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No, my "print to action figure" button still ain't working. The mask was rendered separately, then pasted in as a separate layer and merged with a photo. Close enough for government work! I still want a real one though.

Still, now I know I can paste simple Daz objects into real scenes. This is good to know. Read more... )
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Fortunately it won't actually be worn, but it needs to be a prop. It's a combination face mask/ball gag/blindfold, and YES, it does have narrative relevance in LHF. Pictures below. Anyone have ideas? Maybe I should just cut off a Barbie face and sculpt from that?? [The different colors in the pictures are just so the different parts can be seen, although I do think those crazy colors are kinda cool.]

Read more... )


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On a nostalgic trip, I was poking through Daz' Web site, and I realized that a few of their sets would be good for any flashback eps to Will's past. Read more... )
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Inspired by The Bride of Frankenstein, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, here's a future LHF cast member, Gemini Beaumont, dressed up for one of Will's shoots.
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I got some ducks to make a 3-D version of the Make Way For Ducklings statue in Boston Public Garden so my LHF characters can hang out there.
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I found them some hair that doesn't look like it's been run through an ironing machine. [I think Materyllis might straighten her hair, but not Velvette, who has cumulus clouds of hair, and Janet, who has a fuzz cut.] Hey, Velvette and Janet and Susie and Materyllis! Realistic hair awaits....
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Ethan Stuart, leader of the Colos of Salem, is the LHF universe's oldest vampire. He was in his 80s when he was vamped at the end of the 17th century, so there wasn't much youth to preserve in the first place. He's also wasting away, which explains his deliciously zombie-like condition [courtesy of the Mr. Happy package mentioned earlier]. Of course he looks exhausted and melancholy.
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Mr. Happy, as sold at Renderosity, is a modification of an adult male digital model from robust and bland-looking to zombie-riffic. Morphs [sculpting mods] are included to make the model look that scrawny, as well as textures [skin] to make him appear rotten. Highly detailed and obviosuly crafted with love and a sense of humor, this package is an exquisite work of art...and this accolade is coming from someone who usually thinks that zombies are dull and uninteresting.

I keep making versions of Ethan Stuart, LHF's oldest vampire [at almost 400 years], with versions of the zombie morphs supplied with V4 Creature Creator, but I don't like the prospect of a V4-based vampire as much as I like the prospect of an M3-based, Mr. Happy vampire.

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Well, I ordered some guts and bloody stumps for my manananggal, but they didn't come, so I worked on the rest of her, that is, her top half. You can see Cory [short for Corazon] below. I am not sure what her style is, but, whatever it is, she is rockin' it hard. She is a lot of fun to make. I put her in the therianthropes category because she has bat wings and an insectile tongue, so I think of her as therianthropic. I added the "devil horns" because they seemed to go along with the bat wings...and her tough demeanor. I don't know if you can see this, but she has three eyebrow piercings, one nose ring and rings at either corner of her mouth!
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On and off for the past few months, I've been trying to make a digital verson of the penanggal, a Malay vampire with a distinctively monstrous appearance.

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"I never realized we had such a collection of things that cover your whole head and face."

"I never realized how many of them you can't wear outside the bedroom!"

Bandit mask http://www.poserworld.com/Downloads/Props/9402/Bandit.Face.Scarf.aspx

Hood 01 http://www.renderosity.com/mod/freestuff/index.php?user_id=45098

Masks on sticks http://www.renderosity.com/mod/freestuff/index.php?user_id=12263

Mask and cowl http://www.renderosity.com/mod/freestuff/index.php?user_id=43825&page=2

I wish I could find a free mask with zippers on it. [Apparently these are called gimp masks, which puzzles me to no end.]

