There are so many new features and tweaks introduced in release 11 that it was impossible to cover them all in the initial review so I'm back to take another look at some of them. There are still too many to cover so let's get started with what do have time to look at.
CUSTOM PARAMETERS PALETTES
This is a welcome improvement and certainly a step forward in reducing the frustration and tediousness of jumping between parameter rollers such as finger bone to finger bone and so forth. In my test example, I loaded the Pauline Casual character to do a little animation with the face, arm, and hand. I created three custom parameter palettes. One each for the right arm, right hand, and head.
With this setup, I could change the expression, arm and hand movements without regard to the selected body part. The main parameter rollout becomes my utility fielder to jump between the body parts not covered in these custom palettes. Creating these palettes is a very simple process of going to Window->Custom Parameter Palette->New and there will be a list of any other custom palettes associated with the selected item. These palettes are relative to the item they are created for and saved with that item and can be modified or deleted.
In a wide screen desktop like 2560 X 1080 these palettes really shine as the extra real estate gives us a chance to organize our custom palettes and create several to speed any given task. These can be docked or undocked and located on any monitor of a multi-monitor system. Say goodbye to the constant switching of main parameter rollers as we can now setup our workspace to accommodate our workflow.
This new feature was briefly mentioned in the initial review and it deserves another look at how it works and what it can do. This tool is very easy to use as it can be constrained to the X, Y or Z axis for more precise measurements or unconstrained for freehand use. The new Create Measurement tools include Line, Angle, Circle, and Polyline. It's a simple matter of choosing the method then going its properties to constrain it to a single axis if needed or go directly to left clicking on the screen to set the points for the measurement. It can be a little tricky the first time you set the points but it doesn't take long to get a grip on how it works and what view angle works best for a particular measurement.
I mean... you never know when going to need a critical measurement like the distance between your egg chairs and your cryogenic unit. You wouldn't want to get them to close. That would be like wearing white after labor day... or it is before? Anyway, you get the picture. No more guessing if you need actual measurements which elevates this version of Poser to a better previz tool that can theoretically replicate a real world shot list for camera placement and evaluation. This further eliminates guess work or the possibility that a shot that took hours to setup up won't be lost to terrible framing due to unforeseen circumstances.
If you have a real world scenario that needs to be replicated, then a decent measurement system is almost a necessity and certainly makes setting up the scene easier. Knowing you have chairs that are 4 feet tall and 10 feet away from a certain object or landmark in the real word tells you how to set them up in the Poser scene. It keeps you moving forward instead of being bogged down in guess work.
This feature is critical for most of us as our work machines take a beating from everything we demand of them. Poser 11 Pro's autosave feature is configurable and includes the following options... Enable, Seconds Before Saving, Auto-save Interval and Number of Versions. These are self-explanatory features that allow you customize how the auto save feature works. According to the product documentation:
"Auto-save also works with the File > Open and File > Revert commands. When you choose File > Open, Poser will offer to open an auto-saved version of a file when it is newer than the project file you are trying to open. If you choose File > Revert, Poser allows you to revert to the last version of the file that you saved, or to any auto-saved versions."
"Auto-Save will be suspended while you are working in the Setup Room, and will resume when you return to the Pose Room." This can be a life saver if you crash or lose power to the machine. Even if the last auto saved file is not the most current you, at least, have a place to go back to without starting completely over. Auto save features are often overlooked until you need them.
PARTIAL SCENE EXPORT
This new feature may seem innocuous enough but it is another feature that you don't miss until you need it. No more time wasted deleting objects or grouping them for export. Just go to the Partial Scene choice under the Export menu and you will be given a familiar popup that will allow you to choose which objects you wish to export. This is another time saver.
One thing I noticed is it apparently depends on how the objects are created and/or parented as some large multi-object items show as one item on the Select Objects pop-up. I was able to un-parent or rather parent certain object to the universe like a chair or other prop and it would become visible in the Partial Export dialog the next time I opened it. A global un-parent option maybe available but I couldn't find it during testing.
I would still have to place my money on the Custom Parameter Palettes as a favorite feature since the frustration of moving between palettes or any multiple menu systems is enough to make some users look for alternatives. These palettes put control at your fingertips and really make a big difference in workflow. Much smoother. While all the mentioned features are welcome these are still just a few of the new features added to version 11.
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.