Okay, they aren’t truly and irrevocably permanent, of course, but as of right now, they are not the “weekly freebie” or some other explicitly-fleeting type of promotion.
There is (as of right now, again) an easy way to see them all listed:
So, if you’re just starting out, it makes sense to load up your cart with all of them… or maybe not. Let’s look at them more closely.
First, the EmotiGuy pops up for me: http://www.daz3d.com/people/emotiguy – it’s a nice neat standalone toon figure. Not a bad asset to have.
Then, there are four Dystopia City Blocks products, but unless you are a LightWave user, you only need those two labeled “Poser”:
These are models best suited for background use. They also come with a skydome that you might later find yourself using over and over again (I know I still do, the skyline just has that “noir” look no other sets seem to match).
A couple of props from the same series are also free:
http://www.daz3d.com/people/dystopian-console-station – what it says on the tin, some sort of a computer console
http://www.daz3d.com/people/dystopia-kruger-mk-15 – a steampunk-ish kind of SF gun.
Those Dystopia items have been free for years, same as this “Russian Egg” thing:
http://www.daz3d.com/people/breast-cancer-research-russian-egg – it’s called “Breast Cancer Research” because it invites you to donate to charity. Other than that, it’s an interesting little prop. It’s probably called “Russian” because it was supposed to be a Fabergé egg, and these are probably a “very Russian thing” in the minds of Western designers, I don’t know (FYI: I am Russian, y’know, like, a real legit citizen of Russia, and, well, these are not the eggs we immediately associate with our culture here…)
But there are newer additions, too.
Two sets of clothing for the Generation4 figures –
http://www.daz3d.com/people/basicwear-for-v4-unimesh – underwear/swimsuit for females
http://www.daz3d.com/people/basicwear-for-m4 – underwear/sports clothing for males
– are meant to be used with the AutoFit tutorials (M4 and V4 to G2M and G2F), but even though the tutorials are free, the actual support files for autofitting Gen4 clothing to G2 are not. However, the first generation of Genesis should also come free with DS itself, and it can accept Gen4 clothing by default. So, grab these two sets and practice – fortunately, AutoFit is fairly intuitive to use. Or you could start with autofitting Genesis clothing to G2M and G2F according to these tutorials:
G2M and G2F are “flagship” base figures these days, and to promote them further, DAZ3D include a very generous offer among their freebies:
http://www.daz3d.com/people/slaying-the-dragon-bundle (this one also includes “Dagger Dreams”)
These are “interactive lessons” each coming with a load of content: props, clothing and hair for the G2 figures. I have not bothered to actually go through the lessons – but those may also turn out to be useful for a complete beginner.
http://www.daz3d.com/people/create-fiery-genesis-in-daz-studio – this may or may not be the same tutorial that is included with DS (I’m sorry, these got me confused); I actually have two “Fiery Genesis” tutorials, and I’m not too fond of either’s “educational value”; however, if there is any extra content, that’s always a good thing to have.
There is also a whole load of free Dreamlight tutorials for beginners (I won’t link to them separately because there’s too many of them) – which are quite nice and teach you useful skills and modes of thinking, if you don’t mind watching videos instead of reading.
Speaking of free tutorials, this (written) one by Zigraphix is essential, I believe:
It will show you the basic steps towards using Shader Mixer in your scenes. Of course, Shader Mixer is not the be-all end-all when it comes to custom 3Delight shaders (learning RSL and doing your own real shaders via Shader _Builder_ can make your life much easier), but it’s still a very nice tool to understand, particularly when you’re not after anything truly complex but need stuff that not every commercially available real shader will provide (like Fresnel).
And there is also a few ready-made materials, very cute!
Another useful freebie would be this:
It’s a free version of the full “real fur and hair” plugin. This one will only let you render presets that others make, like those found here:
Alright, that basically wraps things up. Don’t bother with anything that says “Bryce” in the title (unless you also have Bryce, DAZ’s landscape generator), with “GoZ” unless you have ZBrush, or “DSON Importer” unless you have Poser. DAZ Studio beta and SDK are also probably not much of beginner-friendly material, either. Then there are freebies which are add-ons to commercial products and will not do anything by themselves, like the BioLight ones, the Griffin Wings or the aniBlocks for Solar system.
And AoA’s Subsurface Shader base is already included with DS. It’s a giant Shader Mixer network that many people these days swear by. I am a huge fan of AoA, but even though I acknowledge the amazing amount of work that went into this network, I am not the one to advise anyone to use it. I find Tofusan’s ShaderMixer freebie to be much more user-friendly:
As of today (21 Sept 2014), there are three more standalone freebies which are also fairly awesome, but these may be part of some larger promotion and expire any time: