Product Watch: Strike A Pose! - Simplifying 2D Graphics And 3D Animation Creation

Poser 4

MetaCreation's Poser is a 3D-character animation and design tool for digital artists and animators. From a diverse collection of fully articulated, 3D human and animal models, and a library of settings and swappable clothing, users create movies, images and posed 3D figures.

You can generate movies and 2D graphics from posed models for content in web, print and video projects. Or add life to 3D worlds using exported, posed figures. Poser generates dynamic, figure based content while providing a valuable introduction to 3D.

New Poser 4 Features

Sketch Designer - The Sketch Designer is a rendering option that creates a scene using a series of brush strokes that define the background, edges of scene elements and individual elements and figures. The result is a hand-drawn quality that defies the traditional 3D rendering look.

Conforming Figures - Each article of clothing was created as if it were a Poser figure. For example, a shirt would have a neck, chest, abdomen and arms. When loaded into a scene, and defined as a conforming figure, the shirt will attach itself to the base figure, snapping to that figure. As the base figure moves, so move the clothes.

Animated Deformers

  • Magnet - With magnets, Poser figures can be sculpted by bending, stretching or pinching. Users can generate morph targets or animate magnets for bounce effects.
  • Wave - Animate ripples on surfaces such as loose clothing on a 3D figure.
  • Turbulence - This creates more elaborate special effects such as splash or explosive blast.

Advanced Texture Controls - Now incorporate transparency and reflectivity into Poser textures, onto a whole figure or individual body parts.

New Lighting Controls - A new light type has been added to Poser's former, fixed set of three global lights. These new lights can be spotlights, which cast very realistic shadows, and have varying cones and intensity settings. Additionally, there is no limit to how many lights can be placed into a scene. Using a "point at" function, lights can track a prop or a figure's motion.

Custom Figure Creation Tools - Poser has new Polygonal Picking and Grouping, as well as Hierarchical selection tools. These allow you to import 3D geometry, break it into body parts and generate new Poser figures, including Inverse Kinematics.

General Features

Intuitive Interface with Real Time Feedback - Poser's interface is packed full of visual cues to help orient the first time user to the control-set. By incorporating instantly updating roll-over text for all toolbars, cameras, lights, previews, animation features and figure parts, the user is quickly coached as to each tool's function. Additionally Poser's figure library gives every user a ready-to-go set of digital actors for building compelling character images and animations.

Morph Targeting for Customized Face and Figure Design - More options for shading models means more realism for those models. With all of these methods at your disposal - decals, textures maps, filters and direct object painting - you have a single-solution 3D texturing tool.

Special Effects - With the addition of a new set of pre-applied, face sculpting morph targets, facial structure and final appearance can be completely customized for a look that is completely unique. This allows the creation of racially diverse figure sets, based on the same core geometry. Additional figure customization is found by allowing users to change the clothing on their figures. By using a new class of Poser functionality, deformers, the Poser figures can be tweaked to meet a user's custom needs.

Natural Brush-Stroked Renderings - The Sketch Designer creates an alternate look to the traditional, rendered 3D appearance of Poser figures. The final results provide a very unique, easily customizable hand-rendered appearance - a alternative to the traditional look of rendered 3D.

Poser 4 MSRP: $249


Recent Poser 4 Reviews

MacAddict gave the product 3 Addicts out of a possible 4 and said - "Poser 4.0 suffers a bit from feature-itis, having more bells and whistles than the average user may actually need. However, with a bit of time and some planning, you can create some really worthwhile output, usable in various types of projects. If MetaCreations could speed up Poser's rendering engine, making it comparable to Infini-D or Strata Studio, the package would be a complete 3D tool."

MacWorld gave it 4 mice out of a possible 5 and said - "Although Poser has always been a good program, it becomes a serious production tool for animators and illustrators with version 4; its new features and controls are well designed and well implemented."


System Requirements

  • All Power Macintosh and compatible models
  • System 8 or later
  • 32 MB of application RAM
  • Color Display (24-bit recommended)
  • CD-ROM drive
  • 240 MB Free Hard Drive Space


External Links

  • Mutimedia and Presentation Software Reviews
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