Daz3D recently released a new tool – the “Daz to Blender Bridge” here. It is a cross-platform port that converts 3D Assets, more precisely – characters. In other words this tool allows users to transfer characters and their assets from the Daz Studio directly into the Blender, while matching all the materias, maps and shaders. There are even more bridges to other famous 3d modelling tools.
This awesome tool is kind of a big deal, because Blender is a really popular free 3D software that has a wide functionality. And using Blender in combination with the Daz Studio always was a desired thing. Now you not only can work with them both, but you can also access high-detailed figures from the Daz3D Shop in Blender. This means that all the figures, clothes, hairstyles and other assets for Daz Studio became available to use in the Blender.
In this article we will look into Daz to Blender Bridge and all you need to know about it. Such as how to install it, how to use it, what other advantages it brings and we will even make a small comparison between Blender and Daz Studio rendering engines.
If you prefer watching, see our video below, otherwise keep reading.
Installing Daz to Blender Bridge
First of all we will need to install this add-on. And this needs to be done both for the Daz Studio and Blender. Important – order does matter and Daz Studio should be first.
- Download the Daz to Blender Bridge here.
- Even though this tool is free, you need to “buy” it. Add it to your card, provide all the needed information and check out.
- Open DAZ Install Manager or DazCental and find the tool there, then press install.
- Now we can proceed to Blender. Open it. If you don’t have it, you can download it from the official Blender website.
- At the top bar click “Edit”, from the drop-down list choose “Preferences”. The “Blender Preferences” window should appear. On the left select the “Add-ons” tab and press “Install” button.
- Now the File Viewer should open. When we installed the add-on to Daz Studio, this also created a file for the Blender. By default it is situated along the path: “C:\Users\*YourUsername*\AppData\Roaming\Blender Foundation\Blender\DAZ 3D Add-ons\” and called DTB_v280-283.zip
- Done. It should be installed. You can check for sure by searching for it in the “Add-ons” tab and making sure that it is checked:
How to Use Daz to Blender Bridge
Now we have the add-on installed so it is time to test it out. For this we need to open Daz Studio and prepare our character. Create a figure, put some clothes, hair and any other assets you might want. In my case it is just a Genesis 8 Female figure with the generic clothes and hair.
To get ready this figure for transfer you need to follow the path “Scripts > Bridges > Blender > Daz to Blender” with the character selected. This will open the window, where for now you don’t need to change anything and just press Accept. Then the transferring process will begin.
Thanks to the latest update you can now transfer not only Genesis 3 & 8 characters, hair and clothing but also props, environments, multiple characters and even poses.
After the transferring in the Daz Studio is done – open Blender. Here, on the right, near the Outliner, find the arrow. This arrow hides a menu that we need. Simply click on it or press the shortcut key – “N” and it should open.
After opening it, find the “DazToBlender” tab. There – press the only button “Import New Genesis 3/8 ”, then a new button with the same text will appear, press it too. After this the process of transfer should begin, just wait for a bit.
After some time your character from Daz Studio should appear in Blender. You may need to zoom out a bit to see it:
Pros & Cons of Daz to Blender Bridge
Now how about looking at the result and analysing everything. Firstly let’s check that everything was transferred. I had the character, hair, top, shorts and hair. And I can clearly see that everything was moved to Blender successfully. And also it was parented correctly. Meaning that if i will move the head – hair will follow and so on.
You should have noticed that the character had transferred with a bunch of additional shapes. There are the bones and the whole thing is a rig. The constraints that will help you to move character around and pose it.
If you select some of these shapes, you will see a bit of a “dome” and colored lines. This shows you how you can pose this part of a body. For example, why not to take the shoulder:
So the “dome” part shows you where you can move this part of the body. Meaning that you can place it anywhere inside these boundaries, but not outside. And colored lines represent the axis.
If you try to rotate the shoulder along the X axis, the hand will move exactly along the red line. Same with the blue line and Z axis. As you can see, there is no green line, which represents the Y axis. This means that this part of the body can not be transformed along Y. If you try – simply nothing happens.
Hand at the border, can’t be moved further.
Rig works perfectly, everything moves naturally and you can pose comfortably. There is a root bone at the bottom that controls the whole character and allows it to move and rotate as a single object.
