I see a lot of new DAZ3D artists on Facebook often struggling with installing content "manually," whether the content is downloaded from Renderosity, Renderotica, CgBytes, Renderhub, DeviantArt, or wherever.
And really, it’s not that hard. 🙂
Here’s what I recommend. These instructions are for Windows users because at this point using a Mac and DAZ 3D is an exercise in abject masochism since Apple hates Nvidia. But I’m a former Mac user myself, and the concepts are the same. Just make sure you don’t use Finder!
These instructions also work if you’re manually downloading content from DAZ3D.com and don’t want to use DAZ Install Manager for whatever reason.
First, create yourself a "Work" folder in your Downloads folder, or wherever you normally download your DAZ3D ZIPs into.
Next, if you don’t already have this I recommend using 7-Zip to work with your downloaded files. 7-zip is a free and open-source archiver utility for Windows. You can download 7-Zip from Ninite (as well as a bunch of other useful utilities).
Mac users I recommend you use The Unarchiver. It’s free and open-source too but the instructions are going to be slightly different.
So let’s begin. 🙂 Let’s use a real world example. For me, my user partition is on Drive G: and my 3D drive is on Drive D:. My home directory is also on Drive G: but it really doesn’t matter!
I purchased some files from Renderosity and Renderotica. Here’s how I install them into my Content Library!
First select all the ZIPs that you want to extract (I’ve blocked out the names of the files I purchased for privacy reasons):
Next, right-click on the lot of ZIPs that you’ve selected and select 7-Zip -> Extract files… in the Right-Contect-Menu.
Note, if you don’t see 7-Zip listed in your Explorer’s Right-Context-Menu this means that 7-Zip is not properly installed. If you just installed it, you may need to logout and then log back into your computer (or reboot).
When you do this, 7-Zip will launch:
We want to change the Extract to: section to properly reflect where we want to extract our ZIP files, and for us it’s going to be in that new "Work" folder we created earlier:
Key thing to remember here is that you want to extract the ZIPs into a work folder, and that you absolutely do NOT want to extract the ZIPs either directly into your DAZ 3D Content folder, or into your Downloads folder (or other places you might have 3D content). Not yet at least!
At this point 7-Zip is going to go through and start extracting your ZIPs and files.
When it’s done, open up your Work folder in Explorer. You should see something like this:
But we can’t do anything with this! At least not yet.
You see, different vendors and different PAs like to package their ZIPs in different ways. We need to spend 2 or 3 minutes and fix the folders that are inevitably going to be b0rked no matter where you download your content from.
It’s like every vendor and every PA has their own standard, and none of them agree with one another! Some even have folders in different languages other than English (and vice-versa) so you’ll need to correct that too (if you’re using the English version of DAZ obviously).
This is not a dig on the DAZ vendors and PAs! Just a fact of life unfortunately.
First things first, what the hell do all of these folders mean anyway?! Well, let’s take a look! (These are my definitions so they may not be 100% canon).
- data — Main DAZ Studio "data" directory that contains the object geometries, morphs, and scripts required to make a product function.
- Documentation — The main DAZ Studio documentation folder. This folder isn’t exposed in the application but this is where 99% of all readmes and other files go that purchase or download. I throw some other stuff in here too as I’ll explain in a second.
- Documents — Some vendors put there documentation here. This just creates extra folders. We’ll take care of this in a second.
- EndUserLicense.txt — Does anybody read this?
- My Library — And this is why we give the extracted ZIPs and their folders a once-over first. Some vendors add a "My Library" top-level folder to their ZIPs. This is superfluous. But they do. Now ve must deal vit it!
- People — DAZ Studio’s Content Library folder for humanoid characters.
- Props — DAZ Studio’s Content Library folder for props and other inanimate objects.
- Runtime — The quasi Studio/ Poser folder. This one is special. Read on and don’t mess with this!
- Templates — Some vendors put the UV templates for their products here. I always move them into Documentation.
- templates Cyber corner — Specific vendor UV template folder. I will move this into Documentation.
- templates Cyber Gateway Set for DS4 — Specific vendor UV template folder. I will move this into Documentation.
So let’s take a look in some of those other directories!
- My Library
- templates Cyber corner
- templates Cyber Gateway Set for DS4
Notice how we have a duplicate "data," "Props," and "Runtime" folder above under "My Library"? You’ll also routinely see "Content" or "My Content" at the top-level too with duplicate Content Library folders.
You need to move those additional "data," "Props," and "Runtime" folders up one-level so they’re right under "Work".
This is where Explorer really comes in handy because all you need to do is select the (3) folders, and type
^C on your keyboard to Copy those folders.
WARNING FOR MAC USERS! Do NOT under any circumstances use Finder to "Copy" and "Paste" folders in and out of your DAZ Studio Content Libraries!
macOS and Windows are fundamentally different in this one respect!
Windows Explorer will merge folders when you copy & paste them.
The macOS Finder will overwrite any folder that you copy a folder and paste into. The net-effect is that you’ll wipe-out and destroy your DAZ 3D Content Library if you use the macOS Finder to manage your Content Library manually.
You can use an alternative like PathFinder (which is an AWESOME Finder replacement by the way) or use The Unarchiver but you’ll need to extract each ZIP into your Content Library directly, and I recommend you make a BACKUP of your Library folder before you do anything.
The alternative is to use a Windows or Linux VM and use the Windows Explorer or Linux File Manager to manage your folders.
Or you may want to look into installing Webmin on your Mac. Webmin provides a web interface for managing Unix boxes (hate to break this to you but your Mac runs Unix) and part of that includes a web-based File Manager that does operate like one would expect when copying & pasting folders. Caveat emptor. YMMV. YAYOR. Don’t ask me for support.
Once you’ve got the folders copied, navigate up to the top "Work" folder and paste those suckers in.
At this point Explorer will ask you if you want to merge the folders and potentially overwrite any files that may already exist in the destination.
You’ll generally want to say "Yes" here and answer those prompts in the affirmative. Especially if you’re downloading updates to products you’ve purchased.
In the 23 years I’ve been working with Poser and DAZ Studio I have never encountered a situation where overwriting any existing files has resulted in anything bad happening. Not doing so and you run the risk of breaking the installed product. It’s as simple as that.
So let’s take a look at our folders again:
Not much has changed except now those three folders we copied from out of My Library are highlighted since we pasted them back up one level.
Next I’m going to take take the extra documents out of Documents and move them into Documentation, and move those three Template folders at the bottom into Documentation as well:
^X to cut!
Notice how the three folders are now dimmed? That’s because we’re CUT’ing the folders (not copy’ing). And we’re going to PASTE those folders in under Documentation:
^V to paste.
And now the new folders are there. So when we go back up one level:
We see they’re now gone.
Let’s see what’s in Documents and move those files out:
Just one file.
^X to cut, followed by moving up one folder, moving into the Documentation folder, and then a
^V to paste:
And there it is at the bottom.
You might also see a ReadMe folder or ReadMe’s folder. I’ll move whatever is in those folders into Documentation as well just to keep things neat and tidy.
Let’s take a look in the People folder. This is one you want to pay attention to.
If you haven’t done so, delve into each of these folders to learn what you’re installing and where the products all.
Unless the content you’re installing comes with metadata, it simply will not show up in the Smart Content tab in DAZ Studio. You’ll have to dig through, or search to find whatever you’re looking for so now’s a good time to become familiar with what you’re about to install.
Smart Content metadata is stored in [\Library\Runtime\Support\] and I’ll go over this in a separate post.
But, play close attention to the spelling! Not every vendor speaks English as a first (or even second) language and if the spelling is screwed up here it WILL cause problems with you trying to find (and load) your content!
Also, I’ve seen some products with extra spaces in the folder names so watch out for that too.
If everything looks good let’s move on to Props:
These are the top-level folders in your Props Content Library. Most vendors and PAs usually put their vendor name at this level, and the actual product or prop item one level below.
Just like with the People, it’s a good idea to dig through here and familiarize yourself with what you purchased or downloaded and where everything is located.
So now let’s take a look at the Runtime folder:
The Runtime folder is a holdover from the days of Poser, and it’s a required folder for DAZ Studio to operate correctly. Don’t fuck with this folder, and don’t mess with anything in it.
If you are a Poser user, I want you to forget everything you know about Poser for a second and put yourself in a DAZ Studio mind.
Let’s look at the folders:
- Geometries — Original Poser figure and prop geometry. Contains OBJ files. Also used by DAZ Studio for cross-platform products, props, and other items. Don’t mess with this folder but if you’re looking for the raw OBJ file for something, chances are it’s under here.
- libraries — The original Poser "Libraries" folder. Don’t get this confused when I write "Library". When I write "Library" I’m referring to the DAZ Studio "My DAZ 3D Library" (or whatever you’ve decided to name it!) This "libraries" folder is strictly used by Poser and DAZ doesn’t do anything with it. BUT DON’T DELETE IT! There are probably references and links to files embedded in the DAZ Studio products you’ve purchased or this folder wouldn’t be here.
- Support — The DAZ Studio Smart Content metadata folder. This is the real mamajama. Inside this folder are the metadata files for every product you’ve purchased and installed from DAZ and any that a 3rd party vendor or PA has produced. Not every 3rd party vendor makes metadata for their products which SUCKS monkey balls, but making metadata for products is a royal pain in the ass. But some vendors do, and you’ll grow to love the one’s that do. 🙂
- textures — Texture files for your DAZ/Poser cross-platform props and figures. Still used by DAZ even if you don’t have Poser installed. Don’t delete anything out of here or your products will break. 🙂
Up until this point the principles I’ve outlined here apply whether you have all your content in one content library, or you have different content libraries for various uses. You know which type of DAZ Studio user you are. 🙂 And I’m not going to debate one system over another. Both have their merits, strengths, and weaknesses.
Now at this point you’re wondering, how the hell do I get my content out of my Work folder and into DAZ Studio?
Cut & Paste.
I’d delete the My Library folder first (or simply not select it) since there’s nothing in it. Same for Documents. Remember? We moved everything out of there!
Let’s cut those selected folders with a
Again, notice how the five folders selected are now dimmed? That’s because they’ve now been CUT to my clipboard.
Where you ultimately paste these folders depends on you.
My DAZ 3D Library is at the root of my D: drive:
So I’m going to go into My DAZ 3D Library in Explorer…
^V Paste the folders in.
I can’t really show you what this looks like because frankly I’ve got too much crap in my "My DAZ 3D Library" folder. 🙂 But you’ll see the folders there.
And Windows will most likely prompt you to overwrite some files that may already exist.
Do yourself a favor and say "Yes" when it does this. 🙂
Hope this helps!
I took the liberty of asking my Facebook friends for a list of third-party and alternate DAZ 3D sites where folks can purchase and/ or download content. If you happen to think of any new one’s, please feel free to add them as a comment below!
Legit sites to purchase/ download DAZ Studio Content (not warez!)
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of these vendors and the links below in no way constitute my endorsement or recommendation. These are not affiliate links. I get nothing from your patronage to any of them. Caveat emptor. If an offer seems too good to be true it probably is!
- DAZ 3D
- Renderotica (nsfw)
- Sympatico Digital Designs
- Synful Minds
- DeviantArt (search for daz3d)
- Fantasies Realm
- Vanishing Point
- For Render
- Most Digital Creations
If you have any additional sites you’d like to add please add them in the comments. Thanks!