How SM can turn Poser's market share around....



  • There's a thread over at Rendo that got me thinking about Poser's shrinking marketshare of the Poserverse. I kind of wanted to bring that topic to this forum in the faint hope that SOMEONE from SM would see it and react. Heck, right now, I'd settle for someone me telling to to go to hell... just so long as I'd know that someone was minding the store.

    I'm not looking for ANY figure to revive Posers market share. Frankly, that's up to SM to turn around. Despite all the doomsaying for the last 8 years, Poser's still here and has a sizable user base. What SM NEEDS to do to revive Poser is to focus on and improve Poser's core feature sets. It needs to concentrate on the things it CAN do and do well, that Studio can't. And it should improve upon the features that it already has. In other words, Poser needs to get a little cutthroat. I'm not saying to be mean and try to put DAZ out of business. Frankly, that would be a major blunder on SM's part. They need DAZ more than DAZ needs them at the moment. And while figures seem to be the major point everyone seems to focus on, SM has already shown it has an amazingly low, almost bordering on non-existent, regard for making the effort to produce the type of figures that would get the community to sit up and take notice. If SM really wanted to put CP back in the retail game, I'd focus on the other aspects that renders feature. animatable props, environments, scenery and settings, etc.



  • @eclark18941 What sort of core functionality would you suggest that they improve Earl? What are its unique selling points - the things that justify spending hundreds over the free DAZ Studio? It feels to me that Poser primarily depends upon its legacy audience and new users with no dog in the race are always going to go with DAZ. Why would a new user try Poser?



  • @matb Things like the hair room, the Cloth Room, Animation, the morph brush, The set up Room rigging in general, things like that Mat. If just those features alone, are improved significantly, the users who still use Poser and even some of those who have left, will probably come back. Genesis 1-8 doesn't justify the reason everyone who left Poser did. And for those who did leave because of the price, well, you have to give them a reason to justify that price.



  • @matb Come to think of it, Studio doesn't do several of the things that Poser does like Dynamic Cloth, the Hair Room, Wind Force, Bullet Force, the Morph Brush and Animation. So what does Studio do about that? They have third party plug-ins that they sell in the store.

    What i'm suggesting then is for SM to get vendors interested in creating for and catering to these features. Get vendors, commission them if you have to, to create pose sets, animation sets, camera set ups. Lighting set ups. etcetera. Some of these are the things that places like RDNA used to cater to. The Terra Dome was something SM should have come up with. They still could. If Colm could do it, someone at SM probably knows how to do it. Same thing with Render Studio set up for FireFly and Superfly and Cycles. People would buy these things if someone made them. How about animation sets of Dawn and Pauline walking a catwalk? I think Nerd's already got one for V4 and Dawn. But that could easily be expanded to include other motions like sitting down, dancing, throwing a ball.



  • I don't believe improving core features will do anything to attract new users to poser. Unless you've already used poser how will you know that a feature requires improvement? And do most new users care about rigging? When you start using a 3d program like poser all you want to do is create a nice picture or animation.

    Later on you may well become interested in other features, but I feel the trouble with discussing this sort of subject on forums like this is that the whole discussion becomes dominated by experienced users who say what they want now, and perhaps can't remember what they wanted in the beginning of their poser use.

    SM conducts its surveys of users to find out what they want, and perhaps this might be very different from the typical contributor to this forum.

    Minor improvements to existing features are not going to do much for poser in my opinion, poser needs something new and exciting to grab the imagination of potential users. What that might be I couldn't say, but with increasing computing power in the hands of users and the current interest in virtual reality there should be a way forward.



  • @j.naylor73 Okay, two points to make first. I wasn't really talking about attracting new users for Poser and second, I said significant improvements not Minor. To be honest, who knows what will attract new users to this market? DAZ did it primarily by giving away Studio for free. On the other hand, even new users learn and want to do more as they grow more experienced. If Poser has the tools and features they need to learn they'll get it.



