Smith Micro Poser Pro
- Animated scene integration into 3-D apps, Normal Mapping, HDRI export, Collada export, background rendering, network rendering, gamma correction
- Vista-related gripes, much faster on Mac OS X than Windows, expensive,for everyday users
Poser Pro is expensive for non-professional users, but with TV and commercial budgets getting squeezed all the time, it's a relatively low-cost solution for getting decent-quality character animation into a professional 3-D pipeline.
Price$ 499.99 (AUD)
Now owned by Smith Micro, Poser Pro is built on the Poser 7 character-animation solution and comes with that version's Generation 2 family of fully rigged figures, SydneyG2 and SimonG2.
You can download the Poser 6 and Poser7 Legacy Content collections with the application's serial number. However, the main improvements in this Pro version have more to do with rendering and extending the reach of the main application.
Normal mapping has been introduced to the Material Room, allowing you to use 2-D image textures to create the appearance of complex surface detail on 3-D objects. It's useful for adding intricate detail quickly without the huge polygonal overheads that a 3-D solution would incur. Poser Pro also offers gamma correction on the Texture Manager, allowing you to specify gamma values per texture. This gives you the ability to exclude certain textures from scene-wide gamma correction, and comes in handy when dealing with displacement or normal maps.
Although computers are continually getting faster, rendering still eats up processing power. Smith Micro has adopted the approach taken by the likes of Autodesk by allowing users to spread the load across networked computers to render complex scenes and lengthy animations. The QueueManager is slightly tricky to set up, but you can install it on client machines on your network and send a job to it directly from within Poser.
Still with the focus on rendering, Poser Pro includes both 64- and 32-bit versions of the Firefly render engine. Depending on what system you are running on, Poser Pro will select the most powerful engine. The 64-bit engine can be used on 64-bit versions of Windows XP and Vista, as well as Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard). When we tested it, rendering time was significantly sliced on an Intel MacBook running Leopard compared to both a Dual G5 running Mac OS X 10.4 and a Vista powered PC.
The application also ran faster all round on the Leopard system. You do need a lot of system memory and disk space is a premium for complex animations, but with a well-specified 64-bit machine you're likely to see performance increases when rendering such large files.
One welcome feature is that both versions of the Firefly engine also let you render in the background, allowing you to open and close other scene files, save your project, and continue working while it gets on with rendering in another of the window tabs.
Poser Pro takes the application to studio level. To this end, Poser Pro includes the PoserFusion Hosting Plug-ins, which allow you to open and host Poser scene files and 3D content within production environment applications such as 3DS Max, Maya and Cinema 4D. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be compatible with 3DS Max Design 2009 yet. However, Poser Pro can also handle data exchange with other applications that support the Collada format, including Photoshop.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Razer Naga Trinity review: The last best MMO gaming mouse
- 2 Dynabook Portégé X30W-J – a very good all-rounder
- 3 Google Pixel 5 Review: Soft Reboot
- 4 Sonos Arc review: The Main Event
- 5 Samsung Galaxy Z Flip review: Killer form-factor, lethal price-tag
Latest News Articles
- Got Spotify for desktop? You can now download songs for offline playback
- Amazon's revamped Alexa Voice Remote for Fire TV adds shortcuts to Netflix, Disney+
- Spotify will roll out CD-quality audio streams later this year
- Amazon’s new Echo Show 10 and its rotating display will finally ship on Feburary 25
- Google adds a privacy-oriented Guest Mode to its Home and Nest smart speakers and displays
PCW Evaluation Team
Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.
This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.
It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.
As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.
The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.
This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.
- Sonos Arc review: The Main Event
- Google Pixel 5 Review: Soft Reboot
- How the Xbox Series X (and xCloud) saved me from buying a gaming PC
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies