DAZ Studio is getting more and more advanced in the professional field, allowing 3D creators from all over the world to make outstanding artworks and animations thanks to the huge variety of content its archive has to offer. Between Daz3d and Renderosity you can explore an ample library of custom characters and assets that you are allowed to use freely in any of your creations, even for commercial purposes (unless you want to make a game, in that case you’ll need a specific license). If you look closely you will be able to spot a bunch of models that were evidently inspired by the most popular video games.
An introduction to DAZ Studio
DAZ is a free software made by Daz3d back in 2005, available for both Windows and Mac OS. It provides a few engines for rendering; the most popular among the artists is Iray for its raytracing capacity and the realism you can obtain with it, while the ones owning an older and weaker hardware can take advantage of the implemented real-time renderer Filament. The program has been designed to manipulate, pose, animate and render ready-to-use characters without making a full model from scratch. While the tool itself is free, the majority of products needs to be purchased from the Marketplace.
With the free bridges you can even send the fully rigged models to Unreal Engine, Unity, Blender, 3D Studio Max, Maya and Cinema4D without spending too much time optimizing them. Moreover, it is possible to use an external 3D program like ZBrush to create new morphs and edit the characters in any way you like. The process can be particularly long and challenging, but there’s no other way to heavily modify your characters with the library morphs alone at your disposal.
DAZ Studio originally came after another program named Poser and in 1999 they released the first human figure Victoria, previously named The Millenium Woman. In 2002 she upgraded to Victoria 2 and more characters followed due to her popularity: Michael, Stephanie, the Millenium Girls and Millenium Boys. Generation 3 featuring a new technology was then introduced with another version of Victoria, Stephanie and Michael, plus additional characters such as Aiko 3, Hiro 3, The Freak, She Freak, David, Millenium Baby and other preteen figures.
All Poser content has been ported to DAZ Studio when the program released in 2005, in 2006 Victoria 4 also arrived. The other Generation 4 bases were created in the following years, although both Victoria and Michael were required for most of them to work properly.
For the fifth generation, Daz3d introduced Genesis in 2011, a universal figure that could be morphed into female or male characters, kids and different creatures. All Gen4 content could be loaded on Genesis, along with the possibility of switching the UVs for older characters. With Genesis available, the well known old bases upgraded yet again and became compatible with it in order to have a single figure ready for everything at once.
With Generation 6, DAZ split the base figure into a female and male characters again, but they kept all Gen4 and 5 compatibility with Genesis 2 Female and Male. Victoria 6 and Michael 6 received an HD addon for the first time, while Aiko 6 no longer got her male counterpart Hiro after Gen5 (along with The Freak).
On Generation 7, Genesis 3 Female and Male made their appearance in 2015 with a renovated 3D structure that became more compatible with other softwares and gaming development platforms. With Genesis 8 and the innovative dForce plugin for realistic hair and clothing simulation in 2017, DAZ reached the most advanced level of 3D quality that we know today.
An upgraded version of Genesis 8, Genesis 8.1, has been released in the store with Victoria 8.1 around January 20th, 2021 and Michael 8.1 on January 27. The two iconic charactes received a visible makeover and improvement with a PBR skin shader (incompatible with older versions of DAZ Studio) and face controls for better posing/expressions.
In case you’re wondering why we jumped from Genesis 3 to 8 directly, I don’t think an official statement has been made on that regard, but it seems like we may stick to Gen 8/8.1 for a very long time.
You will also be happy to know that The starter Essentials for all Genesis characters are now already included with DAZ Studio 4.x Pro for free.
Video Game Characters
Considering how advanced DAZ Studio has become in the 3D industry, a few familiar faces and items have started to show up on Daz3d, Renderosity and other non-official sites.
If you browse through their archives you will spot one of the most iconic characters ever created; Lara Croft from the Tomb Raider series. Although this specific version has more similarities with Angelina Jolie who played Lara in the first live action movies, the design surely brings back memories; Retro Heroine 8 is a very good reproduction of the famous female archaeologist and you can get the same complete look showcased in the product renders by downloading the free Retro Heroine 8 Outfit (hair is included) and purchasing THE Gun file. On Fredel‘s shop page you can also grab other classic Lara inspired outfits, all available as freebies.
If you like MMORPG games such as World Of Warcraft or Lineage, Astrid for Genesis 3 Female is a must-have. The bundle includes the custom character in both human and elf form, her hairstyle and the fantasy armor she’s wearing in the promo. Should you happen to be a Dragon Age fan as well and to remain on the elven side, the facial design on River will remind you of the Vallaslin you can give your Lavellan character in Inquisition. Please note that for this one you will need the required base Rynne for Genesis 8, or it may not fully work in DAZ Studio.