  • @eclark18941 said in How SM can turn Poser's market share around....:

    If SM really wanted to put CP back in the retail game, I'd focus on the other aspects that renders feature. animatable props, environments, scenery and settings, etc.

    Do they? By which I mean; is Poser (still) in the same market as DAZ Studio? There are so many features in Poser that seem completely unnecessary if looked at from the 'load figure, pose figure, render scene' perspective. I'm very much in that user group, so it's not meant as a put-down in any way. Perhaps the two programs are now chasing different audiences that were previously brought together by a lack of options in the software marketplace - and the wishes of one don't translate 1:1 to the other.

    But if it is indeed an audience that SmithMicro wants to use Poser, I'd suggest that the enormous differences in render output are a cause of concern. Many of the pictures posted here and elsewhere show that Poser and its Material room can work wonders. It's not rare to see 10 year old figures and environments looking just as good as things released last year. But it's also quite common to see "renders" barely distinguishable from what's on display pre-rendering.

    There is very little in the way of in-program help to bridge this gap. I've found myself spending more time at Blender sites than the Poser manual as I struggled to get to grips with Superfly, and while I am ever so grateful that great plugins like EZSkin have been released, I'm also somewhat amazed that these features aren't an integral part of the program. I suspect that the number of people who truly understands the Material room among hobbyists is very small indeed.



  • I'm in these forums for having bought Clip Studio. I have DAZ Studio, and almost never use it. I do not have any version of Poser, but I'm always interested in anything that renders 3D. I use Blender almost exclusively now; and several versions of trueSpace before that.

    I haven't seen any examples done in Poser that could not be done in DAZ or Blender. Blender IMO outshines DAZ & Poser both—but falls short on having an easy learning curve. Blender is steadily getting easier; and it has a tremendous knowledge base, and there are many experienced users willing to help new users.

    For Poser to succeed as a commercial product over the other two ~both FREE applications, it will have to additionally offer the best of Blender and DAZ combined; or surpass them in one or both: Power & ease of use.

    *The 'power' aspect might fall outside of its stated purpose; (posing?). I can envision Poser becoming a radical Blender fork that offers turn-key figure animation, built in asset store, built in online motion capture resources, and procedural modeling tools that try to make set-creation as easy as building a map in a game editor (using tillable assets, and geometry brushes). If it can simplify set creation/customization, then that's worth paying for... but that's also quite a bit more than just posing figures.

    If they instead want to just be the best at posing & animation, then they should devise a superior meta-rig that works with recent and older content, and have Poser try to import (and adapt) just about any popular format, and do it better than where it originates.

    Another interesting feature would be user definable Mesh & Animation formats (specifically made as easy as possible to get up and running). Poser could then potentially be used to pose and animate in any format that comes along—including game formats. I've seen week-end programming projects become the go-to modder tools, because they were the only thing that worked, and facilitated the user's wish.

    Facilitate the user's wish—better than the competition; that's the only way to be able to charge for it, when such great tools exist for free.

    **It's why I bought Clip Studio.


  • Poser Ambassadors

    Poser has a new team that is working, so it is wise to stand-by for the next year or so.
    Re-engineering apps like Poser takes a lot of time. First to repair the reported bugs, and then to finetune the workflow, and lastly to add newer functionality.

    The best and most stable way to proceed at this point is to report bug and / or enhancement reports through the proper channels so that the new team knows what to focus on.

    Forums, all of them, are a nice medium to chit-chat around among us, but to get something done you really need properly justified and documented reports.

    Best regards, Tony



  • @vilters Tony, since you're an Ambassador, why don't you show us the proper way to fill out a bug and or enhancement report and also show us where, and to whom to address it?



