e frontier Poser 7

e frontier Poser 7

Adding an amused expression in Poser 7 is as easy as making people walk the walk.


For animators who can't stomach the idea of spending thousands of dollars on software, Poser 7 is the ideal choice. Poser is all about designing and editing 3D figures, and version 7 ships with some new human models (named Simon and Sydney) as well as a slew of third-party forms, including an eagle, a wolf, a crab, a cockroach, and not one, but two alien beings. There are enough sentient life forms here for just about any 3D creative endeavor.


The overall look and feel of Poser hasn't changed much, which is comforting to longtime users (are loyal Poser users called Posers?). Even better, if you're running it on an Intel Mac or a multiprocessor PowerPC Mac, you'll see significant performance improvements in Poser 7. The performance boost is especially important given the app's new rendering capabilities, including HDRI (High Dynamic Range Image) support for the IBL (Image Based Lighting), which takes render quality to a whole new level of realism. On a quad-processor PowerPC Mac, you're looking at a speed boost of two to three times over previous rendering times. Working with complex hair and cloth simulations also benefits from the multithreaded support.


Texture handling is faster than ever in Poser 7, and the texture size limitation of previous versions (1,000 by 1,000 pixels) has been bumped up to 4,096 by 4,096 pixels. This is critical for delivering more detailed renderings of human faces, a key aspect of typical Poser usage.


Three-dimensional figures are more fun when they move, and Poser 7 includes some great additions for animators. Animation Layers significantly facilitate the creation of complex moves by blending different types of character motion into one coherent whole. Let's say you create a run effect with the Walk Designer and then decide that it should end with a crouching effect and a snap of the head to one side. Animation Layers let you create each of these distinct motions by themselves, and then blend them together to create a larger, more complex set of movements that constitute a complete animated sequence. You can make changes to an individual animation layer, though the degree of control is no different than in previous versions; it's the blending/morphing between the discrete animation layers that's new. Then there are the new Morph Targets Creation tools, common in the world of high-end character animation, which are used for creating dynamic facial animation and exerting absolute control over how the surface of skin appears as limbs bend and move. Together, these two features make it possible for Poser 7 users to create much more subtle and realistic animations.


We were a little less thrilled with the Talk Designer, which is supposed to ease the tedious, complex task of creating convincing lip-synching of talking characters. When you import an audio file, Poser automatically creates custom morph animation of the character's lips. An additional feature lets you import a text file transcription of the spoken dialog, to assist in the analysis and accuracy of the final lip animation. While this sounds phenomenal in theory, the practical results of the process leave something to be desired, and require extensive manual tweaking in order to get even partially believable synchronization between the lips and the sound.


Besides these major new features in Poser 7, there are a couple of interface and workflow additions that have been long overdue. Up to 100 levels of Undo are now available, a critical feature that longtime Poser fans have been clamoring for. There's also a Duplicate command for cloning objects in a scene.


The bottom line. At just $250, the sheer value proposition of Poser can't be beat. It's a true bargain of a 3D creature factory.


COMPANY: e frontier
CONTACT: www.e-frontier.com
PRICE: $249.99, $129.99 upgrade from version 4 and higher
REQUIREMENTS: 700MHz G4 or later or Intel processor, Mac OS 10.3.9 or later, 512MB RAM, 1GB hard disk space, OpenGL enabled graphics card
Animation layers assist in creating complex animation. Performance boost for Intel and multiprocessor Macs. 100 undos. Amazing price. Universal binary.
Talk Designer needs work. Learning curve still significant





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