Sunday, November 30, 2014

How to Save Money on Daz Studio Content - Get it for a Steal

Daz Studio is a free program and they do give you some things to get you started. That's all great but you will probably want to start buying additional content at some point. And that is where Daz really makes its money. That's fine too. Hey, they are in business to make money and that is what business is all about. But it doesn't meant hat you can't find ways of saving money on content.

If you really plan on buying a lot of content over a long period of time, I suggest you become a Platinum Club member. Believe me, the amount of money yo will save will save you muich more than the cost of the membership. It more than pays for itself.

Another thing you will want to do is check the Fast Grab section to see what is on sale. That is often where you can get some of the best deals. Between Platinum Club membership and Fast Grab alone, I have saved so much money on content purchases. So much that I can't even begin to calculate the total savings. 

One thing is to try to never pay full price for anything. Almost everything that is sold on the site eventually goes on sale at some point. You just have to be patient. Just add the items you are interested in to your Wishlist and check your Wishlist regularly to see if they are on sale.

Try not to buy anything until you need it. Concentrate on certain themes. I started with buying content for the purpose of doing Western Themed art. After that, I started to buy pirate themed content. Then I moved on to other things like fantasy, horror and cartoon. the list goes on now.

There are some things you will probably need no matter what themes you want to get into. For example, morph related content. That allows you to create a variety of characters. That is much better than just using stock characters. Each generation has morph sets. Generation 4, Genesis and Genesis 2 all have them. Each also has Creature Creator Morph sets. That works great for horror or fantasy.

Each month, there are usually specials of some kind on content. Also, there are always new releases and usually you can get a new release at 30% off. If it is an Item you really want to use, that might be a good time to buy it.

You might want to get all of your base characters first. Then expand from there. I started with the Genesis base characters. That included Michael 5, the Freak 5, Victoria 5 and so on. Then I started to get the 4th generation character bases like Michael 4, Victoria 4, the Freak 4 and etc. Sometimes there will be specials on character bases for a certain generation of characters. Maybe this month will have the genesis characters at 50% off or better. Maybe next month there will be a special on Genesis 2 base characters, which will include Michael 6, Victoria 6 and so on.

There are other sites that sell content that can be used in Daz Studio or Poser. Two that I like to go to are and When I add something to my Wishlist on those sites, I will get an e-mail notification when they so on sale.
So being patient can save you a lot of money and timing is everything. I hope that you can take some of these suggestions to heart and save yourself a lot of money. Good luck.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Working Through Daz Studio Installation Issues for the Newbie

To a newbie, installing Daz content can be a difficult or even an aggravating process. This blog post is designed to help you through some of them and I hope you all will find it to be helpful.

Some of the installation files available for download are in .exe or .zip format. Using either one will have issues. So let's see if I can help you through some of them.

An .exe file is basically an automated installation program for your Daz content. Unfortunately, just because it is automated, it does not mean that it will always be a breeze. This is because sometimes you may be prompted to specify an installation directory. If you don't know where it should be installed, you will have a problem.

Basically, on a Windows based system, you will need to install it in your My Library folder. That will be found in My Documents/Daz 3D/Studio/My Library. There will be slight variations depending on your version of Windows, whether it be XP, Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8. But it is pretty close to being the same in all versions. In Windows 7 and Windows 8, you have a libraries folder, so it will look like this: Libraries/Documents/Daz 3D/Studio/My Library.

Another installation issue will be regarding compatibility. On a Windows 7 system, you may have to run some of the installation programs as administrator to get them to install. On a Windows 8 system, you may have to run it in Windows 7 compatibility mode. To run as administrator, just right click on the installation program and select "Run as Administrator." On a Windows 8 System, right click and select properties. Then click on the compatibility tab and set it to run in Windows 7 Compatibility mode. Then run it as administrator.

You may get some downloads provided in .zip file format. You can copy and paste the contents of the Zip file into the My Library folder. Now, remember that within the My Library folder, there are a number of sub folders. One of which will usually be the Runtime folder. Most of the content you will want to install will have contents within the Runtime folder. So you may see a Runtime folder in the .zipped folder. You need to make sure that you go down far enough into the directory structure of your zip file and copy and paste the right folders.

