One Year with Poser - Learnings

  • It's been almost a year since I purchased Poser 11. The year has been interesting, to say the least. I've learned a lot about Poser (and also DAZ3D).

    It all started out as something to do when I was down with the flu. Laying on my back with my hp x360 tablet I was able to keep my mind occupied while learning how to use Poser. Little did I know that the flu would lead to sepsis and the two would trigger myasthenia gravis. The latter has left me with a lot of time to do relaxing activities. (MG is a form of muscular dystrophy where one's own body attacks it muscles as the muscles are used.) For me, Poser and DAZ3D are good therapy.

    I thought I'd share some of the stuff I've learned that perhaps others can benefit.

    • Before you start installing assets, make sure you understand the directory/file structure of Poser. You'll find the assets purchased from DAZ install nicely using the DAZ Install Manager. However, when installing a zip file from inside Poser beware - Poser does nothing to validate the zip file contents. The result is you can have stuff strewn all over the place.

    • It is possible to install your digital assets on removable media (like a USB flash or hard drive). Make sure you understand the directory/file structure before you do. Then, be consistent if you move from machine to machine (i.e. from your laptop to your desktop). If you are, it will find your assets on the external drive.

    • As a professional photographer, I've discovered everything I know about photography can apply in Poser -- posing, lighting, lenses, focal length, etc. If you're new to Poser and don't have a strong background in photography, it's well worth studying up on photography.

    • Get ready for some new lingo. The terminology can be overwhelm -- rigging, pokies, fireflies, and more. The definitions are out there on the Internet (and in forums like this one). You'll just have to search for them.

    • Not all assets are created equal. That's right, there is some absolute junk out there, and there are some real gems. My favorite sources have become and Hivewire is okay, but I've found their stuff to be more "cartoon" like and a little pricey in comparison.

    • Don't give up. Your first attempts at creating a 3D scene are going to be awful if you're new to 3D. With anything, practice is they key to becoming proficient.

    • Show your results to others. They see things we overlook. Listen to their comments, and then re-work your render to make it better.

    So, as I come up on my 1 year anniversary using Poser, while I'm not happy I was struck by a debilitating disease, I'm happy I have something to do that brings me a sense of fulfilment.

    Happy New Year Everyone!


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  • @dbwalton first things first, hope you are better now. I don't know a thing about the illness you had, i wish you a full recover.
    Years ago i had a surgerie done on my left knee joint, it took me 2 month to get back on track.
    This was the most productive time in my poser user history.
    Its funny where our Brain went if the feet went nowhere.

  • @marco said in One Year with Poser - Learnings:

    @dbwalton first things first, hope you are better now. I don't know a thing about the illness you had, i wish you a full recover.
    Years ago i had a surgerie done on my left knee joint, it took me 2 month to get back on track.
    This was the most productive time in my poser user history.
    Its funny where our Brain went if the feet went nowhere.

    Unfortunately, there's no cure for any type of MD. There's treatments to stave off progression but you can't go back once it has started. db, sorry to hear about your diagnosis but depending on the severity, people with MG can certainly live a full good life.

    I agree 100% on the photography knowledge. I'm also a photographer and I found that my natural instincts for composition and lighting really helped me transition into Poser rendering at a much faster rate than most people. Since the introduction of SuperFly, lighting has become much easier to get right since it's all based on proper physics now. I definitely recommend reading books on basic photographic principles and light theory.

    I also need to show my renders. I'm one of those people who do something, take a look at the render and hate it for all eternity and never show anything I do. I still haven't learned to stop trying for perfection and just show the damn work. I can't get suggestions if I never show anything.

    Congrats on one year, here's to many, MANY more. :)

  • @marco,

    I had my knee scoped about 4 years ago to remove some scar tissue as the result of an accident. The PT was excruciating at first. I know what that is like.

    Unfortunately, there's no cure for MG. It's just a matter of learning how to change your routine so you can control your life so MG doesn't control it for you. I went from being extremely active, working about 70 hours a week and loving it, to having to learn how to simply take it very easy. It all came on quickly. A year ago today I was in Israel hiking around in the mountains near Siria. A month after that I was in bed with the flu, and they think the flu is what triggered the MG. I haven't had much strength since then.

    With MG, the more you do, the worse it makes it. It affects voluntary muscles. If you think about how you feel after you just over exerted yourself physically, that's often how I start every day. For those of us newly diagnosed (I was diagnosed with in 4 1/2 months ago) they say it takes a year or two before you fully know your limitations. Then, once you learn your limitations, it is a matter of adjusting one's activities to match it.

