Now that you have the basic models you may have noticed they look a little.. blah. the skin looks plastic and fake, the figures are basic and not very expressive in themselves, you need to inject a little reality. while photorealism isn’t completely necessary for a figure reference, I find it helps to create the best reference possible. here are some basic things you can use to make your model more realistic.
Textures. textures are what bring the models to life. the same basic female model can look thousands of different ways just by adding different textures. the word texture is a bit of a misnomer – it’s the skin or fabric you place over your model so that it looks right. Bump maps are what cause actual texture, the pores in the skin, raised moles and so on. they often come with characters. textures are of no use whatsoever without the models but are incredibly powerful in themselves.
Characters: characters are the only thing that sometimes need a purchased component. they are a usually bundle of face and body morphs for your model to create a whole new shape. to apply the morphs you need to have the morph packs installed which unfortunately do cost money (keep an eye for them on sale! – I got a vicky 4 bundle with the morphs and characters for $20!) but are not critical. you can apply character packs without morphs to get the texture and bump benefits and makeup that is often included. there may be some slight figure and face alterations but you wont get the same face and body effects. I often work with Victoria 3 characters without the morphs and have no problems at all. My weakness is for characters, I tend to buy quite a few when they are on sale.
free faces for victoria 3 by Aery Soul (no morph packs required)
Verity Character by Tuulia
Sarra for v3
French Girl Maria for v3
Unique Faces for V3 (does not require morphs)
v3 Custom Morphpack (does not require morphs)
Renderosity freebie characters
Shaders. Shaders affect how the light reacts with the model. light hits different surfaces and bounces off them in different ways. Metal reacts differently to skin. different metals reflect and bounce light in different ways. different parts of the skin react in different ways. shaders allow you to make those distinctions instead of treating everything like plastic.
Poses. in the most basic meaning, pose files position your model. however in Daz, pose files are also used to affect your model in some way. this may be as simple as posing her or it may be a file that automatically adds the texture or makeup or changes the color. a lot rides on pose files and they exist for automating these processes. this is important to know because of the way the content is sorted. you will find most of your files under poses. luckily now you can sort your content out in the most logical way for you
you can also download free lights, cameras, backgrounds and more. lights are predetermined lighting settings that can enhance your piece. they use color and intensity and sometimes several different sets of lights to create a certain mood or effect. Lighting is such a big part of what makes Daz the perfect medium for life drawing reference that I will cover it in depth later.