Review: DAZ 3D’s Victoria 8

Victoria 8: an evolution


Image courtesy of DAZ 3D

Well, I’ve gone and sunk a good number of hours into playing with the Victoria 8 Pro Bundle, and I have to say I’m pretty impressed, not so much with the content of the bundle, as high quality as those products are, but with Genesis 8 Female and Victoria 8 in general. We’ll get to the content later on.

In every way, DAZ has improved Genesis 8 over Genesis 3, which was a huge departure from Genesis 2, though something of a less exciting release. DAZ has stuck with the “General” weight maps, introduced with Genesis 3, which continues DAZ’s direction of making their figures more compatible with third-party applications. Similarly, DAZ has changed the default pose, to be more current. Daz state this is meant to facilitate content creation.

For content creators, the move away from TriAx weight map is a mixed blessing. Instead of having to deal with many, many weight maps, they now have to contend with dealing with many, many JCMs, some of which will run amok and require lots of corrections.

Genesis and Victoria 8 aren’t a revolution over the previous generation, but it is a very nice evolution. The default Iray materials are a significant improvement, and incorporate new additions to DAZ Studio’s Iray Uber Base.

Genesis 8 base mesh

Inspecting the geometry, and comparing Genesis 3 and Genesis 8 side-by-side reveals they are cut from the same mesh. G8 is slightly lighter on the poly count, coming in at roughly 16.6K vertices, vs G3’s 17.4K, which again was less than G2’s 21.5K.

Arguably, and not without merit, Genesis 2’s mesh offered the most physically accurate base of any of DAZ’s figures to date, but along with that mesh comes a very hard, and toned figure. The mesh offered clear muscle boundaries, and deforms very nicely with the TriAx weight maps, but perhaps as a general base, from which to build new characters, the mesh is too specialised. Some areas of the mesh were messy and perhaps, needlessly intricate.

Genesis and Victoria 8 continue the simplification that Genesis 3 introduced, and while the meshes have been getting smaller, DAZ has clearly been working hard to refine a figure that offers a compromise of detail and simplicity. Many areas of the G8 are much improved over the predessors, including G2 (the figure I have primarily worked with up to this point). The shoulders and neck of Victoria 8 are a nice example of these improvements.

Left to right: V8, V7, V6. Victoria 6 wins the cute award, but V7 shows better and finer details, particularly with expression morphs. V7 apparently never learned how to smile.

Left to right: V8, V7, V6. Victoria 6 wins the cute award, but V7 shows better and finer details, particularly with expression morphs. V7 apparently never learned how to smile.

Genesis 8 muscle flex and more realistic joints

For me, this is one of the biggest changes for Genesis 8. With each figure iteration, DAZ has been working on improving the realism of joint deformation, and with the new muscle flex JCMs in G8, the figures are looking better than ever. I did a quick bicep flex comparison between Victoria 8 and G8 and found that the morphs are present in both figures (which logically flows), though V8 has a more nicely defined and significant bicep bulge.

I also tested the bicep flex between Victoria generations and found, unsurprisingly, that V8 does have the best bulge. In the past this was something that DAZ’s Published artists would create products to achieve, and they probably will still do so. There is always room to improve the base figure and morphs.

Below are demonstrations and comparison of bicep bulge, or lack there of. The first image also makes use of the Head and Body Morphs.

Genesis 8 and Victoria 8 backwards compatibility

Texture compatibility

Genesis 8’s UVs are almost identical to Genesis 3’s. Overlapping them in LightWave we see this quite clearly. The biggest deviation is the eyelashes (not shown here). With G8 the eyelashes have been moved to a separate mesh. Seemingly, reversing this direction, the finger and toenails have been welded into the base mesh. I’m not sure of the reasoning behind these design tweaks, and I’m not going to speculate and risk being horribly wrong (that would be embarrassing).

Victoria 7 and 8 UV maps compared and overlayed in LightWaveThe benefits of having such closely matching UVs are obvious: once again, DAZ has given us the option to use the textures of the previous generation figure, something that they were heavily criticised for breaking with Genesis 3. So while we don’t have out-of-the-box texture support for G2, or older figures, at least we can keep our favourites from the previous generation (assuming you adopted G3).

