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Surfaces Tab

Each figure and prop in your scene has at least one material group (or surface) assigned to it. Complex objects, such as DAZ figures, have many surfaces, giving you fine control over your figure’s appearance. The Surfaces tab allows you to specify material settings for every surface in your scene. In other words, it allows you to specify the appearance of each object. You can use the Surfaces tab to visualize almost any type of surface imaginable: skin, metal, glass, fiber, and more.

If you do not see the Surfaces tab, choose View > Tabs > Surfaces, and drag it to a location of your choosing. You can also leave the tab free-floating or move it to a second monitor to maximize your workspace.

Each figure or prop in your DAZ Studio scene has its own separate list of surfaces. Each surface in an object has a unique ID, and all of the polygons in an object are assigned to only one of those unique IDs. If there are multiple copies of the same object in your scene, each copy maintains its own separate list of surfaces, giving you more flexibility and finer control over the materials in your scene.


Sometimes the terminology about materials can be a bit confusing to beginners. The following should help clarify some of the terminology used throughout this manual:

  • Objects: The geometrical objects in your scene, which can include figures, props, lights, cameras, and other items.
  • Surfaces: The visible portions of an object. One object can have many different surfaces.
  • Materials: In DAZ Studio, a material consists of a collection of colors and/or texture maps that are combined to achieve a desired look. Color is only one of these surface properties; many objects use one or more maps that define other properties such as bumpiness, highlights, or opacity.
  • Shaders: Each material in your scene also has a shader attached to it, regardless of whether you use the advanced properties or not. Shaders (or programmable shaders) can consist of numerous channels that are often more advanced and offer more realistic results when compared to basic materials. Shaders are usually configured specifically for the render engine used in your 3D software. DAZ Studio uses the 3Delight rendering engine, which is RenderMan(R)-compliant and which supports programmable shaders. You can create basic or advanced shaders in the Surfaces Tab. When you render your scene, the rendering engine calculates all of the components in your materials to arrive at values for each channel. Then it calculates how each channel affects the final appearance of the object’s surface.
  • Texture Maps: Each material can also use one or more different types of texture maps that can enhance the color, bumpiness, shininess, and other additional properties of an image. Texture maps are a 2D representation of your 3D object, and are specific to the object for which they are made. You’ll learn more about the various types of texture maps when we explain the various types of material channels later in this chapter.
  • Layered Image File: File created using the Layered Image Editor and containing layered image information.

Click on the links below to learn more about the Surfaces tab: