'Poser 7 Revealed': Attach Props To Elements

In the latest excerpt of Poser 7 Revealed, you'll learn how to attach props to elements.

All images from Poser 7 Revealed: The e frontier Official Guide by Kelly L. Murdock.

This is the next in a new series of excerpts from the Thomson Course Technology book Poser 7 Revealed: The e frontier Official Guide. In the next few months, VFXWorld readers will develop the skills needed to create, render and animate scenes and projects using the amazing tools offered by Poser 7. We will offer step-by-step tutorials for each task, followed by projects that allow readers to apply each new skill.

What You'll Do

In this lesson, you learn how to attach props to elements and point elements at a prop.

If you look through the types of props that are included in the Library, you'll find many figure accessories, such as clothing items, jewelry, watches, hats, and ties. These props won't help you much if you need to reposition them every time you change a figure's pose. Luckily, you can attach and conform these props to the figure so that when the figure is posed, the prop moves with it.

[Figures 1 & 2] Object Parent dialog box (left). Microphone prop (right) attached to the figure's hand. 

Attaching a Prop to a Figure Element

You attach a prop to a figure element by making the figure element the prop's parent with the Object, Change Parent menu command or by clicking the Set Parent button in the Properties panel. Both of these commands cause the Object Parent dialog box, shown in Figure 1, to appear.

Quicktip: Be sure to position and orient the prop before selecting an element as its parent. It is more difficult to orient it once it is attached to an element.

Once parented to a figure element, the prop will move with the element as it is posed. Figure 2 shows a figure with a microphone prop attached to its left hand element. As the hand element is posed, the prop is moved with it.

Making an Attached Prop Bend with Its ParentEnabling the Inherit Bends of Parent option in the Object Parent dialog box causes the attached prop to bend along with the parent. This is correct behavior for props that are attached to the body parts, like a shirt or a necklace, but can distort the prop incorrectly for objects that don't move with the body, like a hat or a sword.

Changing the Prop's Parent

Once a prop is made a child object of another object, the assignment isn't permanent. You can change a prop's parent at any time using the Object, Change Parent menu command or the Set Parent button in the Properties palette. To remove a prop from its parent, simply make the root Universe object the new parent. Since objects can only have a single parent, the set parent is dropped and the root becomes the new parent.

Setting a Prop's Parent in the Hierarchy Editor

The Hierarchy Editor shows the parent-child relationships of all scene objects using an indented list. The Hierarchy Editor can also be used to reassign parents. To assign a new parent for a prop in the Hierarchy Editor, simply select the prop in the Hierarchy Editor and drag and drop it on the object that you want to be the new parent. Once dropped, the new child appears as a sub-object under its parent, as shown in Figure 3.

[Figures 3 & 4] Parents can be set using the Hierarchy Editor (left). Figure elements (right) can be set to point at a prop. 

Pointing an Element at a Prop

Another way to link a prop to an element is with the Object, Point At menu command. This creates a link between the two objects that only affects the object's orientation. In some situations, this is very helpful. For example, you could use this command to have a figure's eyes follow an object around the room, or you could cause a figure's head to tilt back and forth as if watching a tennis game. Figure 4 shows a figure's neck set to follow a ball about the scene, so the ball can be used to rock the figure's head back and forth.

The Point At command can be used between any two types of objects, so you could have figure elements follow a prop or you could have a prop rotate to follow a figure element. Props and figure elements can also be set to follow lights or camera objects. Once you have identified the Point At object, a new parameter dial appears in the Parameters palette. Using this dial, you can set the amount of exaggeration the figure experiences in following the object.

Deleting a Point At Link

If you ever need to remove a Point At link between two objects, select the object that moves and choose the Object, Point At menu command again. In the Object Parent dialog box, choose the None button and the link is removed.

Attach a Prop to a Figure Element

  • 1. Open Poser with the default figure visible.

2. Select File, Import, Wavefront OBJ and import the Rolling pin.obj file into the current scene.

3. With the rolling pin item selected, click the Scale tool in the Editing Tools control. Hold down the Shift key and drag within the prop circle to uniformly reduce the size of the rolling pin prop.

4. Select the Rotate tool from the Editing Tools and rotate the rolling pin prop until it is parallel to the figure's right hand. Select the Translate/Pull tool to move the rolling pin prop close to the right hand.

5. Select the right hand element and drag the Grasp and Thumb Grasp dials in the Parameters palette to close the hand's fingers.

6. Position and orient the rolling pin prop within the right hand. Select the right hand camera from the Camera Controls to see it up close.

7. Select the rolling pin prop and select Object, Change Parent.

8. Select the Right Hand element in the Change Parent dialog box that appears and click OK.

The prop will now move with the attached element, as shown in Figure 5.

9. Select File, Save As and save the file as Attached rolling pin.pz3.

[Figures 5 & 6] Attached rolling pin (left). Eyes following ball (right). 

Make a Figure Element Point at a Prop

  • 1. Open Poser with the default figure visible.

2. Select File, Import, Wavefront OBJ and import the Striped ball.obj file into the current scene.

3. With the ball item selected, open the Parameters palette and change the Scale value to 12 to reduce the size of the ball. Then drag the xTran, yTran, and zTran dials until the ball object is in front and to the right, about eye level of the figure.

  • 4. Select the left eyeball element and choose the Object, Point At menu command.

The Object Parent dialog box opens.

5. In the Object Parent dialog box, scroll to the bottom of the dialog box and select the Striped ball object. Then click the OK button.

The eyeball immediately rotates so the pupil faces the ball object.

6. Repeat Steps 4 and 5 for the right eyeball element.

7. Select and drag the ball object in front of the figure.

The eyes both rotate towards the ball object as it moves, as shown in Figure 6.

8. Select File, Save As and save the file as Eyes following ball.pz3.

Find out more about how to put the power of Poser 7 to work as you learn how to use the new Talk Designer to automatically sync facial animations to an audio track, combine the power of Poser 7 with other software packages, create new motions using the new animation layers feature and much more. Check back to VFXWorld frequently to read new excerpts.

Poser 7 Revealed: The e frontier Official Guide by Kelly L. Murdock. Boston, MA: Thomson Course Technology, 2007. 592 pages with illustrations. ISBN 13: 978-1-59863-296-5; ISBN 10: 1-59863-296-5 ($29.99).

Kelly L. Murdock has a background in engineering, specializing in computer graphics. He has worked on several large-scale visualization projects, created 3D models for several blockbuster movies and has worked as a freelance 3D artist and designer. Murdock is the author or co-author of several books, including seven editions of the 3ds Max Bible, two editions of the Illustrator Bible, Adobe Creative Suite Bible, Maya 7 Revealed, LightWave 3D 8 Revealed and Poser 6 Revealed. He works with his brother at his co-founded design company, Logical Paradox Design.