Victoria 8 selfie styled image demonstrating Victoria 7 texture compatibility.

My rather pasty reworking of a Victoria 7 character texture set on V8.

Also on the topic of UVs and texture compatibility, the genital geograft prop that come with the Pro Bundle of Victoria 7 and 8 share identical UVs. I only got to check this out because I got the V7 Pro Bundle included in the purchase of V8 (nice!).

Genesis 8 hair and clothes compatibility

Whereas texture compatibility is limited, hair and wardrobe compatibility is much more extensive, though, as with previous generations, still subject to the limitations of the Autofit Tool. Where Genesis 3 offered us compatibility with G2 content (extended with further scripts), G8 gives us compatibility all the way back to Genesis. There is little doubt this will be expanded (by PA add-ons) to include Generation 4 figures such as Victoria and Michael 4.


Autofitting hair from previous generations does a nice enough job, and will generally keep most morphs, though additional rigging is lost (a disappointment we have all come to live with). It is a little perplexing to see morphs disappear from the shaping tab, but generally, these morphs can also be found in the parameters tab. Some longer hair props could use some additional work on their weight maps to get them working at their best. There are some work arounds to fit hair, and keep the additional rigging, though this might be a topic for a future tutorial.


We are all familiar with this process by now, and generally we know what to expect. Items, like panties, tend to get trashed when they are converted from one figure to another, as are details of pants, such as belts, buckles and pockets. Some of these issues can be fixed with a simple smoothing out with the weight brush.

Tau Ceti Overseer native fit on Victoria 6 (right), and Autofitted to Victoria 7 (right).

Tau Ceti Overseer native fit on Victoria 6 (right), and Autofitted to Victoria 8 (right).

Generally, the more extreme a pose the more we will come up against the limitations of Autofit. A pair of pants, for example, might look fine with a walking pose or animation, but when crouching, where the legs are bent up quite far and to the sides, distortion in the crotch is likely to be quite noticeable. Luckily, for those that don’t want to get into weight mapping and morphing, lighting and textures can hide a multitude of sins.

G2 item autofitted to V8 (left). Quick weight painting fix (Right).

G2 item autofitted to V8 (left). Quick weight painting fix (Right).

Long dresses and skirts tend to suffer more than a lot of other items when converting between figures, especially for ones that include additional rigging to control the flow of the longer fabric. Again, there are work arounds for retaining the rigging, but that goes beyond this review.


Genesis 8 backwards compatibility with poses is limited, but there is some functionality. I found that the arms were the least responsive. At best you have a horribly butchered base to work from, at worst you’ll be rolling on the floor laughing (which is actually good). The key is to have low expectations in this area.

I found that there was actually greater compatibility between G2 to G3 poses then there was from G3 to G8.

testing poses on various generations of Victoria 8

The inverse is also true. G8 pose on V6 (left), V7, V8 (right)

Victoria 8 Pro Content

Victoria 8 posing in red and black custom shader Andromeda outfit. One of my biggest criticisms of DAZ’s Pro Bundles, from G2 through to present, is that other than additional content (which while good quality, is obviously consumer oriented) and genitals, there is nothing to distinguish the starter and Pro Bundles. There is no extended functionality, which one expects from the title “Pro”.

My memory could be faulty, but I seem to remember the original V5 and M5 bundles coming with the Evolution Morph Bundles, which included the head and body morphs. I have gone and looked, and they aren’t included, so it might just be my faulty memory after all… To me, giving the Pro bundle some more flexibility would make it a truly “Pro” bundle, hell let’s get carried away and throw in HD morphs while we are adding stuff to the wish list.

This is not to diminish the value of the Victoria 8 Pro Bundle. The content, as always, is top shelf stuff, and this time we have a great mix of contemporary, sci-fi, and fantasy themes. The included hair is of particular note; both offer a lot of detail and a high realism quality, which is always very welcome. The Voss hair comes with the Starter Bundle, and the Vertigo Ponytail comes with the Pro set (the starter set being included in the Pro set).

Victoria 8 side profile demonstrating subsurface scattering (sss) and translucency of hair.

FW’s Rebekah HD with Vertigo Ponytail.

