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Victoria 4: Exploring the New Features

Author: WillDupre

Tools Needed

* Victoria 4

* DAZ Studio or Poser or Bryce 6

Introduction

Victoria 4 is the new flagship figure in the Millennium line from DAZ. This tutorial is intended to be an overview of a few of her new features, particularly those that require some explanation and which users will want to look for and take advantage of right from the start. In this tutorial I'll be showing Victoria 4 in DAZ Studio, with some mention of exceptions for those using her in Poser.

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Step 1 - D-formers and Morphforms?

In addition to improvements in Victoria's rigging and mesh, Victoria 4 includes many other new features not available in any of the previous Millennium figures. The two main features I'll be discussing in this tutorial, which can use some explanation, are D-Formers and Morphforms, both added to increase realism and ease of use. I'll also touch on some of V4's other features along the way.

D-Formers are the equivalent of Magnets in Poser, and are built into V4's rigging, or system of joints. These D-Formers are used primarily as a replacement for many of the joint-controlled morphs (JCMs for short) that we have seen in past Millennium figures. (They also have another use, but we will get to that a bit later.) The second new feature is a set of dials that control transform channels in multiple body parts at the same time; these are called Morphforms. (Morphform controls are not available in the V4 Base package; you need to upgrade to the V4 Morphs + product to get this functionality.)

Let's start with the D-Formers. As I mentioned, these have been added to V4 primarily to replace a great number of the JCMs that have been used in the past, as well as adding functionality that might have previously been handled by morphs. The purpose of JCMs, and the new D-Formers which replace many of them, is to add more realism and anatomically-correct joint movement than might otherwise be possible within the constraints of the Poser rigging system. One of the primary benefits of using D-Formers in a figure like Victoria is that clothing need not contain these D-Formers to work with them. (JCMs, on the other hand, require clothing to contain analogous morphs.) A simple Magnetize pose allows the D-Formers to work not only on the figure but on the clothing as well.

Step 2 - Applying Magnetize Pose to Clothing.

1. You can apply the figure's D-Formers to the clothing easily in DAZ Studio. First, load and conform the clothing as you would to any other figure.

2. With your conformed clothing item selected, go to the Poser content library, in which you installed V4, and go to the Pose folder. Within that you will find the DAZ's Victoria 4 folder. Inside that folder, you will find a Magnetize Clothing folder. In there, you will see a series of Magnetize poses. The only one we need in DAZ Studio is !Magnetize to V4.

3. Simply double-click on this pose and the selected clothing item will automatically be influenced by the D-Formers just like the underlying figure. Repeat this process with each piece of conforming clothing that V4 is wearing. If you have multiple Millennium 4 figures in the scene go through the same process with them, too.

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Tip: Since this pose is going to get so much use in all of your V4 work, if you use multiple runtimes to organize your content, it might be useful to add a copy of it to all of your runtimes that contain V4 Conforming clothing, to save you from having to go back to the V4 runtime as often.

What about those other Magnetize poses you ask?

Well I was hoping you wouldn't ask that and I could ignore them but I guess I can't. As I mentioned, you don't need them in DAZ Studio. (People who use Studio exclusively can skip this explanation and move on to the next part of my tutorial.) Due to the way that Poser deals with multiple copies of the same figure, using a single Magnetize pose wouldn't work in Poser. If you load two copies of V4 into a scene you will notice something about the figure names: the first figure brought into the scene will be called Victoria4, the second will be called Victoria4 1, and the third Victoria4 2, and so on. If you tried using the first magnetize pose on multiple copies in the scene you would find that it would work with the first figure but not with subsequent instances of that figure. The reason for this is the renaming of the figures, so DAZ has solved this issue by providing poses that work with these renamed figures. So when Magnetizing Clothing for the first instance of Victoria4 simply do as you would for Studio. But for the second instance called Victoria4 1 you would use the pose Called Magnetize to V4 1 and so on for further instances (for more info on this read the V4 Readme file).

Step 3 - Using The Figure D-formers for other purposes

As I said there is an added bonus to the use of D-Formers in the figure, and that is the fact that D-Formers can be used in place of morphs other than just JCMs. This is primarily seen in V4 in the new gravity-simulating D-Former controls for her breasts. While these functions could have been accomplished with morphs, the benefit of using D-Formers is that the controls will also affect the clothing.

Here is V4 lying on her side without the use of the new D-Former dials. While silicone enhanced breasts may look that 'perky', real breasts tend to deform somewhat, based on gravity.

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As you can see, a bit of tweaking of the 'gravity' dials gives a much better simulation of natural movement to the breasts. The dials in discussion are the top 8 dials in the Breast Group of the body parameters:

BreastUpR

BreastUpL

BreastDownR

BreastDownL

BreastInR

BreastInL

BreastOutR

BreastOutL

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Step 4 - OK what about those Morphform things?

