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'Poser 8 Revealed': Working With Files & Accessing Content Paradise - Part 2

Kelly L. Murdock finishes the discussion of working with files and accessing content paradise from Poser 8 Revealed.

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EXPORT FROM POSER

The File, Export menu includes several options for exporting the current Poser scene so it can be used in other 3D packages. This is a huge benefit when you’re using other packages that don’t work so well with figures. Posed figures can be exported from Poser and reused in other packages.

Exporting 3D Objects

There are several formats for exporting the current Poser scene. Each of these options can be found in the File, Export menu, including the following:

•         RIB. Exports to the Renderman .RIB file format.

•         3D Studio. Exports geometry objects to 3D Studio Max using the .3DS file format.

•         QuickDraw 3DMF. Exports to the QuickDraw 3DMF file format. This format is available for Macintosh only.

[Figure 4-13] Export Range dialog box

•         DXF. Exports geometry objects using the .DXF file format.

•         HAnim. Exports geometry objects using the .HANIM file format. This format is available for Macintosh only.

•         Lightwave. Exports geometry objects to Lightwave using the .LWO file format.

•         Wavefront OBJ. Exports geometry objects using the .OBJ file format.

•         VRML. Exports geometry objects using the .WRL file format.

•         COLLADA/RWY. Exports geometry objects using the cross-platform Collada file format.

Poser 8 New Feature

The ability to export Poser files to the Collada format is new to Poser 8.

The 3D Studio and Lightwave export options can only output scene files that are fewer than 65,000 polygons. You can check the number of polygons in the current scene using the Scripts, PrintInfo, PrintFigandActorInfo menu.

[Figure 4-14] Select Objects dialog box

When one of these options is selected, the first dialog box to appear is the Export Range dialog box, shown in Figure 4-13. This dialog box lets you choose to export only the current frame or multiple frames, and you can choose the frame range.

Following the Export Range dialog box, the Select Objects dialog box, shown in Figure 4-14, appears. This dialog box lets you select which objects get exported. For example, if you don’t want the Ground plane exported, you can just deselect the check box to the left of the Ground object.

The next dialog box to appear is the Export Options dialog box, shown in Figure 4-15. The options available in the Export Options are the same for all the various formats and they include:

•         Export Object Groups for Each Body Part. Causes each designated Poser body part to be exported as a separate group that is recognized in the external 3D application.

•         Weld Body Part Seams. Causes the vertices along the seam between body parts to be welded together so the individual body parts can’t be moved independently.

•         As a Morph Target. Exports the figure pose as a morph target, allowing several targets to be morphed in between.

•         Include Body Part Names in Polygon Groups. Names each group according to the Poser body part name that it represents.

[Figure 4-15] Export Options dialog box

•         Use Exact Internal Names Except Spaces. Causes the internal name minus any spaces to be used as the polygon group name.

•         Include Figure Names in Polygon Groups. Adds the figure name to the polygon group name such as Figure1LeftHand.

•         Include Existing Groups in Polygon Groups. Adds the existing group name to the polygon group name.

Finally, a file dialog box appears so you can locate a folder where the exported file can be saved and give it a name

Exporting Images

Rendered images can be saved using the pop-up menu found in the Document Windows, but the current Document Window can be exported using the File, Export, Image menu. The file dialog box includes options to save the exported image using one of the following formats: BMP, Flash Pix (Mac), JPEG, PICT (Mac), PNG, PSD, TGA, and TIF. Some image formats have a separate dialog box of save options that you can access. For example, the JPEG format includes a dialog box where you can set the compression ratio.

The File, Export, Image menu will only export the active view in the Document Window. If multiple ports are displayed, only the active view is exported and the size of the view is used.

Poser can save alpha channel information for transparency if the PNG, TIF, or PSD formats are used.

Exporting Motions

You can export motions from Poser to the BVH file format using the File, Export, BVH Motion menu command. This causes the same BVH Export/Import Options dialog box to open where you can specify whether the motion capture data is scaled and how the arms are aligned.

Additional Exporting Options In addition to the options found in the File, Export menu, Poser has several other places where content can be exported.

