In this second week, I’ll cover the graphic interface of Poser 11 and my start with the labyrinth that is runtime. Before we begin I want to clarify that I am using Poser Pro 11.1. Smith-Micro created two versions of Poser: Poser 11 and Poser Pro 11. The difference is that Poser Pro provides advanced rendering, a fitting room for clothes and more. The price for Poser Pro 11.1 is $349. Updgrade from Poser 11 is $110. Full details at this link.
Poser Pro 11 Interface
Essentially, Poser is built on the standard 3D application interface. There are four elements to this kind of interface: a content or library are, the main workspace, a section for tools and details area that allows you to manipulate the selected component in a scene.
The main difference is that since Poser is a manipulation tool and not a creation tool the emphasis in the interface is on tools and content. Poser also has separate “rooms” for specific ways to manipulate your 3D figure. The rooms are Pose, Material, Face, Hair, Cloth, Fitting and Setup. The idea is that you start with posing your figure and then work through the successive rooms to add clothing, hair, and materials to your figure.
One of the very best introductions to Poser (and the one I am using throughout the 12 weeks I’ll spend with Poser) is the Renderosity Poser Tutorial series by Mark Bremmer. His Lesson One: Getting Around is a perfect intro to the Poser Interface. Note that although Mark is working with an earlier version of Poser there is very little that has changed with Poser 11.
Poser comes with a very large amount of content, about 5GB of free content. It also includes select legacy content from all previous versions of Poser. Now in order to make that legacy content work in Poser 11, Smith-Micro has stuck to the idea of “runtime”. Back in the early days of computing, any folder than contained exe files (those that would run when clicked) was called a runtime. This term has stayed with Poser and represents the collection of files that form the Poser library where all of that 5GB of content resides.
It’s easy to use content that comes with Poser Pro 11 as it’s a simple drop and drag, but what about the content you purchase or download for free from other sites. Renderosity, for example, has a huge marketplace of Poser content along with a generous Free Stuff collection. How do you get this content into Poser Pro 11?
The answer is not very easy.
I spent many hours trying to work out ways of bringing the new La Femme figure and several Renderosity marketplace items I purchased for La Femme into my installation of Poser Pro 11. There are essentially two ways: one, use the install from zip drive feature from within Poser. Despite watching several videos where this process succeeded I was never able to get it to work for myself. The second method (and one recommended by the creators of the content in their read me file) is to unzip the file into your Poser directory. This didn’t work for me at all either.
After much research, I discovered that there is a difference in how to install 3rd party content between the Mac and the PC. The Mac almost always need the content to be on an external drive. This isn’t necessary for the PC, but I tried it anyway. I was never able to get my purchased content on my Mac Poser installation, but I was successful with the PC version. However, when I added the La Femme character to my Poser scene the application requested that I find several material files that seemed to be missing. I couldn’t find them either so the figure looks awful.
I’m disappointed that Smith-Micro hasn’t made the installation process easier for 3rd party content. I’m going to continue to research, read the Poser manual and ask for help from Poser artists that I know. I’ll update you next week.