Review of e frontier's Poser 7

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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:

Windows:

  • Windows 2000 or XP
  • 700 MHz Pentium class or compatible (1 GHz or faster recommended)
  • 512 MB system RAM (768 MB or more recommended)
  • Open GL enabled graphics card or chipset recommended (recent NVIDIA GeForce or ATI Radeon preferred)
  • 24-bit color display, 1024 x 768 resolution
  • 1 GB free hard disk space (4GB recommended)
  • Internet connection required for Content Paradise
  • DVD-ROM drive

Macintosh:

  • OS X 10.3.9 or 10.4
  • 700 MHz G4 processor (Intel Core Duo or 1 GHz G4 or faster recommended)
  • 512 MB system RAM (768 MB or more recommended)
  • Open GL enabled graphics card or chipset recommended (recent NVIDIA GeForce or ATI Radeon preferred)
  • 24-bit color display, 1024 x 768 resolution
  • 1 GB free hard disk space (4GB recommended)
  • Internet connection required for Content Paradise
  • DVD-ROM drive

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.

January 1, 2007

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Member Opinions:
By: nemirc on 1/1/07
I've found animation one of the most frustrating parts of Poser. It seems that all the bodyparts follow the global axis (more specifically when it comes to ROTATION). For example, If on your character you turn off IK, rotate the hip 45 in Y and then you try to "bend him forward", the he will "tilt", heh.
I've been wondering if Poser 7 was going to solve those issues. Other thing I could try is to use "control boxes" to move the character (the same way you do with Maya) but I don't know enough Python to do that.

By: calum5 on 1/2/07
Thanks for the review,I never know whether upgrades are worthy or not!I appreicted what you showed us here!Thanks:-)Cal

By: lwperkins on 1/2/07
I had already ordered 7 but now I am very glad I did, if only for the Duplicate feature--I have wanted that since Poser3;-) Thank you! The improved library structure and undos look excellent as well.

By: ephotosaver on 1/3/07
Thanks for the information on P7. The duplicate menu option is a nice addition. I have decided to continue using P6 for awhile.

By: Greybro on 1/3/07
Nice job on this review.

By: grizzlykeeper on 1/4/07
I still find that the people at e-frontier still haven't really addressed the file management issue. The Library interface is still clumsy. I starting using ADVANCED LIBRARY with POSER 6 and while it does take some time to get used to it does provide the advantage of tremendous flexibility in file management. I think that the developers might have spent more time is honing the interface with things like selective zoom. The current "point and shot" to zoom is somewhat archaic to say the least.

So while they've sweetened the pie with additional content hopefully they'll make the effort to update the interface.

By: Jean-Luc_Ajrarn on 1/4/07
Thank you, Paula. :)

By: karanta on 1/5/07
You have to use the pose "AddDeformers" for all Sydney and
Simon clothes to have no poke-throughs. Just select the
clothing item - then click on the pose.

You can find the pose here:
Poses-->Poser7-->SydneyG2

By: Fylbrigge on 1/5/07
I wish they would make the interface less 'pretty' and more customizable. I would LOVE to rearrange the editing tools and the display tools from horizontal to vertical, or grouped or SMALLER. All the little floating modules just clutter up the place.

By: FeatherDrop on 1/6/07
Anybody considering purchasing P7 either new or as an upgrade should be aware that it is a HUGE download. It is a single package that is 1.7Gb in size - over 1Gb of content with the remainder being the program and support (QT, Acrobat, etc). So a DVD writer is an essential if you want to make a backup.

By: hansi256 on 1/6/07
Thanks for the article. Ive upgraded to Poser 7 and I like the rendering-speed-up :) The feature I miss most is to turn off the "candy buttoned" interface.

By: bigdoy2000 on 8/15/07
I got poser 7 as a crimbo present I really got exited when it was bought for me, however it all went away when I discovered the ugly guy yes Simon the g2 figure Please who was resonsable for him you can't control his face much either another thing it was just poser 6 with a few extras but you did have things taken away like wheres the upgrade Huh!!

By: stinkywinky on 3/5/08
As a new user to Poser, my opinion of it differs quite significantly. Poser has a good skinning system which although effective, isn't that clever given that it relies on the geometry creator for its strengths.

The animation is dreadful and I wouldn't use poser for that aspect at all. The two biggest issues that have prevented me from turning my trial into a purchase are:

1) The complete lack of ability to import into professional packages (3ds max primarily). The Poser Fusion thing is frankly absurd. Hosting a poser file inside of max does nothing to help the situation because Max has much more capable tools and so having to go back into poser just to animate a figure is useless, time consuming and ultimately very frustrating.

2) The poser library is a creation of someone with little or no common sense. At best it is slow, frustrating and awkward. At worst, it is unusable.

Its pretty clear that E Frontier / Smith Micro are hoping that animators will stick with poser, forgoing the proper applications like 3ds max but the truth is that's just silly and they would stand a better chance of capitalising on these bigger, better software packages by making it easier to import rigged characters / figures into them. Instead, they have created a situation whereby there is no benefit to having poser at all, given that figures are available elsewhere and there is no benefit to professional animators to having poser installed.

Poser may be inexpensive (250 bucks isn't a lot of anyones money) but 250 bucks is still too much if the product is - in effect - redundant.


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