Tween Ryan is likely to be the only young male release we will see for the Genesis 3 Male platform. Hopefully we will see some add-on releases like M3D Teen Base by MaleMedia, because, on the whole, Ryan is a serious disappointment. It was stated by the management of DAZ3D that the young males don't sell well, and if we keep getting releases like this one, that statistic is not likely to change any time soon.
Ryan himself is uninspiring. He suffers from the same generic androgyny that plagues pretty much every younger male release from Justin through Jayden(though Brodie was a bit of an improvement). He simply doesn't look very boyish, and though his proportions aren't far off, one can generally get a more believable shape using Zev0's Growing Up for Genesis 3 Males. He has an attractive enough face, but its somewhat lacking. FWSA Max in the Pro Bundle goes a long way to correcting a lot of the base Ryan's problems, but you shouldn't have to buy an add-on or the bundle to get what you should be getting from the base model.
One of the biggest problems with the promos for Ryan is the Kameron Hair prop, included in the Standard Bundle and used in most of his promo pics (except, notably, his main promo and the thumbnail for his character... what is THAT hair prop because it beats Kameron hands down for a boy's hairstyle?). Its not very masculine at all, its far too "big hair" and looks more like a messy 80's girl's bob than anything you'd see on a boy. Its possibly the lowest point in an all together disappointing set, and its in virtually every promo pic for every product in the sets! The shape of this prop is really too bad, as there are many promising elements to it: many layers, reasonable UV mapping... I mean, its not strand based, but at least it's well done for the out-dated (but still in use) methods it uses.
The majority of the other products in the sets fall along the same lines: functional, at best. We'll cover each of the items in further detail below.
I like to think that I offer fair and reasonable assessments of the products I review. I do tend to favorably review major character releases, because I have found most of them to have strong positives. This is not the case with Tween Ryan. I can't honestly recommend the product to any but the most hard core of buyers. Unless there are a number of products in a bundle that interest you, or you can get it at a really good price, I'd say this character is a pass. Using the Zev0 morphs, you can successfully create a youthful character and a more believable one
I've already had a lot to say about the base figure. I'm not a fan of the shape. The textures are servicable, but are not without issues. The edges of his lips are sloppy. The effects maps are uninspired and there aren't any Normal maps. For a change, the base character has more than one eye color and the Material Presets to apply them. Thats a small plus to an awful lot of negative.
FWSA Gabriel HD
Brought to us by Fred Winkler Art and Sabby. I am not always a fan of the materials/textures by FWSA (the effects maps, particularly the bump maps, could use some added oomph), but I am generally a big fan of the sculpts and characters. Gabriel is an interesting package, with very nice added touches: some added facial effects and even a Tilak or caste mark for his forehead. Gabriel's textures are well done, with nice variety in the effects maps (without extraneous detail which should NOT be in effects maps) and includng Normal maps. If you need or would like an young male with some ethnic variety, Gabriel stands as one of the high points of the Standard Bundle. The Sticky Out Ears morph is almost worth the price of admission.
Brought to us, again, by Fred Winkler Art and Sabby. The best part, hands down, of the Pro Bundle. Max is all boy, with a disntinctive face and non-generic body. Max's textures feature the same variety as Gabriel, with added freckles and LIE based dirt layers that can be used with any texture set. There's not much more to say here. If you are going to buy the Pro Bundle, Max is the reason why (even if his bump maps need more detail).
This is so close to a near miss, its crushing. The curls, the layers, the morphs...if it wasn't for the horrendous shape and the textures with the burned in specular highlights. Of course, you can replace the textures with better ones from a variety of add-ons, but there's not much you can do about the shape.
Its AprilYSH, do I need to say anymore? Its well constructed, using April's standard techniques and its usable out of the box. Add-on texture and materials will improve its look. First runner-up for best part of the Pro Bundle.
This strikes me as inspired by some pop-culture fantasy show. I don't know for sure, that could be just be me. It looks nice, the textures and materials are usable. Don't try to have your character sit in this outfit though, because it deforms at the buttocks and the crotch of the pants, and the hem of the tunic is just long enough to deform badly without too much bending involved. The boots are nice, if not particularly inspiring. This is useful, but not widely useful.
The best thing about Slacker is the graphics on the tee-shirts. The clothes are thoroughly mediocre. The pants are unimpressive, with no movement or style morphs and no adjustment morphs except for a "shoe fit" morph that doesn't do much. The shoes...could we get some high tops that don't look like they came out of Bob's Burgers? For a set that wants to be realistic, these are a low point. The tee-shirt is the only redeeming point here. It fits well and it has some adjustment and movement morphs. Its a shame that the movement morphs are not additive.
Ice Bandit Outfit
What a let down. This outfit looks great. Too bad it seriously underperforms. What happened to extra bones in sleeves and sashes? This is a martial artist/sorceror's outfit... any character wearing this ought to be posed dynamicly. The ouftit doesn't pose dynamically. The sash, in particular, is cumbersome and will not realistically drape or move. It has three basic movement morphs that basically do: nothing. The outfit looks pretty good in the somewhat static standing poses in the promo shots, but that's about all you are going to get out of this.
Everyday Casual Outfit
Second runner up for best part of the Pro Bundle. Finally, an outfit that works and actually says "tween". If you've read any of my other reviews, you know I'm not a huge fan of Sarsas's work. Her materials and textures, while perfectly acceptable in 3Delight, are not PBR ready. This is still the case here. She's got a great eye for patterns, styles and colors, but she needs to update her texturing methods. The best part of the material sets for this outfit are the shirt/sneakers matching combos... that's something a boy would do and it works. The shirt, pants and sneakers are acceptable and fit well, they have adjustment morphs to help with posing and fitting. The jacket is the best part, with additional movement and adjustment morphs. The necklace is a nice touch and with just enough morphs to make it useful. The sneakers look fine from a distance, but have some problems: the eyelets are just a touch too large, but the laces are fantastic. The sneakers do need more material zones, and that is probably the biggest let down for what are otherwise some pretty good boy's sneakers.
Hero Boy Poses
A mixed bag from Val3dArt. They're better in use than they appear in the promos, but some of them are just stiff and unrealistic.
Another mixed bag, though more good than bad and more useful in general with a wider variety of poses.
I kind of had my say at the beginning of the piece; there's not a lot more to add here at the end. I should mention however that I will be opening some support tickets for the metadata on Ryan's products. Its confusing to have two different figure choices for Ryan in Smart Content and to have some of his figure specific poses show up under one figure and the rest show up under the other. Metadata/Smart Content can be a great boon, but when its sloppy it sometimes makes you wonder why you were using it in the first place.
I still have to go back and review Ivan, which was a pretty positive release (at least for the base character, I don't remember all the details). I'll be doing Lucian next, though. And I should probably branch out and do some more non Bring On The Boys reviews of stuff. I kind of let my anniversary slide... I've been doing this for over a year now (the reviews). Its challenging, and I want to illustrate them with more than just demo work so it takes time. But people keep thanking me and saying that my reviews are helpful, so I'll keep doing them. Even if its not making me any fans with the management. I'm not happy with this release and I'd be even more unhappy if I had paid more for it. I can give you a little preview and tell you that I am not a lot happier with Lucian (specifically the clothes).