EDIT:

Blindfold http://www.most-digital-creations.com/free_poser_poses_textures_morphs_props_15.htm

High fantasy veil http://free.daz3d.com/free_weekly/detail.php?free_id=21





 
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This weekend I did an episode where Will and Velvette were at the Downtown Crossing station. I just dropped them and their shopping bags against various photos I took of the station interior. Lo and behold -- how quickly did these simple pictures render, without multiple props and 3-D sets to inflate their developing times!! I'm going to have to set more eps against photoed backdrops, for my 3-D interior sets render too slowly for me [120 seconds as opposed to 20].

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I got a beautiful digital Chinese dragon today, and I was going to throw together a quick comic of Chow and Baozha remarking over it, but I got lazy, so here's the picture.
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So far my renders for LHF are coming out great, except for one thing...I can't get the characters to cast shadows. It's fine for the ones who are vampires, but the humans aren't casting shadows either. Hmmmm... 

LHF toons

Jan. 20th, 2008 10:28 pm
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So I put my favorite LHF characters into toon form and arranged them all together for a group shot. Their poses and facial expressions, as well as who they are watching, give you clues as to their characters....
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Okay, I just wrestled my aforementioned Daz scene into a state of more submissive submission. There are still 2 characters in the scene, Anneka and Will, with high-res textures on their bodies, clothes and hair. But I have reduced the number of props in the scene to 30 [from 60 -- mostly I got rid of a lot of individual books]. Also I slashed the size of most of these texture files to about 20% of original size and dropped posability information from  the props that didn't need it. [The stuffed animals don't need to be posable; they just need to sit there and look cute.]

As a result, now a render of the entire scene [OpenGL, 8 passes per light] takes 40 seconds, rather than over 60.

Hiding everything except what will appear in the frame gets the rendering time down to 18 seconds. I'd like to have it render instantaneously, a la digital camera, but that won't happen unless I get a more powerful processor or start reducing the resolution of the characters themselves, which I refuse to do.
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I just tested with posing, setting up, rendering and laying out part of LHF 1.1. Already I see some things I need to improve on.

1. First and foremost, I have way too many props, textures and gimcracks in my sets. 2 figures in an average set, which is just a sparsely decorated corner, with maybe 60 props total [mostly books :p] and 3 lights, really slows down my compooper. I can't pose characters quickly; there's a lag time of several seconds. Also rendering takes too long for my tastes, meaning that it takes 60-180 seconds. I need to relegate as much as possible to the 2-D backdrops except for furniture and 2 books, 1 telephone, 1 doll, 1 mermaid, 1 stuffed animal....the absolute essentials. I must resist the temptation to go insane with detail in the sets. They should be very simple, streamlined and highly stylized.

2. The font in the speech bubbles looks horrid. I think it needs to be 9 point BOLD.

That said, I'm enchanted with how the new medium is working out. I can get much tighter camera angles out of Daz than out of my own physical camera. I can also put the digital dolls in much more realistic, squinched-up postures than I could with my action figs. Plus the digital dolls' likeness is much closer to what Anneka and Will actually look like. Hooray!!!! Is it strange to say that I am most enchanted with the sagginess and wrinkliness of their faces and the elegance of their hands?
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I'm lazy, so I am not modeling one from scratch. I will just take the Bushy Tail 2.0 that I downloaded for all my therianthropic purposes, make it spiral and hang like a scarf, export as OBJ, then import and use a custom shader on it to make it look fuzzy. Totally tubular. Why reinvent the wheel when I can modify someone else's wheel? 

By the way, I'm now coveting Wardrobe Wizard. It does what CrossDresser does -- translate clothes from one figure to another -- but it does so with more sophistication. CrossDresser's translated clothes only fit the basic shape of the target figure, not skinny ones, fat ones, transgendered ones, etc. WW2 allows you much more control to translate clothes so they fit fit, skinny, transgendered and otherwise altered figures. Since my mostly highly used character is a transgendered Victoria 3 [=Will] who wears lots of women's clothes but doesn't have boobs, WW2 should be very useful.

