Coexistence: Poser and DAZ Studio
Staff Writer By: M.D. McCallum (WarLord720)
Coexistence of applications is something that was not really on my radar until it came up in a conversation with my editors about Poser and DAZ Studio (DAZ) coexisting on the same user systems. I glanced at my installed applications and found Poser Pro 2012 and Poser 11 Pro installed along with DAZ Studio so I was a natural fit into the group that uses both. Most of us can debate just about any side of a situation if given enough facts and information. Creative people are like that to some degree... it's one of the reasons we are creative but I really didn't see this being framed as a debate. I see it more as both being two seasoned, competent tools that sometimes overlap and sometimes complement each other. More importantly... they contribute to getting the job done which is paramount.
In the 3D world there are many differing ways of accomplishing a task. As 3D animators or illustrators we now have our choice of a multitude of tools to help us meet deadlines and keep our employers happy or enjoy creating some artwork. Most of the people I work with will use any given tool in their tool chest at any given time as long as it fits the situation and gets the job done. This includes very expensive software to shareware and open source. Everyone's tool box is a little different but they all have their "go to" applications, mainstays required by employers and let's not leave out the specialty tools like dedicated UV mapping and re-topology tools.
I don't run into many purists anymore because there are just too many choices out there for most of us. Sure we have our main applications as mentioned earlier but this is because our employers choose those tools. I use Studio Max the most because I mainly contract to Studio Max shops but it's hardly ever the only tool I use. I have long advocated anymation, a term coined by animator Tom Jantol, using whatever is needed or available to produce something. This means opening our minds to what is available which in a creative community one would think would be second nature but not so as some of us obsessively hang on to our old tools and our toolbox doesn't grow much or stops growing at all.
Let's face facts. There are too many digital artists out there to limit ourselves in this fashion. Animation schools are turning out lots of graduates and some of them have incredible skills. These grads aren't bogged down by years of certain mindsets that develop in any industry. Nor are they hamstrung by methods learned years ago that dangerously border on obsolescence in a modern and ever changing world.
A carpenter without tools isn't much of a carpenter... or maybe I should say won't be able to accomplish much in terms of production. The same is true of a carpenter with a limited toolset. You hire a carpenter to build a garage to find out he only has a saw... no hammer... no measure... no level. Doesn't matter what the skill level is... nothing meaningful will be accomplished. Or if said carpenter has an extremely out of date tool... like an old fashioned hammer versus a nail gun cost will go up and deadlines could slip which is unacceptable.
Now we come to Poser and DAZ Studio (DAZ) which share a lot of the same attributes. So do Studio Max, zBrush and Sketch Up. A lot of us have those tools installed. Every time I get a new workstation a certain set of software is installed and those installations include all of the above even though only one of them is my main application for most projects. A lot of my tools have overlapping features but I don't focus on that. All I'm concerned with are how much they help me do my job and in particular how good they make me look which I hate to limit to one tool. Also time is a major factor when billing by the hour or up against a tight deadline. Having to spend a few extra seconds in a non-native app to accomplish the same goal, even in the same manner, still adds up over the entire timeline of a project which pushes up cost and waste. Sometimes it's just simpler and more efficient to use the native application.
Also I do not quantify the relationship between tools like Poser and DAZ as a competition but view them only on their strengths and weaknesses as determined by the current task. In terms of manipulation of a character both seem to work pretty much the same to those of us on the outside looking in. Without knowing the code behind it we can see that both work in a like fashion when it comes to posing but for some reason some of us prefer one over the other. Props are ok in both but in most cases for me it's an in and out thing as the final scene will be created or at least rendered in another application most of the time.
Another reason for coexistence of these two applications are it's different rendering methods and look. For some users each has its own unique render capabilities and since the final production is what counts then rendering is certainly a prime reason to keep both installed. While both apps can turn out a good render they each have strengths and weaknesses that all renderers are subject to. In still image renders you only have one image to capture attention and set the tone which makes it imperative to have as many different render types available as possible for the client to have the best choice.
A few more reasons for coexistence:
• Speed - no need for emulation or work around code when using a native application. Efficiency is the key here especially in large projects.
• Manipulation of Native Assets - Re-sizing clothes, accessories, attaching items, changing textures are just a few of things generally handled better by its native application.
• Ease of use with each tools vast library of props and characters. Interchangeability can only go so far in some cases. There are no trade-offs when using the native app.
• Support - No I don't mean opening a ticket or making a call. I mean how does it support all the features of every item? For example, a purse may have a top that opens but the non-native app may not properly recognize it therefore it is not available for use.
• Lighting - baking, retaining aspects of native lighting for later use in the production pipeline.
While there are times budget may dictate otherwise it is usually a good move to keep as many tools installed as possible. Poser and DAZ are both good products that can coexist on our systems for different reasons just as a set of wrenches and screwdrivers fits into a mechanic's toolbox.
Poser Pro 11: http://my.smithmicro.com/poser-pro-11.html Digital or Box: $499
Poser 11: http://my.smithmicro.com/poser-11.html Digital or Box: $199
Smith Micro Consumer Products: http://my.smithmicro.com/
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.