The content I was particularly interested in added up to over $150, so right off the bat the Victoria 8 Pro Bundle is already worth it, especially if you are getting it at the opening discount price, and more-so if you are a Platinum Club member (which unfortunately I’d let slip). So clearly, my criticism isn’t so much about value, it’s more of a petty (I’m big enough to admit it) disagreement of the definition of “Pro”.

Victoria 8 yay or nay?

And that’s it! That’s my review of Victoria 8. I like her. I think she’s a good and valuable evolution in DAZ’s line of figures. She offers greater physical accuracy with the new muscle flex JCMs. While some are mixed on whether a more general, less detailed base figure is better or worse, or whether moving to a JCM dominated figure is better or worse, DAZ manages to offer an improved figure that offers a good compromise which expands its utility to more users.


…I realised I hadn’t talked about the update to Power pose, and the new template for Genesis 8. It’s a great addition to Genesis 8, and a long overdue update on DAZ’s behalf. It can be a little counter-intuitive and awkward, but it is a worthy tool that is worth persevering with and developing a feel for.

Demonstrating PowerPose in DAZ 3D with Victoria 7

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Genesis 2 Male Teen Jayden Review

08  Thanks to DAZ 3D for supplying Jayden

Genesis 2 Female has Teen Josie, and now DAZ have released Teen Jayden for G2M. Jayden is the first major character for Genesis 2 Male (after M6 of course). He comes with two texture sets (based on G2M UV’s), a full body and head morph, and a set of poses. He does not have unique UV mapping. But the base G2M and Michael 6 textures fit so closely that this is not an issue. As Jayden is crafted from the G2M base he is compatible with all the currently released morphs, so for those already invested in G2 there is a lot of versatility to be had. Jayden also comes with Poser companion files, so he is fully DSON compatible, but he does not have full Poser materials. For many users that prefer to customise, this is doubtlessly a non-issue.

M6 UVs on Teen Jayden - good fit

Michale 6 UVs applied to Teen Jayden comparison.

I had hoped to have this review up before the product’s release, but I got caught up with rendering and playing around with materials. Before I knew it Tuesday 21st (Jan 2014) was dawning and I had barely scrawled more than a few notes. First up I should point out that at this point I only have the basic Jayden package and not either of the bundles, which were not yet complete at the time DAZ contacted me. Hopefully I will have the pro bundle soon and will amend the review where necessary.

However, the Jaden package comes with plenty of meat. The Morph is solid. Jayden is an attractive and fit youth, though not overly so, which in my books is a good thing as this lends itself to greater versatility. The base texture set and the “bonus” Lance are both high quality. Lance has the look of a tough kid, perhaps street smart when loaded with the base material settings, but with tweaking there is a greater versatility there. In this way the set can be used for a great diversity of characters. Jayden’s default texture set is much more the usual fair one expects to see with a major DAZ character release – detailed, but crafted from someone that has very nice skin. Where’s pimples kid? I don’t know about you, but highschool was full of pimply days. Maybe this is a niche one of our adventurous content creators could tackle?

Teen Jayden custom shders sci-fi image. DAZ Studio render.

Light customisation of the base Jayden shaders. Minor postwork.

Jayden’s base texture set loads with materials configured with Age of Armour’s Sub Surface Shader Base. I’ve seen so many great renders done with this shader, but I just can’t get there. This is not to say the default configuration is bad, no, it is very good and many users will be happy to use it as is, but being a chronic tinkerer by nature it wasn’t long before I started to play around. Eventually I called it quits and got something rendered, but this wasn’t until I’d delved right into the Lance texture set, which I found much more interesting.

The Lance texture set loads with UberSurface settings. US is something I have a much better grasp of, though I found these textures themselves much more interesting than the base Jayden. Lance’s default SSS settings had me scratching my head. In all the lighting situation I set up there was little or no discernible difference between rendering with them on or off. Again, the settings here are perfect for many uses, but at default settings it is probably best to turn SSS off and save yourself some render time. SSS is one of those things I’ve been playing around with a lot in recent times so I spent a good deal of time getting this the way I wanted.

G2M Jayden teen. Scifi image DAZ Studio Render

Heavily customised Lance textures and shaders. Minor Post work.