Besides D-Formers, this tutorial discusses another big change in how Victoria4 works, from previous Millennium models. This is the addition of Morphforms, which can be found in the top parameter group above your morphs. According to DAZ, the term “Morphforms” comes from joining the two existing terms that define it, morphs and transforms. Generally speaking, morphs modify a model's shape, whereas transforms affect a model or part of a model by rotating, translating and/or scaling it. Morphforms are a combination of the two, in that they are morph dials that drive multiple transforms at a time, for the benefit and convenience of the user. Since both DAZ Studio and Poser recognize these dials as morphs, the user must specify that any Poses saved also include morphs for these values to be recorded (though this is not necessarily the case in DAZ Studio due to a new script, as I will explain in a bit).

There are two types of Morphforms. You may already be familiar with the first type, the specialty scaling dials such as LegsLength, HeadSize and HandSize. We have seen quite a few of these scaling dials in past Millennium figures from Victoria 2 up through Aiko 3, which introduced new versatility to the Millennium figures by expanding on this technology.

One of the benefits of using these scaling Morphforms in DAZ Studio is that, unlike morphs, the scaling will affect the clothing as well, without any special work from the clothing makers. In Poser on the other hand, these scaling dials do not automatically transfer to clothing. (There is a workaround for this: instead of conforming the clothing to the figure, parent the BODY of the clothing item to the BODY of the character and then copy the pose from the character to the clothing.)

A new feature which I will discuss in this tutorial, and which you may not have previously seen in a figure, is the second type of Morphforms. These Morphforms don't change a model's shape or size; they are joint-manipulation tools designed to pose multiple body parts simultaneously. They help provide smoother bending in situations where multiple joint bends are recommended for a specific movement. They also make it easier to pose with a single slider rather than multiple sliders on multiple body parts.

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For example, correct shoulder rotation is a complex formula of shoulder joint movement and collar joint movement. These dials will automatically move both parts smoothly in the proper ratio. So as in the following demonstration, you can see that as the arms go up using the ArmsUp-Down control, both the shoulders and the collars raise up for a more natural look.

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OK, I can hear you saying, 'that's all cool and everything, but what if I just want to move one arm? Why isn't there a control for that?'

There actually is, it's just hidden away a bit, you will find it in the chest Morphforms group rather than the body (there is a technical reason for this but we won't concern ourselves with that in this tutorial).

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Another very complex movement which requires quite a few joint adjustments is bending at the waist. In the past when you wanted to pose your figure bending over you would need to bend the thighs up, rotate and translate the hip downwards until the feet were back on the ground, and then bend the abdomen and chest to complete the smooth bend. The new WaistBend dial does all of that for you, automatically, without the feet ever leaving the ground. It also moves the hip forward and backward to change the center of gravity, just as a real person would to keep balance.

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Another place the new Morphforms show up is all the way down at the bottom of the head groups, where you will not only find the scaling Morphform HeadSize, but also two new posing Morphforms, EyesUp-Down and EyesSide-Side, which do exactly what you would expect them to do–move both eyes in union. One interesting feature which will add to the realism of the eye movement can be seen clearly here when you use the EyesUp-Down control. When you move the eyes up or down the eyelid morphs will automatically adjust at the same time, mimicking the natural movements of eyelids when one looks up or down. (This effect will also be seen when you move the eye directly, or use the Point At control in the parameters to have the eyes follow some object in the scene.)

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Step 5 - Creating Poses using Morphforms

One thing that is important to note, if you are saving poses and do not want to include morphs in your poses, remember that Morphforms are treated as morphs in a pose preset. As a result, you may want to use the new script included with V4, Morphforms to Transforms, to convert the Morphforms into individual body part translations and rotations, just like any regular pose.

1. To do this, go into your Studio content library, under Scripts > Utilities, and find the Morphforms to Transforms script.

2. With Victoria4 selected, double click this script. You will see that the Morphforms have all been zeroed.

3.Now when saving a pose, it is important to save only the pose information, so in the Studio content library hit the Save As button and select Pose Preset.

4. Name your pose and in the Save Pose Preset Options select Custom, then select the arrow to the right and select Select All Transforms. Hit accept. And if you want to use your poses in Poser you can use the Poser Format Exporter script to convert your pose to a Poser-compatible pose file.

OK, I know you are asking, 'Why should I go through all that just to save a pose. Why not just hit save all, it seems to do the same thing doesn't it?' While the answer is yes, you can do this, there is one big drawback to doing it this way. If you use a pose which contains morph information (which Save All does) on a figure that's already been morphed, you will zero those morphs, and you will have to apply them all over again.

