decimation is less of an option.

    Exporting the Model

    Once you've matched the Epic A-pose as closely as you can, it's time to try exporting. For good measure, save what you've got. Press Ctrl-Tab to get out of pose mode, then select the armature and all of the meshes. From the File menu, select "Export" then "FBX (.fbx)". Use these settings:



    Import into UE4

    In your UE4 project, press the "Import" button and select the FBX you just exported. Make sure it's importing as a Skeletal Mesh, with "None" selected in the Skeletal Mesh field. Make sure "Use T0As Ref Pose" is checked. Make sure Normal Generation Method is set to Mikk T Space and that "Import Animations" is unchecked then hit the "Import" button. It may take a few seconds (or longer on some machines) to import it. You may get a warning about Influence count exceeding the max count. Don't worry about this. This has to do with different limits between DAZ/Blender and UE4, but the skinning seems to work fine despite the difference.



    It won't look quite right because the imported materials only have diffuse. We'll fix the materials later. Let's first get get the pose and retargeting working before we worry about that.

    Setting up Retargeting Options

    Open up your imported model in Persona by double-clicking on it. Navigate to the Skeleton tab, and in the lower right corner of the Skeleton Tree, click the thing that says "All Bones, Active Sockets". A menu will pop up. Select "Show Retargeting Options". Click the root node of the tree, right-click, and select "Recursively Set Translation Retargeting Skeleton". That will make it so that all nodes say "Skeleton" in the "Translation Retargeting" column. Change RootNode to "Animation", and the pelvis bone to "Animation Scaled".

    Now lick the Retarget Manager button to bring up the Retargeting Manager. Click "Add New Retarget Source" and select your imported mesh. Down in the lower part, where it says "Select Rig", select "Select Humanoid Rig". All the bones should populate correctly except possibly the Root node, which you may have to manually point to RootNode. Save and close the Persona window.

    Navigate to the Epic mannequin (usually in /Game/Content/Mannequin) and open it up in Persona. In the Retarget Manager, select Add New Retarget Source, select "SK_Mannequin", and then select "Humanoid Rig" again. This time, the bones should all populate correctly. Save and close.

    It's now time to check our pose by retargeting. Find the animation blueprint for your project (/Game/Content/Mannequin/Animations in the third party template). Right-click on it and select "Retarget Anim Blueprints". Select the imported mesh as your target, and select a different folder for output by using the "Change..." button in the lower right. I also like to change the name, so I'm going to have it replace "ThirdPerson" with "DazGirl" so that I can tell the animations apart. Click the Retarget button and it will retarget the entire animation blueprint and any animations it relies on.



    Open up one of the animations (idle, walk, or run are good choices). We an see that idle is mostly correct, but not 100%. The shoulders are hunched a bit, the hands are in odd poses, and the arms are too far away from the body. There's no silver bullet for this next part. We have to go back to Blender and update the pose. Since the shoulders are too high, we have to lower them. Because the arms are too wide, we have to bring them in in our bind pose. Best bet is to make a few changes, then export again using the same name and file location, then right-click the skeletal mesh in UE4 and select "Reimport".



    After re-importing, do the re-targeting over from scratch, don't rely on any change you see in the existing animations after the re-import.


    To Be Continued...

    This has ended up being a lot longer than I expected and I haven't gotten to everything I wanted to get to. I'll try to do additional installments in the coming weeks -- if people are interested. Some things I can cover:

    - Setting up materials in UE4
    - Baking to a single Diffuse/Alpha map instead of using separate maps for head/torso/legs/eyes/mouth
    - Tweaking diffuse and bump map in ZBrush and generating new maps from those changes
    - Replacing eyes with the Epic character rendering eye

    Corrections, suggestions for improvements are welcome, as are requests for future additions. I will try to also record accompanying video to go along with this, but I can't promise I'll have time to get to it and, if I do, it'll probably take a little while to get to.

    Thanks for reading!
    Last edited by Kneebiter; 06-25-2017, 05:19 PM. Reason: type fix

    #2
    Hi Kneebiter
    I cannot find sss textures for basic genesis 3 characters (eddie/jeanne they are called i believe). Do you know in which folder they are?
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      #3
      Looking at the Surfaces for the default Gen3 character, it doesn't look like they include SSS maps.

