When I started writing, I also really got into character creation and soon wanted visual representations of my characters. In addition, I was thinking of publishing, and since I didn’t have the funds to get a professional cover artist at the time (or even afford premade covers, which are a great budget alternative), I decided that I could totally make my own! I’m not sure how I stumbled upon DAZ Studio, but it’s perfect. I can create characters, scenes, everything I need. And when the DAZ store didn’t have what I wanted, I learned how to make my own characters and poses. To sell my products, I found Renderosity, an amazing store for DAZ products and also Poser, a different program similar to DAZ. Thanks to their wonderful support staff, I was up and running in no time.
As I created my own assets, I decided to do it in a more inclusive manner and created poses for couples in a more varied manner that includes LGBTQ+ couples in order to enrich and give people and creators options. All of my products are for sale on Renderosity and designed to be used with DAZ Studio, however they can be used in a variety of other applications such as Maya, Unreal Engine, and Unity.
Tools of Choice
When creating art and designing characters, I have a few programs that I use regularly and can recommend to others. I do devote money to my art, so these do require an investment (although DAZ Studio itself is free), but you can definitely get by with free or less expensive versions of these, and I’ve recommended some options on how not to spend a fortune! I’m not an affiliate of any of these programs, I just use and like them.
I do most of my work with DAZ Studio, a free 3d art application where I can use male and female character bases to design new characters. Most of my characters so far have been Genesis 8, though I have some Genesis 3 characters as well from when I first started, and with Genesis 9 now in the lineup, I expect to pivot there soon. However, most of my experience is with the Genesis 8 model in terms of sculpting and posing characters. I use a lot of features to sculpt the bodies of the base characters into forms that I want, and I also use this to create poses for characters, generally couples poses. In addition, I can add hair, clothing, accessories, settings, backgrounds, effects, and all sorts of other things. Some of my book covers are made using DAZ Studio, and it’s commonly used by professional cover artists. I’ll warn you, though, that while a set of base assets come free, anything else you’ll have to design yourself or buy.
After working with DAZ Studio, I use Photoshop for detail work! This image editing software is also where I create the skins for my characters, taking base skin sets and customizing and personalizing them to best fit the models I’ve designed using the other programs. Photoshop is sadly not free. In fact, it’s so expensive that unless you’re doing this professionally, you might want a different option. Luckily, I get the Adobe Creative Suite free from my university, so if you don’t mind getting a graduate degree and then getting a job at a university that offers this perk, it’s totally worth it! Yes, you can spend years of your life and dedicate your career to teaching… or you can buy it yourself. The choice is yours! And if you think Adobe isn’t worth devoting your life to a cause (very likely), I’ve heard GIMP is a great free alternative. I don’t have experience with it myself, but several of my friends use it and love it.
ZBrush is a 3d art program that I use to fine tune my sculpting of characters. It’s wonderful for this, but it’s very difficult to learn, at least for me, and I have a sheet of instructions for how to import/export characters and work with them in the program because I always forget and it’s not intuitive for me. However, it’s really, really good. You can also use this program for all sorts of other things, including sculpting from scratch, so it’s worth looking into a few tutorials to see the options and if you’d be interested in it. This is also one you have to pay for. You can pay a monthly fee or just buy the whole thing outright. What I usually do it basically what I do with Apple TV+: save up until I have a whole bunch to do, then buy a month, get it all done, and cancel. It’s also possible to get free trials, depending on what you’re using it for, so if you just want to play around and see what it can do, I recommend getting a trial!
In addition to creating assets, I also design my own artwork! Some of it is used for cover art for my books, which I make myself, but most is just for fun. Check out my Gallery for a small selection of my artwork!
Assets for DAZ Studio
I’ve been taking a break from designing art assets since the pandemic, partly because of continued technical issues (it never seems to end!) and partly because of limited time, but I absolutely love doing it. I have a couple of selections in the boxes below, but you can look through everything if you want! I’ve condensed a couple of categories into both Genesis 8 & 3, partially because most of my pose sets are for both, and in the case of the male characters, I just haven’t made many! I hope you’re able to look through and see what I’m up to in my spare time, and if you do decide to try out DAZ Studio or want to use Unity, Unreal Engine, or Maya, I hope you consider adding these to your assets library!
All art assets are designed for DAZ Studio and sold by Renderosity. I’m an affiliate of Renderosity, so if you’re going to buy, go through my links! But also be aware that I do profit so if you don’t want to help, go to the website on your own and search.