The ad copy for Gianni styles him as an action hero: "Whether he is a modern day super hero, an expert in espionage or a descendant of royalty, Gianni 7 encompasses what it means to truly be a hero and leading man." And he certainly looks the part. He could easily be either the hero or the villain with his chiseled features and his lean, rugged physique. He's not quite as massive as Gianni 6, being a little slimmer in the chest and thighs (at least according to the Measure Metrics given for the two) but he is physically simmilar and his facial features actually do bear a bit of resemblance with the heavy brow, strong cheek bones and some-what Roman nose.
Gianni's skin is less Mediteranean this time around, though with some material tweaking, he can certainly be made to look so. The textures themselves are wonderful and the quality one would expect from a full character releas. Gianni 7 comes with a full complement of ancillary maps (Specular, Translucence, Bump and Normal) and some extra options: a facial hair set and four different eye colors.
The default materials render reasonably well under most conditions. There is even a Legacy set of materials for those who have boycotted the switch to Studio 4.9.
From the team of DemonicEvilius and Silver, we have Gray. Bit of a mixed bag is Gray. A nice HD morph, definetly a younger, smoother character than the default Gianni 7. The default materials... eh, toss 'em. They just don't render convincingly in any lighting conditions. Unfortunately there are some seams around the torso map. They are more prominent with the tattooed torso map, but even with the regular one there are visible seams at the shoulder, across the top of the head; its not particularly noticable around the top of the thigh, but if you look closely you can maybe spot it.
With some better materials, the textures are usuable. The morph is nice, though the HD part of it is questionable. I don't see much difference rendering at higher Sub-D levels, but that could just be my eyes. Seams, though, those are a problem. Could not figure out what was causing them. It might be the specular map, but I'm just not sure. A pretty good character set, but not a great one.
Brought to you by the team of Fred Winkler and Sabby, a very nice character package for Gianni 7. The sculpt is nicely detailed, looks perhaps a little younger than the default Gianni 7 with an attractive, heavy browed, high cheek-boned face and nice physical details (and a nifty little cleft chin). The textures a very nice: a darker skinned, some-what olive complexioned male reminiscent of Gianni 6. Nice ancillary maps, with all the ones you'd expect for a Genesis 3 model. The materials, while I don't necessarily agree with how they are setup, render quite nicely in most lighting conditions. With a little tweaking and some extra bump to break up the specular, they shine. I am not a fan of the eye materials at all. Not crazy about the eye textures either. But these can be swapped out quite easily. Comes in the Pro Bundle.
A nice character set with good morphs and pretty good textures. I'm always torn with any FW or FWSA product, there's always something that's just not right for me. I really enjoy the characters and the diversity, but the textures just don't work very well for me. If I can retain the default materials, I can use it... but that's difficult to do if I have more than one character in a scene because the materials are okay on their own, but when compared to better materials, they fall flat.
Nice model, nice morphs for adjustment, style and movement. Textures and materials are okay, with some nice variety. Here's the problem: its a single layer and and a single material. Really ought to be at least two layers and two materials; you need that to give tonal variation and if you want to use 3rd party textures/materials (like UHT) you need the scalp and other materials to have differently shaped UV. Not saying you can't work with it, but... the flaws make it not as a versatile.
It's made by AprilYSH, do I really need to say anymore than that? I may not, but I will. Three layers make up Finlay Hair making it quite versatile and allowing for use of add-ons and greater control of the materials. The materials and textures are what one would expect from April: high quality and realistic. Its a fairly dense mesh with more than 22,000 polys so it renders well but doesn't take a huge amount of memory. Finlay has tons of adjustment and movement morphs and is great for just about any genre of render. Definite value added for the Pro Bundle.
Brought to you by Bobbie25 and Anna Benjamin... so its gotta be good, right? So good that it might make everything else in the scene look bad? Quite possibly. For a full clothing outfit, its not too poly-heavy and you shouldn't have much trouble rendering it (though with all the metallic bits, if you're lights are complex, it might take a while). Its mostly form fitting, so there's not much to speak of in the way of movement morphs, but there are some for the belt and the vest. There is an ample array of fit and adjustment morphs for most of the pieces, so it you should be able to get it to fit most shapes.
This is one of the most unique and intricate outfits I've seen, its fanciful and rugged at the same time. If you're a D&D geek (like me) you might expect The Bard to come with some sort of musical instrument prop... alas, the outfit does not include one. But it certainly does make up for the lack with its flair and style.
I just can't say enough about the textures and materials, they really shine and bring the models to life. And they render incredibly realistically. Best add-on in the Starter Bundle, period.
