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Interview with Chuck Taylor, Poser Product Manager on "Poser 11"

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So, all of you have been waiting for several months and finally Poser 11 is here! We're all so excited for the release and mustn't wait another minute to check out what this new Poser is all about! To provide you with some more insight, I've interviewed Smith Micro Software Product Manager Chuck "Nerd3d" Taylor and asked him some serious questions about this new version of Poser.

Let me begin with a little introduction. I'm Chuck Taylor, some of the Poser community may know me as Nerd3D. That's been my community "handle" for 15 years. I signed on with Smith Micro as Product Manager for Poser in April. I may be new to the Poser development team, but I've been with Poser and the Poser community for a long time.

So, what exactly is Poser?

It's actually a challenging question. I frequently struggle to explain what it is I do for a living. Let's begin with a little bit about Poser's history.

21 Years ago Larry Weinberg created poser as a drawing aid for digital artists. It was basically an artist's mannequin in a digital form. Now 21 years later, Poser has evolved into an amazingly comprehensive suite of character design, rendering and animation tools. No place will you find so many tools to create and render characters in one place and such an affordable price.

What makes Poser 11 Different?

In Poser 11, we've reached out to the artist that use poser like never before. We've polled them, asked in the forums, and worked one on one with prominent Poser artists to create a Poser based on their needs. Practically every new feature was based on user requests. We didn't stop there all the way through beta testing; we continued to take input from the user base to refine the features they requested into what they really needed. We'll continue this right through Poser's launch and into service releases. Our long-term goal is to be more responsive to Poser artist's needs.

How many releases of poser have there been?

This is the 11th "Full Version" but if you want to get technical there's a 12th. Many people consider the first Poser Pro Pack to be a separate version. The original Poser Pro Pack was an extension of Poser 4 way back in 2001.

Speaking of Poser Pro, we've dropped the confusing half version number and half year number thing. Poser 11 is standard Poser Pro 11 is pro. Game Dev is now part of Poser Pro. All of those features are now in the Pro version.

Some people aren't sure which version is right for them Pro or Standard. In general, Poser standard is the Artist's tool box. If you want to create art, photorealistic, cartoon or something else, Poser 11 is for you. If you need to use Poser in a professional environment like forensics, crime and accident scene reconstruction, animation production, or Poser content creation then Poser Pro 11 is probably a better fit for you. Check the product matrix for a highly detailed feature comparison. That will be available launch day in the official poser gateway: http://poser.smithmicro.com.

What's different in the new version of Poser?

This new version is packed with new and enhanced features. The biggest, or at least the one we're bragging about the most is the integration of the Cycles render engine. Cycles is an open source physical based render engine. We call the Cycles integration in Poser SuperFly. There's a not so obvious feature that may be more important. We've added support for high-density monitors. Poser now has a fully scalable interface so it's compatible with high-density monitors. An overall difference is that we're focusing on refining the interface throughout the program. That will be an on-going change.

What makes Poser stand out?

There's really a lot of reasons but the biggest to me is it's easy to use, even easier in Poser 11. The uniformity of Poser's interface, our legacy of making our new features as extensions of existing features and support of legacy features makes it easier for upgrading users to learn new features. For new users, we always strive to make our tools easy to use. Comprehensive documentation makes the initial learning curve even easier.

What's the render quality in the new version?

I could go through dozens on adjectives and a few expletives here and still fall well short of expressing what you can get out of the new renderer. SuperFly brings in a whole new level of realism. There's more here than amazing realistic renders. We have some new non-photographic render tools that will amaze too. The coolest is called Geometric Outlines. It creates a solid "inked" outline around the figures in the scene. This OpenGL based tool gives real-time results in the preview window.

What tool makes this version of Poser standout?

It's actually a combination of a few tools that roll together to give artists and content creators a new level of power. The first part of that is a new, updated Sub Division implementation. It's faster and supports legacy figures that weren't designed for SubD much better. The second part of this is the new morphing tools. Poser 11 introduces the ability to edit Sub Divided figure right in the scene with Poser's built in Morph Brush. The final piece of this set is the ability to export custom morphs and create the needed files to inject that morph on another user's copy of that figure. Collectively this is called Morph Injection in the Poser community and now you can create them right from the File menu in Poser.

Pauline, our new female character does ship with Poser. As with the rest of the program, we took extensive community feedback to make her what was most needed. At the same time, we were trying to make her as realistic as possible. Her shape is based on a composite of full body scans and reference images of various models and actors. Then the most important ingredient was to make her nondescript, pretty but not unique, a blank canvas for the artists.

Her male counterpart is not ready. He will miss the shipping date. Rather than hold up the launch date and make everybody wait weeks for all the new goodies in Poser 11 we decided to hold Paul back till he was truly ready. This will only be a few weeks and he will be free to all Poser 11 owners.

What's new about both figures is they will be vendor resources. Both the geometry and textures of Paul and Pauline are "Vendor resources". That means you can use than as the starting point for new cloths, textures and add-ons for Poser. This may not be properly explained in the License agreement when poser ships initially. Seems it takes a long time to get the legalese properly written. You have my word and official permission to use these figures as developer resources for Poser content. The corrected license will be along shortly.

This version of Poser has taken a long time to produce because we've added so much to it. I want to thank you all for waiting for us to put all these parts together. I can't wait to see what you create with Poser 11!

Download Poser Reference Manual (50.4 megabytes)

Download Poser 11 Quick Start Guide (8.1 megabytes)

Download Poser Quick Reference Card (0.6 megabytes)

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art, artist, digital art, poser, poser 11, poser release, renderosity
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