Poser at 70% Discount : Version 8
(only valid from the 7th June 2012 to 7th of July 2012)
- Poser 8 has a tweaked interface, a huge degree of user control and a vast range of models and props. It is a valuable upgrade from Poser 7; especially with a cleaner and easier to use interface.
- It comes with eight poseable figures, four male and four female.
- There is a tremendous amount of control where entire bodies can be customised to different weights and sizes, to fine control over individual muscle groups.
- Even details such as eyes now have full control parameter wheels – including iris size, iris shape and more.
- Because hair sculpting has always been a tricky procedure, Poser comes with a few premade hairpieces that have their own controls to set length, fullness, and so on. These can even be animated, so hair can blow back and forth in the virtual wind for a more realistic result.
- A huge range of props – more than 2.5GB-worth – now accompanies the figures.
- Plus a new Wardrobe Wizard allows legacy clothing to be used with the latest figures.
Once you’ve gained experience with Poser, you can generate some superb character artwork that will open up a new frontier of creativity. To demonstrate this, we are republishing our interview with Gene Fleeman whose portfolio can be seen at his Renderosity gallery page – his main creative tool is Poser.
Gene has had an extraordinary life journey that has been improved thanks to his artistic talents. It started with homelessness on the streets of San Francisco but happily ending with a settled family life in Santa Cruz, here he remarks on his art and his journey:-
3DAD: You started out with ink drawings of bears and wolves – does this spur from an interest in the natural world or from elements of an interest in fantasy stories containing these creatures?
GF: When I started making pictures of large mammals and raptor type birds I was actually living on the streets of San Francisco. A lot of people have no concept of living in doorways and eating food donated to you during the day. It is at first degrading. People see you as socially retarded and the reactions you get from many ranges from pity to real rage.. I found that by making these pictures the way people saw me was shockingly different. I went from the dreaded “Bum” to the socially elevated “Artist”. My artwork and the reaction of people helped make drawing in ink a focus for me. It probably kept me sane (Well mostly) and had the added benefits of putting money in my pockets. Over time one finds what types of pictures “work” and sell quickly. I found that carnivorous animals and raptor type birds went really quick. Out of all of the animals that I made and sold were my wolves. The pen and ink drawings I made took 45 minutes to make and sold in another 25 to 30 minutes at $20.00 US and during that time I would make another $20.00 on donations. The donations came in as people watched and asked questions. One question that I kept getting was “Did you do that?” as if they couldn’t fathom a person having talent, as they saw me, and still being homeless. The animals were a commercial necessity and though they took most of my time I always experimented. Doing work with the computer came from my wanting to print out my works.
3DAD: You then mention in your Renderosity bio that you discovered Photoshop and Bryce – did you have much enjoyment and success with these applications with your artwork?
GF: I discovered both at the same time. I bought a book about computer applications and it came with a CD of trial-ware and I tried a few. One was a demo of Bryce 3. I found it fascinating that with a few adjustments to the interfaces sliders I could make all kinds of forms and add materials to make textures for these forms. Even the ability to shade forms and add shadows behind them. It was totally new to my mindset. I am almost 60 years old now and so I started really late in life to change how I made my artwork. From 2D to 3D was not easy… Bryce seemed to be the easiest for me to understand so I did a lot of works that in the final outcome were, looking back now, below par for what most of my more experienced fellow artist were making. For quite a while I wouldn’t even use Poser except to make figures to import into Bryce.
As for Photoshop, it was the second application on the CD that impressed me. I experimented on every image that I liked the looks of, but I had this thing that I could make it look better by doing one thing or another to it. Like everything I do I learned by trial and error. By doing different things I learned which gave me effect I thought looked good. I fell in love with plugins for a while. Now I have narrowed it down to 3 or 4 plugins that have shortened the process and give me what I like.. It just takes time to learn what works for you.
3DAD: Were there some digital artists that you first looked up to, when you started out? Who were they and what did you like about their work?
