Smith Micro Poser 7
Smith Micro's Poser 7 is a unique application for designing lifelike 3D models of humans and animals. With the new version of this popular application, Smith Micro has added numerous features and improved the quality of the included content. While the new features are great, this version does suffer from some screen redraw issues and some models don't render as well as others. However, the improvements far outweigh any negatives, and after you use Poser 7 for a while, you will certainly not want to go back to an earlier version.
Poser's rendering engine produces extraordinary results.
Poser 7 adds numerous new features. Among the most impressive are lip syncing, HDRI rendering and other rendering improvements, animation layers, and powerful morphing tools. The lip sync tool is an amazing addition to Poser. It allows you to load an audio file of recorded speech (only .wav files are supported) and Poser will synchronize lip movement to the audio. Poser adds head and eye motion, blinking, and even allows you to tweak the general demeanor of your figure while he or she speaks.
Poser's rendering engine (called FireFly) produces extraordinary results and has been enhanced in Poser 7. Rendering is faster in Poser 7 than in previous versions, and if you have a computer with multiple processors or a dual core processor, you can choose to render using multiple threads for even faster render times. You can also render in a separate process if you wish.
Render output is impressive, but I achieved varied results with different models. The following image demonstrate this. It shows the Poser 7 default male and default female at maximum render quality settings. Notice that Simon looks quite realistic while Sydney looks flat and lifeless, especially in the eyes. You can achieve much better results with the female model by making modifications to materials, but it's a lot of work.
Poser 7 includes a lot of content. You'll get not only the props you're used to in previous versions, but also many more animals, figures, and other props. You even get props for an entire interior space called "The Pad" that includes chairs, lamps, walls, and more.
Some of the more interesting figures are the musculature and skeletal figures, but you'll find plenty of content to satisfy just about any need.
Poser's animation features are impressive, and Poser 7 adds some new features that make it an even more attractive package. Most notable of these new features is animation layers.
Animation layers allow you to create complex animations as a series of animation segments called layers. These layers can be arranged and controlled in the Animation Palette as shown below.
By breaking apart complex animations into layers, not only do you gain much finer control over animations, but you also have the ability to carefully adjust part of an animation without affecting other parts. It's an amazingly powerful feature, the value of which only becomes truly realized when you use it.
Poser's true power is largely derived from morph targets. Morph targets allow you to modify the appearance of Poser figures and can range from something as simple as eyes moving left and right to something as complex as being able to age a figure by adjusting a parameter dial. Poser comes with plenty of morph targets out of the box, but to fully realize the power of Poser, you will want to create your own morph targets.
The new features in Poser 7 are exciting and definitely worth the upgrade.
In previous versions of Poser, creating morph targets was something reserved for a small portion of power users. In order to do is well, a third-party application was usually needed to adjust the geometry of the Poser models. However, Poser 7 adds a new morphing tool that makes creating your own morph targets an intuitive part of Poser itself.
The Morphing Tool palette has two tabs; Create and Combine. By using the Create tab, you have access to a powerful toolset for creating your own morph targets by drawing onto the geometry of existing figures as shown below. This is an amazing new feature and is alone worth the price of an upgrade if you're an existing Poser user.
The new features in Poser 7 are exciting and definitely worth the upgrade. I was a little disappointed in the out-of-the-box renderings of the female model in Poser 7, but that's easily resolved using the Materials workspace. All in all, Poser 7 is a must-upgrade for existing Poser users, and it's a wonderful starting point for those of you who have never experienced this amazing application.