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Poser Pro 10 Review From A Real User

September 6, 2010

It’s web reality – look for a review of almost any piece of electronics or new software, and in many cases, you’ll simply find a regurgitated press release touting the new features. I had heard about the new Poser Pro 10, and when my fiend Mike announced to me he had gotten it, I asked him for a little rundown of what’s new, what’s better, is it worth it? He graciously replied and is kind enough to share the info with all of you out there too.

Smith Micro Poser Pro 10 Review
by Michael Darcy Brown

Here’s a somewhat subjective look at Smith Micro’s Poser Pro 10, intended for readers who have experience with Poser and might be thinking about upgrading.

PP10 is intended to be a professional tool, and the claim is based on two advantages over Poser 8 and previous versions:
-PP10 is 64 bit
-PP10 promises to correct some of the shortcomings of Poser which have kept it from being very useful for commercial purposes.

In my experience PP10 does seem to take full advantage of multi-core CPU power and big-gig memory.  Working with heavy, resource-demanding scenes does not give you the feeling of trying to sculpt with molasses in cold water. And rendering is orders of magnitude faster than Poser 7.

The correction of earlier Poser drawbacks attempts to fix two major shortcomings:
-the Poser Digital Asset Management system
-the less-than-professional render quality of the Firefly render engine

Poser’s Digital Asset Management system has always been a disaster. If you use the default Poser organization system it does not give much choice as to where you put resources. Poser looks for them in certain places and they had better be there. And it doesn’t help that DAZ products are self-installed by .exe file installers and give you few options as to where you put resources. To make it all worse, you cannot open most resource files simply by using the OS file finder and importing them; you have to use Poser’s file finder to open poses and such files. This system ensures that you will end up with a mess of files which are organized by Poser-version, and by vendor name, and in other ways, all at the same time, and eventually you won’t be able to find anything.

PP10 tries to fix some of this situation with a new file finder. It offers features lacking in non-Pro Poser,
-a search function (but the search is very slow)
-a favorites function, so you can make elements favorites and not have to find them in the morass every time you need them (but the favorites function is somewhat awkward)
-the file finder allows you to vary the size of the thumbnails and do some other things to help you find your files

These new features do help. However, they do not comprise a perfect remedy. Nor can I offer you one here. To really organize your Poser stuff you will need to learn how and why to create multiple runtimes. The new PP10 file finder plus creating and maintaining your own runtimes will allow you to, if only barely, maintain some semblance of organization among your Poser assets.

PP10 Improved Rendering and Lighting
Rendering with the Firefly engine is vastly improved in PP10 over Poser 7 (I never used Poser 8, so I can’t compare P8 and PP10).

The big feature addition to rendering in PP10 is Gamma Correction. The whole subject of Gamma Correction is a complex and even controversial (see the Poser Forum on Renderosity). How Gamma Correction affects rendering seems to depend on whether your are talking about hard-smooth surfaces or ‘organic’ surfaces. i.e. human skin. These are two completely different issues, concerning how shaders for legacy Poser products were set up, and lots of other factors. What Gamma Correction means to me is that PP10 renders hard/smooth surfaces quickly and easily (in terms of lighting and render set-up) with very good results.

As to the lighting:
-the Poser 8 Studio Lighting (which simulates common real-world studio lighting set-ups) can produce some pretty good results, with the right render settings. The look is a sort of Toy Story matte.
-the IBL lighting works best for the DAZ Michael and Victoria people. In renders settings you will need Displacement Maps, HDRI Optimized Output, and Gamma Correction all turned ON.

PP10’s 64 bit rendering means saying goodbye to the old 4096×4096 limits to image sizes. If you do renders for professional use, this alone probably makes it worth it to upgrade to PP10.

All in all, I would say that PP10 is worth the price, if you have some familiarity with Poser (if not, you would probably be better off with different software, because the money saved may not be worth the climbing the Poser learning curve). I have been able to get some renders from PP10 which I was satisfied with, even very satisfied; this never happened with Poser 7. I avoid the reflections shader, and I still cannot get the shadows right no matter what I do.  I guess I could try reading the manual.

Supposedly COLLADA makes it possible to import PP1- scenes into C4D and other higher-end 3D software. I was not able to test this. Maybe V-Ray has a plug-in in the works for PP11. That would, it seem, open the door to really high-grade renders of the huge library of low-priced content in the Poser/DAZ/Renderosity world.


Thanks Mike! I appreciate you sharing the great info!


One Comment
  1. Luke permalink
    November 6, 2011 5:48 am

    Thanks! I hadn’t really thought about if I’d ever be getting a new version of Poser but now it just seems like a matter of when!

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