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Series & Author Vision

Series & Author Vision

Revealed Series Vision

A book with the word Revealed in the title suggests that the topic that is being covered contains many hidden secrets that need to be brought to light. For Poser, this suggestion makes sense. Poser is a powerful piece of software, and finding out exactly how to accomplish some task can be time consuming without some help. Well, you’re in luck, because the help you need is in your hands.

As you dive into the Revealed series, you’ll find a book with a split personality. The main text of each lesson includes a detailed discussion of a specific topic, but alongside the topic discussions are step-by-step objectives that help you master the same topic that is being discussed. This unique “read it and do it” approach leads directly to “understand it and master it.”

—The Revealed Series

Author Vision

When I was approached to write a book on Poser, I thought, “Okay, I’m a Poser user.” It’s a great program to use to enhance my other 3D projects if I ever need a figure in some unique pose. But, after having spent most of my waking hours looking at every control and fiddling with every option over the past several months, I’ve happily discovered that there is a whole lotta Poser that I never even knew existed. Cloth simulation, dynamic hair styles, ethnic faces, morphed expressions, a bones system that’s easy to use, and a elegantly simple set of animation tools. Wow! This stuff is great.

The more I researched and discovered, the more amazed I became. I can see now why this unique piece of software has been so popular for so long. It does one incredibly hard task, that of posing characters, very well, but it has so much more to offer than just positioning figures.

The Poser interface is one of the “love ‘em” or “hate ‘em” designs with no middle ground. By dividing the entire interface into separate rooms, you can quickly focus your efforts on the task at hand without having to wade through all the tools that you don’t need. The ability to rearrange entire sets of controls on-the-fly is also very handy when you need just a little more room to see the right side of the rendered image.

If you’re new to Poser, don’t be put off by the simplicity of the program. Beneath the slick uncluttered interface is a powerful piece of software that can be used to create, render, and animate entire scenes and projects. A good example of this power can be found with Poser’s animation tools. Basic animation tasks are handled using the Animation Controls, a side bar shelf of controls that rise the bottom of the interface to take up only a narrow band of desktop space, yet from this basic set of graphical icons, you can create keyframe animations. For more functionality, one click opens a grid of cells known as the Animation Palette that lets you manipulate keyframes for all scene items. One more click opens editable animation graphs for the selected key. And that’s it. No hidden panels with endless knobs and switches or command written in code. Just the features you need when you need them.

Now that I’ve gushed over the software in a way that would make any Marketing Director proud, let me explain the most logical approach to learning Poser. I’ve organized each chapter to cover a logical set of features, starting with an overview of the Poser interface found in Chapter 1.

From this interface tour, I jump right into a couple of chapters on posing and working with figures. This is the main purpose of Poser and represents some of the most important chapters in the book.

The next several chapters march through the available rooms of features including coverage of the features for working with materials, props, lights, cameras, face, hair, cloth, and bones.

The book concludes with chapters covering animation, rendering, and using Python scripts.

Throughout the book, several special graphical elements are used to highlight special comments including Notes, Cautions, and Tips. These comments provide a way to present special information to you the reader. Be sure to watch for them.

Along with every discussed task are several step-by-step objectives that show you a simplified example of the discussed topic. Each of these examples was created to be extremely simple to keep the number of steps to a minimum. I’ve tried to add some variety here and there, but none of these examples should be overwhelming (or will win a prize at the county fair). The real creative work is up to you, but these simplified examples will be enough to show you how to use a feature and give you some practice.

Each objective example begins from the default setting that appears when the program is first loaded, but you don’t need to close and reopen the software to begin each example; just select the File, New menu command, and you’ll be ready to go. For some of the more complex examples, the steps instruct you to open an example file. You can download these files from the Course Technology Web site, or you can use your own files as a beginning point. Included with the downloadable files at the Course Technology Web site are the final saved files from each example. These are available for you to compare with your own work to learn where you might have made a mistake (check out http://www.courseptr.com).

Poser is an amazing piece of software, but it isn’t overwhelming. And in this book, most every feature is covered, providing you with a reference that you can use whenever you get stuck or to give you some creative inspiration.

—Kelly L. Murdock

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