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Step 6 - New Expressions options.

While we are on the head, perhaps we should take a quick look at the expression morphs; there is a lot here that is new with Victoria 4. In the past Victoria's expressions were limited to one feature at a time, so you would adjust the mouth, eyes and nose separately, often utilizing dozens of morphs for a single expression. Now we have six master expressions at the beginning of the group which control expression components throughout the facial features. Of course, if these sliders just accessed a single full-face morph there would be very little flexibility to fine tune or build new expressions. What these controls do, however, is automatically adjust those dozens of individual morphs to create the expression that's called for, while still allowing the user to tweak the 'recipe' for that expression. In fact, in addition to these macro-expression controls, V4 actually has her expression morphs broken down into finer components than ever before, allowing individual morphs to be adjusted on a much more accurate basis as well as used to create totally new expressions.

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This linking of morphs with master dials is also seen other places where it makes sense. While most of the body morphs are useful at both positive and negative values (as has always been true of the Millennium figures), some morphs are designed to really work well in only one direction, so where appropriate some of these morphs have been combined into a single dial for two effects. The Smile-Frown morph is a perfect example; rather than use two dials that do single duty the Smile-Frown Control uses one dial that morphs a smile in the positive direction and a frown in the negative. These are not positive and negative of one morph but two separate morphs which have been linked to the same slider.

Step 7 - other features of note.

While we are discussing morphs, one new thing that Poser users will find useful is that the V4 figure has been set up in a way that allows full-body morphs (FBMs) to be saved in pose files. Because Poser has typically ignored morph dials in the BODY group, there was no way to save a character pose with FBMs out of Poser. (This is not an issue with DAZ Studio, as all joint and morph info anywhere in a figure is savable using the pose preset format.)One further feature I should bring up while discussing the head, is the new body parts which are included in the Millennium 4 figures. With V4 DAZ has added functionality by creating joints not only for each jaw but for the tongue as well, allowing much more natural and independent movement of those parts. (This also has benefits by reducing the size of head morphs.) You may never need to access the tongue or jaw groups directly as there are controls for them in the head, but should you wish to adjust the jaws manually to change the exposure of the teeth in open mouthed poses this is now possible with far more realism and versatility than previously offered.

One little word on using pre-made poses, one new feature that has been added to V4 is the ability to move the toes with morphs. It is quite possible that pose creators may well make use of these morphs. If a pose contains toe movement morphs you may have to zero those morphs in your figure in order to avoid the toes poking through shoes.

Step 8 - Bringing V4 into Bryce 6

While I have your ear, or rather eyes, perhaps I can also interest you in a little primer on how to use V4 (or any other content that can be used in studio) in Bryce 6.

For many years Bryce has been a popular adjunct to creating scenes with DAZ figures. With its user friendly landscape construction tools and excellent raytrace renderer Bryce is a natural tool to add realism to your scenes. With the addition of Bryce to DAZ's line of software products it has become even easier to accomplish this task. You now have the easiest way to import content into Bryce to create and render more realistic scenes. If you open Bryce 6 you will notice that there is a new button on the top of your tool pallet, in the form of a DAZ Studio logo. Clicking on this will open Studio.

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You can now open any of the content in your Content library or even import a Poser pz3, once your scene is set up to your liking in Studio, simply press the indicated button or close studio.

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And the scene is transported with all of the content and textures directly into your Bryce scene (this feature was also available with Bryce 5.5 but now with Bryce 6 you can also import complete animation sequences).

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Step 9 - Re-Loading your Content into DAZ Studio

One of the great features of this solution is that if you import a figure and find that you need to tweak the pose a bit, or change an element, you can hit the studio button again. But if you have moved the Studio Content as I did to position V4 properly in the scene, you want to take out a bit of insurance by first making sure your Studio content group is selected and than going into the Edit menu and hit Copy Matrix. Why? I'll tell you in a moment.

Now you can hit the studio button again and instantly open your studio content back up in studio and make your changes, than hit the Bryce Button as you did before and bring the updated scene back into your Bryce environment with the new elements or pose setting.

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Right about now I bet you are saying 'what the heck? my figure has moved!' Well if you took my advice and hit Copy Matrix that is no problem, you see Copy Matrix saves the position scale and rotation data in memory. The reason this is useful is because when you do the Bryce to Studio to Bryce exchange Bryce re-imports the content at the zero world position. Now you can simply hit Paste Matrix and your content will be back in position.

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Now you are ready to render.

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Learning to use all of these new features will be extremely helpful in getting the most realistic results when working with the Millennium 4 figures.