How to Install Content for DAZ Studio

So, you’ve read my article about getting started with 3D art and DAZ Studio, but you aren’t quite sure where to go from there. Content can be acquired a number of ways. Both DAZ 3D and Renderosity would prefer that you purchase your content, but you can get a number of free downloads from both sites. Anyway, finding content is one thing, but installing it is another. A lot of objects you’ll find were designed for Poser, a different 3D rendering program (content for Bryce and Carrara will not be compatible). While the files for Poser will work with DAZ Studio, it does require a slightly different installation method.

This is what you'll see when you open a content file that you downloaded from DAZ 3D. It changes somewhat with each version, but the basics are the same.
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This is what you'll see when you open a content file that you downloaded from DAZ 3D. It changes somewhat with each version, but the basics are the same.

EXE Installer File

If you're using DAZ Studio that is version 4.6 or higher, then you can use the install manager to download and install your content. If you're new to rendering, then this will be the easier option as it knows exactly where it needs to put everything. However, this only applies to content purchased through DAZ 3D's website and the manager is not compatible with older versions of the program. So, you may encounter the exe installer file. This was their old way of giving you content; you would download the exe and run it to add the files to the appropriate folders. This method can still be used (if you prefer it) through the downloads section of your DAZ 3D account.

Installing content from an exe file isn't much more difficult than the manager. Run the file (either from your browser when it finishes downloading or by double clicking on the file in your downloads folder). It will then launch a special ‘installer’ program that will take you through the process step by step. While you’re installing, be mindful of a few things. First, you might want to choose not to create an uninstall shortcut. The purpose of this is to allow you an easy uninstall method for that one piece of content which can be accessed in your start menu. However, in practice, you build up so many of these that your start menu becomes bloated and cumbersome. They're good to get rid of things you don't like, but you'll have to weigh that against the space they take up.

The second thing you want to consider is the file path of the installation. Usually this will default to the proper folders, but just double check it every time to make sure it is going to your DAZ content folder in program files. Oh, and if you're using Windows Vista it will keep asking whether or not to allow the installation to continue, it’s usually because there are added protections for .exe files. Don’t worry, it doesn’t mean the file has a virus. If you downloaded it from the DAZ website, it can be trusted. Follow the prompts and your installation is finished.

This is what the inside of your DAZ content folder looks like. It's in here where you will paste the 'runtime' folder from the zip folder you downloaded. It will automatically put all of its files into the DAZ runtime folder.
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This is what the inside of your DAZ content folder looks like. It's in here where you will paste the 'runtime' folder from the zip folder you downloaded. It will automatically put all of its files into the DAZ runtime folder.

ZIP File

Most other files you will find come in this format. Since you’ll probably be downloading a lot of free stuff from other sources, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with this one. You could go through the extraction process of ZIP folders, but I don’t trust it because often times the proper folder you need, isn’t the first one visible inside the zip folder, which means there is no guarantee that your content will go into the right place. Plus you tend to fill up your DAZ content folder with readme files and that can get annoying. So the method I’ve developed is the following:

1st- Locate your DAZ content folder. Generally it can be found by going to My Computer > Local C: > Program Files > DAZ > Studio > content. In the content folder you should see another folder called “runtime”. This is where you want to be. Don’t click on the runtime folder, just hang out there in the content folder for now.

2nd- Locate the content you want to install. It may have been saved to My Documents > Downloads, or maybe you saved it somewhere else. In either case, find it and open the zip file until you locate a “runtime” folder inside.

3rd- Select the runtime folder in the zipped file, then right-click and select copy. Then go back to the DAZ content folder and right click in any of the white space, then select paste. Windows will ask you if you want to replace the runtime folder already in there, say yes (you won’t lose any of your other files). Allow it to continue until it is finished.

And you’re done; now your content is available for use.

This is your content tab when using DAZ Studio. Notice how some of the things listed don't have names that represent what you just installed?
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This is your content tab when using DAZ Studio. Notice how some of the things listed don't have names that represent what you just installed?

Locating your new content

While this has nothing to do with installing content, I feel it is important to mention; the new file you installed might not be labeled the way you expect it to be. Often times products are listed in the content window based on their creator, not necessarily what the object was. So it may take some searching to actually locate what you just installed. (It's a good practice to take a quick glance through the folders in the original zip file so you know what names to look for.) And there will be many instances where something didn’t, or can’t, install properly. Usually this happens when you install content intended for older versions of DAZ Studio and Poser. I’ve found that it’s easier to just delete the prop, rather than try to find a way to get it to work. These are complex programs with lots of folders filled with content. Proceed at your own risk.

This is the message you'll get if you try to delete something while using DAZ Studio. It doesn't just remove it from the program, it will remove it from your computer as well, making it an effective method for 'uninstalling' content.
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This is the message you'll get if you try to delete something while using DAZ Studio. It doesn't just remove it from the program, it will remove it from your computer as well, making it an effective method for 'uninstalling' content.

Uninstalling Content

The best ways to uninstall content are by using the install manager or the uninstall link in your start menu. If you don't have either of those, then you’ll need to physically go into the DAZ folder to delete what you don’t want. Basically just head back into the content folder and start looking around. You may have to reference the original Zip file (if you still have it) to see exactly what was installed. You can also delete something from within DAZ Studio by right clicking the object and going to ‘delete’. It will prompt you with a dialogue box that asks if you want to delete the file. In this instance you could delete as you go, rather than needing to hunt it down in the DAZ folder. Be mindful not to delete things that you don’t know the purpose of. Many objects and figures have multiple pieces and if you delete any one of them it will cause the overall content not to work. So, try to stick with things you are certain you don’t need. Also be aware that some deleted content may still appear in your content window.

A few links where you can download free content:

Renderosity
Select “free stuff” from the menu along the top of the page. It requires a membership, but signing up is also free.

DAZ 3D
Select “3D models” from the menu along the top of the page, then “free models” from the menu on the left side of the page. It requires a membership, but signing up is also free.

Most Digital Creations
Membership not required to download free content.

 Last updated on January 6, 2014

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Comments 18 comments

vaibhav 3 years ago

what is daz studio 3 serial number


M. T. Dremer profile image

M. T. Dremer 3 years ago from United States Hub Author

vaibhav - Make sure you're downloading the free version of DAZ Studio. It's been a long time since I installed my version, but if it's asking for a serial number there might be an option to let it connect to the internet and assign you one (each one is going to be different). If there is no option to connect to the internet you may have to check out the DAZ help forums. I don't remember the process being very complicated, but I can't think of it off the top of my head.


moshe 3 years ago

I don't understand, why only explain for pc. So what about mac users?...


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M. T. Dremer 3 years ago from United States Hub Author

moshe - Unfortunately I only own a PC and have only ever used DAZ Studio on a PC, so I'm unfamiliar with the process for a mac. I would recommend asking in the forums at www.daz3d.com or www.renderosity.com. Both consist of very experienced users who would be more than willing to help. Sorry I couldn't provide more information.


greg DeWizard 3 years ago

If you go to your member page you can find a catigory titled serial numbers. click on it and it will display the serial numbers of whatever products you have downloaded from daz that needs one. even the free daz studio download requires one


M. T. Dremer profile image

M. T. Dremer 3 years ago from United States Hub Author

greg DeWizard - It's been so long since I downloaded and installed DAZ Studio that I completely forgot about this. Thanks for the direction!


Rae 2 years ago

I've tried looking for the runtime folder in my Daz. Daz recently allowed people to download their full product for free as a promotion thing. I did. I have Windows 7. And I'm having trouble finding the runtime folder in the Daz Studio folder. Though when I try and search for Daz, then studio, then content, I find content management, but not content. Help!


M. T. Dremer profile image

M. T. Dremer 2 years ago from United States Hub Author

Rae - I will admit, I'm not as familiar with DAZ Studio 4 as I am with 3, but there are a few things you can try. First, I noticed that there are two folders in program files now. One is called "DAZ" and the other is called "DAZ 3D". If you can't find the runtime folder in one, try the other. It's also possible that it doesn't show up in search results because you haven't installed anything yet. Try creating a new folder in the content folder and name it 'Runtime', then just install your content into that folder. If it doesn't show up when you load DAZ Studio, then I think there is an option on the content tab that says something about locating similar files, and then you would just direct it to your new runtime folder. If none of that works, however, you could try asking around on DAZ's website forums, or on the Renderosity forums. It sounds like a common problem and those would be the most likely users to have the answer. Thanks for the comment!


Mag1ckkk 2 years ago

I cannot find answers to my questions. I just spent $10 on V4 stuff and cannot find any answer from people or knowledge base to move V4 to my Poser 7 so I can use it. The files I bought do not work on Daz3d. It sounds like a catch 22 to me

I have been using computers since they invented them, well almost...so I am not a newby, but all these files are driving me nutz. Please tell me a nice clean straightforward way to transfer V4 to Poser 7. Thanks....

I am using Poser 7, DAZ3d studio 4, and Win 7


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M. T. Dremer 2 years ago from United States Hub Author

Mag1ckkk - Unfortunately, I'm not familiar with any version of Poser and the edition of DAZ Studio this article was written about was DS3. Having said that, after you install the .exe file (or unzip the compressed file into the proper directory) it should show up in the program. If it doesn't, you can tell the program (possibly in the file menu) to manually search for relevant content in the directory where you installed it. It is also possible that the content is installed, but it isn't easily visible in the content tab. As I started to learn DS4, I noticed that locating and loading figures was a slightly different process. It took me a while to find all of my old content so that I could start using it. If that doesn't help, I recommend the forums at renderosity.com. Since it isn't owned by DAZ, you'll find a larger community of users who are familiar with Poser.


jestmart 23 months ago

This tut has two major mistakes. One, never assume the default location is correct. The default was the default at the time the installer was created and for the program and version number most likely to be in use. Two, never put user data in the Program Files folder. Past versions of Windows may have allowed but it was never intended by MicroSoft. Since Vista and later MicroSoft has made the Program Files folders system folders that are protected by UAC.


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M. T. Dremer 23 months ago from United States Hub Author

jestmart - I generally don't assume that the default location is correct, which is why I suggested to double check it each time one installs content. As you pointed out, new versions of DAZ Studio and Poser won't necessarily mesh well with old content, so a greater awareness of how these folders work is the user's best weapon.

As for putting data in the program files folder, I've discovered no other ways to accomplish it for non-professional props. Many free-to-download items do not come with a proper installer and the only way to use them is to manually copy them into the DAZ runtime folder. I'm not suggesting there isn't an alternative method, this is just the only one that I know of and it's worked out well for me so far. But, granted, much of this article was written with out-of-date programs in mind (DS 3, Windows Vista, and older content exe files.)


devon 17 months ago

this program is a mess


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M. T. Dremer 17 months ago from United States Hub Author

devon - Keep in mind, this guide was designed for DAZ Studio 3.0, so parts of it might be outdated now. But, in general, DAZ Studio just takes some getting used to. I've heard that most 3D artists prefer Poser, but this one is the only free alternative that I know of. I've used it for years and, once I got the hang of it, I've found it more than capable to do what I want it to do.


Unknown Noob 17 months ago

I found my runtime folder when I was looking for it under my document -- Daz 3D library -- Runtime

instead of under "Studio" like most people mention.

Of course, when i was looking for content folder under C: drive, I didn't see that either, you know sometime Free stuff isn't all that FREE, it's free because they are throwing it away!!


M. T. Dremer profile image

M. T. Dremer 17 months ago from United States Hub Author

Unknown Noob - It's possible that DAZ changed the location of the Runtime folder. This article was written for DS3, which was several versions ago. But, hopefully, they still have the same names, so one can search for them.

Free stuff can be touch and go. Some of my most frequently used props and outfits have been free downloads, but the vast majority of it is outdated or low quality. Most of the time it's because people are learning the ropes and post their earlier attempts for free (while charging for the new stuff). Or they post free costumes of famous characters because selling them would be copywrite infringement. With some digging, a few newsletters and some patience, good freebies can be discovered. Thanks for the comment!


Mark 13 months ago

I fallowed the directions but 4.6 seems to hate all new files not from Daz.

Super suck.


M. T. Dremer profile image

M. T. Dremer 13 months ago from United States Hub Author

Mark - It's possible they relocated the Runtime folder. If you can locate that then you should be able to extract non-daz files into their proper places.

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