FX with Poser 5

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Creating raytraced refractive effects to simulate glassy materials, water, or a Predator-like cloaking device is not at all difficult to achieve, once you have a basic familiarity with the Material Room and an understanding of how the Refraction Shader works.

In Poser 5, select the prop or figure you wish to give a refractive quality, and then enter the Material Room to adjust its material (or materials). For maximum results, you set both the Diffuse Value and Specular Value to zero. Also, set the material's transparency channel to zero, because refraction creates its own illusion of transparency. Mixing regular transparency with refractive transparency slows down the render dramatically and can dilute the refractive effect, so only combine them both if you're trying to achieve a specific result.

Left-click the plug icon on the material's Refraction Color channel and follow the cascading menus to create a refraction node [New Node/ Lighting/ Ray Trace/ refract].

If the node isn't already connected to the Refraction Color channel when it appears, do so now. Set Refraction Value to 1.0 to use the shader at full strength. You should have something similar to the setup in Illustration 1.

The node's index of refraction determines the amount of distortion, which occurs when light passes through the object. A value of 1.0 would be minimal distortion. Results are somewhat strange with values below 1.0.

For test renders, the node's quality setting can be lowered below its default of 0.2. When you're ready for the final render, you can increase the value again, but be warned that setting it higher will cause a pronounced slowdown in your render.

The node's Background setting determines the color of all refracted background elements. If you've imported a background image into Poser, it will not be visible in the refraction, as it isn't actually a physical part of the scene. By attaching the image to the refraction node's background via a 2D Image Map node, it will now be included in the refractive effect. Imported background movies can be included in a similar manner, through use of the Movie node. Make certain you set the node's background color to white, unless you want your background tinted.

As this is a raytraced effect, you'll need to enable raytracing in your Render Options (see Illustration 3) and use the Firefly Renderer. Unwanted black patches in the rendered refraction are the result of Poser not making sufficient raytrace calculations to see through multiple layers of mesh. To lessen or eliminate these flaws, increase the number of raytrace bounces. Higher values will slow down the render, but that's the price of quality. I used lower bounce values for the first few hundred frames, and higher values further in.

For the potential movie-makers among us, it's possible to animate the displacement effect, turning it on or off throughout the course of an animation. The change can be gradual or abrupt depending upon how many frames it takes.

Return to the Material Room and take note of the key icons next to the channels' values. By left clicking on a key icon, you can enable keyframed animation for that channel; the key will turn green to indicate that it's enabled. For instance, in the illustrations, you'll see that I've animated the Refraction Value. I set the value to remain zero (no refraction) from frames 1 through 450, and then gradually change from zero to one (full refraction) over the course of the next 300 frames. In the same manner, I keyframed the texture strength (Diffuse Value) to gradually fade to nothing as refraction increased.

You can try this yourself. Using the animation controls at the bottom of the Poser interface, make certain you're on frame 1. In the Material Room, enable animation on the Refraction Value and set the value to 0. Jump to the last frame of your animation, and then set the Refraction Value to 1. Now, as you move the timeline's scrubber (slider) back and forth, you'll see the Refraction Value change over time. When you render your animation, the material will start out solid, and gradually become refractive.
Final image animation available in the

Renderosity Magazine, Issue 7

On-line Bonus Content.
Animation also available on

The RIM Site

Located in nemric's Animation Alley.


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A very good question. Very little is know about this member. The only information that could be found was this document:

Transcript from the 2376th annual meeting of Mythologicals Anonymous:

LD (standing): "I was born eight hundred years ago in the moors of England. I am a dragon and I am not alone ...."

Support Group: "Hi, LD."

LD (pointing to calf): "Is anyone going to eat that?"


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