      Comment


        #4
        Ok, so it seems sss maps are only for custom characters. I see that there is the sss option on the character, but it should work without texture somehow.
        Do you know if there are roughness textures somewhere?
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          #5
          Originally posted by scha View Post
          Ok, so it seems sss maps are only for custom characters. I see that there is the sss option on the character, but it should work without texture somehow.
          Do you know if there are roughness textures somewhere?
          Most textures do not come with a roughness map. You can make a roughness map from the diffuse or albedo.

          Desaturate a copy of your albedo or diffuse map and then tweak levels or curves based. Some people will do a quick hack gloss by inverting the specular, which gives okay results.

          Comment


            #6
            nice tutorial

            Will be nice to have more information about your script, some tutorial etc.

            Maybe add support to Genesis 8

            A video tutorial could be usefull too, i love the text tutorial but having it on video may help a lot of people struggling with an issue

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              #7
              Yeah Genesis 8 support would be nice :-)

              Comment


                #8
                Do you have any plans to continue this tutorial? I have tried many different paths to get to the same result this tutorial ends at. It seems that matching the skeleton up to epics is the golden ticket to getting UE4 Skeleton animations to work. Please continue!! Especially now that Daz has the interactive license

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                  #9
                  Thank you and please continue. Or maybe somebody else could pick up?

                  These kinds of tutorials are really needed for community. There are many "it works" short tutorials, but not that many full-featured tutorials that explain what and how should be done to avoid issues later on.

                  Curious, why would you want to replace the eyes of DAZ with UE4 ones? And how to do it?

                  Also interested in the following topics:
                  - LOD levels (Simplygon seems to be the best choice for characters, right? because 4.19 built-in LOD does not support skeletal meshes and Simplygon is not available for 4.19, so we are stuck with 4.18 for now)
                  - morphs - how do morph targets (especially the facial ones) survive that Collada->Blender->FBX process?
                  - UE physics, sockets, IK - does it all work correctly for the DAZ models imported using this tutorial?

                  It would be even more awesome to have tutorials for applying some audio+text lipsync to UE4 models using Blender (at least while UE4 itself doesn't have any built-in lipsync tools).

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by midix View Post
                    Thank you and please continue. Or maybe somebody else could pick up?

                    These kinds of tutorials are really needed for community. There are many "it works" short tutorials, but not that many full-featured tutorials that explain what and how should be done to avoid issues later on.
                    Well since UE4.15 and DS4.10 the integration of Genesis is a lot more solid with less need to import into a 3d app like Blender and with better character features being added all the time better tutorials are on the way. Personally I do some basic tutorials but have found that due to ongoing updates anything more than 6 months old is out of date. Licensee terms for example is different from when this how to was first posted.


                    Curious, why would you want to replace the eyes of DAZ with UE4 ones? And how to do it?
                    You would want to do it at the moment as the eye material and shader is so complex that it would be difficult to replicate as an instance. You can download a photo ready eye that using instance materials can be configured to any eye color. How long this will last depends on how long it takes for UE4 based materials becomes available for the Genesis base.

                    Also interested in the following topics:
                    - LOD levels (Simplygon seems to be the best choice for characters, right? because 4.19 built-in LOD does not support skeletal meshes and Simplygon is not available for 4.19, so we are stuck with 4.18 for now)
                    Well you just pointed out why a "fundamental" feature like Simplygon should be available out of the box and can be assumed that a skeletal version will be made available at some point in the future (Epic has "hinted" as much). Currently it's in my opinion better to hand optimize rather than taking the chance of a 3rd party plugin solution not working in the future or the developer not even continuing to provided necessary updates and support. If you lock into a engine version all will be fine but if you jump on every engine up date plugin and BP based solutions tends to break over time. Our team tends to avoid the use of 3rd party solutions for this reason and have goten into the habit of waiting for Epic to provided the needed function as part of the on going development of UE4.

                    - morphs - how do morph targets (especially the facial ones) survive that Collada->Blender->FBX process?
                    Well this is where the workflow is going in the wrong direction as it seems most assume to make use of the G3 framework stuff has to be moved in to a different editing environment where every thing that you need to do as far as character development can be done using Daz Studio and then imported straight into UE4. Morph targets for example can be exported as part of the FBX package using a stack type order similar to the one used in 3ds Max. This means if you create a LOD version of your character in DS the morph sets created for that character will automatically applied to the LOD version. Based on our experience it's easier to develop characters that works in DS than going to a 3d app and processing it from that direction with in the pipeline.

                    - UE physics, sockets, IK - does it all work correctly for the DAZ models imported using this tutorial?
                    In general once you get it into UE4 there is always a work around but for the correct advice needs be in some kind of context.

                    It would be even more awesome to have tutorials for applying some audio+text lipsync to UE4 models using Blender (at least while UE4 itself doesn't have any built-in lipsync tools).
                    UE4 does have some built in features for audio+text lipsync but the problem at the moment is the lack of a standard framework, like G3, where relationship constraints can be built on.

                    For example.

                    https://www.unrealengine.com/marketp...o%20Lip%20Sync





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                      #11
                      Well this is where the workflow is going in the wrong direction as it seems most assume to make use of the G3 framework stuff has to be moved in to a different editing environment where every thing that you need to do as far as character development can be done using Daz Studio and then imported straight into UE4.
                      Can eyeballs be replaced with UE4 photorealistic ones (from Paragon sample content) and clothed skin parts hidden directly in DAZ studio? And what about hunched shoulders when using UE4 animations? For these reasons the author of the post is using Blender and I doubt that this intermediate step can be avoided altogether. But in case if it is, it would be great to have a concise tutorial for that.

                      Currently one of the best video tutorials is this one:
                      https://youtu.be/alxsxAbtkR8

                      It describes many less often mentioned things such as collecting all textures into single folder to avoid hunting them through all the DAZ content folders and reducing texture sizes to be more resource efficient but still of acceptable quality, and - what's important - keeps morph animations and explains how to use Simplygon on DAZ models.

                      And it seems to be working well - thousands of actor instances animating on the screen. But it's missing eye replacement and also the author promised to make a video for animation importing through iClone, which is not that great considering the price of the entire iClone pipeline. I'd prefer a tutorial for using the large and freely available bvh animations on DAZ models after importing them into UE4. So, again - no complete and concise tutorial, just parts and pieces that have to be assembled together, sigh.

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                        #12
                        Originally posted by midix View Post

                        Can eyeballs be replaced with UE4 photorealistic ones (from Paragon sample content) and clothed skin parts hidden directly in DAZ studio? And what about hunched shoulders when using UE4 animations? For these reasons the author of the post is using Blender and I doubt that this intermediate step can be avoided altogether. But in case if it is, it would be great to have a concise tutorial for that.
                        Yes geometry used as eyeballs can be replaced using the more photo realistic versions in a couple of different ways. You could export the DS G3 model with out eyes by hiding the eyes in DS and set the exporter to not export hidden elements. You can import the G3 model as is and apply an opacity mask to the eyes and add the eye objects as a component or in DS remap the eyes to make use of the eye material as supplied with the Paragon character. In our case we just made a eye material and stuck with the G3 version as the result was satisfactory.

                        The hunched shoulders is an issue but there are other issues using the based Epic rig as well. For our needs we need cluster shaping for facial animations which the UE4 rig does not provided. Also lacking is a proper pelvis bone but is more of a preference than a requirement. As for animations in general I'm the team animator and found it easier to just rip the animations, and in some cases some of the animations available on Epic's market place includes the MB source, and re-target the batch to a Motionbuilder character. Trying to fix animations in a Blender > UE4 pipeline can be done but is a rather slow process based on the animations you need.


                        Currently one of the best video tutorials is this one:
                        https://youtu.be/alxsxAbtkR8
                        I do video blogs as part of our on going development that might be of interest.

                        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-HGw-c8Ed8&t=777s

                        I also did a series on character design theory if you like to watch grass grow. I try to cover as much as what I "think" someone should know from the start so as not to have to yourry about the "basics"

                        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i08fGK4s-1A


                        There are a few more DS related videos on my Youtube channel but once again with out the context of what you want to do there is a level of complexity that with out context is impossible to guess as to a custom solution to a unique problem. For example the shoulder joint problem could be corrected by using an adjustment additive pose to bring the shoulds down to a more comfortable position.

