I’ve been tinkering with changing Ariane and Rachel from V4 based figures to La Femme based figures.
I’ve decided to abandon the project for a number of reasons. First, no matter how close and recognizable the new versions were, they still didn’t look the same. Comparison test after test show V4 versions win every time.
I can say that at least the La Femme versions are recognizable. The one I tried using a Dawn were not. Despite the many advantages of using them, it feels like they are characters drawn by a different artist. Caricatures rather than the originals.
That doesn’t mean I will just toss them. Sometimes a caricature is a good thing, but visual stories are best told with consistent looking art.
The Truth about V4 vs. La Femme
La Femme is a great model, I love working with it. Many difficult posing tasks are made really simple with La Femme. This is why I used the La Femme version of Ariane as a stunt double during the Day 3 Gymnastics scenes in Ariane in Paradise. This is why three new female characters in AiP: Christine, Lin, and Trish, were made using La Femme.
Poses are better in La Femme, hands are better in La Femme, so are feet, so are breasts, so is genitalia. La Femme hands are very close to human, the individual bones in the hand are poseable, and the fingers look like real fingers instead of sausages. But reality comes at a price: Getting the hands and fingers in just the right place takes more work.
Yet there is one key thing where V4 wins: Expressions. V4 models are much better actors. The faces are much more believable. I learned a long time ago, faces are key to visual storytelling. I need the V4 faces!
If you are starting with new characters, La Femme has some nice facial expression tools in those facial “chips”, but trying to use them to make realistic human expressions just doesn’t work. I’m constantly making faces that look too exaggerated. The slider model in V4 is just much more precise.
Superfly vs Firefly
Poser 11 has two different rendering engines called Superfly and Firefly. Superfly is a lighting physics based engine that results in often impressive realism. Most of Ariane in Paradise was done in it.
Firefly is based on ray tracing, the mathematics of light and shadow. The results are not as realistic as Superfly, but they are often prettier. Pretty beats realism every time.
The three mini stories were a test of this, too. The first story was done in superfly. Impressive images, but they took on average 50 minutes to complete. The second was done in Firefly, at an average rendering time of around 20 minutes. Generally speaking outdoor images with few lights (especially just sunlight), should be done in Superfly. Indoor images (especially multi lighted ones) should be done in Firefly.
Time to go back to the old looks, and classic Firefly renders.