Poser Pro Pack
at a Glance

Maker: Curious Labs
Price: $149 (requires Poser 4, not included)
Platforms: Macintosh and Windows
Demo Available: No
URL: http://www.curiouslabs

Overall Impression: The Pro Pack, like Poser 4 itself, has a slick interface that makes working in it a snap. The features are robust, though support for models with very high polygon counts isn't really there. Nevertheless, this is a great tool for graphic designers who need to create animations in Flash (or other formats).

Key Benefits: The Pro Pack expands Poser 4 well beyond its previous role as a ... well, pose maker for predefined 3D characters into the realm of versatile 3D animation tools. Its "Setup Room" allows you to add bones to models created in just about any 3D program with extreme ease and lets you export to a broad variety of formats, including Flash. These exports can be rendered in a number of styles, from cartoon shading to texture-mapped images.

Disappointments: I was put off a bit by the slowness I encountered when working with my own 3D model that had a very high polygon count. I didn't expect it to be speedy, but working with my model in the Setup Room proved to be seriously time-consuming. With lower-count models, including the ones that come with Poser 4 and the Pro Pack, the process is quite quick.

Recommendation: Strong Buy


REVIEW MAY 15 , 2001

Curious Labs Poser Pro Pack
[Page 3 of 3]

One of the other major selling points of Poser is its ability to create animations very easily. And in this area the program excels. To create an animation, you can simply move parts of an object around and add a keyframe. Move forward in the timeline, change a position or camera angle, and Poser handles everything in between for you. You can also select animations from a modest library of moves, as well as a couple of libraries for designing walks for your characters.

Poser 4's Sketch Designer allows you to customize the appearance
of your output to resemble hand-drawn sketches.

In terms of output, you couldn't really consider Poser to have a terribly sophisticated render engine. But it compensates for this with a few pretty useful output options. For example, it does a really nice job with cartoon shading, allowing to to select the number of colors for larger or smaller files and even for creating duotone, tritone and quadtone effects. It also has a "Sketch Designer," which allows you to render in one of several preset sketch styles or styles that you've created yourself. The presets include things like soft charcoal, pastel, pencil and even pencil and ink. Unfortunately, you can't render sketches as Flash animations, but you can output them as QuickTime files. The reason for this is that each stroke is drawn individually and differently on every frame, creating a look that suggests hand drawing.

The bottom line
The Pro Pack is an essential expansion set for Poser 4. The functionality it adds to Poser not only enhances the program, but really turns it into a whole new tool—one that will undoubtedly benefit designers who need to create character animations in Flash. Couple it with a competent modeling tool, and you have just that. Personally, I think the combination of Amorphium Pro for modeling and Poser with the Pro Pack for animation would be tough to beat for price and performance for designers looking to make the transition from 2D to 3D for the Web. I give the Poser Pro Pack a strong buy recommendation.

The Poser Pro Pack is available for Macintosh and Windows for $149. It requires Poser 4, which is available for $219. (Upgrades from Poser 1, 2 or 3 cost $99.) For more information, visit http://www.curiouslabs.com.

GO TO PAGE [ 1, 2, 3, Complete, Home ]

Post a message in the Creative Mac World Wide User Group.

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.
[an error occurred while processing this directive]