I would buy it right now if it weren't $75.00. Fidget, fidget.
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After my enjoyable experience with Boopsie, I tried recreating the same tooniness last night in realistic Will, using only M3's standard morphs. So, basically, inspired by my love for "The Girl" and the toony morphs of Boopsie, I tried to get a toony Will out of a realistic character and his realistic morphs.  Trying to get a toony character out of standard morphs made Will look like an origami lemur. I failed so badly and disappointingly that I'm not going to even show the results.

Fortunately, the creator of Boopsie also has similar custom morph packages for other characters. So I got Rayne, a set of toony morphs for V3. [V3 is the main female base I use for characters. Dolly nerds can think of her as a CG 1.5.] I will now be redoing all my characters, male and female, young and old, child and adult, on V3 bases with Rayne morphs...or on other bodies with V3/Rayne heads swapped on, if I can ever figure out how to work a head swap. Blllllaaaagh.
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I wonder what the LHF characters would look like with toony heads all based on "The Girl" and more realistic bodies? Maybe they would achieve that doll-like look that I'm going for. Do you think they'd look like BeGoth characters? Here's one who reminds me very much of Will.

Toony Will

Dec. 18th, 2007 09:10 pm
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I'm getting more mileage out of "The Girl" with a new morph pack, Boopsie, which I got with my $25 Daz gift certificate. [Tutorials that are accepted and published on the Web site are recompensed with store credit in the Web shop!!] Tonight I fucked off and made a Will "The Girl." He looks, unsurprisingly enough, disgustingly cute as a toon. I'm sure other flamboyant LHF characters, such as Anneka, Velvette, Rori, Dom and Baozha, would also flourish fabulously in a toony style, but the other 50%, including Mark, Alexandra, Max, Minerva, Leonora, Chow, etc., deserve a more subdued and realistic rendering style. Forthwith, the fabulous, flirty and fun Will toon!!Read more... )

Toony Will

Dec. 18th, 2007 09:10 pm
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I'm getting more mileage out of "The Girl" with a new morph pack, Boopsie, which I got with my $25 Daz gift certificate. [Tutorials that are accepted and published on the Web site are recompensed with store credit in the Web shop!!] Tonight I fucked off and made a Will "The Girl." He looks, unsurprisingly enough, disgustingly cute as a toon. I'm sure other flamboyant LHF characters, such as Anneka, Velvette, Rori, Dom and Baozha, would also flourish fabulously in a toony style, but the other 50%, including Mark, Alexandra, Max, Minerva, Leonora, Chow, etc., deserve a more subdued and realistic rendering style. Forthwith, the fabulous, flirty and fun Will toon!!
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http://www.thebluesdragon.com/ftp/Tutorial-Skin.pdf Sarsa's tutorial

http://forum.daz3d.com/viewtopic.php?t=66730&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=54 some supplements to Sarsa's tutorial

http://www.daz3d.com/i.x/tutorial/tutorial/-/?id=2123 DAZ-hosted tutorial

And apparently there are some raw high-res JPEGS on Renderotica for texturing...


I should make my own base for people...dammit!!!
 
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Wow! Finally, after months of tinkering with 3-D modeling, I finally rendered one of the basic units of an LHF comic: a fully stocked interior scene with a character. Below Chow sits in his study, reflecting. [Please note his poster of the Chinatown gate on the wall! I took that picture.] I overcame my difficulties with lighting by cheating. I stole some lights from a daytime exterior set. They were set not to cast shadows, so I added a spotlight over Chow's table and set it to cast raytraced shadows. Oh yeah, I also removed the ceiling from Chow's study so I could actually shine lights in because my skills are not sophisticated enough to illuminate a room with a roof.

There's also a view of the full set below. Yes, I'm aware that Chow's boot is running into the mat. But that's never showing up in the final pictures, so I'm ignoring that comment.
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Hmmm, I see that my Preteen Vicky model has all facial and body morphs fully loaded into her, so I might try recreating little Will's head with Preteen Vicky's, especially since I can't get my current version of Little Will soft enough in the face. The lines of his chin are still too harsh.... 
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Here's a picture of my latest draft of little Will in his little dress. I made little Will by using a Millennium Girls Preteen Vicky body and neck, then erasing the body of my Michael 3 Will and resizing and shaping it so that it looked young and the appropriate size for the preteen body. As a result, I realized that Will looks extremely cute, but also very anxious. You would be too if your mom raised you on gory tales from Ovid's Metamorphoses!!

