La Femme is the name of the new flagship female character for Poser, arising from the new Smith Micro / Renderosity partnership. She looks great and is free… but not really free, only becoming available free if you first spend more than $3.50 on other content at the Renderosity store.
Why is she more important than other recent Poser figures, such as the flagship Pauline figure which shipped for free (really for free) with Poser 11? To put it very simply, I’m told it’s because she brings Poser up to parity with DAZ Studio’s latest G8F figure. In terms of things like natural joint-bending, muscle flexing and having related figure and skin advances baked in. I haven’t yet seen the Smith Micro webinar on her, but I take it on trust that she’s an advanced state-of-the-art figure. Though I have very little knowledge of such jointy/bendy technical matters, and have also hardly even tried the G8s in DAZ Studio yet, I spent a few hours with a G8 and I like what I see. So it’s good to know that Poser is keeping parity with DAZ Studio there.
Personally though, I’ve always been more inclined to fix such joint and muscle-flexing matters in Photoshop, with a few flicks of the Liquify tool and a bit of light paintwork. But I can see how it would be important for animators and the 8k hyper-real render people, especially in settings where there’s minimal clothing involved.
Install: Here’s the complete roster for what my third-party PzDB content library indexed for her after install. The chest cover-ups are my own, as today’s Internet services appear to be hyper-prudish about showing even the simplest and tamest nudity.
Of course you can also load all her elements with a keyword ‘lafemme’ in Poser’s native Content Library, once the yellow re-indexing icon eventually stops pulsing.
As you can see, very curiously there is no restore MAT for the skin textures. You need to make and save your own. Such a thing is needed in cases where you try a third-party MAT and you need to restore to the default MAT.
Morphs: She comes with a quite basic set of ‘starter’ Body Morphs, and a more extensive set of Head Morphs. At Renderosity there are also two $20-each packs which will add lots of further Body Morphs and HD Morphs, if that’s what you need for your renders or new characters. So you’re looking at $43.50 if you want the whole La Femme caboodle, which most days is probably comparable with V4 and Morphs++ and HD skins from the DAZ Store.
Face-control and Expressions: Her face has the new face-control chips, though apparently these are only to fine-tune her underlying expressions. Not having used Poser 11’s Paul and Pauline, I’m not at all familiar with such things. But such features look handy, and more importantly there are dials for moving both eyes at once up-and-down and side-to-side quite easily. There are also six rather basic expression presets in the freebie package, if you just want to pop on a quick expression and tweak it. The Face Chips and the body chips can be turned off in Preview, useful for comics production. In Body, there is the following dial to turn them off…
I could get no legacy A3 or V4 expressions to work on her. No other legacy expressions worked in the slightest, not even Poser 11 Pauline expressions. Injecting all her Face Morphs made no difference. Nothing at all would move her set-in-stone default expression. This was rather disappointing.
Of course, having face-chips and other advanced face-flexing elements is great, but who has the time or patience to spend an hour hand-crafting a new custom expression with them? I just want 50 good presets in themed subfolders, and separate eyes-only look presets to apply on top of the expression presets, like DAZ Studio has (e.g. the ever-useful i13 SciFi Splendor set and similar). I hope such dedicated expression preset sets for La Femme will come soon, though it’s slightly worrying that there are currently no expression sets either in the Renderosity store or as freebies. Given the apparent flexibility of her face, this seems like a big missed opportunity.
Poses: I tried her with an old Aiko 3 pose, as these often work on many newer characters. The A3 ‘Floating’ and other poses worked perfectly! Next up was a test of some V4 and M4 poses. V4 playing a musical instrument, the Cello, was taken perfectly by La Femme including the hand and finger poses. M4 driving a truck was also successful, including finger positions on the steering wheel. Wonderful. After the total failure among the Poser expressions, such success with poses was very pleasing. But V4 riding a Penny Farthing bicycle proved too much, and the lower legs and feet were totally screwed up. Though possibly this pose first required the feet to be parented to the pedals. It does suggest that while many V4 and M4 poses will work, a few won’t or will first need parenting of feet and hands to props.
Hair: There’s no hair in the free download, but the four presets do work with the Pauline hair that shipped with Poser as extra downloads. I seem to have skipped that download bundle in the Poser Download Manager, though. Thus I discovered that V4 Supersleek hair (seen below) was fine for making a few test renders, needing only the slightest nudge upward on the Y axis for a La Femme fit. Poser auto-parented this hair and it moved with the head. Super, and this was another win for La Femme.
Clothing: This was the big problem, and lack of clothing was the total deal-breaker (for now). There’s not so much as a basic leotard in the free package, and currently there are no appealing clothes on the Renderosity store. No sci-fi, and only one rather basic maybe-steampunk set of dungarees. Certainly nothing to match V4’s 500+ awesome outfits. I had almost no success with any legacy Poser clothing, except for the V4 Morphing Cloak and the V4 Victorian Outfit, which both looked OK at the front. Otherwise it was all a mis-fit. There is a $7.50 stop-gap route for V4 clothing conversion, though that only gets you as far as the pre-prep of the clothing for the Fitting Room. But I’ve never ever used Poser’s Fitting Room, and don’t even have the first clue how to use it or how well it works for a new figure like La Femme. If clothing doesn’t fit, my immediate reaction is to try another item, rather than faff and fiddle around with it for hours. The Fitting Room is also a Poser Pro only feature, so Poser Standard users don’t have it.
But we already have a free V4 skull-shape morph, for V4 hair-fits on La Femme. So… will we also get a similar V4 full body-clone morph, making her into a V4 shape — but with a load of G8F-like advanced features, joint flexibility, and highly tweak-able expressions? I don’t know enough about the arcana of Poser figure-making to know if that’s possible, but I presume it is? I see it in DAZ Studio, where we even have sliders that can micro-adjust how much legacy character shape your Genesis figure has input in them. If a V4 body shape could be done, would V4 clothing then load onto La Femme perfectly? Or am I just dreaming re: that possibility? Perhaps V4 clothing requires certain named bones to ‘grab onto’, which are not present in La Femme?
The idea of a retro ‘V4 shaped La Femme’ may cause sniffs from some, but it would be fine by me. Just the body and top of the skull, not the face. I’d then consider using her instead of a V4. Because she does look very good in SuperFly renders even ‘out of the box’ and under the default Poser 11 ‘Bright Lights’ preset…
Update: Two years later. The main problems: Difficulty in getting the face away from the default ‘horsey’ face. Limb bending/creasing is not as good as a DAZ G8 in dynamic poses. Lack of morphs and (less so) clothes. Just not as easy to work with and dress as a G8 in DAZ Studio.