Ok so like everyone else I also downloaded Dawn when the site worked again. I checked her out relatively thoroughly. I feel a little better talking about Dawn now that I've actually seen her.
Wanna know what I think about Dawn?
As far as standard 3D figures go, in my experience, eh... I don't know. Despite having been critical about it, I was expecting her to be marginally to moderately better than V4, rig and mesh wize, but I cannot really say that now. Granted, much is good, but there are some vital points that throw me off completely. In my most humblest opinion, based on my brief experience as a morph / figure / 3D developer:
Shoulder, neck, torso, knee, foot, hand, toe control
scaling is very good
front profile face is ok
elbow not too bad, slightly odd from the bottom.
Cons (in order of seriousness):
thigh pivot is completely shit
zero definition of crotch polys (worse than V4)
shoulder and upper arm size is enormous, she's like a quarterback, a forklift
she's not as generic as V4
Cons (that can be morphed away I suppose):
side profile face
typical unrealistic bubblebutt
I don't like the expressions at all
ass groove maintained when bending the thigh
Stuff like the face and butt can be adjusted, so that's just a question of patience I suppose.
Ok shoulders, a matter of taste? Maybe. What I liked about V4 is that she's skinny and generic. In my experience with Lali's Bits, this is useful for adding fat to it, it works better with the rig than to remove volume from it. With Dawn the first thing I'd do is remove those aircraft-carrier type shoulders and arms, but that will not look pretty with morphing in my experience. Spaces will emerge where you'd expect fat rolls. Dawn is already very defined, too defined to be flexible. This will cause issues, unless the scaling can solve then, but I'd have to research that properly.
Now the biggest problem is the thigh pivot location IMO. As I bent the thigh for the first time I seriously said 'wow, what the hell...?' I immediately noticed that something was way off. The leg seemed to get shorter as it bent upwards. I used the joint editor to check the pivot location and yes, it is almost down to the level of the pubic bone. Why? I think they did that to minimize the shearing in that area, now that might show that maybe they are thinking about us perves, which is good, but what a lousy way to solve it. Animating will look very weird. Maybe some of you won't notice it, but I work with this every week almost, and it doesn't feel right. In any case, the idea of ignoring true anatomical correctness doesn't make me feel comfortable.
And off course the crotch. No hope for detailed sex with dawn, even if I lodge a prop in there, you'd still have to subdivide her once or twice to get some decent labia going (and forget about anal sex) EDIT: One mention of her smile. It is downright ridiculous! There isn't even a crease that goes up to her nostril. Check Lali's picture here to see what I mean. I don't know of people that don't have that in a full smile. I find it inexcusable that experienced developers fail to make a proper smile for something that has been so thoroughly marketed. Why do these guys always fail at these simple things? So I think it will speak for itself that I will not bother with Dawn again. Because IMO Dawn is not better than V4, especially not with all the fixes available for V4... and definitely not better than my customized V4, the Lali System. There is no point in migrating to Dawn, IMO, unless I'd be emotionally bored of V4 or something. Even Genesis would be a more sensible move, if it weren't for the DAZ-limiting technology behind it. Sure, I can wait and build her up towards something better, but I'm happy with the Lali System and it can do just about anything I want from it. Project E will hopefully be even more so. There's no point for me to redo everything from scratch for a new figure if my V4 works just fine for now. I was expecting much more from Dawn to be honest.
For the record, I don't wanna come across as just bashing Dawn or DAZ because of unwillingness to change. If I am to change, then I'll do it properly. Its just that I've been asked to do bits for Dawn (and Genesis) several times and feel the need to explain why I'm not going to do it, I almost feel bad because of it, especially to the people that have invested money and time in me with Lali's Bits. I get very tired at the thought of lagging behind DAZ's (and now Hivewire's) sexless creations every time they come out with one, no matter how well they've been designed. So I'd rather make my own figure and kill a few birds with one stone for myself (and maybe the 3DX community if I do it right).
But anyway I've got an extra background figure for free. I'm kind of relieved with my findings, because it was bugging me a bit more that I wanted to admit. So anyway, thanks Hivewire, but now I'm definitely off to continue Project E with a bit more confidence now... (now just watch me fuck something up hahaha)