Render a Daz3d animation and do compositions in UE4

commando2009commando2009 Posts: 15
edited December 2020 in Unreal Discussion

All,

I am a long time fan of Daz3d. I believe that its offline rendering result is still better than a gaming engine such as UE4 at least for now, but UE4 has its advantages when it goes to particle and realtime rendering.

I am currently working on a hobby project which has one main character and background. I would like to keep the good stuff from both software. So please let me know if the following idea makes sense or not.

How about animating (I really love the aniMate2 and aniblock) and rendering the main character, which is Genesis 8 in Daz3d, generating a png sequence, then importing it to UE4 to do composition with background and all other VFX? By doing this, I can get Daz3d's super high quality of iray rendering, and UE4's cinematic features.

It seems doable, even though I am still trying to figure out challenges such as camera sync and light matching.

Did anybody try this kind of workflow before? I would like to hear your suggestions.

 

 

 

Post edited by commando2009 on

Comments

  • I am using Maya Daz and Unreal. I shared a post about them here : https://www.daz3d.com/forums/discussion/452926/daz-to-unreal-bridge-materials-plugin-fix-morph-exporting-smooth-meshes-fix#latest

     

    My big advice is learn Maya, use Daz, render with Unreal ;)

  • moreffector said:

    I am using Maya Daz and Unreal. I shared a post about them here : https://www.daz3d.com/forums/discussion/452926/daz-to-unreal-bridge-materials-plugin-fix-morph-exporting-smooth-meshes-fix#latest

     

    My big advice is learn Maya, use Daz, render with Unreal ;)

    Thanks for your reply! I've read your post. Maybe I miss something, but what is the benefit of going thru Maya if we can go directly to Unreal using the bridge? I understand you suggest to animate in Maya, but isn't Maya an expensive software? 

  • moreffectormoreffector Posts: 52
    edited December 2020

    Yes but it's powerful. You can use Maya as student version maybe. Or you can use blender but i didn't use it before.

    You can directly use Daz and Unreal but how can you animate ? For example try to make a walking animation in Daz. But dont use aniblocks :) Or can you make spesific animation with daz ? Like a fight scene without aniblocks ? :)

    You can't do that manually its very very hard. Daz not for animating. Daz for rendering.. The best way is Daz > 3d Animation Software > Unreal

     

    Post edited by moreffector on
  • There's an indie license for Maya, it's something like $265 https://makeanything.autodesk.com/maya-indie

    I used the bridge to transfer character obviously, but I use Maya for retargeting animations and I use Maya or Daz for animating.

  • Hi moreffector and David,

    Thanks for the info! Here is a link to a short clip I just created. Hopefully, it can give you some ideas of what kind of video I am working on.

    The animation is done by converting Mixamo to Daz, then to aniBlock.  I am not a professional animator, so creating an animation from scratch is not easy for me. 

    You probably can see I am using HDRI for the background, so I don't have to render complex scenes that take forever. Actually, that triggers my thought of using UE4 for the background and scene-setting, so I only need to render the main character. Something like the idea of virtual production in front of an LED wall.

    BTW, the post is done in Hitfilm Express.

    https://youtu.be/3N4w4EA2rhs

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  • EllessarrEllessarr Posts: 1,027

    to be fair oyou can also animate direct inside unreal, it do have tools for it:

    https://unrealengine.com/marketplace/en-US/product/control-rig-mannequin

    its free or you can try this one aswell

    https://unrealengine.com/marketplace/en-US/product/allright-animation-rig

    this one is payed, but you can actually animate direct inside unreal, all the unreal trailers and cgis nowadays are made direct inside unreal withy minimum use of third part tools.

  • commando2009, it sounds like you animate in a similar fashion to me.  I use Mixamo animations and use Maya to retarget them to the Daz skeleton, but then I import them into Unreal and use Sequencer (probably similar to how you use aniBlock).

    Unreal can actually render in layers now so you can do post outside of Unreal, which is nice.  I think the trade off is there's a bit more work in Unreal to make the asset materials look good and get your pipeline setup (which is why I started making the plugin in the first place).  However, once you've got you environment and animations setup iteration time is really quick.  If you wanted to change the camera on that scene or update the character re-rendering in Unreal would probably be 15 seconds.

    I would guess that if you export camera animations from Daz to Unreal, you should be able to render just a background and composite the Unreal background with the Daz Character.  I don't have an export option for the lights or camera yet unfortunately.

  • Hi, you guys are so helpful. I wish I joined this forum sooner smiley

    I just launched another rendering on Daz3d, which I think will take hours to complete.sad Yes, being able to render in real-time is a big plus, but I just don't know whether I can handle the materials work.

    Ellessarr, I actually bought Allright and tried to animate myself, but quickly gave up since it took too much time and I just want to create these animations for fun.

    David, yes, you are right, exporting camera animation to Unreal and using it to composite the Unreal background is exactly what I want to do. But I just found another issue with UE3 composure. I use the png file sequence generated by Daz3d, but it seems UE4 media player can't handle the alpha channel, so the background is not transparent. Do you know anything about that?

