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Start with the head

To start building a model, you first pick a head from one of the handful of choices, which include a zombie and two teenage toons.

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Tons of control over textures

Though some of the options may be impenetrable for 3D novices (hello InputWarp slider!) the application gives you tons of control over textures. Unfortunately, while you can save a piece of clothing as a preset, you can't save the individual fabric settings.

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Unneccessary options

You build a model from individual body parts, and Fuse provides the option of all the available parts as you build. But unless you're building Frankenstein, the parts aren't really mix-and-match because the tools for matching the skin color and limb variations are cumbersome to use or nonexistent. So the application really needs to offer full-body presets. However, it does offer the correct matches as the first option after you choose the head.

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Clothing

Fuse doesn't offer a huge selection of clothing options, but with the color, texture and crease controls, plus a pretty large selection of fabric textures, you ultimately have a decent variety. There are also options for eyewear and gloves, as well as a really small selection of masks.

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Presets

Invididual cloting items can be saved as presets. However, the clothing models are inseparable; for instance, there are jacket and shirt combinations, but you can't mix a jacket with a shirt.

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Limited hair

Your top-of-the-head hair options are pretty much limited to a set of not-very-interesting presets; the best you can do with the hair tools are bald to basic buzz. Also, you can't do anything with just a head -- you have to build an entire body before you can make any changes.

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Manual modeling

The geometry tool lets you move vertices around, though it's relatively primitive. You can only grab vertices, and Fuse doesn't subsequently recalculate the polygon mesh to adapt to the changes. As a result, you end up with some really pointy geometry.

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Lighting

Fuse offers three different lighting environments for modeling which you cycle through via the ] key.

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Awful color picker

An application this sophisticated really needs a better color picker than this last-century Windows version (even on the Mac). Those basic swatches are always the skin tones and there are no custom palettes.

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Posing and animating

The posing and animating take place in Photoshop. Alternatively, the Mixamo service is still live and you can use it for further work; for now it's free with a Creative Cloud ID, but I'm guess that once it's official, it will become part of the CC subscription.

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Image plane

You can bring in a reference background image and have a limited set of adjustments for placement and opacity.

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Controls

You can control length, height, thickness and rotation of most body parts.

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Powerful or tedious?

While the ability to change every aspect of an item is nice, it can become tedious; I wish there were a way to "group" pieces of clothing so that, say, changes to the collar, cuffs, body and arms of the shirt synced.

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Clothing presets

Fuse can automatically side a clothing preset to match a different body type and size, such as the jacket and shirt preset designed for a female but applied to a man here.

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Clippity flop

Overall, Fuse is good at adjusting the clothing to fit the models, but not quite as good when clothing overlaps; I saw clipping errors where shoes pants overlapped shoes or tops overlapped with bottoms.

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Many controls...but not the one I want

You'd think that with options as granular as "Love Handles Down/up" that all the bases would be covered. Unfortunately, I really wanted to fix her pronating feet but could only move her knees up or down, not side to side, and couldn't find any controls for ankles.

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