Within the Sketch Designer is a button that lets you export the Sketch Designer settings to a script that can be read by Painter. These exported files are simple text files that Painter can read to re-create a sketch effect. Rendered images can be exported as images or as movies using the Render Settings dialog box. You can learn about these export options in Chapter 16, “Rendering Scenes.”

You can save rendered images also by using the Export Image option in the Document Window’s pop-up menu. The formats that you can export include many of the same formats available in the File, Export, Image menu. You can export rendered animations to the numbered image files or to the AVI, QuickTime (MOV) or Flash (SWF) formats by using the settings found in the Movie Settings panel of the Render Settings dialog box. You can learn more about saving rendered images and animations in Chapter 16, “Rendering Scenes.”

Converting Hier Files

Poser 3 enabled figures to be created using text-based hierarchy files (hier files). The File, Convert Hier File menu command opens a file dialog box where you can select and covert these hierarchy files to a figure. In Poser 8, new figures can be defined using the Setup Room instead of hierarchy files, but this command is included for backwards compatibility.

[Figure 4-16] Exporting progress dialog box

Export a Figure 1.         Open Poser with the default mannequin visible.

2.         Open the Library and choose the Poses category. Then navigate to the Walk Designer folder and apply the G2M Cool motion to the figure.

3.         Select the File, Export, Wavefront OBJ menu.

The Export Range dialog box appears.

4.         Select the Multi Frame Export option from frame 1 to 30 and click the OK button.

5.         In the Select Objects dialog box, deselect the Ground object and click the OK button.

6.         In the Export Options dialog box, enable the Weld Body Part Seams and the Include Body Part Names in Polygon Groups options and click the OK button.

A progress dialog box appears showing the progress of the exporting process, as shown in Figure 4-16.

The export process may take some time depending on the complexity of the scene.

[Figure 4-17] The Content Room

ACCESS CONTENT PARADISE

If you’ve used all the presets in the Library and you’re ready for some new content, you can open the Content Room by clicking on the Content tab at the top of the interface, which gives you access to a ton of new content via an online connection and the Content Paradise website, as shown in Figure 4-17. Old figures can be revitalized with a new hairstyle or a new set of clothes.

You can also access the Content Paradise website using a normal web browser by entering www.contentparadise.com.

Setting Up an Account

Although you don’t need to be a member to browse the site, it is helpful and you can receive promotional information via e-mail if you choose. If you’re a member of Content Paradise, you can take advantage of the site’s weekly freebies and special offers. To set up an account on the Content Paradise website, click on the Your Account link. Then fill out the information presented on the site and click on the Submit button. As part of the sign up options, you can choose to disable the display of nudity on the site.

After you’ve signed up to be a member, a confirmation e-mail will be sent you. You’ll need to click on a link in this e-mail before you can log into the site.

On Macintosh systems, Content Paradise opens within a separate window and the Auto Install feature is not available.

Logging in to Content Paradise

After your account has been verified, you can log into the site using the username and password that you entered as part of your setup. After logging in, your username appears along with a new link to Your Account. The Your Account page lets you see a synopsis of the support tickets you’ve created, your recent purchases, a wishlist, a list of your favorite vendors, your active subscriptions, and any membership rewards you’ve earned.

[Figure 4-18] The 3D Content link for Poser in Content Paradise

Browsing the Site

Along the edge of Content Paradise are links that you can use to access different parts of the site. The links include the following:

•         Your Account. Includes the Sign Up pages, profile information and any awarded rewards.

•         Software. A shopping site for purchasing eFrontier products including Poser, Shade, Anime Studio, Manga Studio, Amapi, Vue, MotionArtist, and Utilities.

•         Sound Effects & Music. Several categories of sound files, including Ambient, Loops, Collections, and Podcasts.

•         Plugins & Scripts. Additional code that can integrate into Poser to increase its functionality.

•         3D Content. Includes a broad range of 3D models and props for several different eFrontier products, including Poser, Shade, Amapi, Vue, and Others. Figure 4-18 shows the 3D Content link for Poser.

•         2D Content. Includes 2D assets for MotionArtist, Manga Studio, and Anime Studio.

•         Themes. Themed content such as Fantasy, Holidays, Sci-Fi, Toon, etc.

