Lying Down on The Job

LillianH · August 18, 2004 2:20 am

Creating poses in Poser is easy once you know the ins-and-outs of the program. This tutorial will give you a set of guidelines that will make it easier to create quality poses. Remember, these are only guidelines. Give them a try, and then modify them to suit your purpose.

Before you start, look around. There are people everywhere - they are posing! They are your inspiration: watch people around you or in movies. Take pictures of living people, or go to a museum and look at sculptures and other artwork. Take note of how the body is structured, how it moves, how it looks when it is still. Your main objective is to - create realistic poses.

Within Poser, keep the figure (Body) dials at 0, 0, 0 as well as the body rotation at 0, 0, 0. When you save a pose, none of the body positions are saved, or for that matter any of the full body morphs. It is much easier to work with setting up a pose at 0, 0, 0. From this position, you can spin the camera around to check the pose from every angle.

Next, set up the lights for global illumination. Normally I use 4 Infinite Lights in a pale gray, with a 70% illumination, and set to the following positions [light one at 45 degrees to the left] [light two at 45 degrees to the right] [light three at 135 to the left] [light four at 135 to the right]. A sample light setup can be viewed on the Online Bonus Content section.

Stay with one window at maximum size. Use the camera spin to check your pose from every angle, and set the tracking to box (only use full tracking when you get to the fine details).

Add your figure. If I am setting up poses, I use the default body and only add the clothing that is needed. For example if you use the Daz's Victoria (Vicki) figure and she will be wearing high heels, then add the heels, because they will make a difference on the final pose. If you want the body covered, you can add a body mat. I have included some basic mats, which can be found on the Online Bonus Content section.

Add only the props that are needed for posing. Items that might make a difference would be a chair,
table, couch, or something that is to be held.

Of course, you can pose your figures without props; for example, you can sit your figure as you want and then scale the couch or chair to fit the figure position.

It is very important to turn off IK and Limits. You won't need these as you are going to be in control from start to finish.

Let's get started posing. Begin with the hip area, and move out from there. To Poser, the hips are the center of the body, everything radiates from the hip. Keep your hip X and Z set to 0. If you are posing couples, then figure will need to be offset from the other. Then all you need to do is to assign your couples the same X, Y, and Z for the bodies (including the rotation). Use the Parameter Dials instead of the Editing Tools. The Online Bonus Content section also has each pose.

We are going to pose Vicki lying down on her side. From the Poser default pose, set Vicki on her side, hip to the floor by rotating the hip in the Z position to -90 degrees, and move the figure to the floor. I use the ground shadows (which can be turned on or off as needed) to aide in the figure's placement. Poser will lower the Y position of the hip until a part of the body hits the floor, which is a hip value of -0.321. If the arm is extended it will hit first and stop the hip from meeting the floor.

Observe a person lying on their side, notice how their side is even with the surface. To duplicate this pose, rotate the hip so the top of the hip is even with the ground, and the hip is rotated an extra 15 degrees to a position of -105 degrees.

Next, rotate the abdomen to the side so it lines up with the floor. Then adjust on the lower leg to the floor.

One common body part that will be used a lot is the feet position. To set the feet for high heels, rotate the foot between 40 and 45 degrees. Then rotate the toes to between minus 40 and minus 45 degrees.

To save the foot position as a partial pose file, zoom in to show the feet, and click on the plus sign (+) in the pose folder. Enter a name in the dialog box and click on Select SubSet. Now, uncheck the Universe in the displayed tree, this will uncheck everything. Scroll down and click on the feet and toes, be sure to check both left and right. Click OK.




Another useful tool to have is some basic hand positions. One of the more basic ones is Zero Fingers. Select all the finger parts, and zero all the dials. By saving the hand in the hand menu, you will be able to apply it to either hand when needed.

The most challenging body part to pose is the hand position.

Follow the general rules: start at the hip and work outwards. You have the chest in position so start by adjusting the collar, the shoulder, and then the forearm. Once you have the hand draped on the figure's hip, concentrate on the fingers. Slowly turn the position dials until the palm is in position, then, work the fingers. This attention to detail gives a pose a realistic appearance.

Switch from Box Tracking to Full Tracking. This will allow you to view the fingers as they bend. With the hand selected, scroll to the bottom of the hand selection parameter dials to find "grasp" and "spread." If the fingers are in an odd position, use the grasp dial to straighten the fingers by running the dial to the left. Then, slowly turn the grasp dial to the right until the fingers touch the body.

Zoom in and set the camera to view the fingers from the side. From this position you can watch the finger bend to touch the body. Start with the first joint of a finger and bring it down to touch (or up till its parallel to the body part), do the same to the second and third joints on each hand. Save the hand pose, as well as saving the full body pose. With "Body" selected, position your figure in your scene, and then add clothing and props.

Remember, when posing two figures (couple's poses) leave all of the body positions at zero and move one of the figures hips to the side, or rotate to match up with the other figure before you start to pose either figure. It is easiest to do any Y rotation of one figure's hips (to face the other as an example) before adjusting X or Z rotations.

Don't forget to save each pose and partial pose. Doing this will save you time when creating your next image, as well as allow you to develop your own unique Pose Library.

Who is BlueBeard?

BlueBeard, AKA Leo J. Laughlin - 52 years old. Married, with 3 kids. M.S. in Physics, Math & Computer Science. Work background, 10 years Engineer, 11 years Professor, 5 years Engineering Management, and the last 3 years as Product Marketing Manager.

I got involved in poser when I started building up the marketing department. The concept was to create a virtual picture of our products for catalogs, advertisements, etc. In learning how to create items in Poser, I used Renderosity and its forums extensively.

Along the way, I posted images of things that I had done to get feedback from others. With compliments on some of the things that I had created, I gained confidence to try the marketplace. I think the first 3 months I spent everything I made back in the marketplace. I saw it as an opportunity to gain even more knowledge on Poser. Each new product, I gained more knowledge on Poser, and on how to make things look real in Poser.

The programs that I use are Solidworks, Deep Exploration, Carrara, Vue d'Esprit, Paint Shop Pro, UVMapper, Mat Pose Edit, P3dO Explorer, and Laetia's Merchant Utility.

Some of the things that I learned along the way now seem obvious, things that newer merchants don't realize. Therefore, I worked with other merchants and customers to form the "Suggested Guidelines for Renderosity Poser Merchants from Customers." Exotica and I went over and over the list, and then we published it on my poser homepage ( so that any merchants could get some much needed info that all merchants products should have, instead of spending months learning it on their own.

That work, in conjunction with Dee Marie's request for articles, were the basis for my article on posing, Laying Down on the Job.

To learn more, visit BlueBeard's on-line store or artist page.

To get your copy to play with,
purchase the Renderosity Magazine - Issue 8
while supplies last.

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