Poser has come a long way from the last time I used it, right around version 4. We're now at 10 for the basic edition (retail US$299.99) and Poser Pro 2014 (retail $499.99) has become a powerful animation tool in its own right. I got to look at some of the new features rolling out today and they are impressive, putting Poser on par with many animation and modeling suites costing much more.
A problem with any humanoid character is how the "skin" folds when you bend it. Poser now offers Pixar's OpenSubdiv libraries, which means subdivision surfaces anywhere you need them. I was impressed with the accuracy and speed at which Poser created subdivisions, which add greatly to the realism already available in Poser. There are also some new characters, both realistic and cartoonish, to help get you started. For basic work the stock characters will keep you busy for quite a while, but there's also a great third-party market for Poser models should you need more.
One pain point for many digital artists are the hair and clothes for models. Getting those to "fit" properly can take a long time. Poser Pro now offers a "fitting room" which speeds up this process. Poser already has a cottage industry of third-party models and props, including clothes and hair. Now with the fitting room you can quickly fit those accessories to your basic models faster. Sure, you've still got the morph targets you've come to know and love, but Poser Pro now offers five specialized tools for interactively loosening, tightening clothes while retaining their physics properties (rigid or soft-body deformations).
Both the Pro and basic editions now offer Bullet Physics, which simulates rigid-body and soft-body dynamics. Applying regions of soft-body dynamics is as easy as painting on your character, and the results are truly impressive with very little learning curve for newbies.
That's the power of Poser, really. Many of the trickier elements of 3D modeling and animation are done for you (if you've ever rigged a biped using IK you know how tedious it can be!), leaving you to "play" with the models, lighting and accessories to get just the right look. With models already rigged, and now with Bullet Time, it has become easier than ever to get realistic animation out of the box with very little effort.
Poser has become a powerful tool for graphic novelists as well, allowing artists to quickly pose and render characters. The latest addition offers a Comic Book Preview mode which allows artists to dial in the correct amount of lines and shading throughout a scene, even animated. Doing this in your 3D tool counts for a lot, and the examples I saw were impressive and fast. If you've ever set up a scene, added a cartoon render and discovered lines going funky when you animate, you'll be pleasantly surprised by Poser's ability to lock down lines and shaders in Comic Book mode.
In addition to all this, there's a more capable Morph Brush for enhancing models, and a Live Simulation preview which allows you to quickly render ray traced models or preview animation using Bullet Time. Poser has become more capable and faster -- exactly what you want in a 3D modeling and animation tool.
While the cost isn't cheap, Smith Micro is offering a deal through June 30. Poser 10 will be available for $239.99 and Poser Pro 2014 will be $399.99. If you're upgrading, check the Poser site for more details. Compared to 3ds Max and other tools, Poser is a steal at those prices. If you find yourself needing character models (for medical illustrations, graphic novels, stock photos, etc.) I think the basic version will make you very happy. If you need animated characters with lifelike skin, hair and clothes, Pro is simply brilliant and priced very competitively for what it delivers. No, these are not hobbyist tools exactly, but they are accessible to anyone and powerful enough to be used in professional situations. Check out Poser if you need a reliable solution to character animation or modeling needs.
· New 3D characters
· Subdivision Surfaces
· Bullet Physics with soft body dynamics
· Interactive Raytrace Preview
· Comic Book Preview Mode
ALISO VIEJO, CA – May 21, 2013 – Smith Micro Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: SMSI) Productivity and Graphics Group today announced the newest version of its 3D animation software program, Poser® 10 and Poser® Pro 2014. Perfect for artists, illustrators, animators and graphic designers, Poser enables users to easily create full 3D scenes with digital humans, animals and props. In addition to an extensive library of pre-loaded characters and content, Poser 10 and Poser Pro 2014 come equipped with new features such as Subdivision Surfaces for improved bending fidelity, Bullet Physics for adding increased realism to animation and Live Simulation mode for previewing dynamics in real-time.
Watch a video teaser for Poser 10 and Poser Pro 2014 here.