•         Resources. Includes sections covering various Poser-related resources, including Tutorials, Books, Characters, Featured Partner, Gift Certificates, and Press Info.

[Figure 4-19] The Advanced Search in Content Paradise

Searching Content Paradise

To give you an idea of the amount of content available in this paradise, my browser is set to display 25 items in one page and the 3D Content tab for Poser shows over 480 different pages or close to 12,000 items.

With this many items, it can be difficult to find exactly what you’re looking for. Luckily, the site’s search engine is pretty powerful. If you Search by Keyword, a search page appears where you can filter the search by keyword, category, software package, and partner, as shown in Figure 4-19.

[Figure 4-20] Detailed item information

Selecting and Purchasing Content

Below each object is the object’s cost. Clicking the thumbnail displays a page with more detailed information on the selected object, such as the one in Figure 4-20. To purchase the item, click the shopping cart icon to add it to your cart. Clicking the Cart tab in the top-right corner lets you check out and pay for your selected objects. You need an account in order to purchase content online.

Within the Free Stuff section below the Login section is a link to free stuff.

After you’ve made your purchase, you’ll receive an online invoice that includes a Download button. Clicking on this button begins the download and installation.

[Figure 4-21] The invoice includes the Download link.

Searching Content Paradise 1.         Open Poser with the default mannequin visible.

2.         Click on the Content tab to open the Content Room where Content Paradise is visible.

3.         Click on the Sign Up link to create an account. A confirmation e-mail is sent to you. Click on the e-mail link to verify and activate your account.

Signing up for an account doesn’t require any credit card information, only an e-mail address. You need to enter a credit card only when you purchase items.

4.         Log in to the site using the username and password that you’ve been set up with.

5.         Enter a keyword on the Search by Keyword field. Enter the keyword for the type of content you want to find and click the Search button.

6.         To purchase any of the searched items, click on the Add to Shopping Cart button. Then proceed to checkout, where you can enter your payment method.

After you complete your purchase, an invoice for the purchase is displayed that includes a download option, as shown in Figure 4-21.

[Figure 4-22] Install Options dialog box

LOAD CUSTOM CONTENT

There are several ways to install custom content, whether downloaded from the Content Paradise site or obtained online from a different site.

Downloading and Installing Content

Once you have purchased the selected content, a download progress box appears for each selected object. Once all items are downloaded, the Install Options dialog box, shown in Figure 4-22, appears. Clicking the Install button automatically installs the content into the selected directory. Clicking the Copy button opens a file dialog box where you can select to save the content to the hard drive. If the web page fails to load for some reason, you can click the Reset Content Paradise button at the top of the Content Room and the first page will be reloaded.

It is always a good idea to save a copy of the downloaded file as a backup in case your system crashes.

Installing from a Zip Archive

Files that are downloaded are contained within a compressed archive with a .ZIP file extension. If a friend sends you a figure via an e-mail, you can save the zip file to your hard drive and auto install it using the Install from Zip Archive button at the top of the Content Room. This button opens a file dialog box where you can select a zip file to auto install using the same Install Options dialog box.

[Figure 4-23] The DAZ Production installation wizard guides you through installing new content.

Installing from an Executable File

Some content is bundled as part of an executable file with its own installation routine. By running the executable you can begin the installation process, as shown for a Daz Production model in Figure 4-23. These installation routines walk you through the installation process and let you choose the folder where the content is installed. Often, these installation routines scan your system looking for a Poser installation. The downloaded content is then typically uncompressed within a Runtime folder.

[Figure 4-24] Installed content can be accessed from the

Library palette.

If you create a new runtime folder and point it to the folder where the uncompressed content is located, the downloaded assets will appear and can be accessed from the Library palette, as shown in Figure 4-24.

Accessing Downloaded Content

Files that are auto installed are placed by default in the Downloads folder where Poser is installed. You can access the downloaded content by selecting the Downloads library from the Show Library list at the top of the Library palette. All downloaded content by default is in the Downloads folder.

If you’re having trouble locating an installed piece of content, use the Library’s Search panel to locate the item.

