How to Morph Objects in DAZ Studio
If you’re at all familiar with DAZ Studio or 3D art, then you’ll notice that there are a wide variety of models and characters available. If you’re rich, or really savvy for finding deals, you can download all these different models in order to make your renders look unique. However, if you only have one, don’t fret, there exists a vastly complex morphing system just waiting for you to master.
Step 1: Select your Model
For my example I’m going to be morphing DAZ’s own Victoria model because it illustrates my point the best. It’s important to note, however, that not every object you load into a scene has the same morphing capabilities. It only has what was given to it by its creator. In some instances, like Victoria, you have to purchase the morphs separately from the character model. It can be annoying to discover that, but it’s just the way they operate.
Now when I load Victoria into a scene she comes with the default texture, pose and morphs. If you try to create a scene with her like this, it would work, but it wouldn’t look as nice as all those other renders you see online.
Just as a quick reference; to give Victoria a normal skin texture, you must go to the content window on the left side of the program. Select Content > Poses > DAZ’s Victoria 4 > MATerials Standard-Res. With the constantly changing DAZ program and the other programs available, it won’t always be this same process, but in general that’s what you want to look for. If you downloaded a special texture for her, then you’ll need to look in the pose folder for the name of the texture you downloaded. Please note here that most textures are nude and therefore include naughty bits, so for my renders I’m going to preserve Victoria’s modesty with a bikini. I mention the locations of her textures because it’s the same process to inject the morphs. Some figures come with the morphs pre-loaded and some don’t. For Victoria you need to go to the same place as the textures, but rather than selecting “MATerials”, select “Morph Injections”. Make sure you have Victoria selected then double click on “INJ Morphs ++ V4”.
I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but to add hair go to Content > Figures > Glamor Hair (or whatever hair you have downloaded). Remember to select the hair and do a ‘fit to Victoria 4’ from the right hand menu. If you’re unfamiliar with this process then I recommend my article for beginners to DAZ Studio and 3D art.
Step 2: Morphing the Face
There are a lot of pre-made morphs and poses that you can purchase online, but if you’re cheap, like me, then you will probably just want to make your own. First select Victoria’s head. Once there is a box around it you’ll notice that the parameters menu on the right side of the screen has changed. At the bottom you now have a variety of morph options. Once you select a category, such as ‘full head and face’, you will be given a number of dials which you can adjust. Every morph is controlled with these dials (as is most things in DAZ Studio). Simply drag left or right depending on whether you want more or less of a given morph. The Victoria model and morph set comes with a handful of facial morphs that can be accomplished all at once. They’re given names, like Samantha, and they will change her face entirely when you adjust it. However you can still adjust each individual aspect of her face with the options below it. You could make her cheek bones higher, her ears larger, or her eyes smaller. Her face can get crazy pretty quick, so don’t be afraid to use the undo option or return each morph dial back to 0%. For a first time DAZ Studio user, facial morphs can often times come out looking far worse than the default morph. But don’t be discouraged by it. That default morph was created by professionals; you won’t get it overnight. But it’s fun too experiment with in order to make your renders more unique.
While you’re adjusting the face, it’s a good idea to change the emotions and expressions. While it doesn’t technically change the structure of Victoria’s face, it does allow you to add heart and soul to each render. Things as simple as a brow squeeze mixed with a snarl can make your model look mad, just like raising the eyebrows and opening the mouth can make her look sad or surprised. These adjustments are located in the same window under ‘expressions’ and are essential for any good render.
Step 3: Morphing the Body
Morphing the body is similar to morphing the head, except, rather than just selecting the head, you need to select all of Victoria. You can either double click on any part of her to select all, or you can select her from the scene tab in the left hand window.
Now we’re going to go back to the parameters on the right hand side. You should see a new set of categories at the bottom. You can morph her entire body using the ‘full body’ category, which will change every body part in accordance with the style, or you can go down further to morph specific parts of the body like flexing the arm, adding or reducing weight to the stomach (including pregnancy), widening hips, enlarging breasts, and even lengthening finger nails. Essentially it’s way more control than you would ever have expected (or possibly wanted) giving you an unparalleled amount of creative freedom.
To help explain how all of this is useful to you, I’m going to provide some examples. Morphing the face helps to distinguish your character from all the other people out there using the same model. But let’s look at a few practical uses for the body morphs. My personal favorite is the bicep flex option. Not only does it make the character look buff (to imply a superhero or fantasy warrior) but it also implies action (the act of lifting something or struggling).
Probably the most common morph you’re going to encounter is the breast size morph. And when I say you’re going to encounter it, I mean most renders you are going to find use it in some way. So, go ahead, you can giggle and pretend like you weren’t going to use the breast morph, but let’s face it, whether you want to play around with it or not, you’ll probably end up using it eventually. You’d be surprised how many options there are, including making them look more natural or fake, how much cleavage they’re displaying and even nipple size and placement *giggle*. While I’m sure there is a strategic marketability to rendering women with large breasts, that’s probably not why you’re doing it. But don’t feel ashamed, you’re not alone.
It isn’t necessary to morph Victoria as a whole in order to give her personality. By adjusting the fingernail length, the teeth and the ears, I have the option of making vampires or elves without the need to purchase an entirely new character model. These are especially useful for anyone who wants to make fantasy related renders. When you start mixing and matching the different morphs is when you really start to take off with your creativity and forget you’re working with a computer program.
Some Additional Tips:
- If you select Victoria’s hand the parameters window allows you to grip all of her fingers at once, which really helps when you need her to hold a weapon or object.
- Increasing the overall scale of Victoria can create ‘giant’ characters or turn a small fish into an aquatic monster!
- Please note that not all of Victoria’s clothes morph with her. For example, if you flex her bicep, it might poke out of the shirt she is wearing. If it doesn’t automatically morph with her, try selecting the article of clothing on its own and checking to see if it has its own morph options. It’s an extra step, but in the quest for the perfect render, it’s worth it. If it doesn’t have its own morph options, then you might want to consider using a different shirt.
- By properly morphing the face and body, you can have two of the same models loaded into a scene and have them look completely different. You have a whole cast of characters with just a single model.
- Some object models have morphs but they’re unintentionally hidden. For example, certain hair objects require you to select them in the scene tab on the left and open their subcategories until you find ‘neck’. I don’t know why they do that, but just keep in mind that the morph options might change depending on which part of the object you have selected.
- Keep in mind that Morphing is different from Posing. Posing just moves objects around like bending a knee or opening eyes. Morphing changes the size and shape of the knee and the eyes.