A little 3DL rant

Feeling a need to get a complaint off my chest: I’m really annoyed with the 3DL materials for the DAZ core characters. Yes, I know everything is now geared toward Iray but I’m still a paying customer so I can grumble away. To my eye, their default settings look awful. Some are much worse than others. Like Alexandra 8.

Here she is one of her promos:

Here she is with the default 3DL materials, neutral lighting:

Yikes! She looks more like a bronze statue than a human.

I applied my default UberSurface starting point settings:

Better, but still much browner in comparison to the promo images which, of course, are Iray.

So I played around with the SSS settings and even a little ambient boosting using her diffuse maps (a trick I try to avoid.)

Finally closer to what the Iray promos look like, though the settings still need work. But at least I now feel like I’m in the ballpark, so to speak.

Alexandra 8 is listed at $44.95. Granted, I only paid about $10 for her, but is it too much to ask that a core figure get better default 3DL materials to at least approximate the Iray results? I don’t expect a perfect match, but there’s a huge difference between the paler Iray Alexandra and her bronze statue 3DL counterpart.

And while I’m being grumpy, I also want to complain about the separate HD add-ons for many of these core characters. It’s like having to buy the character twice. Ugh.

Happily, some characters do come with the HD add-on. I picked up the Floyd 8 Pro Bundle for $35.00 while it was on sale the other day and was relieved to see he came with the HD morphs.

So anyway, I continue to redo all the 3DL skin materials for the DAZ core characters…

DS crashed my Windows again!

Argh!! This time, though, the culprit was Gwennili HD for G3F. I picked her up when she was in Fast Grab because I liked the scar option as well as the dirty overlay that came with her.

But she was a problem child from the get-go.

First, I wanted to darken her skin color because the render I had in mind needed a darker-skinned woman. Strangely, altering the diffuse color made no change. I thought maybe it would only show up when I rendered it — why this would be different from any other character, I don’t know — but she never rendered.

So I cleared the scene, closed DS, opened it again and reloaded her with the default 3DL materials and then just rendered her to see what she looked like.

She rendered all black. Solid.


So I adjusted her skin settings from AoA to UberSurface, hit the render button and…nothing.

Again, she never rendered.

Cleared the scene again, closed down DS, opened DS, reloaded the character, and tried a second time. After 30 minutes of nothing happening I canceled the render, and in doing so froze DS. I couldn’t get anything to work, including Task Manager, and had to shut the machine down, which then resulted in Windows not loading and me yelling and swearing.

The computer is now up and running — yay!! — but the hubby is calling a computer person to check this out.

I have no idea what went so wrong. My only guess is that she loads up some big files for the normals, though I’m not sure they’re any worse than other HD morphs / normals I’ve used in the past. But I have noticed clothing and figures that make use of normals do slow down my DS a lot, so it’s likely a mechanical issue on my end that needs fixing.

In the meantime, Gwennili is in exile…

Edited to add: On a less grumpy note, my second attempt at making bread went much better, though I probably should’ve used two baking pans:

not a food blog-quality photo…

I made this for my dad’s birthday because it seemed like his kind of bread: Easy Artisan Bacon-Cheddar Bread.

Biggest change I made was raising the dough in a large square plastic container because the first time I used my grandmother’s old yellow baking bowl, which is big, but the dough kind of…obliterated it. The bread tasted fine, but the texture was a little more dense, less crumb-like. Also, I used less salt this time around; there’s plenty of salt in bacon and cheese.

I also made homemade tomato wild rice soup and loaded oatmeal cookies (loaded as in adding raisins, walnuts, and chocolate chips), so we ate well that day. 🙂

Skins and Smiles

Inspired by Kettu’s post on Arabella 7 and her ginormous lips. I also got Arabella 7 for free during that long blur of recent September/October sales at DAZ. I hadn’t even loaded her until I saw Kettu’s post and…oh dear…

Is it just me, or is the texture realism of a number of DAZ Original base figures a bit lacking? I keep going back to V4 for textures, mostly the DAZ V4 Elite series as well as some of Morris’s girls and a few Renderosity vendors like Maddelerium and Sabby/Seven. I’m not saying all of the DO figures are awful or anything, but it’s an issue that’s been bothering me.

FWIW, this is what I get for default loads and same lights in 3DL — Arabella 7 on the left and V4/Lana Elite on the right:

I’m not any kind of expert on skin and I also know that what looks “right” is going to differ from one person to another. But Arabella 7 out of the box is way too orange. I understand now that this is due to the shader used, which is different than the one used for V4 Lana Elite. (The skin in the first picture is MDD Hailey MDD Alexis, which looks different in DS than in Poser, likely due to my lack of skin skillz.)

Comparatively, at least to my eye, Arabella’s skin lacks realistic details. I haven’t tried her in Iray; maybe she’s one of those characters that looks better in Iray. At least color-wise.

I’m going to see if I can get her to look more appealing, skin-wise. Will report back!

Operation Arabella: Update 01


Welp, at least she’s not orange anymore!

But all I see are lips.

Will be back…