GF: I always liked stonemasons works and especially his sale items. The quality of his work has always impressed me. Estevez makes excellent scenic works. Fresh and crisp works. Sarsa’s works have always been excellent fantasy works. Fabrice Delage, nightcelt, maddelirium and Rgus all have been my favourites for the fine portraits of women. Masters of lighting and shadow each of these, in there own manner, are of these far surpass me at realistic types of works. I was raised on comic books as a child and I have always loved good sci-fi or fantasy works. My heroes were Frazetta and magnificent paintings. Such power and mood and energy filled works were what caught my eye. Boris was another. A lot of barbarians and warriors and beasts. Dynamic poses and healthy looking warrior princesses. Poser lends itself easy to these two styles of work. I was also into Sci-fi short stories at the time I was first starting to work on Sci-fi and Fantasy artwork so it was only natural to add stories to my pictures.
3DAD: Your main focus is using Poser, are you pleased with how the software has developed over the years, most especially with it’s most recent release? Has the interface improved?
GF: Other than a few more extra functions the interface is the same simple form it has always been, one that I have become comfortable with. The program itself works great on my Mac. There was a time when Poser was a little unstable on the Mac but in the later versions it has fixed every problem I had. I keep my versions at the last updates or upgrades. So far it has paid off. I try to keep in mind that I am still learning and experimenting. Some of them come out just like I wanted them to and some not so much. I don’t see any as failures. They are only ideas that need more refining.
3DAD: What two things would you like to see improved with the Poser software?
GF: I don’t see anything that I would change a lot. Most of the problems I have are through my inability to understand some of the more intricate workings of the application and its parts. Some things that might be exciting would be a plugin system, like some of the other 3D programs, to add functionality for those old codgers, like myself, who can’t grasp the math.
3DAD: Do you (or would you like to) create your own Poser accessories and clothing? If so, what do you feel has been your most successful items that you have created?
GF: I would love to make my own poser items. As I mentioned earlier I just don’t seem able to grasp the simplest concepts needed to be able to make mesh and fit textures to them. I do use the material room in Poser but mostly just to use mats that are different than the ones provided for them. I like to experiment but am mostly lost. I still have a lot of room to progress.
3DAD: You have portrayed quite a journey in your bio from living on the streets in San Francisco all the way to now living a settled family life with your wife and daughter. Have some of the experiences during this journey been reflected in some of your artwork pieces?
GF: Yes…. some of my pictures reflect my past and how it effects me is in the stories. I sometimes get reactions from some that disagree greatly with what is right or not right in my philosophy invoked in the picture and stories about street life. Pictures Like “Passing Nasty Nancy” or “Her Two Loves” finds me on the opposite end from many as far as how I feel about certain issues and way people treat each other. It’s OK but it shows me that my viewpoint has, at times, been a really unique glimpse at the workings of the social structure and those that react on that level in what is far different than how I might see things. After some discussion about this I am sometimes able to see what it might look like had I not been in the same circumstances myself. So I would have to say that my past life has influenced how I see the world and it does come out in some of my works. It may very be the reason I work mostly in Sci-Fi and Fantasy works rather than a more Modern or realistic work.
3DAD: You have a strong interest in the fantasy genre in your work, where have you your main inspirations come from for your art? Is it from popular fantasy stories?
GF: I have always had a love for stories of Heroes, Gods & Goddesses, Barbarians and Swords & Sorcery. I love Norse myths and Pagan folklore. A powerful hero or heroine as a strong central figure with a myriad of situations to call upon for the background. I love great architecture and scenery items as well as props that can be worked into some form of effect. Good Lamp props and a special flame combined with certain lighting techniques can work wonders on a fantasy piece.
3DAD: You provide good back stories with your artwork. Have you always been interested in creative writing? Have you published stories illustrated with your artwork?
GF: I have never published one of my illustrated stories. Not because I would not like to but because I am not much of a salesman when it comes to my work. I do mostly pictures and the stories are to add an extra dimension to the visual parts. There is a lot of selling ones self that is involved in being successful at getting published. I do, however, love making these stories and fitting them to the pictures. I have as much fun on the stories as I do the pictures they accompany.
3DAD: Do you have a favourite back story that you have fashioned?
