Why You Should Take Those Free Victoria 4 Items
All things for 3D applications start out as just a shape. I didn’t know when I was a mini mogul in Second Life that all those doodads I made in Hexagon were actually 3D shapes. Or that it was a DAZ program. At that point, I didn’t even know what 3D Renders were. That was way back in 2008 LOL!
I wasn’t very good at the sculpting, but I learned the basics of making shapes and applying textures to get the “things” to look like “real world” things. I was the queen of the low-prim multi-story house and waterfalls. I learned how to make textures from scans and apply them to items in game. There was also that time I made an ugly shirt. :::shudder:::
A lot of the processes for making Second Life hair, skin, props, and clothes were the same with 3D renderings. In short, I had a blast and gained a slight understanding of how things go from 2D to 3D. Of course, having a newborn cut into the building time so I had to let my pixel empire go.
I found DAZ in 2009 after a lot of digging and going down rabbit holes. I saw a work of art I wanted to license, but never could find the artist. Then I found a lot of the art I was attracted to was something called a 3D render and most likely being used without permission on the wallpaper site I visited. :::Insert shocked face:::
Like a lot of clueless people, I was like oh you can make this in a computer. Well, I should be a natural at it! Through my very extensive Google research I came across two programs, Poser and DAZ Studio. Poser cost an arm and a leg, remember I had a newborn at home, but DAZ had a free program. Oh, and I showed up just at the right time because they were also giving away “base models” like Victoria 4. The learning curve was steeeeeeep. There weren’t that many tutorials available when I started. It took me a good while to figure out what was what, but all the freebies helped me make some uhm rather amateurish art rapidly.
It wasn’t long before I amassed a LOT of things for next to nothing. In fact, I have 69.1 GB of “things” from this time period. Most of the items I stockpiled were for Victoria 4. And because V4 worked in both Poser and Studio I could switch to whichever program worked best for me. For a great many years, I worked with Poser and V4 because DAZ Studio just wouldn’t run well on my PC. Plus, Poser had some pretty awesome SSS shaders at one point. Once I got a better computer, since the programs used processing speed, I was able to make some pretty awesome looking things. I stuck with Poser exclusively for a few years because of the SSS stuff. Although, I always preferred the HDMI light handling in Studio.
Then, DAZ did something drastic when they introduced Genesis. It wasn’t easy to use Genesis in Poser like V4 and it made some people not happy. Everyone wanted to play with Genesis, but they wanted to use the model in Poser. Sure, I bought some Genesis and Genesis 2 things, but since I couldn’t use them in Poser easy, I didn’t really sink a lot of money or time into learning them. I did take all the free stuff DAZ threw at me for being a member of their PC club, though. Fast forward to Genesis 3. The top end DAZ Studio program was back to being free, G3 didn’t work in Poser because they changed some kind of rigging, and many of the advances made G3 superior to V4. Like bending and facial expressions. Alas, all things must come to an end. After 8 years working with only V4, I transitioned over to G3 and DAZ.
At that point, it was almost like starting over. Sure, G3 could wear V4, G1, and G2 things, but it was a bit of a cobble podgery. There were plug in scripts and auto-fits, but none of it worked as well as putting a V4 outfit on V4. Also, you couldn’t re-use characters, skins, or poses easily. For me this was a bummer, as I had a custom made V4 character I used for my character Athine. I was reluctant to change, but I had to learn to be adaptable if I wanted all the new things. Luckily DAZ was having awesome sales and I was able to get some good items for G3. Yet, DAZ is often a thrower of curve balls. About two years after G3 was introduced, and everyone was getting used to using G3 stuff, DAZ brought out Genesis 8 in 2017. G8 was billed as the most “backward compatible” figure yet. Eh. It wasn’t really. Not for me and my 70 GB of V4 stuff. No, for me it was business as usual with the frustration of using an autofit process that didn’t really wanna work.
So, what’s my point? Why am I rambling about V4 stuff if I had all this trouble, especially for you youngsters coming into 3D and only knowing about G8. You don’t have any old stuff to worry about trying to cram onto V8. My point is items from V4-G3 are often FREE or dirt cheap. DAZ having a $2.00 sale? It’s often G2 stuff. DAZ giving away free base characters? Usually G2 or G3 based models. I’ve found a lot of people are like well I don’t want to pick that freebie up. It isn’t for the model I’m working with and it doesn’t have Iray materials so it’s not useful. Hold up there, partner! Those items CAN work with Iray and G8, and I can show you how.
Need to know thing #1:
Shaders, lighting, the quality of the “thing” you start with…these all affect how good your picture turns out. There is no magic button in 3D rendering. This program is like setting up a photoshoot with the added bonus of learning a technical program. You must understand better quality items and better lighting make for a better picture. So, just because something is “old and janky”, ie made for an older generation, doesn’t mean you can’t make it better with the things available right now!
Need to know thing #2:
There are converters by Riversoft Art and Sickleyield that can make your life easier. These things have only come out in the last year or so, but they have truly made G8 backwards compatible. Check out their full stores here: https://www.daz3d.com/riversoft-art https://www.daz3d.com/sickleyield
I have lamented not being able to use G3 characters I loved, and barely gotten to use, with G8 stuff. You can use the skins mostly out of the box on G8, but the character’s “bones” don’t inject into the G8 “clay”. Really disappointing when you have a specific face you want to use with say a new outfit. However, when I purchased this https://www.daz3d.com/character-converter-from-genesis-3-female-to-genesis-8-female I was able to easily convert most of my G3 Characters, including the V7 models like Victoria 7, into Genesis 8. The cool thing? You are still using G3 mapped skins SO if you have something like an ultra realistic skin shader for G3, https://www.daz3d.com/n-g-s-anagenessis-for-genesis-3, you can apply it to that character’s skin!
Hair is the other big thing. I have LOTS of V4 hair I love. I’ve found when using the autofit, it doesn’t always move well. A lot of the handles for movement and styling are just gone leaving you frustrated and needing to do some post work. But, there is an awesome solution: https://www.daz3d.com/rssy-hair-converter-from-victoria-4-to-genesis-8-female
This little gem will auto convert your hair from V4 and save it for V8. Now, it doesn’t work on everything, but using this has allowed me to recover some expensive hairs to be used for G8 with the movement morphs intact. There are also converters for G1, G2, G3 items available.
You can do the same conversion process with clothing: https://www.daz3d.com/rssy-clothing-converter-from-victoria-4-to-genesis-8-female allowed me to convert a lot of outfits I loved into something G8 could wear with little problems. Now, V4 to G8 is a bit tricky even with this program, but it’s worth it! Especially since the clothing fits better than with the autofit option alone!
Need to know thing #3:
Shaders are your friend. You can transform that old drab item into something new with a shader. You can even make your OWN walls and things by using a square and applying a special shader. Shaders help tell the computer how the item should react to the light in the scene. Iray is a pretty realistic rendering engine, so you need those Iray shaders and materials, but even if your item didn’t come with an Iray shader or material, you can change that with often one click. Here are some of my favorite ones:
https://www.daz3d.com/hdri-optimized-skin-hair-shaders (Genesis 2 and 3)
Things I used in this picture:
Here are links to the items I used in my updated picture of Obsidia. I also used several of the above listed shaders to change the material on the clothing and metal. I had to do a little bit of post work on the hair, but this hair prop was always a pain for me to work with LOL.