Add New Content 1.         Proceed through the process of selecting and purchasing an object from Content Paradise.

Content Paradise responds by showing you an invoice that includes a download link.

2.         Click the Download link on the Invoice page.

The Install Options dialog box appears.

3.         Select a folder where the new content should be downloaded and click the Install button to proceed.

The file is downloaded and saved to the local hard drive.

[Figure 4-25] Downloaded item

4.         Open the Library palette and select the Downloads library. Then navigate the Downloads folder to see the newly installed item, as shown in Figure 4-25.

Install New Content from an Executable File 1.         Purchase and download new content from the vendor’s website, such as the Lemur model created by DAZ Productions.

The file is delivered as an executable file (.exe for Windows or .sit for Macintosh).

2.         Locate and double-click on the executable file to begin its installation.

The Setup wizard runs and begins by searching for an installation of Poser.

3.         The setup process then asks if you want to install an Uninstall routine. Click the No button to continue.

The Setup routine then presents a License Agreement and has you accept the license terms.

4.         The next step of the wizard asks you to specify the target application, which could be one of the many different versions of Poser or DazStudio.

[Figure 4-26] Installed content lets you choose the folder.

5.         You can then specify which folder to save the content into, as shown in Figure 4-26. This folder can be the Runtime folder located where Poser is installed, but it is often easy to locate the new content if you install it into a separate folder.

6.         Start Poser and open the Library palette. Then navigate to the top of the folders and select the Add New Runtime pop-up menu option. Locate the folder that contains the new Runtime folder where the new content is saved and click the OK button.

[Figure 4-27] Installed content can be loaded into the

scene.

7.         The new content can then be accessed from within the Library palette and loaded into the Document Window, as shown in Figure 4-27.

Chapter Summary This chapter introduced the commands for working with files, including opening, saving, and reverting files. It also covered the various import formats for importing new 3D models. There are also options for importing background images, videos, sound files, and motion capture data. Many of the exporting formats are similar to those for importing.

This chapter also covered the Content Room and showed how Content Paradise can be used to search for, purchase, and download new content. This new content can be installed directly into the Downloads folder of the Library.

What You Have Learned

In this chapter, you:

•         Learned how to work with files, including loading, saving, and reverting them.

•         Accessed the File preferences to save compressed files.

•         Imported 3D objects created externally into Poser using several different formats.

•         Discovered how the import options can be used to change the imported object.

•         Imported background pictures and videos.

•         Merged content from other Poser files into the current scene.

•         Imported sound files and LipSync audio files.

•         Imported motion capture data to animate a figure.

•         Exported content from Poser for use in other 3D software packages.

•         Used the Content Room to access Content Paradise.

•         Learned how to sign up with, log in to, search, and purchase objects from Content Paradise.

•         Downloaded and installed content purchased from Content Paradise.

Key Terms from This Chapter•         Compressed file. A file that is reduced in size by compacting the data contained therein. Compressed files need to be uncompressed before they can be used.

•         Content Paradise. A website connected to Poser that lets users purchase and download custom content that can be used within Poser and other eFrontier products.

•         Exporting. The process of saving Poser files to a format to be used by an external program.

•         File format. The file type used to describe the contents of the file.

•         Hier file. Short for hierarchy file. An older file format based on hierarchical data used in Poser 3 to create figures.

•         Importing. The process of loading externally created files into Poser.

•         Motion capture. A process of collecting motion data using a special sensor attached to real humans performing the action.

•         Normal. A vector extending outward from the center of a polygon face used to determine which side of the polygon is visible.

•         Zip archive. A compressed file format that reduces the size of files that need to be downloaded.

Kelly L. Murdock has more than 15 years experience in the computer graphics arena, especially in the area of 3D graphics. Included in the experience is a variety of tasks from high-end CAD product design and architectural pre-visualization to virtual reality and games. Kelly is best known for his international best-selling books on graphics including the 3ds max Bible, Illustrator Bible and Naked Maya. He also is the author of Poser 6 Revealed and Poser 7 Revealed as well as Edgeloop Character Modeling for 3D Professionals. Kelly currently works as a freelance designer for Logical Paradox Design, a company that he founded with his brother. 

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