"It's our goal to provide illustrators, graphic designers, animators and 3D artists as well as novice users and hobbyists with a resource for telling their stories in 3D, via images and video," said Steve Cooper, senior product manager of productivity and graphics at Smith Micro. "Poser not only provides professional users with powerful tools for creating 3D character content and scenes, but also offers a variety of easy-to-use features and pre-loaded figures and props that allow beginners to get into 3D art without forcing them to master figure modeling, texturing and rigging."
Poser comes with pre-built, ready to use 3D characters that enable users to begin posing and animating right out of the box. Supported by a multitude of tutorial videos as well as by an experienced team of content creators, developers, QA testers and customer service and support teams, the full featured software is reliable, well documented and easy-to-learn.
"With each new version that is released, Poser continues to raise the bar for 3D illustrators and artists," said Brian Haberlin, co-artist and co-writer of the multimedia sci-fi adventure saga Anomaly. "Poser gives users the ability to create exceedingly realistic animations and illustrations and has emerged as the digital artist's secret little helper."
Poser 10 and Poser Pro 2014 provide new professional level features, even at the base version of the software. The integration of Pixar's OpenSubdiv library enables artists to define subdivision levels by prop, figure or even individual body part with ease. This feature, known as Subdivision Surfaces, improves bending accuracy, smoothens polygonal surfaces and boosts overall performance by enabling lighter poly-count content. Poser's new Bullet Physics tool simulates rigid body dynamics, soft body dynamics and even dynamic strand-based hair. Poser artists can now add jiggle and bounce to any prop or character, paint soft body constraint weights to animate and more. Users can even preview their animations in real-time with the Live Simulation feature.
"Poser offers a variety of features that help everyone from beginners to professional animators alike," said Monty Oum, director of animation at Rooster Teeth Productions. "Whether you are just jumping into 3D animation or are a skilled digital artist, Poser has tools that will help bring your art to life, while cutting down production time and cost."
Comic Book Preview Mode and new Fitting Room:
Poser's new Comic Book Preview Mode enables illustrators to create color or black and white comic art with improved line control and outlines with persistent shading, even when rotating or animating their point of view. Users can also interactively fit existing clothing and props to any Poser figure with Poser Pro's Fitting Room, which provides five intelligent methods that interactively loosen, tighten, smooth and preserve soft and rigid features. With the click of a single button, designers can generate a new conforming clothing item, using the original figure's rig, complete with full morph transfer.
For a full feature-listing visit here.
Pricing and Availability:
From now until June 20, 2013 Poser 10 is available for $239.99 and Poser 2014 for $399.99. After this time, Poser 10 will be available for $299.99 and Poser 2014 for $499.99. For more detailed product, pricing and tiered upgrade pricing information, please visit the Poser website.
About Smith Micro Software, Inc. - Productivity and Graphics Group:
Based in Santa Cruz, Calif., the Smith Micro Software Productivity and Graphics Group produces award-winning software that inspires consumer creativity and enables efficiency. The group's creative suite of programs provides artists of all skill levels – from novice to professional – with the tools to illustrate, animate and create 2D and 3D art. Some of the Productivity and Graphics Group's award-winning creative and utilities products include Poser, Anime Studio, Manga Studio and StuffIt. For more information, please visit: www.smithmicro.com. (NASDAQ: SMSI)
Safe Harbor Statement:
This release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, including without limitation, forward-looking statements relating to the company's financial prospects and other projections of its performance, the existence of new market opportunities and interest in the company's products and solutions, and the company's ability to increase its revenue and regain profitability by capitalizing on these new market opportunities and interest and introducing new products and solutions. Among the important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements are changes in demand for the company's products from its customers and their end-users, customer concentration given that the majority of our sales depend on a few large client relationships, including Sprint, new and changing technologies, customer acceptance and timing of deployment of those technologies, new and continuing adverse economic conditions, and the company's ability to compete effectively with other software companies. These and other factors discussed in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its filings on Forms 10-K and 10-Q, could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in any forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements contained in this release are made on the basis of the views and assumptions of management regarding future events and business performance as of the date of this release, and the company does not undertake any obligation to update these statements to reflect events or circumstances occurring after the date of this release.
Smith Micro, the Smith Micro logo and Poser are trademarks or registered trademarks of Smith Micro Software, Inc. All other trademarks and product names are the property of their respective companies.