The zipped folder may have a sub folder called Content and it is usually within that folder that you may see the Runtime folder or the other common folders like Data, People, Props and etc. You need to copy all of those and paste them within the My Library folder. 

Now you may opt to use the Daz installer utility but if you download content from a site other than Daz, like or, you will need to know how to do your installation by copying and pasting the content manually into the My Library folder. That's actually how I learned to do this myself.

Sometimes after installing my content, I may have a problem locating it. If the content did not provide a readme file that tells you where it is, you can look in your zipped installation folder for that product to check out the directory structure. That will help you to be able to locate it within Daz Studio.

 Another issue that you may run into is the license. I just ran into an issue by using a Daz Studio 4.6 license number for the installation of Daz Studio 4.7. I ended up having issues with Animate 2 not working. None of the aniblocks were working. It was quite an aggravating experience. To fix the issue, I did a system restore on my computer to set it back to a date before the Daz 4.7 installation. Then I installed Daz Studio 4.6 and used the appropriate license number. Then I used the appropriate Animate 2 license number. After that, I upgraded it to 4.7 and all of the problems were fixed.

To avoid the problem in the first place, just install 4.6 and use the 4.6 license number and make sure your aniblocks work. Then upgrade to 4.7. Make sure you save all installation files for everything. Back it up somewhere because if you go to download some of the installation files, they may not be available because they are often replaced with the newer versions in your content library. So anything you download and install from the Daz website, save and back it up. That may help you to avoid lots of issues in the future.

Okay, I just thought I would put this info out there so that some may prevent issues and others may be able to resolve them, should they encounter them. good luck everyone.

Photo Credit: Screen Shot by Bob Craypoe, working within Daz Studio.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Updating Websites Doesn't Have to Be Messy

I have a number of websites and have basically been working on them for years. I know from experience how it can be difficult to constantly update them with new content. But things can be simplified quite a bit with the use of RSS feeds.

I have many online accounts through sites like YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, various writing sites, sites I sell merchandise through and more.

I like to use RSS feeds for all of those things. I use widgets that will display all of those feeds and place the widgets within the various pages of my websites. If I upload a new video on YouTube, it will be displayed on my website in the RSS feed I use for the YouTube channel.

When I do a post on my Facebook page, the new post will show up automatically on my website in the RSS feed for my Facebook account. The same is true regarding my Pinterest account, the site I sell my 3D artwork through and the others.

I even use an RSS feed for this blog. So when I write a new article, it will show up on the websites that have the RSS feed for this blog.

As long as I have the RSS feeds on my website, I really don't have to specifically update the site. All I really have to do is do the work I want to do on the other various sites. Just upload a new video on YouTube and it shows up on my site. Write a new blog article and it shows up on my site. You probably get the basic idea by now.

The only work I need to do on my websites is just add the widgets that display the RSS feeds from all of the other websites. I use widgets that I create from an account I have with a website called I pay an annual fee and I just make the widgets as I need them. The widgets have a lot of styling options like the font, number of posts to display, colors and size, just for starters.

Another thing you can do is use RSS feeds from news websites or websites that deal with the same subject matter you do on your sites. This helps to make it so you will have new content on your website without having to manually update your site yourself.

If you want to see and example of some of the things I am talking about, you can view them on my personal website: Please check it out.

Photo Credit: Image created by Bob Craypoe, also known as R. L. Crepeau. More of his artwork can be found on his art website: /

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Information Can be Fun

I have been writing articles and blogs on the Internet for a number of years now. I have written about a variety of subjects and the posts have varied in length. But one thing I usually try to do with them, no matter what, is to add some entertainment value with the information that I provide. I believe that, by doing that, it makes the post more interesting to the reader. At least I can hope for that, can't I?

A lot of my articles are informational, motivational or instructional. With those articles, I try to throw a little humor in or include a funny image of some kind. I also create my own images, so it probably helps to add some uniqueness to my articles. It probably helps me to stand out in some ways.

As you can see, I  have included a rather amusing little image with this post. It proabably caught your eye. Some of you may be wanting to gouge your eyes out in order to try to unsee what your eyes have already seen. Sorry, too late. It's there, you saw it, get over it.

