Review: Poser Pro 11

warlord720 · November 19, 2015 9:23 pm

Tags: M.D. McCallum, Poser, Poser 11, Poser Pro 11, Smith Micro

I can still remember my first encounter with Poser. What I can’t remember is how long ago it was because it is such a pioneer in its field. I remember an interface not exactly like anything I’d seen before. Add that to the fact that I couldn’t sculpt my way out of a trash can back then much less create a rigged and working character Poser was… I’d say a miracle… but that’s not strong enough to measure the relief and power it put into the hands of 3D artists at the time. Unless you had a buddy that worked for a studio 3D character models were hard to come by.

I remember doing a lot of advertising work with Photoshop type tricks (which was an endeavor in itself back then) to composite people into images before finding Poser. Poser became my go to people application and it stayed in my toolbox long after I was forced to adopt other measures by my employers due to their workflow. Sooner or later I always circled back to Poser to do jobs no other application could do. As I write this I have Poser Pro 2012 installed on my latest workstation next to proprietary 3D applications because it still finds a place in my toolbox so I was very happy to get Poser 11 Pro and dig into it.

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Let’s take a quick look at what’s new in Poser Pro v11 as it seems Smith Micro has really loaded this update with lots of new features. In fact there are so many new additions that we won’t be able to cover them all so let’s get started with a few of the more interesting additions.

Superfly PBR – Physically Based Rendering. Built on Blender’s Cycles Render Engine. It’s all about PBR these days and Poser is in the game too. Enjoy all the benefits of PBR based rendering combined with the Superfly material system. But don’t worry as nothing is being forced on us. We get to choose between the existing FireFly or Superfly with PBR so those of us happy with former can tinker with the latter.

Improved Realtime Comic Book Preview – Another big time improvement to something that is near and dear to many Rendo-ites. A good comic book render has proven to be elusive to many but with this update Poser is making strides in the right direction.

Animated Orientations – If you are an animator it doesn’t get much bigger than this. To have control over or match the orientation of any object is paramount to good final results. Bringing control to an out of control situation is a plus.

Area Lights, Caustics & Volumetrics – One can’t say enough about the importance of these features and Poser 11 gives us these goodies that make our renders look better. Anyone of these is a great feature but to have them all bumps the Poser render up many notches from what it was before.

Measurements - Yes… you read it right. Measurements. Real world measurements for practical applications. If you are not sure what this means then you probably don’t need it but for those that model things for the real world… it’s a must have feature.

Revamped Direct Manipulation Tool - Perhaps one of the best features is the reworked manipulation tools that allow for quick easy movement of the 3D object in the workspace. I have always been a fan of these manipulation gizmos and really like the wider ribbon “handle” to work with on the new version.

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On first glimpse I see an interface similar to the 2012 version but improved. On a wide screen (2560) format the UI looks good and puts a lot of bells and whistles in front of you. It passes the first test of being able to comprehend the layout and get started without having to… gasp… read the manual. I mean...who wants to do that? An app you can just dive into is usually a good sign. There is still the familiar Andy (Andy2) default character in the workspace. Tabs for Pose, Material, Face, Hair, Cloth, Fitting and Setup are available across the top of the workspace. Each of these tabs are loaded with too features to go into but you don’t have to use them all so don’t let it all those options bother you.

For those not familiar with Poser loading a character is as simple as selecting and clicking on it in the right side menu or drag and dropping it into the workspace. The character is then loaded for posing, clothing and other manipulations. You can also import model meshes and many other items since Poser hasn’t been just a character program for some time. You can import background images, footage, lip sync audio and sound along with the usual FBX, Collada, Wavefront OBJ, 3D Studio, Lightwave, zBrush and BVH motion clips. You can build out an entire scene with lighting for your characters or you can prep and pose your character for use in other applications with the ability to export those aforementioned file types.

The familiar transform rollers are available on the right side menu for those that don’t like the direct manipulator or want to work with the morphs. These parameter controllers have long been a part of the poser interface and are the only way some users interact with the workspace objects and characters.