     

  • I'm not actually sure about that png sequence issue.  I haven't tried that.  If you've rendered the foreground in Daz, and the background in Unreal, you can composite them in another program though.  AfterEffects, or Premeire, or whatever the current free alternative is.

  • EllessarrEllessarr Posts: 1,027

    commando2009 said:

    Hi, you guys are so helpful. I wish I joined this forum sooner smiley

    I just launched another rendering on Daz3d, which I think will take hours to complete.sad Yes, being able to render in real-time is a big plus, but I just don't know whether I can handle the materials work.

    Ellessarr, I actually bought Allright and tried to animate myself, but quickly gave up since it took too much time and I just want to create these animations for fun.

    David, yes, you are right, exporting camera animation to Unreal and using it to composite the Unreal background is exactly what I want to do. But I just found another issue with UE3 composure. I use the png file sequence generated by Daz3d, but it seems UE4 media player can't handle the alpha channel, so the background is not transparent. Do you know anything about that?

     

    i would recommend you to change your materials from png to targa, unreal recognize better images in targa format(tga), then if you have any image editor or substance paint which would be even better then use it to save the images as tga, instead of png, because png is jus 8 bits while tga can go to up 32 bit. the file will become a little big but the unreal will proper recognize the alpha. 

  • commando2009commando2009 Posts: 15
    edited December 2020

    Hi guys,

    I think you have convinced me.smiley I decided to try importing the G8 to UE4 again using David's tool.

    But when I used Daz Studio 4.14 and UE 4.25, the automatic loading didn't happen. I tried to manually load the dtu file from the temp directory but got the attached error. Can anybody help me?

    (A quick update after the original post)

    I keep trying and find out the followings:

    • Still have the same issue with the dtu file, but I can load the FBX file directly. I have to choose a skeleton (G8) during the loading.
    • During the loading, UE4 generated a message to "regenerate Skeleton from this mesh" (please see the attached screenshot)
    • After G8 is loaded, I still need to fix the zombie eye issue manually

    So overall it seems working, but I am not sure about these issues above. Do they indicate something? 

    It seems the dtu file is a simple text file to point to the fbx file and directory. Do I really need it or it is ok to directly load the FBX?

    ASSETTYPE=SkeletalMesh|FBXFILE=C:\temp\daztounreal\Genesis_8_Female\Genesis_8_Female.fbx|ASSETNAME=Genesis_8_Female|IMPORTFOLDER=C:\temp\daztounreal\Genesis_8_Female\

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    Post edited by commando2009 on
  • EllessarrEllessarr Posts: 1,027

    commando2009 said:

    Hi guys,

    I think you have convinced me.smiley I decided to try importing the G8 to UE4 again using David's tool.

    But when I used Daz Studio 4.14 and UE 4.25, the automatic loading didn't happen. I tried to manually load the dtu file from the temp directory but got the attached error. Can anybody help me?

     

    as far i remember it only import the fbx file and textures.

    take a look if your proper exported the right stuff using the pluging

     

    another thing you must pay attention "some stuffs" from daz don't work outside daz, i means stuffs like dforce hair and fur or strand based or fibermesh stuffs have a high chance of don't work or can't be exported then pay attention to what you are trying to export.

  • Hello commando2009,

    The DTU file is locating exported character's texture files from Daz studio folder. And plugin converting them to IrayUberShader materials for best reality results.

    If you import directly FBX, character's materials will import normally. So you can not use converted correct materials. You will use default Daz materials for unreal. Clearly, its not a good idea :)

    I am using Daz To Unreal plugin with port 0. So i don't want automatical importing. I am importing .DTU file manually. But i didn't get any error like this before.

    + My advice is, in Daz studio, export character with plugin port 0, and choose a different location for exporting and with unreal, import only DTU file.
    + And plugin updated last week. So update plugin to Unreal Engine 4.26 and update your version 4.26 too. Maybe it helps.
    + And last, be sure you are not changing any bone names or hierarchical elements location in Daz studio.

  • EllessarrEllessarr Posts: 1,027

    David Vodhanel said:

    commando2009, it sounds like you animate in a similar fashion to me.  I use Mixamo animations and use Maya to retarget them to the Daz skeleton, but then I import them into Unreal and use Sequencer (probably similar to how you use aniBlock).

    Unreal can actually render in layers now so you can do post outside of Unreal, which is nice.  I think the trade off is there's a bit more work in Unreal to make the asset materials look good and get your pipeline setup (which is why I started making the plugin in the first place).  However, once you've got you environment and animations setup iteration time is really quick.  If you wanted to change the camera on that scene or update the character re-rendering in Unreal would probably be 15 seconds.

    I would guess that if you export camera animations from Daz to Unreal, you should be able to render just a background and composite the Unreal background with the Daz Character.  I don't have an export option for the lights or camera yet unfortunately.

    i'm also using mixamo animations a alternative way to retarget animations without need maya can be this pluging:

    https://unrealengine.com/marketplace/en-US/product/mixamo-animation-retargeting

     

    this pluging work perfect and is really awesome, it not only retarget but also can create "root motion" animations. 

