[Tutorial] Creating Dialed Projection Morphs

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A dialed projection morph is one that you can dial into the character's body and have it only show up in the clothes they wear, not the character themselves.  This tutorial was requested.  Please feel free to leave questions and I'll do my best to answer them and/or edit the tutorial to be clearer.

This is the method I used to create the Female Clothing Smoothers.  I am not concerned about sharing it because it's quite a bit of work to get it working correctly; this I consider an "advanced" tutorial.  You need to already know how to use modeling software and Morph Loader Pro in DS before you even think about trying this.

You will need:

Modeling software, and intimate knowledge of how to use its sculpting and modeling features; I use Blender.

DAZ Studio 4.6 or later.  You should have loaded a morph at least once at some point using Morph Loader Pro.

A TriAx weight-mapped figure that you plan to use this with (Genesis 1 or 2, DAZ Horse 2, etc.; no Poser figure, no Generation 4).


Workup steps:

Dial in the morph you want to support.  You can only do one body morph at a time, so if you want to do this for a dialed character preset you will need to create a single FBM of it or else do projections for all of the smaller body morphs involved. 

Set mesh resolution to 0 subdivision and base in the Parameters panel.  Make sure there are no scaling or translations applied; for this reason always use the Full Body dial if in G2, never the one from People (which includes scaling and the face morph, which we don't want in this case).

Export to obj.

Import to your modeling software.  Make sure you keep vertex order, whatever that setting is in your modeler. 

Duplicate the imported body morph, and if possible set the material one you're not going to sculpt to bright red or another color that will easily show through.  You will use the red one as a reference to ensure you don't get too far off the base shape and make clothes "hover" off the body.

Sculpt the non-red one and smooth it out to form the shape you want to transmit into your clothing by bridging the breasts, etc.  You may need to drag individual verts in the waist area to reduce and eliminate distortion there, because Autoconform will create "wavy" waistbands and belts and/or a pinch in the back center area.  You will also want to expand slightly to keep from clipping too much with the underlying red one as you do this, although you don't need to completely hover over it, because that pushes clothing out too far.

When you've got a good initial sculpt, export to obj again.  Make sure the name ends in _proj, as in FitnessMorphHelper_proj; do not use the full name of an actual morph that exists because that will cause saving issues later (you can't call it FBMFitnessSize_proj, you need to use FBMFitnessSizeHelper_proj instead, for instance).

Setting Up The Morph:

Go back to DAZ studio and your dialed-in morph.  With the figure selected, start Morph Loader Pro.  Load the morph you exported, put it into a proper group name (for e.g. Actor/Full Body/Projection Morphs) and turn on Reverse Deformations.  Click Accept.

At the present moment, if you dial in your morph to 100% you should see the changes you made appear on the figure.  This is a good time to put clothing on the figure and see if your morph has the intended effect on clothes, looking for unwanted waistband distortion and so on. 

If you're not getting the result you want, dial the projection morph to 0 and then go back and tweak in your modeler.  To reload the morph make sure you have "deltas only" checked at the bottom of Morph Loader Pro, and reverse deformations still on (your figure should have the morph you're fixing ON but the inadequate projection morph OFF at this time).

I usually work through a few versions getting the projection morph just right.

Once the effect on clothes is the one you want to see, you're ready to freeze ERC and save.  Dial everything but your _proj morph to 0. 

Set Parameters Tab to edit mode (right-click in the tab to access this option).

Right-click on the _proj morph and choose ERC Freeze.

Uncheck anything other than the _proj morph that is checked.  Choose Create Property.

Now in the name boxes in the dialog that appears, give the property the same name but without _proj; if your projection is named FBMFitnessHelper_proj, this dummy morph should be named FBMFitnessHelper.

Click the Auto Follow button below that to turn it on.  This is important.  Also check Create As Empty Morph.

Now click Ok, and Accept again.

Now you have both the actual projection, named something _proj, and a controller morph without _proj on the end under the same heading.  You can give the controller a different label in the Parameters options if you wish, calling it Helper Morph instead of FBMHelperMorph, as long as the real "name" is the same as that of the projection minus _proj.  You can test that the ERC was properly frozen by dialing the controller and seeing if the _proj morph dials with it.

Now save your two morphs, the projection and its controller.  Make sure you put in your screen name as the vendor name and a logical product name, because you will need to go find it next.

Delete the character from the viewport in DAZ Studio. 

Go to the data/DAZ 3D/ folder in your DAZ3D library.  Find the character morphs folder you saved to.  In Genesis 2 Female, for instance, it will be data/DAZ 3D/Genesis 2/Female/Morphs/YourVendorName/TheProductNameYouUsed. 

Now this is important.  You need to duplicate that folder in the Projection Morphs folder, which is found at the same level as Morphs.  So if your folder is in Genesis 2/Female/Morphs/YourName/YourProduct, you must create Genesis 2/Female/Projection Morphs/YourName/YourProduct.

Cut the _proj morph from the Morphs/etc. folder and paste it into the Projection Morphs/etc. identical folder.

Now in DAZ Studio, reload your character from the library, and dial in the controller morph (the _proj morph should no longer be visible).  It won't do anything to the character, but when you put clothes on, the projection morph's changes should appear in the clothes.

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Never do the ERC freeze step until you have tested the _proj morph's effect on clothes as stated earlier in the tutorial.  You can't overwrite the frozen _proj morph once you've done the cut/paste step, so you will have to delete and completely redo both projection and controller if you decide you don't like it after that point.
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Catalyst3D's avatar

Thank you so much. I just released my 1st character at DAZ (standard pretty girl), and I'm about to submit my first HD one (eeeek), who is a slightly overweight male. I'm not sure if I need a projection morph, but I definitely didn't know how to make one. This is extremely helpful.


Also, thanks for your Character Creation Tutorial, it got me though MCMs on the first one.

:)