Import into Blender version 1.2

After the import-daz add-on has been enabled, we can import the duf file into Blender. There are two ways to invoke the DAZ importer; either press the Import File button at the top of the Setup menu in the DAZ Runtime tab, or go to File > Import > DAZ Native (.duf, .dsf). Since we almost always need to do further work on the character in the Setup panel after it has been imported, I prefer to use the button.

A file selector window appears. Navigate to the file ana.duf which we saved in DAZ Studio, select it and press Import DAZ File.

 But before importing, consider the settings to the left.
  • Unit Scale: Factor to scale locations in the DAZ file, default 0.1. DAZ uses centimeters, so the scale 0.1 corresponds to decimeters, which make a typical character fit nicely in the Blender viewport.
  • Connect Bones:
  • Mesh Fitting: Method used for fitting meshes to morphs.
    • Unmorphed Shared: No mesh fitting and meshes are shared between objects. All shaping is ignored.This is useful to save space e.g. for environments with bushes and trees sharing the same foliage, which can be realized as many instances of a single mesh.
    • Unmorphed Unique: No mesh fitting and each objects has a unique instance of the mesh. All shaping is ignored. This is useful e.g. for a room with many posters and paintings which have the same underlying mesh but different textures.
    • Json File: Fit characters and clothes using basic data in the .json file that was exported from DAZ Studio. This is the preferred method to fit character meshes and therefore the default option.
    • Obj File: Fit characters and clothes using aWavefront .obj file that was exported from DAZ Studio. Deprecated.
    • Dae File: Fit characters and clothes using the Collada .dae file that was exported from DAZ Studio. Deprecated.
  • Color Choice: The color assigned to different materials. This only affects materials where the diffuse color is controlled by a texture, so only the viewport appearance is changed, not rendered images.
    • White: Use the colors defined in the DAZ file, almost always white.
    • Random: Assign random colors to materials, to easily see which faces are assigned to which material.
    • Guess: Guess a color depending on the material name. If the material describes skin (the material name contain words like arm, leg, face, torso or head) it is given the Skin Color defined below, otherwise it receives the Clothes Color.
    • Guess, Random: Skin materials receive the Skin Color, whereas other materials are assigned a random color.
  • Skin Color: The color assigned to skin materials.
  • Clothes Color: The color assigned to other materials. 
Press the Import DAZ File button, and after a short time Ana should be loaded into Blender.

There are a few things that can go wrong during export.

This error it means that the .json file needed for fitting the mesh is missing. The world-space coordinates for vertices and bones are stored in a .json file with the same name as the .duf file that we import. Since we are importing the file ana.duf, there must exist a file named ana.json in the same directory. To create this file, export the basic data as described in the export documentation.

A .duf file saved in DAZ Studio does not contain the actual data in the way that Wavefront object or Collada files do. Instead it contains links to various asset files in the DAZ libraries, and these assets can link to other asset files as well. In order to find the assets, the DAZ importer needs to know where the DAZ libraries are located. The importer makes a guess about this, but this guess may be wrong. If any of the guessed paths to the DAZ libraries do not exist, another error is issued.

The paths to the DAZ libraries are found in the Settings panel. Correct the paths and press Save Default Settings to make the change persistent. In the future the DAZ paths should be found automatically.

For more information about the DAZ library paths, see the documentation about the Settings panel and this blog post.

Here are four versions of Ana, imported with different Color Choice settings.

The Mesh Fitting options are better explained using another scene with two characters.

Here are two characters in DAZ Studio. The gorilla and the mafioso are both based on the original Genesis character, so the underlying mesh is the same. The result in Blender is very different depending on how meshes are fitted.

With the two Unmorphed options (Unmorphed Shared and Unmorphed Unique), the Genesis character is loaded without any modification. In the first case the characters also have the same gorilla texture because they share the same mesh, and in the second case the unique meshes have different textures. With Json File fitting, the result looks very similar to DAZ Studio.

There is one further important setting, apart from those in the import panel to the left: the render engine.The DAZ importer can create materials both for the Blender Internal renderer and for Cycles, and it chooses the same engine as Blender currently uses. The reason is that users presumably don't change render engine very often, so using the current one is probably the right choice.

Here we see Ana rendered with Blender Internal and Cycles, respectively. The high-lighted setting at the top determines which kind of materials are created by the importer. It is possible to convert materials to the other type of engine later, but some quality may be lost in that process, so it is best to make sure that the correct render engine in chosen from the outset.

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