Poser 7 was released by e frontier in December of 2006. The interface looks similar to that of Poser 6. E frontier has added a lot, and I mean a lot, of content in the form of morphs, clothing, animals, props, and more. It has added a new female figure, Sidney and a new male figure, Simon.
This review is mainly about the new features in Poser 7. For more information, see the review of Poser 6 on my web site. The best way I thought to introduce some of Poser 7's new and improved features was to render an image showing a small fraction of the new materials: the bear, logs, and grass and then export it as a psd file.This is one case where you can work "in the box". It all worked perfectly. I used FireFly render for this.
The quality of the previews has been raised considerably from Poser 6 to a detail level that is 16 times greater. The new Procedural Shader Preview really enhances the image and helps in determining its final look.
Poser 7 has a new wildlife collection. Various parts of the birds and the animals can be manipulated so that they too have character. The two birds in the screen capture below are the same bird. The bear can stand up, open it mouth, and even do a lot more.
While the interface has not changed, one of the major new (but not really new) features of Poser 7 is how many tasks in it have been simplified; image based light sets as well as IBL Ambient Occlusion sets can now be accessed from the Lights Menu.
There is now HDRI support for IBL and, one can add or remove light sets
Many tasks can be saved to the library such as animated poses with walk paths and body transformation information for example.
One does not have to spend as much time in the material room for one can choose colored hair presets, for example, directly from the library.
One super nice feature is the multiple undoes and redoes. Also, one can find under objects that one has control over creating cameras and lights from the top tool bar. Cameras can be customized as well.
Poser 7 takes advantage of Multi-threaded rendering. FireFly takes advantage of the multi-core and multi-processor systems on the market. I was surprise how fast my scenes have rendered in Poser 7 compared to previous Poser versions. FireFly can also run in a separate process. The FireFly render engine uses Tiled Texture Loading to cache texture files in memory; it supports Texture Filtering which can also be configured on a per-texture basis.
The Talk Designer for lip syncing functionality has been introduced too in Poser 7. Not only can lips move while the character speaks, but the eyes and head can register emotion. The Talk Designer will also work with James and Jessi from Poser 6.
I am the first to admit that I cannot keep up with all aspects of the new programs as they develop. I will record what is new in the field of animation, and suggest that people access the excellent Poser forums such as the one on Renderosity.
In Poser 7, one can use animation layers rather than linear animation. This gives a new alternate to designing characters. One can manipulate layers, drag them around, hide some temporarily and do a lot more to expedite and create a creative animation. Poser 7 has a new Visibility Channel where objects can appear or disappear gradually.
It also has a new section, folder-driven scripts, on the main tool bar, to hold one's Python Scripts.
A new feature found in the top toolbar under Edit is the Duplicate function. Just select the figure and click duplicate. It is as simple as that.
Along the same lines as the Duplicate command is the Universal Poses Command. Here, one can apply any pose to any biped figure regardless of the joints or rigging.
While in Poser 6 one had a morphing tool, in Poser 7 , one has a much more complete tool that can be used for actually creating a morph directly on a figure.
Below is a picture of a cheek bone before it was accentuated and after.
This tool is a great addition to the program. However, facial mapping is still a part of Poser 7.
In Poser 7, e frontier has fixed its follicle sets for both Simon and Sidney. The Guide Hairs are now more numerous giving more control and the tools work more smoothly, also giving more control.
Two new character that I believe will be very useful for artists are the male and female anatomy characters. There are two views of each. One is of the skeletal bones while the other is of the muscles.
Poser 7 has a number of enhancements that make maintaining libraries and files a lot easier. There is a new option on the expanded library called Content Collections which allows access from any Runtime library to ones own collection.
Another action that e frontier has made easier is the selection of body parts. When you right click in the Preview mode over a body part you want to select and choose, the word "select," the appropriate body part will be displayed.
However, I did find some problems with Sidney's clothing. Some of the clothing that comes with Sidney does not conform to her body when a position is changed either before or after she is dressed. The conform to command does not make a difference in this type of case. In addition, while there has been an addition of many cartoon type figures, animals, and landscape type items, the hair and clothing for Sidney and Simon are a little on the scarce side.
Poser 7 has a Quick Start Guide and a Project Guide under the Windows menu on the top tool bar.
This version of Poser has not only added a lot of new content to augment its figures and some new figures, but it has added a lot of additions to make the work flow easier and smoother.
The system requirements are:
The cost of Poser 7 new USD is $249.99 while an upgrade from 4, 5, or 6, Pro Pack, or Poser Artist is USD $129.99. For more information on the current cost of Poser 7, see the e frontier's web site.
For more information on other e frontier products, go to: www.e-frontier.com.
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The Paula Sanders Report is a regular Renderosity Front Page featured column, where Paula investigates and comments on graphic software, techniques, and other relevant material through her reviews, tutorials, and general articles.