My point is, and I really do have one, that there are some things that you can do as a writer on the Internet that can help you stand out from the rest. Let's face it, the Internet is one big place. It's huge, man, I tell ya, it's huge. So you need to stand out from the rest if you ever hope to be successful as a writer or blogger on the Internet.

Another fact is that we are living in an image dominated world, where the first thing that often gets our attention is a picture, rather than the headline. So, if you can catch someone's attention with an image, go for it. If that is what it takes to get them to read what you have to say.

I have done some things on the internet with and without the use of images and I have seen the difference in how they were received. The ones with the images or with images that were funny or eye catching were always received better. It's just the way it is. So when you find out how things work, you don't really question it, you just go with it.

So, when you go to write your next internet blog or article, give some thought about what can make you stand out. Try humor or interesting images. Maybe a thought provoking headline or title. Just make it fun. Because, after all, information can be fun too.

Some Thoughts on Veterans Day

Since today is Veterans Day in America, I thought it might be a good idea to do a blog post on the subject. The Veterans Day holiday had actually gotten its start as what is referred to in most of the world as Armistice Day, which originally marked the formal ending of the major hostilities of World War I. The hostilities officially ended with Germany at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.

In proclaiming the Armistice holiday in 1918, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson stated:

"To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations."

Although the United States originally observed the holiday as Armistice Day, it eventually evolved into what is now the current Veterans Day holiday in 1954.

Veterans day is a day to remember all those who served in the Military throughout the years. I served myself for three years in the United States Army, in West Germany from 1984-1987, under president Ronald Reagan. Okay, it sort of shows how old I am. The fact that there were two Germanys back then is probably another indication. The Berlin wall came down just a few years after I got out of the army though. I just missed history being made.

I served in the 92nd Chemical company, 3rd Infantry division. The 3rd infantry Division is the same division Audie Murphy, the highest decorated soldier in World War II, served in. Of course, I didn't quite receive the number of decorations he did. Not even close.

A few years after I left Germany, my unit, the 92nd Chemical Company, was sent to fight in the Gulf War. Many of them came back suffering from the mysterious Gulf War Syndrome. Some died. At first the government denied that the illness had anything to do with their service but later admitted it.

The sad thing is that we do not treat our veterans as they should be treated. This has especially been brought to light recently with the VA hospital scandals. There simply is no excuse for such a thing. I was fortunate in that I came back home from my time in the military in perfect health, both physically and mentally. Others have come back both physically and emotionally scarred. Those are the ones who deserve our thanks the most. Just as they are the ones that deserve to be treated better and appreciated more.

If you see a veteran today, thank him or her. If you see someone who is serving now, thank that person too. Some of the best memories I have of my service were when people on the street saw me in my uniform and came up to me to thank me. It really meant a lot to me. I am sure it will mean a lot to those serving now.

So take the time to thank a veteran today if you get the chance.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Never Dance with the Devil

Sometimes when we work a job, we have to work with some pretty undesirable types. In situations such as those, where we work for an employer, we simply have no choice. However, when we are entrepreneurs or business owners, or even freelancers of some sort, we do have a choice of who we will work with.

Let's face it, the world is full of good people and bad people. You have some people who are honest and some that are dishonest on insincere. Sometimes it is difficult to determine where someone may sit regarding that. But when we are able to make that determination, we need to act in the most sensible manner and, believe it or not, it is quite simple. Don't work with someone you believe to be dishonest.

They say that there are three questions you should ask yourself regarding someone you are considering working with as an entrepreneur or business owner. Those questions are:

1. Do I trust this person?
2. Do I like this person?
3. Do I respect this person?

Trying to work with someone you don't really trust is pointless if you think about it. In business, you have to be able to rely on those you work with to do those things they promise to do. It's one thing if you count on a friend for something and that friend lets you down, but in business, if someone does not follow through on something, you can lose money or your business may just go under.

If you don't like someone, you should analyze the situation and figure out why. What are the qualities about this person that is causing you to dislike him or her? Sometimes our instincts pick up on certain things and we often sense something about a person that is just not good. It is important that you do not ignore those instincts. They are trying to tell you something.

