Curious Labs Poser 6 review
Surprisingly, the biggest improvements in Poser 6’s rendering quality aren’t managed in the Render Settings dialog; instead, they’re light-based factors that are most easily set using those bizarre wacros in the Material room. Select a Light then click on the Set up Ambient Occlusion wacro and Poser 6 automatically lowers the level of ambient light when objects are close together or lying on a surface. Even more impressive are the results if you click on the IBL wacro, which lets you choose a bitmap to act as a 360 light source (Poser 6 provides a handful of bitmaps designed for the purpose). Poser 6’s Ambient Occlusion and IBL might sound awkward – and they are – but they take the level of realism to a new level.
Unfortunately, there are serious downsides. The first is the increased rendering time, which is a disincentive to switching on the new effects. The second is the output, which, although improved, still ultimately looks computer generated and more computer game than Hollywood movie. The third, and perhaps most important, is that the benefits are limited to images and animations rendered from within Poser and, although you can load external props, this isn’t the right environment to set up a complete 3D scene. Increasingly, users are hosting their Poser content in other 3D applications such as Carrara 4 Pro, Vue 5 Esprit or even Curious Labs’ own Shade 7, in which case the main advances of Poser 6 are lost.
As an upgrade, Poser 6 is disappointing, especially when compared to the across-the-board improvements seen in version 5. On the other hand, Poser has built up some impressive power over the past ten years, and the latest models are a definite advance. More to the point, unless you’re willing to dedicate your life to getting to grips with a professional character-animation package, it’s the only practical solution available. And, in 3D terms, at a very reasonable price.