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Animation Software Review: Poser Pro 2010 3D Modeling & Animation Software

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Animation Software Review: Poser Pro 2010 3D Modeling & Animation Software

The Bottom Line

For less than $500 Poser Pro 2010 lets animators create content that nears the complexity of basic models from high-end studio animation programs that cost thousands of dollars. While it's not capable of rendering realism on the level of things like Avatar, it can still produce beautiful art and animation with a minimum of effort - provided you're willing to learn the program's ins and outs.

Pros

  • Can be used with several GBs of ready-made, professional content.
  • Beautiful lighting options add a polished look to models and animations.
  • Quick preview renders for easier tweaking and perfecting.
  • Features multilayered animation.

Cons

  • Learning curve for new users is extremely steep.
  • Default models are still a little odd-looking, but can be fixed with user tweaking.
  • Can be a resource hog when rendering or calculating dynamics.

Description

  • The next generation of the popular Poser 3D modeling and animation program.
  • Creates complex models, environments, and animations with minimal user effort.
  • Highly customizable with professional features and tools.
  • Compatible with applications such as Cinema 4D, 3DSMax, and Maya.

Guide Review - Animation Software Review: Poser Pro 2010 3D Modeling & Animation Software

When my first reaction on starting the installer is to say "Damn! I didn't know you could do that in Poser," it's probably a pretty good sign. (See graphic on right.) The last time I tried Poser the modeling had reached a fairly sophisticated level, but was hovering in that area between animation and realism that just made it downright creepy. It's jumped into the sweet spot, though, with a look and feel that combines artfully stylized models with realistic textures in a way that reminds me of some of my favorite, most captivating video games - although that's not to say you can't create near photo-realistic fantasy art. Some of the fantasy images in the Poser website's gallery were breathtaking.

They were also all created by professionals, or at the very least people familiar with Poser modeling and animation. How easy is it for the average user to open the program and get to work?

With time and patience, very easy. When you look at Poser's options, they're daunting. The program offers a full range of control over everything from bone structures to every tiny detail of physical structure, texture, and motion. You can create detailed hair, realistic skin, fluid physiques, moving textured cloth, and animate it all at a very complex level. But with so many options comes a wide range of settings and tools, and you'll need to just go through every screen available and play with each control to see what it does. I'd also advise checking out online tutorials for a little help, so you aren't floundering around in the dark. I'm used to complex 3D animation software, and even I'm a little lost.

Some of the fun things about Poser Pro 2010 include layered action, a network rendering queue, searchable content library, and cross-application compatibility. In all truth I'm somewhat sad to see Poser take this leap into the realm of complex, professional 3D modeling and animation programs; Poser has a history of being accessible to anyone right out of the box, and the increasing levels of sophistication in the program also create increasing levels of difficulty for the novice. But with so many ready-made models and animations available, it shouldn't be too hard to get past that. It's still a vast improvement over building the models yourself from scratch - and at $250, it's still a heck of a lot cheaper than Maya or 3D Studio Max.

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