It is also important to have respect for the people you are working with. Do you not respect this person because of their business reputation? If that person does have a bad business reputation, then the reputation of your business may suffer, as well, simply by associating with that person. Can you afford that? If you are just starting out, your business might be very hard to get off the ground if you start off on the wrong foot.

Supposedly, we should be able to answer yes to all three of the questions above. Sometimes, when starting out on a business venture, we may be desperate to find others willing to work with us, but we can't allow ourselves to become so desperate that we are willing to work with just about anyone. That can often do more harm than good. It's like dancing with the Devil and we should never dance with the Devil.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Life is Full of Surprises but Sometimes We Even Surprise Ourselves

When we are growing up, we don't foresee how our lives will turn out. Even as adults, we may be surprised at how certain things in our lives turn out. That could be regarding both good things and bad things alike.

One thing that has come to surprise me at times are some of the things that I have been able to accomplish. There are some things that I would never have foreseen that I have ended up doing. There have been certain accomplishments I have had that I would have never predicted. It's a great thing, though, to achieve those things that you have not anticipated in life.

One thing that I really surprised myself with was doing the 3D art and animation thing. I just started getting into it a couple of years ago. Actually it won't be two years for another month or so. but I'll just round it up. I started out slow just tinkering around in iClone and then I moved on to Daz Studio. I like both programs and there are some projects that i have done that have utilized both programs.

Another thing I didn't expect to do was put out my own music CD. had always been part of a band for a number of years and that was just as a guitar player. Now I also sing. I have done solo performances in bars and night clubs as well. i never foresaw myself becoming a solo act.

I am also active as a writer on the Internet as well. I have always wanted to do some sort of writing but a lot of people dream of doing that but never actually get around to doing it. To be honest, I thought about it long before I had actually taken the steps to do it. but here I am on the Internet writing articles and blogs.

I am also a web developer. that started out when I was trying to do a local arts magazine and needed a website. I had someone else do it and he did not quite work out. So I started doing it myself. Eventually, I got pretty good at it and I did get a lot of visits throughout the years. I have gotten millions of page views over the years.

Even my articles have received a good number of views. On one site that I write for, I have received more than 1.5 million views total.

this is not about bragging about my accomplishments. It's about how you never know what you can pull off until you actually try. If you listen to others who will tell you that this can't be done or that can't be done, you will never really find out what you can do. sometimes you have to brush them off and make the effort to see what you can accomplish. I guaranty that if you do that, there will definitely be times where you will achieve things that you never thought you would.

I am always striving to learn new things and to try new things. Over time, you will do things you never thought you'd be able to do. You will surprise yourself. Sure, life is full of surprises but sometimes we even surprise ourselves.

Photo Credit: Image created by Bob Craypoe, also known as R. L. Crepeau.  

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Swapping Out a Computer in a Business Environment

I wish I had a dollar for every new PC I've set up for an employer. I could probably retire by now. I've done it for a number of different employers from a variety of industries but, really, the procedure doesn't vary much and it gets easier as you go along. Setting up a new PC for a company executive or one of the bosses, though, can be a bit intimidating and that's where you really need to make sure you do the job right. So you need to take a few things into consideration and they are as follows: what software are they running? Where do they keep their data? What kind of printers and peripherals do they use?

The first thing you obviously would do when setting up a new computer is load the operating system, unless you purchased a computer that came with it pre-loaded. The next step is to load all of the device drivers to make sure all of your hardware works. You may check the Device Manager to make sure that there are no devices with an exclamation point next to them. That would indicate a driver issue. Sometimes I just have to wipe out an old system and re-load Windows and all of the software the new user would need to use for the job or position. The procedure is basically the same for that as it would be to load up an entirely new system from scratch.

New systems usually come with a drivers disk. An old system may have a folder on the hard drive that will have all of the driver installation files you would need. However, if you don't have them, you may find them online by doing a simple search through a search engine. I don't like to wipe a system clean by formatting the hard drive until I am sure I am able to get the drivers I need.

After the installation of the operating system, you would have to validate your copy of Windows but, in order to do that, you need to have internet access. So you would obviously configure the computer to use the company network. I've worked at companies that assign specific I.P. addresses to each computer. You can't use the same I.P. as the one you are replacing until you go to swap it out, so often you will use a temporary one that won't conflict with any other computers on the company network. I've used the same test I.P. address for each one I set up. When it's ready, then I will assign the same one the user has on the old computer.

After you get online and validate your copy of Windows you will need to run all of your Windows updates. I will just copy and paste a shortcut for Windows Update onto the desktop because I will keep running them until they are no longer necessary. After that, I will then install the anti-virus software. Then I will install all of the usual plug-ins for the web browsers like Acrobat Reader, Flash Player, etc. you will then have a functioning PC at that point. Now it's time to install all of the software the employee uses. I will then create a system restore point in the event that there is a problem with the programs that are soon to be installed. It's always good to be able to restore to a point before the problems began.

After you install all of the necessary software, check to make sure it all functions properly. Many companies have their own software that is unique to their business. Some have programs that only they use. These are usually the most aggravating programs you will have to install and configure. If the software is only used by your company and was developed for the company specifically, you can't Google the problem on the Internet to look for a resolution to it. You may sometimes have to consult with the developer personally to see what has to be done in order to get it to function properly.

After you get all of the necessary programs and applications to work, install the network printer that the user will be printing to. If they use other peripherals like a scanner, install the software for that. After that, see what data may have to be transferred from the old PC to the new one. Also see if they have e-mails that need to be transferred over as well. Some users don't always know where their data is, so it is important that you hold on to the old PC and not remove anything in the event that you may have missed something. Sometimes their data is kept on the network and most often it is kept on their hard drive, yet the user may not know where it is kept. They are used to just going in and retrieving it with out giving much thought to it. So sometimes you will have to determine where it is kept. Sometimes the user will have a network drive mapping where their data is saved and they don't understand that the M: drive isn't actually a physical hard drive in their computer. Make sure you map all of the drive mappings they usually use, unless your network is configured to do that for each user based on their login.

Always double check before the day you swap out the computers that you have everything on it that the user needs and uses. Then notify the user you are ready for the exchange. This is basically the best way you can do this with minimal inconvenience to the user. Down time should only be the amount of time it takes to shut their old PC down, disconnect it, connect the new one and have the user test the programs right in front of you to make sure all of the programs function properly. Just dropping it off and leaving doesn't cut it. Usually something either goes wrong or they have some sort of questions or perhaps something was overlooked. If you just drop it and leave you will probably get a call about something and have to return anyway.

So that's it in a nutshell. Once you do this a number of times it will get easier. Also, if there are certain things you need to remember to either install or configure certain programs, type up a nice little cheat sheet to make it all easier. I have always used them. I keep them in a binder and use them to make sure I not only set things up right but that I also remember everything that needs to be installed. It's sort of like a checklist that I can use to make sure everything is done that needs to be. Try it out yourself and see how it works for you.

Photo Credit: Image created by Bob Craypoe, also known as R. L. Crepeau.  

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

3D Character Creation is Like Using a Recipe

I create 3D characters in Daz Studio as well as iClone. I really enjoy the process of creating characters. Whenever I create a new one, it is sort of like using a recipe. Allow me explain what I mean that:

In Daz Studio as well as iClone, you have control over just about every feature. let's use the eyes as an example. You can control the size of the eyes, the color, the spacing between them and how high or low they are on the face. You can put bags under them, have them sunken and can even have wrinkles or other things to make the character look older.
For the nose, you can make the tip bulbous or pointy. You can make the nostrils large or small. you can set how high or low the nose is on the face as well. With each individual facial feature, you have so many things you can adjust to create your character.

There are other options with the body of the character as well. You can set the proportions however you want. You can make your character fat, muscular or skinny. You can make your character hunched over like an elderly person. the list goes on.

Then you can get into things like how they are dressed, their hair color or hair style. You can choose as to whether your male character will have a beard, mustache or no facial hair at all. Maybe you just want a little five O'clock shadow for that scruffy look.

How about the teeth? Do you want a character with a gap in the front? You could even have some teeth missing or even decayed or yellowish in appearance. If you want the character to be a monster of some kind, you can give him fangs.

Another thing to consider when creating a character is what kind of personality you want it to have. Do you want it to be a goofy character? How about mean or crabby? The character could be the villain and villains most definitely need to look the part. Of course heroes need to look heroic as well.

One thing I like to do a lot is mix elements of different characters. I  might do 10% of one character and 20% of another. I generally don't use base characters that are not modified in some way. I prefer to customize my characters to make them unique. That's how they are sort of created like a cake is created from a recipe. Of course, I like to keep them a secret.

Photo Credit: Image created by Bob Craypoe, also known as R. L. Crepeau.

Introduction to 3D Art and Animation

I am fairly new, at the time of this writing, at the whole 3D art and animation world. However, in the short time I have been doing it, I have acquired enough knowledge to give some tips to those thinking about getting into it but might not know where to start. So I can at least provide you with some of the basics.

There are numerous programs available that you could acquire in order to get started. There are very expensive programs as well as moderate and low cost programs. The expensive ones would include programs such as Autodesk's 3ds Max and Maya. Unfortunately, you are talking thousands of dollars to purchase either program. Fortunately, though, you may download trial versions that would allow you to use them for 30 days for free. If you feel you may be able to grasp onto it, then you may decide to make that big purchase. Those two programs are industry standard programs used in 3D animation and art.

Now let's talk about more affordable options. First of all, not everyone has the kind of money needed to purchase the high end, industry standard programs. So how do you get into it without going broke? One idea is to purchase the more affordable and more user friendly programs and become proficient at those before venturing into the more expensive and more difficult programs. I am referring to programs such as DAZ 3D, iClone, Poser, Bryce, Blender and Hexagon.

Reallusion's Iclone is probably the easiest 3d animation program to learn. It's not a high end program like 3ds Max or Maya though, so you won't be getting an animation job working for Disney but you can learn enough of the basic concepts that would make it easier for you to learn the high end programs later on, should you decide to try them. Even if the interface is different between all of these programs certain concepts learned in one can be applied in another. So iClone is a good place to start. It also has a great lip syncing feature that makes it easy to make your characters talk in sync with a wav file or with the text to speech feature that comes with the program.

Iclone includes basic characters that you could modify with different facial features, clothing, hair, etc. It also includes some motion capture (Mocap) files that can be applied (dragged and dropped) to a character that will animate that character with relative ease. There are also ways to modify the character's movement and make fine adjustments. You can get the professional version for under $200. there are also numerous add-ons you can purchase in order to increase your capabilities. Add-ons or additional content like clothing, scenery, characters, motion capture files and more. Many of the add-ons or content go by specific themes. You may find out more on Reallusion's website,

Then there is Smith Micro's Poser. Poser is great for creating 3D artwork and you can find online galleries consisting of submitted works done by its users. Some of it is quite impressive I must say. You can acquire Poser for under $200 from as well. You may want to check Amazon for any of the programs I mention because there are times when you can get them cheaper on Amazon that you could from the manufacturers' own websites. Poser will come with a lot of 3D models and has a site where you may purchase more content. You can check it all out at

DAZ 3D is another great program for 3D animation and art. The company was started by some people who worked for Poser. Everyone has their preference and there is a bit of rivalry between Daz and Poser users. Personally, I prefer Daz Studio myself. Daz's interface is not as friendly as iClone's but it does have better quality rendering for 3D art. If you just want to create 3D art, Daz would be a great place to start. Currently, Daz can be downloaded for free but there are add-ons that, once you see them, you would definitely want to purchase and that's where they really make their money. They allow you to download the program for free in the hopes you get hooked on it and start to purchase the many add-ons and additional content they offer and let me tell you, they offer a lot. Many more than iClone has available. I have to admit that learning Daz Studio can be quite frustrating because they don't offer the kind of detailed documentaton iClone or Poser does but once I started to learn it and purchased some of the amazing add-ons they offer, I was hooked. Some of the content available for purchase will work in both Daz and Poser, which is a big plus.