What about materials and textures? Character and its clothes had a lot of them, how were they transferred? Answer is – pretty good. We can see on example of the clothes, that the corresponding shader were created and automatically all the textures, normal maps, roughness map and even bumps were aligned properly:
Skin is different. A new and unique shader for the daz skin was created with predetermined settings. It looks very close to the original one.
We can see that basically all needed textures and shaders were transferred, so I will not go and look into every and each one of them:
Let’s see these materials in action and render out the figure. It looks very good. The only clearly noticeable problem is that clothes poke out a bit. But it is a minor problem that is not hard to fix. Other than that, everything looks decent.
We also can go into the edit mode to check the topology of our figure and how it was transferred. The whole character combined has 69.5 thousand faces, out of which 16.7 thousand is for the body. Which means that far most of the topology is not the body, but clothes and hair:
Which is a bit strange, as shorts alone have more faces than the whole body. But this is because we chose “SubDiv 0” in the Daz Studio when transferring. This decided how detailed the character would be. And you can set it to 1 to practically double the topology if you need. Though when i tried to transfer the SubDiv 2 – my Blender crashed. Probably because of the amount of faces the figure had.
And if you wonder will this tool work on your system – than it probably will. As all it needs is a Blender with version 2.8 or higher. And Daz3D is already working on bringing support to older versions.
Comparing Daz to Blender Bridge to .fbx Export Import
Before Daz to Blender Bridge was released, the only way to transfer was manually exporting and importing your files. So it is a good idea to compare these two methods and decide which one is better. We will do .fbx export and import as I find this format work best.
I exported the same character that was transferred with the Daz to Blender Bridge earlier. We will not explain how I did it, because we already have nice Daz to Blender: Step by Step Tutorial where it is explained in detail.
Everything seems to be imported correctly. Character, hair, clothes and rig – everything is here. Right of the bat, the biggest difference after importing is that the rig looks totally different and the character does not have constraints in the form of circles and octagons:
And if I try to pose these bones – no domes and colored lines appear, there are absolutely no constraints in posing. Which makes posing that much more difficult, as character easily takes unbelievable poses and overall feels like it is make out of plasticine instead of bones, muscles and other solids:
Now let’s look at the materials and textures. The same Sport Bra texture we looked in the previous case. There is shader created and texture connected. But that is it, nothing more. Though there is a normal map node connected, there is no normal map itself, so it does nothing. Also, for some unknown reason absolutely everything has its Metallic option set to maximum. Which is very strange.
All other materials are absolutely the same to this, even skin, only textures are different. Especially noticeable will be the lack of Roughness map. Because of that absolutely everything will look defaultly shiny and reflective, even skin. As can be seen on this fast render:
It looks okay, but there are definite problems with roughness as everything looks like it is wet and metallic. And other problems, such as obvious lack of bump and normal maps and pupils for some reason. Also skin does not even have subsurface scattering which makes it really unrealistic. Though worth mentioning that this render took less than a minute, which is a really good result for the scene with this many faces.
If you manually improve a bit on the textures by making them not metallic and not reflective – you can already achieve a much better result. Though, of course, this takes time and knowledge. These improvements were done in 5 minutes. And if you spend more time – you can make it a lot better, but even this looks a lot more like a human, though very pale. And you can’t improve on skin that much without proper maps and textures.
Now to the topology. It looks like it is absolutely the same as when we did the Daz to Blender Bridge with SubDiv 0. The amount of vertices and faces match those numbers.
So overall using the export-import method is worse in a lot of ways than using Daz to Blender bridge. Materials are much worse and require work. Rig is harder to work with, which makes it difficult to create good poses.
Comparing Rendering in Daz vs Blender
Now let’s look into rendering. As in rendering times, rendering quality and overall compare Daz Studio to Blender to see if it makes sense to even use it. We already did compare them in the Daz3d vs Blender Comparison article, but it was not so direct and mostly about different scenes.
Both programs have two main rendering engines. In the case of Daz Studio it is 3Delight and NVIDIA Iray. They are pretty different and the Iray is the kind of “main” rendering engine that gets most of the attention. We looked into them in detail and compared in our Daz3d 3Delight or Iray: Comparison. Blender’s two rendering engines are Eevee and Cycles.