  • I see merit in what both Earl and Adosity are saying. Poser will never survive if all it does is appeal to its existing user base. Even it was perfect, there is always a trend away from programs like Poser towards "proper" 3D apps such as Blender, 3D Studio, Maya, etc, so there will always be a declining user base. From this perspective, catering primarily to existing users is a path to oblivion.
    HOWEVER, what sells software is results. If Poser started putting out images that looked the equal to anything from 3DS or Blender or whatever, that would grab attention.
    Personally, I'd love to see an in-program texturing tool where you can actually paint onto the models like in ZBrush or Substance Designer, although I suspect that that is a bit of an ask. Even if that were not possible, it's certainly NOT too much to ask for the option to bake procedural textures to make them exportable to DS. Many Poser die hards are professionals, so if you want to cater to, and retain your base, making it easier for them to profit from the program would be a great idea.
    Speaking to Earl's specific suggestions, I agree with you completely about Poser incorporating natively what DAZ Users have to pay extra for. SM ran some comparison tables showing this, and I think it was a great advertising approach. Even if DAZ users don't mind paying on a plug in by plug in basis, the fact that say hair, is not native means that there is no standard.
    In this regard, SM has really missed the boat. They have these fantastic unique selling points, and then they've barely been exploited. To me, the fact that there are virtually no commercial strand hair models suggests that either the hair room is hard to work with, the models can't be exported, or the results are not worth the effort. Of course, the difficulty in re-styling is also a massive limitation of the technology in general that many people are unwilling to tolerate. Why buy hair that only has one look, and is very costly to render when you can buy something with 50 shades, 100s of shaping permutations, and that looks better in any case?
    This is where SM needs to think about how it will expand its market. Adding forensic tools is a dubious benefit to most and has a tiny pool of potential customers and frankly is taking a massive backwards step. It's cheap to add so no problems, but SM needs to be adding must-have features for all figure artists.
    Cycles and physical surface nodes were a massive plus and the Superfly renderer is game changing. Now what else can they do like that?
    Again, I agree wholeheartedly that lighting rigs are an excellent idea. Both Poser and DS provide excellent lighting in their default, but Poser seems to have been left dead when it comes to add on sets. I'd like to see mist and fog far easier to create, and something like EZ Dome built in as standard.
    Also, EZ Skin or an equivalent should be built in as standard. The option to convert older textures intelligently to Superfly is essential, and massively broadens the range of quality textures, and decent renders.
    I also agree with Adosity that basic load and pose users may not require all the functionality enhancements that you propose. To which I say, that's why there are standard and pro versions.
    In conclusion, I think it's great that you're asking these questions Earl. To ensure the survival of Poser, I think that SM needs to identify where its revenue is coming from: pros, dabblers or a mixture. My hope is the latter, but if it primarily comes from dabblers, as I suspect it might, supplemented by the high cost of the pro version - most loyal users paying the highest premium :-( - then it makes sense as you both seem to be alluding, to create really eye catching features.
    Personally, I've never really got the feeling that SM listens to its users much unless they are all screaming for the same thing. Look how long it took for them to introduce a PBR renderer. It amazes me that the program still doesn't even have basic alignment tools. Still, new team, new ideas. I live in hope.



  • @matb To be honest, Poser's biggest problem is not it features, it's the mentality of whoever's making decisions. I was looking forward to Nerd making some much needed changes with the way SM deals with Poser. Sadly, that's not likely to happen now. And it's hard to have faith in people who don't know, like Tony wants me to do. We long time users have known the previous team for nigh on twenty years or so. I started uing Poser way back with version 4. But back then, Poser was the only game in town and they had the market all to themselves. Now, they do not have that luxury any longer amd they can't maintain their market share, let alone grow it, if all they're going to do is half-ass the next version out the door.



  • @eclark1849 said in How SM can turn Poser's market share around....:

    @matb To be honest, Poser's biggest problem is not it features, it's the mentality of whoever's making decisions. I was looking forward to Nerd making some much needed changes with the way SM deals with Poser. Sadly, that's not likely to happen now. And it's hard to have faith in people who don't know, like Tony wants me to do. We long time users have known the previous team for nigh on twenty years or so. I started uing Poser way back with version 4. But back then, Poser was the only game in town and they had the market all to themselves. Now, they do not have that luxury any longer amd they can't maintain their market share, let alone grow it, if all they're going to do is half-ass the next version out the door.

