This is the twelfth and last of a series of weekly posts that covers my efforts to learn and create with Smith-Micro’s Poser application. I’ll recap the previous weeks' efforts and discoveries using Poser. And I will sum up my experience and share my conclusions with you. If you’ve been following this series, I’d like to thank you for spending your time with me as I meander through this still interesting application.
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. Upgrade from Poser 11 is $110. Full details at this link.
Recap of Projects and Discoveries
We began this series with a history of Poser and it’s long-time relationship with Renderosity. We described poser as a posing and rendering program (not a modeling program). Then we looked at the interface along with the various rooms that Poser uses to do particular things with 3D models. There’s the pose room, the render room, the materials room and so on. The fourth episode was about Poser's huge runtime library. Smith Micro gives users of Poser a large library of figures, props, animations and other materials to use in creating scenes.
The fifth episode covered working in Poser’s Fitting Room since the clothes for my first character weren’t looking very good. Mark Bremmer’s series of Poser tutorials at Renderosity.com were very helpful in figuring out the rather complex workflow in the Fitting Room. We finally got it sorted out. I posed my first figure and did a render.
The sixth episode was where I worked on my first creative project - the reproduction of a classic photographer’s (Rodchenko) self-portrait. I worked in the Poser Face Room. Although I struggled a bit with the final product, I really liked the Face Room and its relatively simple workflow. This was the first Poser room that started to have fun with. I also worked with lighting in Poser which seemed very strange to me. I never quite got the hang of lighting despite working through several good tutorials. The project turned out somewhat bleh, too.
Episodes seven, eight, and nine covered my work in attempting to create a Surrealist scene in Poser. I worked in the Materials Room, which was favorite part of all of Poser, more detailed posing and cartoon rendering at the end. What was cool about these episodes was that I changed my mind about the scene while working and moved in a more realistic direction. Poser made the change relatively easy for me. I was pleased with how the scene turned out and felt that Poser was really fun to work with at this point.
I worked with animation in Poser for episodes ten and eleven. I wanted to create a simple walk path using Posers Walk Designer. I liked the way Poser handled simple animation, although the timeline felt out of date. The camera system was easy to use, too. The problem I had was combining animations and easing them in/out with each other. The whole system of doing this in Poser just took too much time and I eventually gave up.
Over twelve weeks of working with Poser I spent 2-3 hours a week actively researching and direct work in Poser. Sure, you can learn Poser in a week if you had the time, but I wanted to do two things; one, I wanted to try several projects using Poser because the best way to learn a program is to face problems and learn how to solve them, and two, the entire Poser program wasn’t as important for me to learn as it was focusing on several aspects of the program intensely. Working on three separate creative projects in Poser helped me accomplish these two goals.
I had fun with Poser and as I got better the program began to make sense to me. I felt I could create any kind of scene or character portrait I could imagine. Poser is certainly a very powerful program that rewards those who take the time to master it. Plus, the amount of content you get with the program is amazing. It really gets your creative juices flowing.
However, I have divided feelings about Poser. Many parts of the program feel out of date and overly complex. There hasn’t been a major update to Poser for two years now and it is falling behind more forward-looking pose programs like Daz Studio. Animation in Poser was particularly frustrating as a simple thing like combining animations became a complicated process where it should be an easy one. Look at how iClone handles animation and you’ll see what I mean.
Ultimately, I recommend Poser as a still relevant program. But if Poser isn’t updated in the next few years it runs the risk of becoming too out of date.
Where to Go From Here
Poser has one of the largest user bases of any creative application. Renderosity.com, in particular, has a huge Poser community and marketplace (see example above). The first stop for any user is here. New Poser products are going on sale every day along with a large freestuff selection.
Smith Micro, despite the lack of significant updates to Poser, still has an active community and very good support for learning Poser. The tutorials are well-done and helpful. The current manual for Poser 11 is also detailed and, for the most part, relevant and helpful.
There are literally hundreds of Poser users who share tutorials and free content on the net. I was impressed with the number of generous Poser artists I found while researching this series. A simple Google/Bing search will be your best friend.
And, finally, thanks to Renderosity.com for their help in putting this series together.