esha2011b Poser versus DS

Which Software Should I Use?

Poser or DAZ Studio?

That is quite a difficult question. Both programs have their fans, and both have their own distinctive look and feel with all advantages and disadvantages that go with it.

Until recently the biggest differences between the two programs were the different handling of materials, dynamic clothing (which is included in Poser and needs a special plugin and file format for DS) and dynamic hair (which DS doesn’t have at all). Most of the products available used to work in both programs, apart from light sets, special materials, and dynamic items.

With the most recent developments in this industry the gap between Poser and DS has widened. Both programs have introduced weight mapping, and the developers have chosen different paths to do this. Both had valid reasons to do what they did, and the result is that both programs now have their own distinctive functionality.

Personally, I like both and choose one or the other depending on what works best for my current project.
I have tried to set up a comparative chart of the features of both programs. This list is not exhaustive, I’ve included those features that seem important to me; doubtless there are some things missing that other people will consider important.
If you’d like some feature included in this list please let me know: Send mail
Also if you can provide information about the animation features of Poser and/or DS please let me know; I don’t do animation at all so I can’t compare them.


Poser versus DAZ Studio: A comparison

General Features:

My personal opinion is that Poser gives me more control over my files than DS. I never know what the DS content management process is actually doing in the background, it seems to link files and prepare them for further use but there is no clear documentation about this process. You can install DS without the content management system but then several things will not work, as it obviously does more than just managing the files.

On the other hand DS gives you a bit more control over your workflow. You can add and rearrange menu entries, define hotkeys etc. which can be very handy.



DAZ Studio


Poser 8 and 9 are 32bit only. Poser Pro 2012 and 2012 are both for 32bit and for 64bit Windows/Mac (the Mac version is reported to be a bit quirky)

DS 4.5 Pro is available both for 32bit and for 64bit Windows/Mac (the Mac version is reported to be a bit quirky)


German and French versions available
(but can create problems with 3rd party python scripts)

English only

Pen Support

If tablet mode is switched on also the mouse behaves like a pen (no dragging beyond the window boundaries)

Better than in Poser IMO. Pen and mouse work as they should.


The library shows the content as it is in your folders.

DS runs a content management process in the background. You can either use folders or virtual categories in the library.


Different rooms for different tasks, you can arrange the tool palettes to your liking (docked or floating)

You can arrange the tool palettes to your liking, you can also set up different “rooms” but you don’t have to


You can set hotkeys for Python scripts
Change interface colors via a workaround

Fully customizable menus and hotkeys
Different themes and layouts available

Item Handling

You can select only one item at a time;
possible workaround via python scripts

You can select and edit several items at the same time

Inverse Kinematics

Yes (for hands and feet)



You can turn most objects into dynamic cloth, for clothing or other draperies; no special plugins required. Clothes can usually be adapted to work with many different figures.

You can grow dynamic strand-based hair practically on everything.

Dynamic clothing plugin included, but you can only use pre-made clothing. If you want to create your own dynamic clothing you have to enter a contract with the Optitex company.

No dynamic hair. There is a new plugin to grow hair but it is not dynamic.

Morph Distribution

Poser supports the very handy pmd file format to distribute morphs without passing on parts of the original geometry. pmd files inject the morphs directly into the figure/object without needing a pre-existing channel.

DS doesn’t officially support the pmd format. There are 3rd-party plugins for the older versions but none yet for the current DS 4.5


Figure Handling:

Old figures and props can be used as usual in both the new Poser and the new DS.
The differences are notable where it comes to the new weight mapping system.

DAZ has introduced a new figure called Genesis which is rather a new software platform than a new figure.
For details about Genesis see further down.

Poser 9 (and higher)

DAZ Studio 4.5
(and higher)

Old products still work

Old products still work

incompatible with DS weight mapping

incompatible with Poser weight mapping

Genesis needs the DSON importer, not all features can be transferred.

Genesis figure is part of DS4, all features work.

Clothing must fit perfectly

The smoothing modifier fixes imperfect fits

Old clothing needs a new setup to work with new Poser figures.

Old clothing can be converted quite easily to Genesis, but with restrictions (wide clothing, shoes, additional body parts or handles don’t work well, sometimes morphs are lost)

A selection of WM figures for Poser is already available, e.g. AntoniaWM, Anastasia, V4WM, Michelle

Genesis is currently the only human figure that uses the DS weight maps, but it has many morphs to change its looks.


Poser Figures and Clothing Compared to Genesis and Genesis Clothing:

This is a rather difficult comparison because Genesis is linked so tightly to DS that it’s hard to tell if a feature is part of the figure or part of the software.

