'Poser 7 Revealed': Import 3D Objects Into Poser

You'll learn how to import 3D models, backgrounds, sounds and MoCap data in the latest excerpt from Poser 7 Revealed.

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 the options for importing 3D models into Poser.

The File, Import menu includes multiple different options for importing different types of content, including 3D models, backgrounds, sounds and even motion capture data. This provides the means for bringing in external files to the current scene.

Importing 3D Models

Several formats are available for importing 3D objects. All imported models appear as props. The available 3D formats include the following:

Tip: If you have a choice of which 3D format to use, stick with the Wavefront .OBJ format for objects without materials. It tends to provide the cleanest import models. If the model includes materials, use the 3D Studio or LightWave options.

  • QuickDraw 3DMF: Imports geometry objects using the QuickDraw 3DMF file format (available for Macintosh systems only).

  • 3D Studio: Imports geometry objects using the .3DS file format from 3ds Max.

  • DXF: Imports geometry objects using the .DXF file format.

  • LightWave: Imports geometry objects using the .LWO file format from LightWave.

  • Wavefront OBJ: Imports geometry objects using the .OBJ file format.

You can learn more about these various import options for the various 3D packages in Chapter 17, "Using Poser with Other Software."

[Figure 1] Import Options dialog box.

Setting Object Position

The Import Options dialog box, shown in Figure 1 appears when any of the previously mentioned formats are selected from the File, Import menu. It is used to set the initial position and scaling of the imported prop object and includes options for fixing certain problems. The Centered option causes the imported prop to appear centered about the grid origin within the Document Window. The Place on Floor option causes the lowest portion of the imported prop to be aligned on the grid floor.

Reducing Duplicate Vertices

The Weld Identical Vertices option reduces the total number of vertices by combining any vertices that have the same coordinates. This is especially common for mirrored objects along the center mirroring axis. Duplicate vertices can cause trouble for some game and rendering engines. They also can increase the file size of the model.

Caution: If the imported model has a lot of details represented by vertices that are close together, enabling this option might cause the tight vertices to be combined. You would then lose any details in the model.

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[Figure 2] The left bookcase has correct outward pointing normals, but the bookcase on the right has inward pointing normals.
[Figure 3] The bitmap on this object is mapped upside down.

Controlling Normals

If the model being imported appears inside out, or if some of its normals appear to be colored dark, it could be that the polygon's normals are pointing inward, as shown for the bookcase on the right in Figure 2. A normal is an invisible vector that points outward from the center of the surface polygon and is used to tell the rendering engine which way a polygon is pointing.

If the normal is flipped (which can happen occasionally when exporting and importing models), the back side of a polygon becomes visible and its front side becomes invisible, thus making the object appear inside out. Using Polygon Normals.

Consistent causes all normals to point inward or outward based on the direction of the majority of the normals. If the majority of the normals are pointing incorrectly inward, you can use the Flip Normals option to change their direction.

Flipping UV Textures

When a texture is mapped onto the surface of an object, its position on the surface is defined by a coordinate system with U for the horizontal position of the upper-left corner and V as the vertical position of the upper-left corner. If the imported bitmaps on an object come in upside down or flipped left to right, you can use the Flip U and V Texture Coordinates to correct the problem. Figure 3 shows an image with a mapped image that is imported with the texture upside down.

Import a 3D Object

  • 1. Open Poser with the default man visible. Select the Figure, Hide Figure menu to hide the current figure.

2. Click File, Import, Wavefront OBJ menu.

The Import Options dialog box appears where you can specify the import settings.

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[Figure 4] The 3D model is imported, but has problems.
[Figure 5] The 3D object is imported correctly this time.
  • 3. In the Import Options dialog box, select the Centered, Place on Floor and Scale options and then click the OK button.

A file dialog box appears.

4. Select the Super Fizzy Pop.obj file from the Chap 04 folder and click the Open button. Then select the Super_fizzy_pop_label.tif file from the same folder and click the Open button again.

The object with its mapped image is imported as shown in Figure 4, but the label is upside down.

5. Press the Delete key to delete the current object. Then choose the File, Import, Wavefront OBJ menu again.

6. This time, enable the Flip U Texture Coordinates and Flip V Texture Coordinates options and load the same model again.

This time the object and its label are imported correctly, as shown in Figure 5.

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.

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