Though I don’t currently have either the Starter or Pro bundle Teen Jayden I will remark that all the content that these bundles comes with appears very practical (and contemporary), and given the criticism previous DAZ releases have come under for including a lot of fantasy and/or sci-fi content, this seems like a positive move, but perhaps that depends on where you’re standing. For me, having a strong sci-fi bent, I prefer to see contemporary items than fantasy ones as they are often more easily incorporated into a sci-fi setting. Whatever product you select it will be a great addition to your Genesis 2 tool set.

Genesis 2 Male Teen Jayden. Lance Textures

Heavily customised Lance textures and shaders.

DAZ 3D Halloween – 500 Items 50% Off

As is often the case, there are some fantastic sales going on over at DAZ 3D. At the moment there are 500 items in the Halloween sale. There is a bit of everything in there, and while some have a very Halloween feel to them, there are many more that have a general sci-fi, fantasy or even modern contemporary feel to them. So, there’s lots of character/texture packages, morph sets, hair, outfits, monster figures, IBL sets, shaders, environment props etc – a bit of everything.

I’ve picked out a selection of some of my favourites as well as some that have been sitting on my wishlist.

I won’t talk much about the products, they speak for themselves, but I do have a bit to say about a couple of these. Right at the top of the list is Age of Armour’s Atmosphere Effects Camera (DAZ Studio only). This handy tool is great for rendering volumetric lighting effects, depth masks (great for adding depth related post work effects like DOF and haze), haz and fog.One reason I always hung back on buying this one was because DS comes with Ubervolume, which does volumetric effects, but I have found the Uber plugin somewhat buggy nad lacking in features.

Next we have Skeleton Dungeon. This bundle is pure value right now at 70% off. In this bundle you get the M4 skeleton, the M/V4 skeleton textures, and Dreamlight’s environment prop, The Dark Corner of the Dungeon. This package is shipping for less than the standalone M4 skeleton, which is itself on special for 40% off.

Here’s one of my own early Reality 2/Lux experiments done with M4 Skeleton.


The Super-Physicality Bundle is another great value package. If you are just starting out with DAZ Studio or Poser or just looking for some good character content, but aren’t interested in Genesis 1/2 then this is for you. It’s even great for those that have a few of the included products in their inventory as the saving are still significant. This bundle includes the base Michael and Victoria 4 figures as well as their morphs++, muscle morphs, elite body morphs, and creature morphs packages. Also included is She Freak 4 and Freak 4 base figures.

And the others

Click image to visit item store page at DAZ 3D.


Other Happenings in DAZ 3D’s Store

Stonemason’s Sci-Fi Corridor 2013

There have been many notable releases of the last few weeks. Stonemason’s Sci-Fi Corridor 2013 is, as usual for a Stonemason product, highly detailed with great attention taken in the construction of materials and texturing. Included are movable walls, stairs, doors, med beds, and all manner of fixed details we have come to expect from one of DAZ 3D’s most trusted and well known content creators.

Age of Armour’s Advanced Ambient Light

The last item I will mention is Age Of Armour’s Advanced Ambient Light. This particular product has been causing a lot of excitement among the DAZ Studio crowd. Here’s part of the product blurb:

“This custom coded light casts pleasing, super-soft ambient light and occlusion based shadows. Use the light by itself to produce a fashion shoot style lighting or even overcast skies. The Advanced Ambient light also works great as a soft-box fill light used in conjunction with spotlights, and it also provides a beautiful bounce light look when used with distant lights.”

The light set is highly customisable with features like radius and falloff control, and light only certain objects. The product also comes with an in-depth user guide, something that is very much appreciated and something that Age of Armour’s products are known for. This is one item I have been intending to do a full review of since I picked it up, so hopefully that will be up very… ermmm… soon (hopefully soon, soon).

Oh, and Carrara 8.5 Sales Chugging Along

So I lied, I have another item I want to talk about – just quickly draw you’re attention to Carrara 8.5 (Pro and standard). There is no doubt about it Carrara has been selling well. Ever since I started paying attention to the top 30 sellers at DAZ 3D, Carrara has held in there at position 25 – 30. Right now, standard is sitting at position 18, and Pro at 19. The current positions are no doubt related to the recent 8.5 release promotions, but Carrara is and has been doing rather well.