Poser Figures


Separate figures for man, woman, child, alien etc.

One figure with many shapes

Grouped geometry files (in .obj format)

Ungrouped geometry files (saved as .dsf)

Geometry in final resolution

Geometry in low resolution, subdivision happens in  the software (for Genesis; clothes usually load with final resolution)

INJ system for morphs: load only what you need. Usually morphs are grouped.

All installed morphs are always available. Having a lot of morphs makes the software sluggish. Morphs can be difficult to find in the long list despite grouping.

Morphs have to be made for a specific figure, are usually not transferrable

Since Genesis is the base of all human figures, all morphs are compatible with all shapes

Figures have to be loaded with the final UV set

UVs can be changed on the fly

Clothing can use additional bones for manual movement control

Additional bones can be used but may create problems with certain shapes.

Clothing morphs have to be added by the clothing creator, using additional tools

Clothing morphs can be provided by the clothing creator but can also be auto-generated by DS (not always perfect)



Personally I find Poser lights easier to handle. The controls are easier to access and there are many possibilities for using Indirect Light. Here DS has still to catch up IMO.


DAZ Studio

Indirect lighting

Indirect lighting has to be faked

Make objects glow and use them as light sources

With Uber-Area shaders

Image-based light as light type

With Uber-Environment plugin

Render an extra layer with the shadows only

Can be done, but it’s not as easy as in Poser

Apply textures (gels) to lights



Special atmospheric & light effects by camera and shader settings


Material Handling:

One of Poser’s strong points is certainly the material room. While it is not exactly self-explaining, it is well-documented and very customizable. DAZ Studio’s material options are more limited. It does offer the shader mixer but it seems nobody knows how to use it. Here the biggest problem is lack of documentation.


DAZ Studio

Material Room (with documentation) for setup of simple and complex materials

Surface Tab for standard materials, Shader Mixer (practically undocumented) for special effects

Practically all parameters can be controlled

Many, but not all, parameters can be controlled in the Shader Mixer

Use different material settings on the same material zones by using masks

Masks can be used to a certain extent but not as universally as in Poser

All Poser materials get the same handling

Shaders created in the Shader Mixer don’t always work on all objects and need special handling

Save materials as matposes, single materials or material collections (which all work differently)

Different file formats, but same functionality for all

Poser can’t read DS materials

DS can read some parameters of Poser matposes

Older Poser versions can read new material files (new features are simply ignored, the rest works)

Older DS versions can’t read new material files


Can create presets to change only one single material component

A Poser material will work for all Poser users

Some shaders require the purchase of special plugins, so not all users can use all DS shaders



In the past Poser has been significantly faster when rendering a scene than DS. With the new DS versions the 3Delight render engine has become faster so there isn’t much speed difference between the two programs now.


DAZ Studio

Firefly render engine

3Delight render engine

Network rendering

Network rendering only with limitations

Background rendering


Poser automatically saves a given number of renders (customizable). The renders are still available after a restart and can be saved to any folder.

DS stores a given number of renders (customizable) but they are gone after a restart. If saved to a folder they are still available, but DS creates additional icon files for all scene files and all renders.

Features like IDL, SSS, Displacement, polygon smoothing etc. can be switched on and off globally in the render settings.


Render shadows on an otherwise invisible ground plane (very handy when using background pictures)




Here I need your help. I don’t do animation at all, and without any experience I can’t do a comparison.
If you would like to help me with a list of the animation features in Poser and DS please contact me:
Send mail

Content Creation:

This is DAZ Studio’s strong point. Its content creation tools seem to me more refined, more elegant and easier to use than Poser’s tools. Previously you had to purchase the (expensive) content creation tools for DS separately, but now they are included with the free Pro version.


DAZ Studio

Create new bones by drawing them in

Create the bones via menu and place them with the mouse


Different selection modes for polys


Hide poly selections to work on underlying parts

Weight map painting by vertex color

Weight map painting by poly color


Set up ERC links by drag and drop

valueOpKey feature for precise JCM control

--- (read yes, create no)

Mixed rigging (weight maps for some body parts and traditional rigging for others) is possible.




Both programs are good. In my personal opinion DS is perfect for people who like the software to do things for them automatically. Poser is probably more geared towards people who like tinkering to achieve the one particular effect they are looking for.
I feel that, as an artist, Poser gives me more possibilities to be creative, more artistic freedom. This is largely due to the dynamic features, the light options and the possibilities of the material room. As a content creator, however, I feel that DS gives me the superior tools and makes things easier for me.

So, I use and need both, and if you’ve only used Poser or DS so far I hope that I have made you a bit curious now about the other so you might give it a try and discover a new range of possibilities.

Happy rendering!


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