As mentioned earlier the Firefly renderer is still available so scenes made with those materials should still render out just fine. The new supercharged Superfly render does have a lot more horsepower for a different look as the lighting seems much more balanced with shadows being much less harsh. The old Sketch render is still there too so I put it through a few renders for good measure.

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Now let’s talk about a feature that is really cool… measurements. A lot of high end (i.e. expensive) applications and few midrange apps have measurement systems of some kind and Poser is part of that group. There is a Create Measurement Menu – (Line, Angle, Circle, Polyline) that allows you to measure with any one of those tools. Scene creation can be more exacting than ever. No more guessing.

As far as animation goes I’m not really that well versed with Poser as it has been years since I’ve used it for that purpose but for the review I gave it go and was not surprised to find that key frame animation is just as simple and straight forward as it is in other 3D packages. The process is one of striking your beginning pose then moving the time scrubber down the timeline the desired length and creating the next pose or movement in the sequence. Very straightforward with immediate scrubber or player controlled playback. The Animation Palette is a dope-sheet of sorts to tweak those key frames and curves.

In summary this reviewer was quite pleased with all the tweaks and new additions. There was a lot of work put into this update and so far it seems to have gone smoothly as of this writing. It’s still very early in the release period but time will soon tell if early impressions hold up. This company is no stranger to updates and so far it seems they’ve they covered all the bases for their loyal users and should go a long way to picking up a lot of new users.

PRICING Poser Pro 11: Digital or Box: 499 On Sale as of article date: $349.99

Poser 11: Digital or Box: 199 On Sale as of article date: $139.99

More info at: Smith Micro Consumer Products:

Poser 11 Video


M.D. McCallum, aka WarLord is an international award winning commercial graphics artist, 3D animator, published author, project director and webmaster with a freelance career that spans over 20 years. You can learn more about MD at his website.

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Article Comments

jmikem ( posted at 5:33PM Tue, 24 November 2015

The improvement or update that many of us have asked for and waited for, still hasn't shown up. Many of us want a good hair room that can make realistic hair. Their competitor Daz allows you to use a program called,' Look At My Hair '. This program allows you to create fairly believable fur for dogs, mammoths, and hair for humans. If you use poser. too bad, you're stuck with plastic looking animals. The hair program within Poser allows you ( after much hassle ) to create shiney looking wire type hair. So you end up a great looking character that looks like they are wearing a Halloween wig. Even Blender is making strides towards making realistic hair. For the most part, Poser just polishes up already existing aspects of their program, or tweaks something along of the line of an already feature. Plus, their upgrades are costing even more this time. Until they have a hair program as good as the one you can use with their competitor, they will remain second rate.

Spydraxis ( posted at 3:19PM Mon, 30 November 2015

Now if only we could fix that extravagant pricetag...400 bucks is a lot of cash. Free is always gonna beat 400 bucks, 300, 200, 100, and even 1. Free is always better...poser isn't now nor has it ever put it's support behind it's lame products...and still support the same outdated cr2, pz2/pz3, as opposed to a single format. In fact the same programs from the last 6 years can still be purchased from their store, and honestly their content support is horrible.

RodS ( posted at 2:02PM Sat, 05 December 2015

I've been using Poser since Version 8... I'm now using PP2014, and am quite happy with it as well as its predecessor PP2012.

Sadly, I cannot say the same for PP 11. Installed on the same computer as PP 2014, it is extremely unstable. It crashes constantly. I fought with it for several hours last night trying to get an image with 1 figure, a fairly simple background prop (GC's Garden), two lights, and a simple clothing item (3DCs B-Girl 2). Every time I tried to change the mat for the outfit, Poser crashed. Changing the outfit caused it to crash. Changing her pose caused it to crash. Looking at it wrong caused it to crash. It's probably too early to form an opinion (I'm sure there will be service releases), but from what I've seen so far, PP 11 is a piece of junk.

