My artwork often calls for figures from mythology or fantasy, or for anthropomorphic characters that combine animal and Human characteristics. This tutorial shows how I used DAZ Studio, by itself, to combine the DAZ Mil Horse and Victoria 3 figures into a single poseable Centaur figure for use in my renders. The resulting figure is NOT seamless. It may require some position tweaking and post-work after you pose it to make it look just right. But it produces some surprisingly nice results.
In these examples, I used the Victoria 3 base figure, without any head or body morphs. If you have the morph add-ons, by all means use them to achieve a better fit. But you don't have to have them. I've also used this technique with Michael 3, with good results.
On the DAZ Mil Horse, I used the default build and body shape. You can, of course, play with the morphs on the horse as well to get a more pleasing result.
All of the illustrations in this tutorial have no post work, other than scaling them for use here.
Open a new scene, and add the DAZ Millennium Horse and Victoria 3. Texture both the horse and Victoria as you see fit, and add hair to Victoria. I tried to choose a hair style that was close to the horse's mane and tail for color and texture. If you're doing a female Centaur, don't forget to select the 'Mare' setting on your horse! You don't need to pose them, and in fact, it's best to leave them in their default poses, and just shift Vicky's X position to one side, so that the figures don't overlap.
If you plan to apply morphs to change Victoria's or the horse's body shape, do this now. I wouldn't put any clothes on the Human part that cover more than a halter top at this stage, since you'll want to see the body as you set up the figure.
The horse is too large in proportion to Victoria. So we will reduce the size of the horse to 80%. Use your own artistic judgment for this ratio, depending on the figures you are merging and how you have morphed them. You want the horse's chest to be about the same width as the Human's hips. This ratio will also put her head only slightly taller than a normal V3 figure once she is a centaur.
Next, we will make the horse's neck stand up straight, and make the horses head and Vicky's legs invisible.
Do an 'Expand All' in the Scene palette.
In the Scene palette, highlight Neck 1. In the Parameters palette, set Bend = -40, .
In the Scene palette, highlight Neck 2. In the Parameters palette, set Bend = -13, .
In the Scene palette, highlight from 'Neck 3' to 'R Ear' on the horse, selecting all the parts of the head and the uppermost neck section. In the Parameters palette, click on the 'Visible' button to set it to 'Off'.
In the Scene palette, highlight both of Victoria's legs, from thigh to toes. In the Parameters palette, click on the 'Visible' button to set it to 'Off'.
Don't worry, Vicky. You'll get new legs in a moment. Four of them.
A classic centaur shows the Human part's navel just above where it merges with the horse's chest. We're going to angle Victoria's hips and buttocks back somewhat, to get that to submerge into the chest. The horses neck will get scaled smaller front to back, so it fits inside Vicky's chest and abdomen, and merges with her back.
The exact settings you need here are a matter of trial and error, depending on your figures and morphs available. But what we need to do is to adjust the scale and position of Victoria's hips and abdomen and of the horse's neck so that the two figures seem to merge into one. Here's a starting point:
Neck 1 yScale = 80%
Neck 2 yScale = 60%
Hip xrot = 15
Abdomen Bend = -15%
Right Buttock Bend = 30
Left Buttock Bend = 30
Select the Victoria 3 figure, and move it so that she overlaps the horse's neck. You want to position Victoria so her navel is about in line with the horse's spine, and flush with the front of his neck. (The horse is translucent here, so you can see how she fits within it.)
So now, Victoria is a Centaur. Almost. Right now, if you posed the horse, the Centaur falls apart. You need to parent the Human portion to the horse's neck, so it moves as one figure.
In the Scene palette, collapse anything you don't need to see, and set it up so you can see the V3 figure's main entry, and the horse's 'Neck 1' part. Make sure that 'Parent Items in Place' is checked in the options for the Scene palette (Small triangle in the upper right of the palette).
Then drag Victoria's main Scene entry to the horse's 'Neck 1' entry in the Scene palette. This should parent Victoria to the neck, making her items list between Neck 1 and Neck 2 on the horse.
I renamed the horse's main entry to 'Centaur Female', and I named the human part 'Centaur Girl Half'. I also renamed the clothing she was wearing, to indicate it's hers.
Now, save this scene, to merge later into your scenes that need a Centaur figure. I have a folder in my DAZ Studio content area for completed character figures that I have created, and I use the Scene palette's 'Save As' button to save them there for easy re-use.
And here is your finished Centaur!
Your Centaur girl is now ready to use. Create a scene around her, or add her saved file to an existing scene. Pose the horse part first, then pose Victoria.
When you pose the horse, Victoria's body will move with the neck. You may need to readjust the horse's Neck 1 and Neck 2 parts to get it right.
When you pose Victoria, beware that some pre-set poses apply an offset to the position of the figure itself, or to the figure's hips. This can cause the figure's upper body to pop out of place. If this happens, do an 'undo'. and note the current position information for Victoria 3 and her hips. Then re-apply the pose, and re-set the position information from the earlier settings. this should put her back together again.
Here's a render done with the figure we just built. There is no post-work here. It's all DAZ Studio. (For how to do the dappled shadows in the sunlight, check my Shadows tutorial).