I have created a simple scene in the Daz Studio that I then recreated in Blender as close as I could. Note, that this way is not ideal, as it puts Blender in a bit of disadvantage, because the original scene is made with the Daz Studio in mind and then just recreated in Blender. But as the goal here to compare similar renders – that is the best way.
Here is the scene and how it was rendered out in Daz Studio using both rendering engines:
NVIDIA Iray render with 500 samples in 23:49 minutes.
3Delight render in 5:30 minutes
As expected, Iray looks much better and a lot more realistic, but took 4 times the time than 3Delight. How about now looking into Blenders rendered more closely?
First is Eevee, it is a real-time rendering engine. Which means that it is created in a way, so it renders really fast. Though, of course, there is a sacrifice. Which is the quality of the image. Real-time renders can look really good, especially if you know what you are doing, but it still would not look as good as physically based engines.
To better understand how exactly does Eevee work – imagine modern computer games. It is basically the same thing, because any game works in a way that it constantly renders everything you see on a screen. So fast, that it looks like a motion. Eevee is the same, you even can use Blender directly in a rendered mode using Eevee, because small sample renders are basically instant.
Eevee render with 100 samples in 17 seconds
100 samples were used instead of the 500 simply because Eevee does not need more. In fact, it looks the same at even lower amounts of samples. In general – the picture looks really good as a 17 seconds render. There are minor problems that can be seen such as weirdly wet skin and very strange eyes. It seems that they don’t have eyelashes for some reason. Looks like the model is not optimised for the Eevee.
Time for the Cycles, second rendering engine in the Blender. It is an unbiased physically based production renderer. Which is basically the same thing as Daz3D Iray. They have really similar qualities and goals.
Cycles render with 500 samples in 4 minutes
As can be seen – Cycles looks much better than Eevee render and also quite similar to the Iray result. And rendering times are a lot faster if you compare them to the Iray. It can be clearly seen that Daz to Blender bridge is optimised for rendering in Cycles and not in Eevee. Cycles rendering just looks a lot better, everything rendered as it should. Eyes and eyelashes look much better, as is the hair and skin. And it took only 4 minutes, a fraction of the time needed for Iray render.
Source Lake Muirné
Besides, some materials had the same problems as when I imported fbx. Meaning that they were really reflective, when they should not be. It seems this happened mainly on clothes textures and because they are not clothes created for Genesis 8 figures.
In conclusion, there are no winners in this comparison as Iray has a big advantage of a home field. But even considering this – Cycles still has a plus of much faster renders and looks more than decent. And overall, even though they are similar from the first glance, in reality these engines are different and require a personal approach. If you know how – you can make my Cycles render look a ton better.
Using Daz to Blender Bridge to import everything beyond figures
Originally Daz to Blender Bridge could only transfer your character and everything that connected with it. Meaning that you could not even transfer poses of your characters, they always transferred in their A-poses. And no environment either. Gladly this was updated and now when you transfer a posed character – the pose transfers with them.
Pose transferred into Blender
Additionally, not only the pose transfers, but you can also import the whole animations. Keyframes will be created automatically in Blender.
Also when you try to use Daz to Blender bridge on the environment – it will ask you whether you are transferring an environment.
Then In Blender there is a new button in the DazToBlender add-on that allows you to import this environment easily. All textures and shaders included.
This method of transferring environment is superior to the manual fbx exporting in practically every way.
The one important thing – pay attention to materials, because they can transfer with problems, especially their metallic and roughness settings. To learn more about exporting and importing read Daz to Blender: Step by Step Tutorial. In regards to figure export you can use the latest plugin and sit back and relax.
Source Mobster Room
Conclusion Daz to Blender Bridge: Step by Step Tutorial
Daz to Blender Bridge is a huge step in the right direction. Because it allows users to combine different software and use whatever they like. Also this opens the Daz Studios library of high-quality characters to the Blender community to use easily.
The Daz to Blender Bridge turned out to be the best option to transfer any assets from Daz Studio into Blender. It works on everything – environments, poses, clothes and even animations. Transfer everything with just a few clicks. After that you can use Cycles, which is a very good rendering engine with a lot of pros and which is much faster than Iray.
Overall I can say that the transferring of Daz3D characters in Blender went really well. There are a lot of improvements that can be done, especially with the materials, especially skin. And maybe these improvements will be done in the future, we will see. But even now you can safely say that this is an awesome add-on.