REVIEW MAY 15 , 2001
Labs Poser Pro Pack
You're probably familiar with Poser, the 3D character animation suite formerly owned by the company formerly known as MetaCreations. When MetaCreations killed off its software division to focus on Web technologies, Poser went on the auction block (along with Painter, Carrara, Canoma, Bryce and a host of other well respected titles). It was snatched up by the team that originally created the software and others involved with its development and marketing. Thus was born Curious Labs.
Poser had always been a bit of a cult item, extremely popular with hobbyists. It was geared heavily toward preset characters and provided users with the ability to move these characters around in various posessort of like playing with 3D paper dolls. But it never really attracted a large customer base in the higher-end professional 3D market.
Now, however, comes the Poser Pro Pack, an expansion module for Poser 4 that promises to find a professional niche for Posernamely designers who create animations in the Flash format.
These days, everybody is offering Flash output. But your choices for 3D applications are mostly limited to very expensive 3D suites or applications that aren't terribly powerful or easy to use. The Poser Pro Pack, which is both affordable and easy to use, is a great solution for creating character animation in Flash. Don't get me wrong here. Poser is not a modeler. It comes with a ton of preset characters, ranging from people and props (such as clothing) to animals and robots. But, if you want to build your own models, you'll still need a 3D modeling application, such as Amorphium Pro, which is also targeted toward Flash designers (and also happens to come highly recommended by me).
The two small Flash animations below use two of the characters that come with Poser, along with some preset animations. Applying animations to models can be as simple as clicking on a preset library animation. You can also manually move around body parts (and cameras and lights) to create your own animations rather easily. (For the sake of file size, I've limited the colors in these animations to four. The first animation came out at 56 KB; the second is 92 KB. You can change color settings in the output options when you create your own animations.)
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Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of the Creative Mac, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion and Synthetik Studio Artist WWUGs; and executive producer of Creative Mac, Digital Media Designer, Digital Pro Sound, Digital Webcast, Plug-in Central, Presentation Master, ProAudio.net and Video Systems sites. All are part of the Digital Media Net family of online industry hubs.