Well now, I almost got my ass handed to me over at Renderosity for being a tad critical of Hivewire3D's new figure, Dawn. Luckily I managed to close of some of the discussion in a peaceful way with 'the Great Uncle LROG' before the thread was closed. Unfortunately I couldn't respond to some of the other comments that were made. I kindof felt like a atheist evolutionary biologist attending a Christian fundamentalist mass... man they really love Dawn already (and she's really not that amazing).
There were complaints that we should've started earlier during the development process with our arguments about genitals. Well, the thing is the lack of genitals was expected, and therefore almost not even worth bitching about. I waited like everyone else to see how the figure worked and moved. Those were my primary comments. The genital thing I could've left out actually, but I also didn't know about the polycount down there. Reports were conflicting from before the release. So all-in-all I thought it was best to wait until I saw it for myself. At the end of the day, 9 August was a day of presenting a product, and it is only fair to be critical about it when they're finished, or not?
So about these genitals, much discussion was about why they never integrate them. LROG said it was their choice, and they have the right to it. Yeah, that's true, but don't forget that these are the guys that kindof pave the road for the 3D community, or which part of that community is the 3DX community.
They do kindof force certain parts of the community in certain ways. We'd mostly think in terms of opportunities in that case, but I don't know if that's always a good thing though. Again some poor vendor has to unfuck a barren 3D figure. Sure its good money for the vendor in the end, but not all vendors are that good, and not all vendors feel like having to unfuck every dolly that comes out. Users will again have to spend hundreds of dollars until they get something that works nicely with the model. Apparently Karina's and Lali's props have been tested for Dawn and somehow seems doable (although I doubt it would look good), so in this instance it might not be as bad. But the idea is that we are again presented with a choice: make it yourself? wait? lag behind? do without? stick with V4?
How much do you want a female 3D figure with integrated genitals?
So anyway, the stage gets set by these companies that don't wanna get associated with explicit sex. One dude over at Renderosity said that my art is pornographic. Call me stupid but I never really made that association! For me it is just art; naughty, fun, sexy art. Can I live with that label? hm, sure, but porno means something else to me: senseless fucking with no story, amusement or emotion with very bad actors. I don't really feel that I am making porno.
So basically these companies don't wanna get associated with the pornographic possibilities of the 3D figures they make, and that's why they persistently refuse to integrate genitals for them.
Labels, associations, gaahh!! Nothing gets taken for its true value anymore; as soon as they see a cute chick flaunting her bits, its porno and nothing else! And yet in the master bedrooms of most family households, the wife and the husband get up to all kinds of mischief, while the kids sleep across the hall. An that is not porno? When they take innocent pictures, is that porno? Pff. The scenes of Jim fucking Lali are my representation of a bubbly chick being very naughty with her boss, somewhat innocent, but somewhat cunning. there is intent behind the whole scene. Where the porno in that?
Accepting the bullshit
Anyway, no use arguing. Some people think my work is downright senseless porn, even if I disagree. Therefore we can probably also not blame DAZ and Hivewire3D for being worried to be labelled so aggressively like that. So I guess we can forgive them for not making pussy. But seriously, outside of the genital thing, Dawn is really not that amazing! Aaah. I can get so annoyed with that, this silly hype! Sure, I agree, it was about bloody time someone came with a new decent
figure for Poser, but preferably something that was a significant improvement over the existing norm. Dawn is not that figure!
Anyway, in general these hypes are so annoying. Seriously, if I come out with project E and people will say its amazing, I will be grateful, but still sceptical. Stuff is bound to go wrong and people are bound to disagree with choices I've made. For example, I'm wanna step away from that square style of UV mapping and go rectangular. I'm sure there's some technical reason why that is a problem, but I yet have to hear it. Until then, I'm just going ahead with it. Dawn's biggest fuck-up (and I mean FUCK-UP) is the location of the thigh pivot. That just cannot be good, to deviate from anatomical correctness in a 3D model that is supposed to replicate a human. Hmm.
Stop bitching Ero...
So anyway, on conclusion, nobody is really making anything good nowadays, just the same old stuff with minor improvements here and there. I admit I've been very sceptical of Genesis, but it is actually very innovative of DAZ. The idea is good, and it seems to give nice results at times. But there are also many issues with it, as many DAZ folks themselves will admit, and obviously, no pussy, and Poser users don't even bother with it, DSON being the absolute worst invention in the world.