I do have a ticket open with SM - we'll see what happens.

For now (considering the complex renders I do frequently), I'll be sticking with PP 2014. It works.

Lakotariver ( posted at 6:27AM Wed, 16 December 2015

I am happy to say I purchased Poser 11 Pro soon after its release. The changes are Fantastic but there is a learning curve you need to go through to learn these new features. I read what jmikem wrote about realistic hair and I disagree somewhat. I think you just need to get past that learning curve to get realistic renders when it comes to hair. As far as using the Look at my Hair with Daz Studio. Any Hair made with it can be imported into Poser as I myself have done this. Perhaps some improvements could be made when working with Hair but with a little work. You can create the same results as any other program. With the Superfly Render system. You have the choice of using CPU or GPU rendering Power. If using GPU with Superfly. I recommend a Strong Graphics Card but in todays world when it comes to computer graphics. That is a Requirement anyway with the really Wonderful Programs on the market. As far as cons about the software. I would say a few bugs need to be addressed but the Tech's seem to be working on them and I have learned that with any new software. That is to be expected. Unlike some of the post I have read here concerning Poser 11. I am very happy with my purchase and see only a Great Render coming in the Future. I give it a Supernova of Stars.

chuck502 ( posted at 4:43AM Tue, 22 December 2015

I have used poser since version 1, after installing ver 11 I lost several years of downloads and content libraries. It completed trashed my poser 9 - constantly asking to install flash eventhough it has the most recent version of flash. It won't load any of the libraries in ver 9, so now ver 9 is useless and ver 11 is buggy. I had to load ver 11 twice to get it to run and the camera controls don't work. At this point I have two version that don't work and I dont,t know if I can get ver 9 working if I delete and reinstall it. I am very dissappointed and highly frustrated. This is on a windows 7 machine.

calvados ( posted at 6:38PM Mon, 11 January 2016

I feel almost article of Poser11 has no information of product real situation. Poser 11 has no compatibility of rendering result by Firefly Render, SuperFly has lot of problem with rendering, Library function dose not work with huge library. Currently, this is not product, same as alpha testing. Smith Micro can't support now, almost bug report has no assign support stuff, they just tell "wait more". Basically, Support available on good product, if product is junk, dose not support it. Lot of no compatibility and dose not work well, and no support. I wish tutorial video about "How to use Poser11 like Real Poser".

Froggy ( posted at 12:42AM Thu, 31 March 2016

Windows 7-64 bit machine with previously stable PP2012 & PP2014. Now huge issues with library in P11Pro for me. It either fails to load completely now or the whole of Poser crashes. I have gone through this loop three times now. Sadly, no more Poser after PP2014 for me. Not for this kind of cash, I have to go back to PP2014, which is a huge shame as I had extremely high hopes for this release. I think the choice to upgrade should be down to the individual though. My PC configuration is one thing, yours is probably another ..... good luck if yu choose it, because DS ......!

Tomas1975 ( posted at 5:41PM Sun, 13 November 2016

Argh! Where do I start. Paul and Pauline are more of a downgrade than an upgrade. The face-room won't work. The library search used to display things within the parameters of what you typed, now all kinds of unrelated things show up, and the "locate" option is gone. The lights are way to bright in Superfly The content library freezes up all of the time. Maybe that's why it's being sold for $50?

dewolfm ( posted at 5:18AM Sun, 27 November 2016

I too have problems with Poser 11 (although not the Pro version). It crashes the entire computer at times, often when you've made a number of camera angle changes.

Damsel ( posted at 7:13AM Wed, 07 June 2017

I love the way it renders skin and upping the samples cures many things. However one that stops me cold that I can't seem to fix no matter what are the eyes. At first they rendered like airport landing lights and I finally got that toned down. Now they look like the worst case of cataracts with a film over the eyes almost obliterating the color of the iris. If I could fix the eyes, I would be a happy camper.

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