Brought to you by Bobbie25 and Sarsa a stunning ensemble for any Western render. Bobbie25 just puts in detail that just makes her outfits come alive. Granted, this cowboy looks more like Roy Rogers than Wyatt Earp, but thats due more to the textures than the models. This is a pretty lightweight set; the hat, bandana and belt with shells are nice touches. Could have used a six-shooter, or maybe a shotgun to go with those shells... so the accessories might be a little on the light side. But the other details make up for it.
We have to talk about the materials and the textures. I hate it when I have to say something negative, but I really have to do that here. Sarsa has been around the community for a very long time (usually part of a duo with Thorne) and has been making elves and fairies and beautiful characters and clothes since I can remember. Sarsa does something that I can't do: make beautiful and intricate textures, and she can take one base texture and recolor it so its looks almost completely different, almost. But that's part of the problem here... if you buy an add-on texture set, you are really getting the same textures just re-colored. But we are talking about the materials and textures in the package here. The textures are great, no doubt about it; her bump maps are nicely detailed, if somewhat generic and sometimes mirrored. The specular maps are ok. There are no normal maps.
I know that Iray has not been a part of Studio for all that long, but its been over a year. And it is now the default render engine. We ought to expect PBR ready textures and materials. These do not make the cut. If it was just the textures, I'd be willing to accept the fact that she is an established artist with a tremendous body of work and established workflows. And she certainly has gotten better over the years. But the materials are an utter dissapointment. This set contains cotton fabric, leather, metal... and the materials are all set up exactly the same way regardless of what type of surface. This is simply not acceptable and this is on DAZ at least as much as the artist. She needs to be learning how to set up these materials correctly or working with someone who can. And DAZ should not be putting this out for sale this way, it shouldn't be passing QC with materials like this. I can understand artistic differences, stylistic choices... this is not about that, its about setting stuff up correctly so it looks realistic out of the box.
Brought to you by Bobbie25 and Anna Benjamin... so its gotta be good, right? Wait, that sounds familiar. Probably not an historically accurate Norseman (I remember reading somewhere that the horned helm is not actually a Norse or Viking style; but it has somehow become symbolic of them; didn't do the research myself, but curious), but suitable for just about any mighty thewed barbarian you could chose to create. Again, he's lacking any weapons... but there are plenty of fantasy styled weapons available. Even without the weapons, he's still pretty impressive with his chains and spikes and gigantic belt.
This set is the most resource intensive set that comes in any of the bundles. The textures sizes are pretty large, but the wardrobe itself is pretty poly-heavy. This one could be tough to render via GPU (I can't render it out of the box with my GTX 770 and 4GB of VRAM), but the results are really worth it. Another set with pure character.
Anna Benjamin may just well be the best texture artist around at the moment. Her PBR ready textures plus her grasp of the iRay Uber shader combine to create truly photo-realistic surfaces. Even the pelt that wraps around his chest and goes down his back looks real, and fur is just so hard.
Part of the Pro Bundle and definite value added.
There's a lot of Sci Fi suits around, most of the skimp wear, a few retro... none that quite scream Heavy Metal like this one, though: aged, rugged... retro, but hi-tech. It is a character in its own right, and it kind of needs to be as it effectively obscures whatever model is wearing it (I don't mean that to sound like a negative, its not).
Not a lot of options here, though the helmet does come with two visor versions: one glass and the other metal plates (which tuns the whole outfit into something sinisiter). I don't think you ever have to worry about Bobbie25's models not fitting correctly or posing well. They do that most of the time without the included morphs, but like the other sets, this one does include an array of adjustment morhps to correct the fit and help with posing. Not much in the way of movement... but, its practically a suit of armor, its not supposed to move.
Textures and materials by Anna Benjamin again, and they are just as exquisite as the other three. All of the outfits are unique, but this one and the Bard stand out as the most unique in the bundles.
Design Anvil does some very interesting stuff, this pose pack included with the Starter Bundle is a mixed bag. There's some creative poses here, but many of them appear slightly off balance or stiff. A little tweaking can fix most of these issues. Some of the poses pose the eyes of the model, while that can add some interest, they are not always what you want. This nifty package from Sgapps over at ShareCG can help with that; the Look at Camera script sees a lot of use in my posing.
Capsces is, in my opinion, one of the best pose merchants currently in the marketplace. This pose set, with 27 poses and 10 expressions, is great. The expressions are a nice bonus and they are as carefully crafted as the included poses. Great variety here and a defininte bonus for the Pro Bundle.