GF: I would say that the story for “If Only I Looked Like You” I had fun with a lot. Trying to see ideas from two different view points was the story I tried to fill that image with. With Poser, I keep all parts needed for any given picture and I find that some pictures improve the second version. A movement here, a prop change there or lighting technique that you found on the way and you see the picture that develops. As I said, don’t be afraid to experiment. I learn through trial and error and sometimes I keep works that I think have something in them I need to remember. A few of these together and the sum inspires you to see different combinations of, not only, picture effects and possibility but storyline changes and things that change the mood or colour of a storyline and can make a whole new story. I am as curious as the reader is when making these stories because I, too, wait to see what different pathways it take me. After all, it is my own fantasies that I am walking through and they seem to pop up, wholly clothed, as I stumble through. They seem to be just waiting for me to write them down.
3DAD: Do you have a favourite serial of images that you have created?
GF: Not really a series but I have many that fit particular themes. Tons of barbarians and Pagan folk. “The Dragon Hunters” is one of those, as are “Untamed Clan” and Barbarians 1 and 2.
3DAD: What were some of the “breakthrough” digital art images that started to get you a lot more attention?
GF: I have never got huge attention like many artists do. I just keep on plugging away in hopes that my pictures will strike a chord in someone. A story will make a difference to someone and hopefully change their day. After a while you just build a core group of people who just like your work. I try to stay prolific and do as numerous an amount of pictures as possible. Though I try to please others I never know which picture or what element will effect them. To say I know just what to do, to create something that will be a popular work, would be like me driving a car, blind, through crosstown traffic and arriving at my destination. If I put out enough work then hopefully we will find a place we connect.
3DAD: Could you select three images that have you learned the most by constructing them.
GF: “A Gift of an Angel” for one. “Gathering for Lunch” secondly and thirdly I would have to say “An Angel in the Dark Unholy”. The first and the last for lighting techniques that I was satisfied with and the second one for learning to plan for my pictures built in layers. One layer in the wrong order and something shows that shouldn’t or doesn’t show when it should. The more complex and plentiful the layers the more chance of an error (or at least for me that has been the truth). Sometimes it pays to go back and double check.
3DAD: “Smouldering Eyes”. Is used as your current gallery landing page image – what makes this one of your favourites?
GF: A couple of people that make almost all of the parts you see in that picture really impress me with their skill at making items. The shapes and textures are a perfect fit to the type of stories and artwork that I do. It all has an ancient look that add a timeline to the story. A temporal ambiance that makes the feel of the picture and helps match it to a timeline in the story part of the work. I mix and match a lot and they have such a fine collection that I can fill the picture with rich textures and detail. Another picture I like because of this is “After the Midnight Reading”. Danie and Marforno and the stuff they make inspires me.
3DAD: What two tips would you give to those who are starting to use Poser, particularly in grappling with the interface?
GF: I found out over time that the interface grows on you. The advice I would give would be to give it time and play with it. See what it will do when you make changes. Experiment always. The second advice would be to HAVE FUN. Why did you start to do this at all ? For most of us it is just plain fun. I love playing with the lighting and the Material room.
3DAD: What other software do you use in your workflow apart from Poser?
GF: I use a program called Artmatic Voyager sometimes. It gives me crisp, detailed scenery. It is a fractal based program and doesn’t allow for object importing but it works well as a background shot none the less. I also use Photoshop (Everytime. It gives me some really crisp work)
3DAD: Which digital artist communities do you use and recommend (on-line or off-line) and how have they helped your work?
GF: I stay at Renderosity because I have many who seem to like my pictures and stories and encourage me. For many of us having people like our work is important and I have a few friends that let me know when they like what I have done just as I have found artists and works that really do inspire me with awe.
3DAD: What direction do you hope to take your digital artwork through the rest of this year? For instance Do you have some projects with some serial images in mind?
GF: I have just finished a 5 page storyline that I hope to incorporate into split images (maybe 4 of them in the series making up 8 different illustrations).
3DAD: Finally what three tips would you have for those who are just starting out with digital artwork?
Tip 1 : As beginners don’t feel that your work is inferior.
Tip 2: Know you are yet to learn the things that will help you place visions in the eyes (and minds) of those that view your work.
Tip 3 : Scan the galleries for works that impress you. If you find artwork that overwhelms you (and YOU WILL..) then by all means feel free to ask questions.