He's really a very cute little kid. Littlle does little Will know that he will grow up to become a dead guy with gender confusion and no fashion sense.

Please pay attention to the beauty of his dress!!
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This is a test; this is only a test.  The person on the left is Will between the age of 8 and 12. He has a second skin wetsuit only because I lack clothes for my new kid models. He should be wearing one of those dresses that boys in the 19th century were sometimes kept in until they were 6 or 8 or even [really REALLY pushing it] 10. [Most of them went to short pants by 8, though.] Also his hair is supposed to be in ringlets, but that is the closest I could find.

I mentioned earlier that I wanted to scale down my adult models to make child models, but I ended up not doing that. I scaled down a copy of my Will model and morphed its head to make young Will's head, then erased the rest of the small Will model's body, then stuck the small Will's head onto a Millennium Kids Young Teens Mike body because the neck area of the small Will model did not look appropriately smooth and fat for a child.
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Frustration 1. It's hard to make tight clothes look good on dolls. That's because the dolls are not 1:1 scale, but the clothing is, so the clothing does not look appropriately form-fitting. It looks too bulky. Plus it usually limits the dolls' movement. 

Frustration 2. Poke-through on 3-D models. This is when the position of your 3-D digital person is such that the person's body part penetrates the clothes unrealistically. If someone's arms are bent acutely, you may see, for example, elbow poke-through in the shirt. It's not realistic, and it limits model poses.

Frustration 3. Memory hogging. 3-D modeling programs put a huge drain on computers. Every piece of clothing has its own construction, design, morph and texture information, which can get really complicated if you have a scene with 3 people, each with 1 hair, 3 items of clothing, 1 accessory, not to mention the set made up of 6 props. Memory hogging makes loading the files, saving them and rendering them really slow.

A partial solution is second skin clothing.
Here's a picture of Rori wearing second skin fishnets. They are painted on her body mat:

Anyway, I'd like to make second skin clothes for my characters, so I've discovered some software that can help me. Zew's Clother and Clothim give you men's and women's clothing that you can easily apply on any body mat to create custom second skins. They're the same program, differing only in the base wardrobe supplied. Second skins will be very helpful for certain characters [Anneka, Will, Velvette, Dom, Pippilotta, etc.] who wear tight clothes. It will also be good for putting underwear on everyone so I don't have to see their [lack of] genitalia.

Hee hee, check out the Clothim add-ons. Do you or do you not see a distinctly FABULOUS sensibility at work here? I mean, seriously...tank tops for men that don't cover the nipples?  And over here in the downloads...underwear with a question mark on it. I don't think I've ever seen any guy wear clothes like this, except for at pride parades...WHICH MAKES IT PERFECT for my fashionless vampires! PERFECT I SAY!
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On my lunch break, I inspected many offerings of 3-D content from Sixus1. They have a lot of therianthropic creatures with an emphasis on dragons, dinosaurs, werewolves, etc., all of them studded with teeth, spikes, claws and optional impractical [but imposing] armor. Like the Raptorian female with armor. I can just picture the designers saying, "What's cooler than dinosaurs? Oh, I know...DINOSAURS WITH ARMOR! Hell yeah!"  Somebody loooooves the monsters over there. 

Then I went over to Meshbox, which is apparently staffed by highly literate horror nerds. They have thematically arranged sets of intricate design, including the admirable City of Vampires, which looks about as bleak and ominous as a Gothic cathedral in bad weather. My favorite element is the Old Library, where the vampires enter by flying in and out of a portal in the ceiling! It also has the only commercially available set of stacks that I've seen so far.

