This is the tenth of a series of weekly posts that covers my efforts to learn and create with Smith-Micro's Poser application. I'll share the information I learn, any tricks or tips I come across, and my thoughts on Poser as a creative tool. My goal will be to follow my interests as I become more familiar with the program.
This weeks entry is about animating in Poser. I want to set up a simple scene and get a character to run along a path to a finish line. Later, I'll add jumping and a camera animation. Before we begin I want to clarify that I am using Poser Pro 11.1. Smith-Micro created two versions of Poser: Poser 11 and Poser Pro 11. The difference is that Poser Pro provides advanced rendering, a fitting room for clothes and more. The price for Poser Pro 11.1 is $349. Upgrade from Poser 11 is $110. Full details at this link.
Research and Setting the Scene
When I decided I wanted to create an animated scene in Poser, the scene came to my imagination immediately. Nothing overly complicated just a shot of a figure running towards and past the camera. So I began doing research into animation in Poser. I discovered the section in animation in the Poser 11 manual which is quite helpful. More so was an older Smith-Micro video on using Poser's Walk Creator. But we are getting ahead of ourselves.
Using a simple floor from the Poser library, I changed its size to create a kind of long rectangle. No need to change basic lighting or materials as the focus is on learning animation. I did add a small round floor to the end of the ramp as I'll have my character leap into the round floor (a well or hole if you like). I positioned the circular floor at the end of the ramp and changed its color to black.
Creating a Walk/Run Path
Poser has an awesome animation tool called the “Walk Designer”. It's a small window (chosen from drop-down menu) that gives you access to various ways of creating moving animations. I picked a simple model figure from the Poser library to use to animate then made sure that the figure was selected. Opening the Walk Designer you see a small view screen on the left and various sliders that let you choose the kinds of animations and the lesser/greater degree of animation you want to add to the figure. The Smith Micro tutorial explains it very well. Check it out here:
Creating a Run Path
Now that I have a run animation cycle created, I'll save it for later use (in case I change characters) and then apply it to my figure. Time to create a path for the figure to run on.
The process for creating a run path is simple, but it's odd that you can't do it from within the Walk Designer itself. Instead, you use another drop-down menu under “Figure” and select “create a walk path”. A default path appears on the main camera window in red. At this point, I have to extend the path down the length of the ramp. This proved to be harder than I imagined. Every time I moved my cursor away from the main window the path would vanish. I found no adjustment or setting to make the path always remain visible. Then lengthening the path proved to be difficult as the manual gives no specific way to do this. Ideally, you should just be able to grab the end of the path and extend it as far as you want, but that doesn't work. Finally, with the path selected I simply used the transform scale tool to extend the path to the hole at the end of the ramp.
With the path the correct length and straightened out a bit, all we have to do is apply the path to the walk we created earlier. There are a few adjustments to make like making sure the figures head is looking at the end of the path while she runs. The rest is easy peasy.
Rendering the animation is also easy. You have several options (still image, mp4, flash) for video type along with adjusting the size and quality of the render. I went with mp4, 1280 width, and moderate quality. Took 5 minutes to render and the result can be seen at the top of this article.