I’ve been saying it for some time now, but I’ll say it again, hopefully Carrara’s sales performance will spur DAZ 3D on to giving the budget 3D suit some TLC. Maybe they have been? With Carrara 9 due in the first quarter of 2014 let’s hope DAZ give us all a nice big surprise. With no feature list out in public we’ll just have to wait and watch and hope that Carrara 9 will be a big fat, juicy update.

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HiveWire3D Store Launch

Dawn is coming but you can join the countdown

Dawn might still be a few weeks away (August 9th), but you can now finally visit HiveWire3D’s store and forums. There is already a good variety of content available from some well-established content creators. The roster currently includes: Lisa’s Botanicals, Songbird ReMix (Ken Gillard), Ryverthron Creations, CWRW, and Nerd 3D – so at the moment there is a very natural environment/wildlife theme to the store. This seem very fitting, but somewhat perplexing to a dystopian urban cyberzombie – where am I meant to recharge?. Undoubtedly more vendors will appear in the lead-up to Dawn’s release and the following frenzy of activity that will undoubtedly ensue with the first waves of her associated content.

So, the first thing you’ll notice about the store is that it isn’t particularly pretty. A little bit of green, black and a lot of white, but everything seems to work very well, and super quick. There are a lot of great features that will make using the site very easy when compared to some of the other similar sites out there that have many clunky and/or …err broken elements. The search feature works wonderfully, but with just over 180 items it is too early to give it a thorough testing and a DigiSprawl stamp of approval. I look forward to a store searching experience that doesn’t involve a trip to Google’s advanced search.

Some other cool store features include:

  • Customisable bundles – pick and choose which items you want)
  • Multiple customisable wishlists – ever feel the need to organise that huge wishlist into themed categories?
  • Never buy the same product twice – handy message on item thumbnail lets you know straight away if you have previously purchased the item from HiveWire3D
    10% rebate on purchases in the form of reward points
  • Products pages come with sections for user comments and images

Reward Points

While HiveWire will be utilising coupons, gift certificates, store credit and other stock standard ecommerce currency, they also have a nifty points reward points system (similar to Content Paradise?). Every time you make a purchase in the store you receive the equivalence of 10% back in these points, which can be used in subsequent purchases. One potential bone of contention is that a maximum of 30% of the total value of a cart can be funded with reward points. Of course, 30% off is still 30% off. The points also seem to work fine in conjunction with other specials, coupons etc.

To clarify 100 points = $1

How do you earn points?

I wouldn’t suggest buying things just to accumulate points (unless you want to get rid of that disposable cash as fast as possible), but there are several ways to earn points. The first is by signing up for store membership (1000), and the second by getting on the mailing list (500). The next thing you need to do is have a birthday (preferably as soon as possible) – 1000, win a competition – varies, have an image accepted into the monthly gallery – 500, and refer a friend using your unique referral code (after their first purchase) – 500.

So, $15 bucks worth of points for signing up doesn’t sound bad does it?

HiveWire3D: software inclusive

Given that Dawn comes in both Poser (9+) and DAZ Studio (4.6+) native, and all the talk of unity and such, HiveWire are attempting to include both parties equally. Potentially this could result in cross platform cooperation, learning, and influence unmatched even at the height of the Generation 4 figures, namely the polymorphic digital goddess, Victoria 4. Given the buzz around Dawn right now it is not unforeseeable that Victoria may soon have to come to a power sharing arrangement. The forums have already come to life with a friendly buzz of activity, so why not drop in and say hi.

How the inevitable DS Vs Poser skirmishes are handled remains to be seen, but let’s hope that stays to a minimum.

For content creators

The Hive is looking very attractive for content creators. Other than being a store with a potentially massive market appeal HiveWire3D also offer a very competitive 60/40 split (you/them), with the potential to push this up to 70/30 for higher volume sales. There is no exclusivity, so CCCs can sell here there and everywhere – even the same product (thought that affects the base royalty rate). Obviously given this detail, all rights are reserved by the creators. More info can be found here.