                        It describes many less often mentioned things such as collecting all textures into single folder to avoid hunting them through all the DAZ content folders and reducing texture sizes to be more resource efficient but still of acceptable quality, and - what's important - keeps morph animations and explains how to use Simplygon on DAZ models.
                        This is just one of those things that's only hard until it becomes easy and as one with DS experience I just take for granted the the basics is already known but the thing to keep in mind is that not all textures associated with a given character is even exported to a target folder. The thing is Genesis 3 is once again a framework so all of the textures assigned to a surface all share the same UV mapping space. you could just as easily search your runtime folder for texture images and copy all the look-a-likes to a side folder. For example if using Iray the texture sets will be more PBR in nature where Delight materials are rather basic.


                        And it seems to be working well - thousands of actor instances animating on the screen. But it's missing eye replacement and also the author promised to make a video for animation importing through iClone, which is not that great considering the price of the entire iClone pipeline. I'd prefer a tutorial for using the large and freely available bvh animations on DAZ models after importing them into UE4. So, again - no complete and concise tutorial, just parts and pieces that have to be assembled together, sigh.

                        Well keeping in mind once again it's only been recent that Daz Studio and Unreal 4 have even begun to play nice as far as ease of use goes but there is a clear trend towards tighter integration on Epic's side as to this need and there has been a huge jump in the number of tutorials just with in the last year. The real issue is on par with UE4 all of a sudden becoming an ideal as to a usable resource for vis or even use in feature film or video presentation. Until UE4 moving stuff from a procedural or parametric app like Daz Studio was a difficult task that does solve the problems of having a "workable" framework on which to build a more complex character system on top of with out having to spend the mega bucks that the AAA studios tend to do.

                        To me it's kind of like WOW it works so what can we do with it, a new tool added to the tool box, to "harvest" the working assets we need.

                        In the mean time I always found asking "the" question over at the the Daz Studio forums is always the quicker way than asking on the Epic forums and it's usually some 13 year old that provides the answers.

                        P.S.

                        Once again Iclone is an animation tool that can do character design with in a working pipeline but does not provide the same tool sets as to the need of parametric or procedural character design as Daz Studio does. A better comparison would be Poser with in the same, so so, usability class.
                        Clarke's third law: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
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                          #13
                          It would also be interesting to use DAZ models with Unreal's photorealistic skin shader as described here:
                          https://docs.unrealengine.com/en-us/...wTo/Human_Skin

                          Curious, if it would look more real or be more efficient than DAZ iRay skin textures in UE4? In theory - it should. But iRay textures might need some adjustments to be pluggable into Unreal's skin shader.

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                            #14
                            Originally posted by midix View Post
                            It would also be interesting to use DAZ models with Unreal's photorealistic skin shader as described here:
                            https://docs.unrealengine.com/en-us/...wTo/Human_Skin
                            Well the thing about materials in general what you are trying to achieve, in this case sub surface scatter, is not always achieved by simply applying a texture to a material slot as the output is more of a rendered shader effect than a rendered texture. so to make something plug-n-play the base object that the material is being applied to needs some level of consistency in it's construction.

                            In the case of character development more than the shape of the character is a need for a standard UV mapping solution that is close to identical between each and every character be 1 or 1000.

                            Since G3 is a framework character then any character using the G3 base can share the same materials and textures as a instanced material or function and would only need to be made once.

                            An example:

                            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vq4d...ature=youtu.be

                            This as a test uses the photorelastic character material provided by Epic and although not that impressive is still rather impressive for a days worth of work
                            Lets call it a test of not trying to hard.

                            Then again.

                            Getting into more of a personal opinion than fact is that once again Genesis is nothing more than a framework asset available for use on which to build other products. G3 is a sphere or a cube with bumpy bits that what ever you build on top of it as original content or as a derivative is your property to do with as you please. If someone with material skills wanted to could use the available resources provided by Epic to develop skin hair and eye shaders for the G3 base and sell it on Epic's market place.

                            Once again though it's just an option at this point as the ability of UE4 to maintain the fidelity of assets,via Datasmith for example, is a recent improvement to the DCC pipeline and as yet another opinion it's just a matter of time before the rendered result in DS is achieved in UE4..
                            Clarke's third law: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
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                              #15
                              So Lui's Blender Tools is outdated. Errors abound in Blender 2.79. Is there any sort of alternative, or another place with a more up-to-date version of that addon?

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