    I agree with almost all of your observations in this thread, Earl. (I know, right?!) Well stated.

    Take a read back through a number of threads that were posted while you were recovering in hospital. The things you mention have been discussed at length and there is some insight into Poser's future in statements made by the Smith Micro bigwigs at important meetings that were quoted in those threads. They do have specific goals for Poser.

    After "nigh on twenty years or so" it was time for a change, and I suspect they knew that, hence the new team.

    As you pointed out, the Poser folks no longer have the luxury of being the only game in town (for a decade now), and they can't half-ass the next version if they want to grow their market share. Valid points, Earl.

    Replacing the previous team... however brilliant folks like Nerd are and however positive their influence was, and as sad/angry as their dismissal made people... could actually be a very good move.

    Sometimes fresh eyes and new hands are a good thing.

    I'm choosing to look forward to Poser's future.



  • I think this thread shows Poser's dilemma in a nutshell.

    The techno Poser users scream give me more and better TOOLS.

    The load, pose, render users scream give me more and better FIGURES.

    And, it's somehow morphed into some crazy contest between the two sets of users with animosity between them.

    Silly, crazy, useless waste of time.



  • @Glitterati3D said in How SM can turn Poser's market share around....:

    I think this thread shows Poser's dilemma in a nutshell.

    The techno Poser users scream give me more and better TOOLS.

    The load, pose, render users scream give me more and better FIGURES.

    And, it's somehow morphed into some crazy contest between the two sets of users with animosity between them.

    Silly, crazy, useless waste of time.

    I don't see any animosity in this thread...???



  • @James_in_3D No, not here yet....but it tends to develop in all these threads.

    We just don't have the power to influence Poser, even less so now with the move to Portugal.

    For example......if you know anything about software development the Poser annual survey means nothing - the decisions about features were made months before they asked us what we wanted. Figures, on the other hand, were afterthoughts and shortchanged with a few months development time.

    Frankly, I'm just happy to be looking forward to what the new team does.



  • @Glitterati3D said in How SM can turn Poser's market share around....:

    @James_in_3D No, not here yet....but it tends to develop in all these threads.

    We just don't have the power to influence Poser, even less so now with the move to Portugal.

    For example......if you know anything about software development the Poser annual survey means nothing - the decisions about features were made months before they asked us what we wanted. Figures, on the other hand, were afterthoughts and shortchanged with a few months development time.

    Frankly, I'm just happy to be looking forward to what the new team does.

    Ah, now I see what you mean. Yeah, these threads can do that, unfortunately. Who knew, right? ;) Poser users are pretty passionate about their software. I suppose, all in all, that might be a good thing. :)

    The survey... I'm conflicted about that effort. Who are they surveying? If they're asking us, those of us who are on this specific forum, are they even asking the right people? Should they be asking people who've never used Poser when they go to SIGGRAPH, "What would you like to see in 3D software?" Should they be asking DAZ users, "What would get you to switch to (or back to) Poser?" I don't know.

    Like you, I'm looking forward, as well. I confess I'm nervous about it because I don't think Poser has been at a crossroads like this for a long time. For my own work I need Poser to be a little from Column A (pose and render) and Column B (creation/techno stuff).

    But all in all... I'm hopeful.



  • When I first bought poser (poser 10) I received the survey by e-mail sometime later, this was before I ever joined any forums, don't know if this still happens.



  • @James_in_3D The survey went to registered Poser users.

    I'm not saying the survey is a bad thing, just that it doesn't affect much in the current development cycle because that development is pretty locked in by the time they DO a survey.



  • One hope I still have is that the move to Portugal actually could lead to a larger influence by us users. What we have now is the result of a more or less fixed crew developing their ideas over time. That crew no longer beng there, the floor would be free for a new direction. The new crew, presuming there is one, does not carry decades of legacy and for developing their new route will hopefully draw on the resource they received: the users.
    It is about half a year ago now that @rtorres took the sceptre on the graphics programs. Not sure when he will make clear where Poser will go.