#59: SHADOWS & LIGHT (Vue)
(and other apps)


Some tips on using and making Poser characters, mostly about using them in other apps :)

As noted in my "Importing and Optimizing Poser characters" tutorial, I usually resize down the extra large textures common to Poser, which is handy for most work, except if you wish to do a super fine "Pin up render", hence the suggestion to keep a copy of the large original in the texture folder to refer to.

When you make your character, do NOT pose him, her or it: just leave him in the default pose while you assemble clothes, textures etc. It's much, much harder to undo a pose, so always start from the default position of the character.

Make incremental copies of your charcter, as you should for any work!! But most importantly, make damn sure you have a file where the character is in the default position with all clothing, morphs and textures applied, and make a duplicate of this!! Trust me, losing that original is a real pain, eek!

--> I always work from a copy of that "finialized" file for latter iterations of the same character <--
VERY important to do that, a COPY, so you don't save over and screw up the original! You also will thus have perfect consistancy :)

I work in Vue, just pose etc in Poser6, and import into Vue. I'd recommend, if you are working with say a comic strip or on-going story sequence, where continuity is vital, to save all materials for a character into a specific named directory. For my "Wildspace!" graphic novel, I keep seperate folders of materials for all the main characters. This not only preserves continuity, it also saves me a ton of time, as I can quickly swap materials on import ;)

If you import into another app, like Bryce or Vue, save yor final character in your object directory for that app (in the app's native format), once you're happy with the materials etc. This lets you easily re-use the characters for later scenes ;)
I it takes a lot of time and effort making these characters, so, it's preservation of effort:
"Shop smart, shop Save-A-Lot Mart!"

Realize that you can do a lot with the imported character's materials in other apps to improve them. I always spend time heavily tweaking materials to get them looking better.

In the example pic above, the figure on right, his pants are far too plain and boring, adding my dirt map material gave them more believable looks for an active adventurer. Likewise, the bracers were too bright and blue, and his bow ended up being white for some odd reason, so I applied a simple dark wood material.

Note, Poser usually adds a "reflection map" material to any reflective material, this SUCKS TERRIBLY in most other apps, so make damn sure to remove that and make the material have a "Normal" reflective type for your app.
In Vue I turn off the ""Use Reflection Map" option in the material tab, and give a suitable amount of reflection, if it's a large and/or special object I may add variable reflectivity, linking the reflection to a procedural effect or even the object's texture map...only mirrors in real life, or similar things, are perfectly evenly reflective, you note such things if the object is close to the camera.

You can also add bump, either by using the existing material texture to drive it, or procedural or texture functions...as clothing and most materials are NEVER flat smooth. They look fake without bump.
For Vue users, you can buy "SkinVue", which is ascript that adds really nice look to skin materials :)

What is a total pain in the arse, for Poser characters, is finding items, ugh! Hence I wrote the "Optimizing Poser Folders" tutorial. You can easily have many gigs worth of Poser items, and thus finding say, a specific dress or prop is a nightmare. So, if you organize "runtime" folders neatly, it helps a ton.

I also save the web page and pictures of any Poser item I buy or get int he item folder, this way, I can turn "icons on" for the folders ("View -->Show Large Icons" in Vista), showing me what's inside them, so it's an easy visual refference when scouring through my items trying to find things.
I note down on a pad of paper or in "Notepad" what items catch my eye, and if necessary, where on the hard drive they are.

Say I want to make "Joe barbarian", I want a spear, a handaxe, a shield, suitable hair, skin texture, and a face morph to make him look gnarly ;)
I decide I'll use "Michael 3", I have lots of good items for him. I look through my "Poser Mike 3" directory, the large icons and names help me find suitable stuff. I may not find say, a spear, so I hunt through other folders, or use a search for "Spear", as I may have a Victoria 3 outfit with a spear.
Be aware that other figures may have perfectly suitable props or hair you can use on other figures!
Some clothing can also be used if it's for the same type, ie Mike 3 can use Mike 2 clothing, IF you load the version of Mike3 that has the Mike2 body (Special figure for that "Mike 3 to Mike 2")

There are also apps specifically for converting clothes and textures between figures, but I honestly don't know much about them I'm afraid.
FOLDERS, showing icons, so it's easier to find items! ;)
Another trick I use, is say a fine suit of armour looks gorgeous, but it's for the wrong figure and I can't use it...what you can do, is use the HEAD of the other character, export it as an ".obj" file, import it as a prop, and repalce the head of the armoured character with that "prop" head! :) works really sweet, though you may need to do some post work etc, to hide any joins etc.

This character is a "Giff" I made. Giff are fantasy folk, massive humanoids with a hippopotamus-like head. So what I did was use "The Freak" a specifically over-sized, over-muscled character, put armour on him, and gave him a head from a hippopotamus animal model I had exported before hand, hehe!

I also made a shield and morningstar for him in "Rhino3D", I exported the character as an obj file, sized it up (as Poser models are very very small scaled, oddly enough), and built a shield to a suitable design. Then exported the items as Obj, imported into Poser for him. I also made the shield texture, using UV mapper to get the uv map layout, and painted on it in Paint Shop Pro (which is awesome for decal work, by the way).

I made a material just for his skin, but the model doesn't have a seperate "eye" texture, so I have to paint his eyes in in post work, unfortunately :(

Note that a lot of figures on DAZ3D and other sites have the "texture templates" freely avaliable, or in the package. This is a set of "UV maps" that form the basis for creating your own textures, if you want to. Very handy if you wish to say, make a leather tunic, into a leather and chainmail combination, as it gives you the "outlines" to paint on in a 2D package like Paint Shop Pro or Photoshop.

I hope you find this of use! :)

All original art, writing on this site, copyright of Steven James, "Silverblade the Enchanter" ©2012