So what to do?
Yes yes I've semi-announced it several times, but I was always a little hesitant (because I've never done this before!! aah). But now I feel even more motivated to make my own fucking figure! It is inevitable. That's what it comes to, because they cannot get over their unwillingness to associate themselves with PORNO therefore some poor bastard in Africa has to sort it out. In one way I find the idea very relieving because now I get to call the shots, and trust me, I'm not going to be anal about bundles and merchandise and suck you dry for all your cash. But in the other way I find it annoying that I'm going to have to spend time to make something that much more experienced people could probably make in a week, but are to chicken to do it.
Luckily I've got quite some fellas supporting me, some in high places! I also might have some people helping out with the development of parts of the mesh and textures even. Enough beta-testers obviously haha (if I haven't replied yet, thanks!).
Comics to guide me
So can I do this? Errrmmm, yeah I think I can, but it will take time. I don't wanna be in a hurry and make crap though. I'll stick to my primary motivation that I need a nicely working figure for my comics, and they will be developed within the context of comics. So you will see a few comics emerge before it will come out. It basically guarantees the usefulness of it, and that it is fit enough for use in a comic That should be a good standard, right? Off course I cannot guarantee that I'll cater for everyone, but since Lali's Bits, I think I've got a rough idea of what people really really want.
Where am I?
Well I started a few months ago, under the guidance of an experienced dude in the scene. He is very motivated and also well connected to make things happen, marketing-wise. I actually made two meshes already, but the first one was all triangles hahaha. OOPS. That's how beginner I was. But it was a very nice mesh! Anyway, I went on to educate myself with some tutorials and instruction videos about figure-making and working with quads. And a better mesh resulted.
It is a slender, and rather featureless base mesh. The reason I do that is because of something I like to call 'fat-on-bones' rigging. So when you add fat or 'volume' to the mesh, the folding between the limbs will have the tendency to squeeze together more naturally than if you'd do with a more defined mesh. Lali's pudgy build on the V4 base mesh is an example of how it works. So once I had the base mesh sorted out, off course I spent a full month farting around with various areas of the mesh, adding polys here, removing polys there... manually. And obviously the symmetry went all out of whack. But finally I do have a mesh that is very symmetrical, 100% quad, and seems to bend fine.
It is definitely as hiRes as V4, and together with her genitals, she's even higher. Don't let this frighten you. Remember that on top of your V4 you add a prop with all those polygons. Now it is integrated, and therefore more efficient. But I will also try to provide versions without genitals, or a very minimal one, to minimize the polycount, for like background figures. You can also just hide it, and the render time will be just as effective, in my experience. In my opinion DAZ and Hivewire3D should've given these options, but no, it takes some bugger in Africa to come with such flexibility.
Too good to be true?
Scared to get your hopes up? Yeah me too, but I can guarantee that it will be made. Whether it will be good enough to cater for your artistic needs, that we'll have to see. For me it will be good, obviously, because I'm the one developing it. So chances are you'll be happy with it. I must warn you I have 3 powerful computers to work with, two dedicated renderers. So I might neigh towards a figure that does need a decent PC to work properly. But most likely not more drastic than our regular V4. I don't wanna kill my workflow either.
You'll see Lali's head on a few of these images, that is because I literally transplanted a V4 head onto Project E's torso. I wanted to make a script that would swap the heads of these figures for those that done wanna let go of their favourite V4 characters. I managed, but only manually. The neck polygroup seemed to cause a problem because the bordering faces didn't match up properly with each other. So not sure if I can pull that off.
I already started dicking round with JCMs but they still need a lot of work, and some need redoing. I might have to reshape the base mesh to make the JCMs work properly. The eventual figure will be weight mapped, but only at the last moment. Legacy zones provide the mathematical linearity that is useful for some morphing tricks.
Although I am not 100% sure, I'll most likely rig Project E in DS due to their rigging tools, and because apparently DS can export Poser WM. The programming of the dependencies will happen in Poser though. I hope to make it compatible with DS 4.x series and Poser 7 thru 10. DS3? hmm, I just don't know it. Matthacker over at Affect3D had some useful tips for that but I'll need to recap on his advice.
Ok that's it for now.
Here are some more screenshots of the development so far.