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

  • @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.

  • 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.

  • @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.

  • 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.

  • @James_in_3D said in How SM can turn Poser's market share around....:

    (At this point I would just be happy if Poser was aware that when I place an object on top of another object, a cup on a table for example, that the cup should sit on the table's surface and not sink through. ...
    That kind of feature alone would increase my efficiency and productivity.)

    Pardon my ignorance but you mean Collisions?

    (Poser manual Page 83)
    I am with you on the gripping option though.

  • @James_in_3D
    For me this just works: Collision detection is 'on' on both objects and 'collisions on' for the scene.
    The mechanism is not peferct: When I bump the ball to the cube swiftly and repeatedly from different sides I could 'fool' the catch, but stability I found was good enough to act as posing aid.

  • Poser Ambassadors

    I'm going to chime in, but I'm going to talk to what I'm guessing the masses are thinking versus the long-term, techie-type, power Poser users.

    1. I think lousy figures are at the heart of why most existing DAZ/Poser users don't care about new releases of Poser. There needs to be at least one gorgeous (think: Miss Universe), realistic, workable Poser figure included with Poser. At a minimum, give away Miki 4. Fix G2 Olivia, James, Sydney, Koji, Jessi, etc., improve symmetry, pull teeth out of the "head" and make a jaw, weightmap and give them away to Poser 10+ users. At least some of the older G2 figures looked somewhat realistic. Aesthetically, it's been downhill since then (I guess, except Miki).

    To me, the recent figures are not attractive or even realistic enough (proportions are way off, esp. shoulders). Many of the women have had a man-ish look to them. Alyson 1/2, Roxie and Pauline are simply nowhere near the DAZ figures.

    On the anime side, I'd love to see TY2 weightmapped.

    1. Included Poser content is also an issue. With each new release of Poser, most of the content is a regurgitation of past content. I would suggest including significantly more new content. I've suggested this for years, but SM should encourage vendors to provide free content for inclusion with the Poser releases. Maybe vendors would be willing to let them include existing freebies or older clearance products. Think of all the Deep Freeze items from RDNA they could have bought before DAZ snatched them up. Or, how about scripts?
      Have they asked Snarlygribbly if they can include EZMat and EZSkin in the actual Poser product? To the brand new Poser user, it would be awesome to have tons of content to work with out of the gate. That would be a competitive edge over DAZ's nickel-and-dime approach. I think a lot of newbies buy Poser and think they will be able to populate most scenes from their imagination without having to shell out thousands of dollars for lots of content. It's a real cold shower to spend hundreds of dollars on software and realize that you need to buy tons more to render what you want. I don't think this will cut into the content market. It will get users more invested to get more, newer and fresher content.

    2. Poser needs to have at least every feature that DAZ Studio does. For years Poser seemed like the clear winner. Now it seems like Poser can't keep up. It's hard to get people to pay for software that you can get for free...and is arguably better. Poser is no competitors to Maya or the other big guys, but it certainly should hold its own against DAZ Studio.

    3. Target the educational market. DAZ is neglecting them. Add more educationally oriented Poser content in the release. Clean up the CP store so teachers from conservative countries can buy content and not worry about the "naughty bits." Get people hooked while they are young.

    4. Finally, SM needs to promote, support and improve Content Paradise. DAZ benefits from the robust aftermarket content sales. SM could, too. I do remember the old Content Paradise circa 2007. It was really good. The store was well-stocked. There was no download fee. Then somebody had to screw around with the store and it hasn't been the same since. It sends a strong message when Chuck the Poser PM didn't put his own content in the CP store but went to Hivewire instead.

    I love Poser but I'm worried that it's been too many years now of making the same mistakes. I don't know if they can turn it around. I hope they can.

  • @andolaurina To be fair to Charles (Nerd3D), his content went into the Hivewire store significantly BEFORE he became employed by Poser.

  • @andolaurina To figure out if a figure is going to turn things around for Poser, ask yourself: If Poser came out with a figure tomorrow that was equal to or superior to Genesis 8, or whatever the latest one might be, Would all the people who have left Poser come back? And would the newer people who've never used Poser pay up to $400 to abandon the free Studio and Genesis?

    I'm not saying that a decent figure would help Poser regain it's market share... in the long run maybe. But a figure alone, no matter how good won't be turning things around for poser.

  • It doesn't matter if someone is an "I just want to make art" person or a "techie-type fiddle with everything" person. They both have the same goal. Making art and most likely making it good. The better quality tools we have, the better the chance we have of making it. If we had a hair room that worked easily and efficiently, the techies would be able to make hair, and the click and loaders would be able to use it. If the clothroom were simple and efficient and not taking a billion years, then many more people would use it. (I think).