  • Ellessarr said:

    David Vodhanel said:

    commando2009, it sounds like you animate in a similar fashion to me.  I use Mixamo animations and use Maya to retarget them to the Daz skeleton, but then I import them into Unreal and use Sequencer (probably similar to how you use aniBlock).

    Unreal can actually render in layers now so you can do post outside of Unreal, which is nice.  I think the trade off is there's a bit more work in Unreal to make the asset materials look good and get your pipeline setup (which is why I started making the plugin in the first place).  However, once you've got you environment and animations setup iteration time is really quick.  If you wanted to change the camera on that scene or update the character re-rendering in Unreal would probably be 15 seconds.

    I would guess that if you export camera animations from Daz to Unreal, you should be able to render just a background and composite the Unreal background with the Daz Character.  I don't have an export option for the lights or camera yet unfortunately.

    i'm also using mixamo animations a alternative way to retarget animations without need maya can be this pluging:

    https://unrealengine.com/marketplace/en-US/product/mixamo-animation-retargeting

     

    this pluging work perfect and is really awesome, it not only retarget but also can create "root motion" animations. 

    Can I merge two mixamo animations smoothly in Unreal? For example, I want to transition smoothly from walking to shooting without foot slipping. Currently, I rely on aniBlock to do it.

     

  • EllessarrEllessarr Posts: 1,027

    commando2009 said:

    Ellessarr said:

    David Vodhanel said:

    commando2009, it sounds like you animate in a similar fashion to me.  I use Mixamo animations and use Maya to retarget them to the Daz skeleton, but then I import them into Unreal and use Sequencer (probably similar to how you use aniBlock).

    Unreal can actually render in layers now so you can do post outside of Unreal, which is nice.  I think the trade off is there's a bit more work in Unreal to make the asset materials look good and get your pipeline setup (which is why I started making the plugin in the first place).  However, once you've got you environment and animations setup iteration time is really quick.  If you wanted to change the camera on that scene or update the character re-rendering in Unreal would probably be 15 seconds.

    I would guess that if you export camera animations from Daz to Unreal, you should be able to render just a background and composite the Unreal background with the Daz Character.  I don't have an export option for the lights or camera yet unfortunately.

    i'm also using mixamo animations a alternative way to retarget animations without need maya can be this pluging:

    https://unrealengine.com/marketplace/en-US/product/mixamo-animation-retargeting

     

    this pluging work perfect and is really awesome, it not only retarget but also can create "root motion" animations. 

    Can I merge two mixamo animations smoothly in Unreal? For example, I want to transition smoothly from walking to shooting without foot slipping. Currently, I rely on aniBlock to do it.

     

    you means walk stop and shot or shooting while walking??? anyway you can do the 2, you can make it pretty smooth in unreal it have options for merge animations much better than in daz. 

  • I finally figured out the problem. Since I bought the previous version of the convertor, there are two different versions in my Daz3d plugin directory. I think end up sending the files from Daz3d using the old version and try to receive it on UE4 using the new version. After I manually removed and reinstalled the bridge, everything is working fine now.

     

  • commando2009 said:

    I finally figured out the problem. Since I bought the previous version of the convertor, there are two different versions in my Daz3d plugin directory. I think end up sending the files from Daz3d using the old version and try to receive it on UE4 using the new version. After I manually removed and reinstalled the bridge, everything is working fine now.

    Sorry about that.  It's fixed with the 4.26 version so they'll copy over each other rather than showing up as two different plugins.

  • commando2009 said:

    Can I merge two mixamo animations smoothly in Unreal? For example, I want to transition smoothly from walking to shooting without foot slipping. Currently, I rely on aniBlock to do it.

    There's a couple options.  In sequencer, you can layer animations on top of each other and blend between them. 

    I do something a little more complicated where I set up a blendspace to blend between walking and running and control it's playback via the velocity in the animation blueprint.  Then in sequencer I just move the character around and when I hit play they move their feet the right speed automatically.

    There's advantages like that to using a game engine.  I tend to use blueprints for things like giving the character a "look at" target and having them automatically look at it.  Then in a sequnece, I just need to change the target rather than actually animating it all.

  • Hi,

    I started this thread about two weeks ago and got a lot of help from people. During the holiday, I tried multiple ways to put together Daz3d, G8F, UE4 and etc. I would like to share with you the latest clip I created, which is a kind of proof of concept.

    This clip was created by using the G8F character; animating with aniMate 2 and Mixamo; rendering in Daz3d using Iray (about 40 seconds per frame); exporting the animation as a png sequence; creating the battlefield and enemies (see how many of them can you find :-)) in UE4 and compositing them with the png sequence. Sound and other VFX were added in Hitfilm express.

    Hopefully, the entire process could be done within UE4 with the same level of details and material quality. Please share your thoughts.

     

     

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