    Right now, simple out-and-about stuff like driving to the grocery store to buy some food for the week I can handle about 2 hours. However, if it is more involved like mowing the lawn (using my lawn tractor), I can handle about 45-60 minutes a day.

    Laying down gets boring quickly, so I have rigged up a zero gravity chair with my computer monitors on arms that hang over my chair. This allows me to tinker in Poser, DAZ and Corel Painter, and when I get too exhausted, I'm in a comfortable enough position I can just close my eyes and get some sleep. This has been so much better than laying in bed and watching TV.

    MG is called the snowflake disease because every person who has it experiences symptoms differently. (I suspect that's because we all move our bodies in a unique way.) For me, it's extreme fatigue, dystonia (involuntary movement) in my hands, random muscles becoming temporarily paralyzed, brain fog, not able to swallow, loss of speech (vocal chords are voluntary muscles), and wondering eye movements. Everyday is different. Today, it's my eyes. Tomorrow I may not be able to speak. Thursday it might be my fingers. Friday I might feel like I can conquer the world (but when I feel that way, I've learned I better not attempt to much of else I pay a HUGE price for 2-3 days afterwards.) Yet, I've met other MG patients where their only symptoms are droopy eyelids and some fatigue.

    A few facts about MG:

    • It usually strikes men in their 60s and 70s. (I'm 62.) Women it hits them in their 20s and 30s, and the most common trigger for them is giving birth to a child.

    • They don't know what causes it. Some MG sufferers also have cancer or a benign tumor of the thymus and get relief after the thymus is removed.

    • It's a form of muscular dystrophy because it causes your muscles to atrophy, but it is also classified as an autoimmune disease because it's your own body attacking its own muscles, and it is also a neuromuscular disease because it takes place at the junction of where the nerves send impulses to the muscles.

    • It's very rare.

    • There's no cure, but there are a couple of drugs that help relieve some of the symptoms -- namely pyridostigmine and prednisone

    • It is often misdiagnosed as ALS.

    • Unlike ALS, MG normally doesn't kill you if you stay on the medication and live within your limitations. The most common cause of death with MG is breathing stops when the diaphragm becomes paralyzed. However, it isn't a sudden thing, so MG patients must pay close attention to their breathing.

    While I know my explanation about MG doesn't have anything to do with 3D art, I believe the more who know about stuff like this, the better. It's one of those hidden diseases. And, if you saw me, you probably wouldn't know I have MG. (You might notice my hands shaking if I'm experiencing tremors, but other than that, there's not a lot of outward symptoms.)

    As far as it's impact on my Poser and digital painting work... the brain fog affects my ability to think clearly, and when my eyes wonder, I can just close that eye and see clearly through one eye. However, art must use a part of the brain that is different than the part of the brain that is used for critical thinking. This makes it relaxing and enjoyable.

  • @dbwalton, thank you for talking so openly about your condition.
    You are right to explain this in great detail.
    Like i said, i don't know nothing about MG and i learned a great deal about it by you, sharing what you know and experienced, unlucky enough, first hand.
    This disease seems to turn your live completly on its head, so to speak.
    As an active person, heavy worker and hiker it must be hard to be restrained like that.
    But after all i am reading, you have adapted to your new situation and it not sounds like you would gave up.
    Thats great, you can be proud of yourself.
    I really mean it!
    If you don't mind, i got a somehow poser related question.
    Was Poser, or should i better say CGI, allways part of your work flow?
    I take it as a given that you as a Pro-Photographer worked with Photoshop and Lightroom
    As far as i know, PS CC has its own way to create and manipulate 3D-Meshes, one can paint and textur them inside PS.
    Do you have experience with those features?
    I am in a kind of changing phase myself, i move to a new place right now and in this prozess, i had consider to change some of my main tools.
    I use Gimp instead of PS, it works fine but it is not as good as PS CS5, the latest version i have worked with.
    Thats why i am asking, i am unsure if its worth the monthly fee.
    What lead you to Poser as a choice for creating computer generated pictures.
    I know i will take some bumps and bruises from other Poser Forum members, but it seems to me that Daz Studio is more likely the first choice for a photographer.
    I hope, most of what i wrote here makes sense, english is not my native language, no surprise here. If i butchered the grammar, take my apologize for it!

  • @dbwalton I hope i don't scared you away.