If you’re like many Poser users, you will usually rely on third party content, and you will usually get your hands on more and more content as days go by. The problem is that after a few weeks, or months, your Poser library will have grown exponentially, making it difficult for you to find that specific character or prop you’re looking for. Some users will create different libraries to store content separately, but this only means more libraries to manage.
PzDB is a different type of library management paradigm, since it doesn’t really touch your Poser libraries. The software creates a database indexing your existing Poser content so that you can find exactly what you’re looking for
The description itself may sound simple, but PzDB is actually very powerful. Once you install the software and run it for the first time, it will ask you to locate your Poser installation path. In theory, this is where Poser should store the content libraries, but if you’re like me you have your libraries somewhere else (I have them on a different drive to make migration easy). Once you’ve set your library path, PzDB will scan your entire library to create the database. This step can be quite time consuming if you have a large library (it took the software around 20 minutes to scan my entire library containing a little below 40,000 files… and to tell the truth I can’t help but wonder where those 40,000 files came from…).
Once the content is scanned, the software will attempt to order everything under preset categories (groups). One of the nice features of the software is that you can create your own groups with keyword-searchable content.
PzDB allows you to find your content either inside the groups or by using the search function. However, according to my experience, the search function will only look for your item inside the current group, so looking for an Aiko prop while browsing the Victoria 4 group might not work out the way you expect.
Once you select your item, PzDB will display related items. This is useful because it helps the user find other items that may be used with it. This feature should be useful to some people not knowing what to use in their current scene, and also you might stumble upon items you may have forgotten you had.
You can also launch the current item directly without having to look for it inside Poser. To me, this should be feature number one when it comes to usability, because any Poser content manager would be extremely useless if every time you find your item inside that application you had to go back to Poser and look for it there.
The downside with this feature is that you need to have a “listener” running inside Poser. This listener is actually a PY script called pRPC. Basically, pRPC acts like some sort of “bridge” between Poser and any external application, allowing external applications to run Poser commands. In this specific case, pRPC allows PzDB to send a “load figure” command, causing Poser to load whatever figure you’ve chosen.
Every time pRPC is running you will get a small floating window. The window itself is not a problem since you can move it out of the way. The only problem is that sometimes the script will cause Poser to hang (especially when you quit the program before closing the script window). There’s not much that can be done about it (unless you know PY scripting yourself) since the pRPC script is an open source distributed with PzDB.
PzDB doesn’t play well with Windows Vista unless you provide the software with Admin privileges. I’m inclined to think this is due to PzDB trying to write into one of Windows’ protected folders, but I’m not entirely sure. So, if you are running Windows Vista and PzDB crashes the first time you run it, try running it with Admin privileges.
It would be an interesting experiment to see how well PzDB performs compared to the revamped Poser 8 Library, since it offers a similar functionality (mostly when it comes to search). Unfortunately, I don’t have Poser 8 so I can’t make this comparison myself.
I haven’t really used Poser content managers before, so I can’t tell you how this one compares to the rest. I can say, however, that if you need help managing your huge library, finding the exact item you need or finding a way to group your items without having to mess with the folder structure of your Poser install, PzDB is definitely for you.
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Sergio Aris Rosa [nemirc], is Sr. Staff Writer for the Renderosity Front Page News. Sergio discusses on computer graphics software, animation techniques, and technology. He also hosts interviews with professionals in the animation and cinematography fields. You can follow him on Twitter, and if you want to see what he's up to you can visit his blog.
September 14, 2009
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