Anyway, it's really too bad that my vampires are just dead, ground-based, non-transforming queers with no fashion sense who live in an actual city in the modern day where the monsters are stupidity, jealousy, rage, depression and homophobia. If only they were Gothic and fantastic, they could have some real cool shit goin' on...
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...by the greater modeling community. This is because I specialize in making rotund people, scrawny people, ancient people and -- my forte -- guys in drag. In contrast, all of the people I have seen in the greater modeling community are lean, tight, voluptuous and between the ages of 18 and 25. They are all wearing clothes designed for their sex.

Anyway, here is Mamie Sinquell. She is not Anneka's dying grandmother; she is Anneka's dying grandmother's long-term partner. She was a mannish lesbian before people even came up with the term. She's still as intimidating in her 90s as she was when she was the hard-ass headmistress of Endless Lake Boarding School. Since she was either skiing or hiking or running around taking photos in the Adirondacks, she has poor skin that's probably on the verge of precancerous melanoma. I love her. She, on the other hand, is not impressed with YOU, but you knew that already from the picture.
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...by the greater modeling community. This is because I specialize in making rotund people, scrawny people, ancient people and -- my forte -- guys in drag. In contrast, all of the people I have seen in the greater modeling community are lean, tight, voluptuous and between the ages of 18 and 25. They are all wearing clothes designed for their sex.

Anyway, here is Mamie Sinquell. She is not Anneka's dying grandmother; she is Anneka's dying grandmother's long-term partner. She was a mannish lesbian before people even came up with the term. She's still as intimidating in her 90s as she was when she was the hard-ass headmistress of Endless Lake Boarding School. Since she was either skiing or hiking or running around taking photos in the Adirondacks, she has poor skin that's probably on the verge of precancerous melanoma. I love her. She, on the other hand, is not impressed with YOU, but you knew that already from the picture.

Chow again

Nov. 6th, 2007 10:22 pm
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The inimitable Chow, redesigned, with better mesh and more appropriate clothes.
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...because she's awesome.
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Janet Planet, semi-mad scientist, sister to Velvette Crush and creator of Viktor, shown in a heavily cropped portrait shot because I haven't found appropriately baggy and formless clothes for her yet.

Chow

Nov. 1st, 2007 06:46 pm
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I'm having some problems with the M3 mesh, so this is the only angle from which he doesn't have strange lumps on his arms poking through. It's also a characteristic posture. I would like everyone to know that I successfully subdued the V3 Ultimate Changing Ponytail and made Chow's hair. He's supposed to be dressed in a subdued and somewhat antiquated manner, befitting his personality.
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With her short hair and straight eyebrows, she looks much more like me than the 1:6 version. She sees you when you're sleeping and knows when you're awake....
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Using only a few photos and some digital props, I am going to artistically recreate a 3-D set of the Old Burying Ground in Cambridge, my favorite cemetery, and then force my characters to hang out in it because I slaved so hard over it. This is, of course, assuming that my computer doesn't go totally hemorrhageous from all those high-res textures.

My photos will be of the actual cemetery, hopefully projected using the Cyclorama. I have a sarcophagus prop, several gravestone props [with lichen!] and a Spooky Tree [TM] prop. Eventually my characters will be able to sit on top of the sarcophagus and at the base of the Spooky Tree. Oh yeah, and there's a Light Dome to make it look like night.

I would really love to make an aerial view of Will curled up on the ground next to a gravestone, sleeping with his teddy bear and smiling. :D :D

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Some genius developed an application called CrossDresser, which allows you to reconform any clothing for any 3-D model to any other 3-D model. So you can reconform clothing for Victoria 3 to clothing for Michael 3, which allows me to make 3-D Will wear 3-D Anneka's clothes, which saves the trouble of me finding dresses specifically for him.

Hair porn

Oct. 19th, 2007 09:43 am
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Please check out this picture of Paradise Hair. It's a hairstyle for the Daz 3D Victoria 4.1 female model. The Paradise Hair model consists of one ponytail on either side of the head with loose strands on the forehead and around the ears. Length of the ponytails can be varied. 

