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Images for eLearning

So you need a host for your eLearning course but don’t have time to set up a photo shoot?

We have all, at one time or another, have been low on images for eLearning. And it seems when we are in the heat of development, our boss or client asks for a 3D image immediately, rather than in a week. That is when you say to yourself, “An eLearning Template Library or a Medical Template Library would sure be handy right now.” But let’s say you just need one 3D host to finish the course. What would you do?

I know what you are thinking, “I have no experience with 3D. I am not a 3D artist.” The truth is, you don’t have to be an expert to do 3D. Let me take you step by step to show you how I got the 3D image above.

CAUTION: Just a little bit of warning. On Daz 3D’s website, some 3D models show a lot of skin.

This tutorial will go over the basics. You can use any model you wish to follow along. I am using Michael that comes with the default installation of the software.

Download and Install Daz 3D

First, Download Daz 3D and install the DAZ Install Manager. This is free 3D software. I suggest choosing the following add-ons:

  • DAZ Studio 4.6
  • Default Lights and Shaders for DAZ Studio
  • Genesis 2 Male Starter Essentials
  • Genesis 2 Male Starter Essentials PoserCF
  • Genesis Starter Essentials PoserCF
  • Michael 3.0 Base
  • And anything else you might think is necessary


Get Familiar With the Interface

Get ready for a crash course on how to use the interface.


Open up the file.

Move your mouse to the menu that says, “People” select the second option, Mike 3. If you get a Dialog box that says, “Preset Exceeds Limits,” select “Turn Limits off.”

WARNING: The default model has no clothes. Let’s put clothes on Mike. Now, head over to Presets and select Wet Suit Short. Yay! Now he has clothes.

Images for eLearning

To move the camera view around, click and drag the main icon (a cube with circles around it) in the top right corner. Here is a video example below.


panTool Also, there is the pan tool. Click and drag the one that has four arrows moving away from the dot. There are other icons around that you can experiment with as well.

littleManIcon Select your model and look for this icon. Click on the little man icon. Make sure there is limited rotation, or you will rotate into something that isn’t pretty. This will prevent bending joints in unnatural ways.

Explore the Mouse Over Tools

Try moving your mouse over various joints. There are many ways to move things around, so be careful. To rotate the joints we can do it three different ways:

  1. Click on a joint. You should see an icon that has blue, green, and red arrows pointing in various ways. Move your mouse over until you see a rotation yellow line. Rotate by grabbing and pulling that line.
  2. For this way, click on the end joint you want to move. Click and drag that hand in the spot you want. Be careful, the gizmo (the arrowed icon) can change not only the location and rotation, but also the size.
  3. Click on parameters and rotate the number sliders. Make sure you select the joint you want to move before playing with the sliders.

Make sure to move and rotate the camera to see from different angles. It may look good in one view but terrible in another.

Fine Tuning Your 3D Model

Here are more videos going through the steps needed to get to the final product. The video below shows me moving the characters feet from the default position into a standing position.

First make sure you are selecting the correct joints. I almost exclusively use the parameters way of moving joints in the final video. Fingers are really efficient otherwise. For the most part, you will use twist or bend. Make sure you have the joint selected and not the base model. You will see me messing up from time to time. I also demonstrate using the pan tool here:

Final Touches With Lighting

You can play with these lighting settings if you wish to get something more realistic. Using the default render settings make it seem somewhat lifeless. The images below show you how light can help make things look better.

Images for eLearning

Try adding a light by the “Create Menu” on the top. I used the “Distant Light” option since it doesn’t matter where the model is at on the screen.

How to Render Your New Image

Once you are happy with the pose and lighting. Now, head over to the render menu in the top middle. Use the default render and press the green render buttons on the left.

Images for eLearning

Your render by default will be in your documents folder in the following path. DAZ 3D\Studio\Render Library.

I saved my image as Avatar.png. If there is a lot of empty space around the avatar, you can go to your favorite photo editing program and crop out the empty space.

Final Thoughts

Using 3D is exciting, and you don’t have to be an expert to do basic 3D modeling.

If you are just using this as a placeholder, or if you are using it as the final image, 3D can be a fast way to spice up your course. How have you used 3D in your eLearning? Would you like to see more 3D tutorials? Share you comments below.


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