After much speculation since the first hint of Genesis 2 and Victoria 6 on the 13th of June the release has finally happened. Users are just as divided between the excited, neutral and angry camps as it was during the week long silent build up. Well played DAZ3D. They knew the product would be controversial, as just about everything they do seems to be, and the effect was they didn’t have to do a shred of promotion other than dropping a clanger in the store and springing an image rich, detail deficit teaser thread on their PC forum. Word spread fast and speculation ran at fevered pitch.
So, in the light of a new day as the dust begins to settle all those questions have been laid to rest. Genesis 2 comes as two base meshes; Genesis 2 Female (released), and Genesis 2 Male (presumably – yet to be released). While Victoria 6 is a purchase item the base mesh is available for free (Genesis 2 Female Starter Essentials) and can be downloaded via the DAZ 3D Install Manager or via the site from the Product Library.
For many, the move to separate male and female meshes is a backwards step. Genesis was about flexibility and universal morphing. The argument put forward for the split is that this allows for greater levels of gender specific detail that weren’t possible in a unisex mesh. I think this is a reasonable compromise. Future characters such as The Girl 5 and Freak 6 can be made from a mesh specifically designed for their gender, and we won’t have to worry about a hundred thousand fit/morph packs to put that sexy cyber suit for V6 on Aiko 6. Also, this should improve the quality of outfits as vendors will be free to make more gender specific mesh details. For those who see a universal mesh as the absolute end of 3D figure design there is hope.
GenX update in the works
Dimension3D intends to update his popular plugin GenX for use with Genesis 2. For those not familiar with the plugin, it allows for the conversion of morphs from previous figures to work with Genesis. Dimension3D had this to say: “I can’t give details or a release date this time, but I’m planning to add morph transfer from Genesis 1 to Genesis 2 and vice versa as well as direct transfer from generation 3 and generation 4 figures to Genesis 2.”
Genesis is going to be able to access morphs for Genesis 2? This will undoubtedly make a lot of G1 diehards very happy, and all at the same time create a work-around for G 2’s inability to mix male and female morphs. Well, undoubtedly a male morph could be created for G2 Female but being able to bring G1’s flexibility to G2 will be very useful and save time and money for those situations where close enough is good enough. Of course I could be reading too much in to this, but it sounds like Dimension3D is gearing up to effectively merge Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 while bridging the gap between G2 Female and male.
Until such a day as we are graced with an updated GenX there are other approaches to consider. Some users have already created male characters by mixing various morphs – see pg. 35 of the Genesis 2 preview thread.
Out of the box Genesis 2 has auto-fit capabilities for Genesis content, but a separate product (Victoria 4 for Genesis 2 Female) needs to be purchased to fit V4 clothing and textures. This has been one point in particular that has caused angst among users whether, as of yet, they have bought in or not. Presumably fits for other popular figures will be added as additional purchases, as they were with G1. The up-shot here is that, according to promo material, the V4 to G2 conversion is better than the standard V4 to G1 conversion. One significant leap here is with the fitting of V4 based shoes, particularly those with high heels. The standard G1 conversions absolutely butchered footwear, so this will undoubtedly be an important improvement for those of us who are looking for a quick and easy way fit.
V4 to Genesis 2 Auto-fit workaround
If that still isn’t enough to entice everyone then there is a work around. Load Genesis > auto-fit desired apparel > save as support asset > figure/prop asset > clear scene > load G2 > find and load the items just saved > auto-fit as usual
The fit won’t be perfect and will likely require a smoothing modifier to cover good ol’ fashion poke.
Genesis 2 Poser Compatibility
DSON is still the only easy way to get a poseable Genesis 2 into Poser, which is undoubtedly no surprise to anyone, but still disappointing none the less. This comes with all the boons and dooms of the past Genesis/DSON deal, such as the slowdown experienced while using Genesis/DSON content in Poser Pro 2012/9. Thankfully there is an easy fix for this which a surprising number of users still don’t know about. Simply turn subdivision off in the Scripts > DSON Support menu. In any case working with Genesis in Poser is still a slower process than working with other figures such as the Gen 4 DAZ3D figures. This could be a very different experience for Poser Pro 2014/10 with the advances made since the 2012/9 releases, such as the support for the subdivision methods utilised by Genesis 2. I can’t test the theory, but will update this as soon as I find out.
Compatibility with older DAZ Studio versions
Genesis 2 uses the newer .DUF file format and other new technologies such as weight maps, and as such is not compatible with versions of pre 4.5 versions outside an exported .obj, but this means using current versions of DS anyway.
G2 is compatible to the fullest extent only with DS 4.6x, but will work just fine in 4.5 versions (so I hear) but without the new surface/materials. Luckily it comes with legacy materials, so should be fine but might need a little tweaking.
The experience for most people updating from DS 4.5 to 4.6 has mostly been positive, but there has been some report of issues. OS users seem to have got a better deal with this update than has been the case with previous DS updates. With the new advances in DS since 4.5 it is certainly worth testing out, and since 4 or 3X the progress has been huge – not least of which include significant 3Delight upgrades.
Value for money bundles?
Without a doubt the bundles look pretty good. You get some very nice hair props and texture sets (one comes with the basic V6 product) with the Victoria 6 Starter Bundle, and the outfits, one fantasy and the other, a party dress offer a nice bit of diversity and will likely find use with a lot of users. The Pose sets are always useful when you want to do a quick render or if you want to do something more significant and need some inspiration.
The Victoria 6 Pro Bundle is the same again X2! The quality of the products is of the same or similar quality and will find use in a wide variety of situations. The included outfits are not my cup-o tea, but there might be some texture magic I can pull for my own tastes – something sci-fi! The hair props and included textures sets are great with lots of mat varieties. Love the fashion hair – everyone loves a bob! Who’s with me? Oh I forgot to mention, the pro bundle has the genitals (must remember the genitals *note*). The texture sets are by well-known and adored artists such as Silver and Countess (yay for tattoos).
…but where are the Sub Surface Scattering maps? Unless I’m missing something none of the four included texture sets have SSS maps! There are SSS settings, one of them comes with three… but maps? What is maps? Eh, no one on the forums seems to mind this too much, which has me kind of puzzled. If I could just chuck a V5 map in there with my V6 ones I wouldn’t be so confused or disturbed, but we can’t. Maybe this is just me being some kind of SSS lunatic? People seem to be more concerned with a slight fluctuation in the percentage of the sale price. Of course a little tweaking can fix up a bright red over powered SSS, but you will only get the fine subtlety and control with proper texture maps (so maybe I should just go make one!).
Genesis is the prize
For me the real value of the package comes in the base Genesis 2 figure, and for those of us who can’t sculpt/morph their way out of a wet paper bag, the Victoria 6 morph. The greater level of detail in the geometry is fantastic. The extra detail in the joints as they bend looks a lot more realistic, and all for the cost of a mere 2000 extra polygons. New weight maps and greater articulation in the jaw, ears, breasts, joints etc gives greater realism when posing.
I think Genesis 2 represents quality over quantity, but with the current discounts on the bundles you certainly get both. DAZ probably could have mitigated a good deal of angst by working out a deal to get the V4 morphs into the starter or pro bundle, especially as many Genesis users take it for granted (and why shouldn’t we?). While we’re talking about morphs again I think adding the morph bundle to the pro product would have been a nice touch, but DAZ have certainly been a shrewd with their content/sales strategy this time around. The lack of morphability at this point in the base G2 product feels very un-Genesisish, but if you’re willing to spend the money you can get a very good product. In any case, I look forward to seeing how the figure develops and what the content creators cook up for us.