Making Great 3D Art on a Budget

How to Make a Lot from a Little
Three renders that prove you can make amazing art that’s easy on the budget and your system

One of the most difficult things about 3D Art is that the tools that you need to make it can get pretty pricey, pretty quickly. Advanced processing and graphics cards don’t come too cheap, and neither does a huge library of awesome content to work with.

But that doesn’t mean that you can’t make awesome renders while still keeping your costs down — with Daz Studio and the right idea, you don’t need scores of 3D Models or a world-class processor to make your artwork look amazing. Today we’re going to look at three awesome renders that are easy on the budget, and, because they have focus and a great idea behind them, are easy on your hardware as well.


Cuppa Mouse
by azoohouse

Why is it awesome?

Cuppa Mouse features Mouse by AM standing in a tea cup. The attention to detail gives the mouse a cute expression, and paws that grasp the sides of the tea cup. A few post-work sparkles give the image a subtle air of fantasy or magic, and the background uses colors from the teacup for composition.

It makes us think about fantasy scenes in classic movies, a wizard having a cuppa with his little assistant, or that maybe we should think about inviting mice to afternoon tea.

How is it easy on your system and the budget?

Cuppa Mouse features just two 3D Models. They are small — a tea cup, and a mouse — and the closeup on them allows all of the detail they come with to be the main focus of the image. The background is dynamic and mildly interesting, but serves to support the main focus, and so doesn’t have to be some extravagant (or pricey) HDRI, nor does it have to be full of detail.

Combine two small models, Studio’s built-in cameras and lighting, and a well-executed plan for a cohesive image, and you have a render that looks great without taxing your wallet.


Dragon Cave
by RawArt

Why is it awesome?

Dragon Cave has a female figure sitting on a dragon’s head in a dark forest (or cave, or grotto). The driving force of this image is Herschel Hoffmeyer’s Wyvern and a single impeccably posed figure. The tenderness in the pose of the female figure implies an unlikely friendship between the two, and the dramatic lighting makes her the central focus of the image. So that while the background informs the genre of the image, it doesn’t have to be full of highly detailed plants, rocks, or other environment props.

This image is evocative and intimate. There’s a clear kinship between the female figure and dragon — they’re comfortable with one another, which makes an intriguing mix between human beauty and what some would call a monster, or beast.

How is it easy on your system and the budget?

While Dragon Cave features more than two models, each is impeccably chosen. The female character, a single-layer outfit, and the dragon are the central focus. Those environment details that place us in a dark environment with a few plants and large forms (either a stalactite or tree behind the figures, a rock and a root in the foreground) have been carefully selected, and because they’re somewhat out of focus they still inform the photo, but aren’t necessarily HD models or props.

Work with what you already have! Making creative uses out of 3D Assets you’d had for a while is a great way to use your existing library (including the Freebies you get when you sign up for Studio), like a specialized pose set you used in another render.

If His Gaze Could Meet My Eyes…
by Lagaches 2080

Why is it awesome?

This portrait seems like a still from a movie in the early years of film. A female figure based off of Lyra HD for Genesis 8 Female addresses the camera directly, with the photo-realistic Zarah Hair for Genesis 3 & 8 Female(s) and her favorites from DressUp Collection Outfits and Poses for Genesis 8 Female. There’s an intriguing complexity to her expression, and her eyes and outfit have been smartly coordinated not only to contrast with her lips but to drive a few small instances of color against a portrait-style gray background.

This figure is elegant and confident, and dressed with embellishments that suggest this was a special occasion, either for an evening out or for a photo-shoot designed to capture her at her best.

How is it easy on your system and the budget?

The figure in If His Gaze combines a Daz Character, Hair, and an Outfit. While it takes a lot of work to find those character/hair/outfit combinations that come together so neatly, as well as lots of planning to coordinate colors, angles, the camera, and careful tweaking of poses to push realism as much as possible, this render proves you can make a lasting image from a single dressed character. And portraits almost always have a neutral background, so the figure can be the focus of the image.

Excellent planning and careful tweaking of small details are what make images provoking, realistic, and successful. With Genesis 3 and 8, you can morph, tweak, and combine characters until you have a unique creation for your artwork. What can you do with your favorite character, an outfit, and hair?

Plan your scenes in advance, and grab the main character/figure/focus while it’s on sale!

The best tip for rendering without a super-advanced graphics system is keeping your renders focused and planned. Amazing images don’t have to be bogged down by tons of 3D Models — they just need focus, a great idea, and planning behind them. If you keep an eye on the Daz Shop, then you can grab that main character, figure, environment, or other 3D Asset while it’s on sale.

That way, you’ll have a new 3D Model to play with, the rest of your library to add small but meaningful support to the main focus, and (before too long!) an image that’s awesome, all without breaking the bank or asking too much of your CPU or GPU.

Have fun creating!

  • Tom Slofkosky says:

    Each of these are stunning and in their own ways too. The image used as the title scene is by aborsuk_94acbad1bc who often imports 3D objects from other websites that offer free 3D content such as sketchfab. This can be a great way to augment the tremendous Daz3D content when on a budget as well.

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