This particular hair model immediately inspired lust in me because it's a realistic render of Anneka's wild, full, gravity-defying ponytails. Streams of hair! Oceans of hair! Buckets of hair! I love the watery profusion of it all, as well as the shimmering highlights and the illusion of the strands being fine and possibly charged a bit by static. I love the way that it seems to be the work of an artist who starts drawing quick strokes for the ponytails and gets so into the groove of making those satisfying swooping motions that he or she just goes berserk with them. The result looks realistic, but it is not achievable in this particular universe. It's a fantastical style done with not just great technical skill, but also great exuberance and relish, and for that I really esteem it.
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Including dresses, gowns and skirts for Will, which were hiding under "robes" or "tribal clothing" or "Egyptian" because apparently you can't search for "dress AND michael" [Michael = latest Daz 3D male character] and except to come up with anything, nooooo. I'm beginning to despair of finding corsetry. Forthwith, what I HAVE found...
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Renderosity amasses many free things for Poser. I found several kitchens [Alexandra and Maximilian's backdrop], a bar [the NIghtcrawler], a living room [Anneka and/or Will?], multiple bedrooms [Anneka and Will], a cellar [Janet and Velvette, a kid's room [Geordie], kitchen cabinets [Alexandra and Maximilian], a toilet, a sink, a bathtub, beds with curtains, a folding screen [Chow and Baozha], a taser [Janet], a syringe [Janet], Pocky [Baozha], barrels of toxic waste [Janet], an egg chair [Will!!], a corner sofa, a wheeled table, all sorts of bookcases [Anneka, Will and Mark], office desks [Anneka, Will, Mark, Janet], candlesticks with unlit candles [Will], a fucking Gothic tomb with removable grave [Will], a "Dystopia Console" [Janet], hats, watches, BDSM equipment [Anneka and Will], a 5-ring earpiece [Baozha], open and closed books [Anneka, Will and Mark], wheelchairs [Maximilian] and lots more....
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Poser! It has collision detection, dynamic cloth and a mouse-based interface, plus a much larger built-in library of items, faces editable all over, editable hair, a sprawling user community with free items and...more realistic results than iClone. The base pack of Poser 7 is just around $250, and you don't have to buy hundreds of extra bonus packs just to do simple things like make people naked or modify their clothes. Better deal?
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So...I got iClone 2.1 Hooray! I have yet to do anything substantive with it, though. From what I read, I should probably just wait until the 2.5 patch, released later this season, which will make manipulating characters, props and other elements much easier.


Oh yeah, and on a positive ranting note, I find the site Renderosity a great source of free 2D backgrounds and textures. I downloaded some creepy/industrial/Gothic/night scenes for possible use in LHF 2.0. The only disappointment I have with Renderosity is that it contains many Poser and 3DX files that I cannot use because I do not have the software. But the thumbnails sure are pretty to look at.
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Assuming I want to use it...

iClone 2.0 Standard $79.95 [the engine]

Furniture Pack 1 $39.95 [because they need beds and chairs and tables, but that's about it]

Working Fashion Theme Pack #1 $97.46 [because they need to sit, stand and talk -- that's all they do]

Total $217.36

Monetarily speaking, that's actually cheaper than 1:6, given than I've probably spent $2K [?] on 1:6 in the past 5 years, maybe more. {We won't talk about my BJD spending. Oh, okay, we will. I've had Zephque, Sardonix 1.0, Jareth, little Jennifer, Frank, big Jennifer, Submit, Sardonix 2.0 and Will, which is 9 dolls, not to mention their clothes. I'd say that I've spent about $9K on them in the past 3.5 years.] 

Alternatively, iClone 2.0 Studio is $199.95 and it comes with Working Fashion Theme Pack #1.

Cool Clones has downloads.

Cool Creators has a store.

I would like to try before making a commitment of several hundred dollars!

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