    Yes, most new users don't think about the hair room or clothroom when deciding to purchase. They look at sample art. "Wow, they made that with poser? That's what I want (need)." Once they get Poser, they learn either they need to become a techie and tweak everything until they see double, or they can settle for mediocre art. But with current Poser tools, the samples they have are a few awesome images scattered among either characters that can't move or they end up with poke throughs or ones that have clothes and hair that stick out in odd directions. And then, once they have the software, they learn, all the nice looking figures they see in galleries around the net are made with a woman that doesn't even come with poser and the people that do come with it aren't that special and they don't have many options for diversifying them. That can be a letdown after spending all that money on the program, to have to spend even more to get a good looking figure.

    So we need a good starter pack with a decent looking figure that bends well and had generous morphs and fully working, easy to use, tools to put that figure into our visions.

  • @eclark18941 I agree wholeheartedly Earl. I think it's naive to think that a figure will save Poser, although it could make some great adverts, but i doubt that SM has the market penetration to get enough ads in front of the eyes of potential new users. Let's also be clear about something, NO new user is going to be a pro user; that comes later. Straight out of the box, Poser needs to appeal to new users. That means a reasonable price. In fairness, I really don't think $130 is so high that people won't take a chance if it seems worth it. So it brings us back to marketing. I think DAZ Studio has an abysmal material room, and much of the program is extremely user unfriendly for beginners. I think Poser has the edge there with a cleaner, more logical interface. I don't see the hair or material rooms as being remotely important to new users. Ease of use and ease of creating quality out of the box are important. New users need to look at the program and say "Wow, I could create that."
    Perhaps the addition of a precipitation system (snow, rain, etc) would add that wow factor? Or maybe an easy night/city light system. It would be great if prepackaged terrains were easier to modify - maybe a car tyre system, or a footprints system. Or how about a splashes system - not a full on fluid sim, but 20-50 basic forms. These are perhaps a little random, but if you look at where professional art in Blender et al are going, it's all about these atmospherics, and as I mentioned earlier, a better, easier fog/god ray/mist/haze system. None of these are killer features but they would enable SM to start producing scenes that DAZ cannot, or does not routinely.

  • @andolaurina Respectfully, I think that you are totally misreading the desires of the potential Poser user.

    1. Yes, figures are important, but not as a part of the core program. They do not factor into the buying decision, nor should they be part of SM's development cycle. SM should provide significant incentives to third party creators to develop figures, but should NOT be in that market itself. It's expensive, time consuming and if they haven't managed to do it right by now, they're a lost cause. I would suggest a competition with say a $2000 first prize for the development of a new female Poser-only figure, and a 90% royalty rate on sales of say the top five figures. SM is not a content company and if they don't see the value in developing must have content, then they should pack up and go home now.

    2. I don't agree. SM has always filled Poser with shovelware, and I think I've used two or three items in 20 years. Admittedly, if they commissioned high quality content that might be different (and expensive), but every retailer of content collections has failed, and for the same reasons - it's too hard to guess what users will want, so providing 50 eclectic varied items leaves everyone disappointed. HOWEVER, here's a way it COULD be made to work. How about providing every purchaser with 20 content item credits? These can then be exchanged for content from the store. Thus every single purchaser gets EXACTLY the content they want, rather than loads of junk that they not only do not want, but which does not act as a purchasing incentive. SM could even include another 50 vouchers for half price content.

    3. Hmmm, not sure about this. XBox doesn't have every feature Playstation does and vice versa. It's about unique selling points, not winning point for point on every item. For instance, if Poser could do running water, that alone would blow DAZ right out of the... water. Poser is not intended as a competitor to Maya. It operates in a totally different creative space, and fulfills completely different needs.

    4. The erotica market is far greater than the educational market. By all means appeal to both, but not education at the expense of education. How much evidence do you have that educators want to use Poser, because I can give you a million samples of its erotica usage.

    5. I've never found Content Paradise worth the effort, and I feel (with no facts to back this up) that DAZ can only afford to run content AND software because it sold superb content first and has a large cash pool to support Studio. If Poser unique content was not so important to the program, I'd advise SM to scrap content altogether and concentrate its resources on its core business, especially with other big players leaving or diminishing in the market. As it is, I feel that its neglect of its own store has left them playing an impossible game of catch up. Perhaps they've be better to support the development of great content for sale at Renderosity, although the sheer volume of new releases there as well as their consistent APPALLING store design and crappy search engine guarantees that your content will be buried within 48 hours. :-(

    It's concerning to see that SM's revenues up to march are at a five quarter low, and given that its other areas of operation are so utterly different to Poser, it always feels as though the program is vulnerable.