“Toss a coin to your Witcher
Oh, valley of plenty
Oh, valley of plenty, oh”
Did you enjoy The Wither series on Netflix with Henry Cavill and are you excited for the second one? The show is based on the original novels written by Andrzej Sapkowski, which also became a successful video game trilogy developed by CD Projekt RED from 2007 to 2016. The talented Kayleyss re-created Geralt Of Rivia, Yennefer Of Vengerberg, Triss Merigold and Ciri for DAZ Studio, respectively named Gwenbleiz, Jenn, Trish and Gwennili. The design picked by Kayleyss is the one from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
Triss’ and Ciri’s hairstyles can be downloaded once again for free on Kayleyss’ Renderosity shop page, along with Yennefer’s necklace and Geralt’s pendant. Yen’s hair showcased in the promotional images is the Raffaella Hair for Genesis 3 Female(s).
Now that we had a good fantasy feast, we can switch to the future with sci-fi content and specifically Detroit: Become Human. Parcel and Paige for Genesis 8 share a lot of similarities with the androids Connor and Chloe from the choice-based game created by Quantic Dream. If you want to stick to this title with related fanarts, there are a few android skins that you can pick as alternatives; Aura for Genesis 8 Female or System 46 for Genesis 3 Female and HP Prototype YC-7 for Genesis 3 Male. Be sure to check the required products as you may need to purchase those as well.
To remain on the same theme, a bunch of Cyberpunk 2077 inspired assets appeared in celebration of the game’s release a few months back. Millawa 8 and Juan Carlos 8 might easily be designed after the playable and customizable V character from the game, along with their very distinctive body scars and cyber eyes. Another futuristic male, Niko 8, would fit perfectly into this world and DAZ also released an accurate Cyberpunk Outfit for Genesis 8 Female(s), the nice dForce Electro Hair for Genesis 3 and 8 to use in combination and a couple Cyberpunk-like environments (Apartment and Nightclub) to tickle your creativity. The outfit Niko is wearing is the dForce Niko Outfit, all these additional files can be purchased on their own of with the bundles released with each new core figure.
About other well known video game titles that hit the market, I certainly need to mention Freja 8 and Kjaer 8 as the Assassin’s Creed fan that I am. These two characters can be associated to the male and female Viking Assassin Eivor Varinsdottir in Valhalla (although, in my personal opinion, Freja’s facial details are not too far from the way Kassandra looked in Odyssey). The hair Freja has in the promo is the Iselind Hair by AprilYSH, for Kjaer you might need the Ilias Hair from the same seller for more accuracy.
If you are more for the realism mixed with the distinctive anime features similar to the way Final Fantasy characters look, Yuzuru 8 and Kanade 8 are the best combination of these two styles merged together. Yuzuru could be considered a valid replacement for Kenji 7 , who never made it to generation 8 (so far). On the other hand, Kanade seems to be a realistic transposition of the virtual idol Vocaloid Hatsune Miku by Crypton Future Media, incapsulating the CGI looks from Tetsuya Nomura‘s design. If you pair her with the Kanade Hair by Crocodile Liu, the original look is complete.
Alternatively, she will work wonders as base for a Final Fantasy inspired character of your own, or for an existing one if you know how to sculpt and re-texture with external 3D programs yourself.
In regard to Final Fantasy, I want to bring your attention to the Short Hair Vol 3 for Genesis 8 Male and Female, being the perfect recreation of Ignis Scientia‘s hairstyle from Final Fantasy XV. From the same seller you can find the Fantasy Hair Vol 1 inspired by the Miqo’te race and on Kool‘s page there’s a nice hairstyle crafted after Nyx Ulric‘s braided mullet from the Final Fantasy XV: Kingsglaive movie.
More characters and assets that could fit into this world are often added to the catalog, like Kiko 8.1 and her counterpart Kota. Additional fox tails can be obtained from the Acicia Bundle for Genesis 8 (also another interesting character to use) and for a hardcore Final Fantasy VII fan, I’m sure the Kota Hair for Genesis 8 and 8.1 Male(s) won’t go unnoticed, as it was definitely crafted after Cloud Strife‘s iconic spiky strands (just less spiky…).
Last but not least, Daz3d creator InTheFlesh has posted a good reproduction of Nero, Dante, Vergil and V from Devil May Cry 5, along with Delsin Rowe’s hair + beanie from InFamous Second Son on his Gumroad page.
DAZ Studio is constantly growing and developing new technologies. There is so much to explore, a lot to play around with… stay tuned form more Daz3d related posts, reviews and tutorials!