I also believe that the quality of characters you can create in Daz are a bit better than what you are capable of creating in iClone. However, iClone is much easier to animate characters in. One way to get the best of both worlds is to create a character in Daz Studio and convert it to an iClone character to be animated in iClone. In order to do that, though, you would have to purchase iClone 3DXchange Pro. 3Dxchange Pro allows you to convert the Genesis series of characters from Daz Studio into iClone avatars. 3DXchange Pro also allows you to convert props from Daz Studio and industry standard obj files into iClone's iProps format. 3DXchange Pro is also under $200. All 3 programs together would cost you under $400 at this time. But, just to get started, you could download Daz Studio for free and maybe purchase iClone.

Reallusion offers 14 day free trials of iClone and 3DXchange. I would recommend that you try iClone first because unless you learn that first, 3DXchange will be of very little use to you. I got started by trying the 14 day trial of iClone and fell in love the program so I actually bought the full version before the trial even ran out. Then I did a search for other programs to see what other 3D programs I could get started with. That's how I found Daz Studio. Then I came upon two other programs offered on the Daz website. Bryce and Hexagon. Bryce is a 3D program that allows you to create landscapes and backgrounds that you can import into the other 3D programs. It was available for free download at the time, as was Hexagon. Hexagon is a program that allows you to create 3D objects from scratch. I would recommend you try the easier programs first, although Hexagon does offer a 900 page pdf manual, just as Bryce does. I just wish Daz Studio offered the same.

Reallusion offers great pdf documentation for iClone and 3DXchange around 800 or 900 pages or so. You can find instructional videos for all of the programs mentioned on YouTube as well. You may also find help in the forums too, which I was able to acquire quick responses on a couple of occasions that were very helpful.

Blender is a free open source 3D program that is not as user friendly as the rest and about as difficult to become proficient at as the high end programs like Maya and 3ds Max. There are a lot of instructional books available for it though and you can even find the Dummies version. You may also find instructional DVD's on its website,

There are sites like and where you may purchase content for Poser and Daz Studio. Installation may be a bit tricky though. Sometimes you have to manually copy and paste the content into specific folders on your hard drive. If you copy them to the wrong folders they simply won't work. So you may want to just purchase your content or add-ons from the Daz and Poser sites at first, since they usually have automated installation programs for their content and should help you to avoid installation frustration. In Daz's case, you have to remember to install everything in the My Documents/Daz/3dStudio/My Library folder. Most of the time it will do that automatically but sometimes you are prompted to point to the installation directory. You may also need to run the installation programs in compatibility mode for Windows 7 if you are trying to install it on a Windows 8 system.

Many of these programs will use certain industry standard file formats which will allow you to import some items created in one program into another. For example, obj is one common file format. Some programs have their own proprietary file formats like iClone's iAvatar and iProps. When you start to work with these programs you will get a better understanding of which file formats are universal and which file formats are proprietary.

I could probably go one for quite a while but I think I've covered enough of the basics to help you get started. Just go to,,, and for more information. You should also check out some of the online galleries to see the quality of work these programs are capable of. So check it all out and good luck.

Below is the first video I created in iClone:

Photo Credit: Image created by Bob Craypoe, also known as R. L. Crepeau

Monday, November 3, 2014

Introduction to Fingerstyle Guitar

I have been playing guitar for decades now but I had actually started fingerpicking on the guitar in my second year of playing. Obviously, after doing it for so long, I have improved significantly. now I am a pretty good fingerstyle guitarist, if I do say so myself.

It all pretty much started when I saw my cousins tinker around with it and I decided that it was something I wanted to learn. In my first year of playing guitar, I just basically concentrated on learning the chords and the keys they were in. in my second year, I started to do some fingerpicking with those chords I learned. 

I also taught myself how to read music. So eventually, I accumulated the knowledge of all of the chords in their various keys, fingerstyle guitar and how to read music. I was on my way to becoming a pretty good musician.

One day, while flipping through the channels on the TV, I came across a flamenco guitarist and he was good. really good and I loved watching him. I told myself that I had to learn how to play like that. So I kind of incorporated some classical guitar and flamenco techniques into my playing. It worked out rather well for me overall. 

In the video I have included here, I explain the basics for anyone who may be interested in learning how to play fingerstyle guitar. I have also included a link to my website where I have some basic lessons to get you started, just in case you may be interested. You can go to I hope this interests you. 

Photo Credit: Image created by Bob Craypoe, also known as R. L. Crepeau.