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'Poser 7 Revealed': Learn the Available Cameras

In the latest excerpt of Poser 7 Revealed, Kelly L. Murdock walks you through the available preset cameras.

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 which preset cameras are available and how to select them.

Cameras provide you a view of the scene and can be manipulated to show you the exact portion of the scene that you want to concentrate on. You can select preset cameras from the Display, Camera View menu, the Select Camera icon and the pop-up menu in the Camera Controls. You can also select a camera for the current view by right-clicking on the Document Window and selecting Camera View from the pop-up menu.

Note: You can also select from the various cameras using the Actor List at the top of the Document Window and the Parameters/Properties palette, but doing this only selects the camera icon and does not change the view.

[Figure 1] Cameras are displayed as icons in the scene.

Cameras within the current scene are represented by a camera icon, but most are set to be invisible by default. To see the camera icons, simply enable the Visible option in the Properties palette. Figure 1 shows a camera icon in front of the default figure.

Using Camera Presets

The available preset camera views include the Main, Auxiliary, Left, Right, Top, Bottom, Front, Back, Face, Posing, Right Hand, Left Hand, Dolly and Shadow Light cameras. Each of these camera types has its own icon in the Camera Controls, as shown in Figure 2, which you can access by clicking the Select Camera icon or by clicking and dragging to the left or right. If the Display, Show Camera Names option is enabled, the camera name appears in the upper-left corner of the Document Window.

Using the Main and Auxiliary Cameras

The Main and Auxiliary cameras can be rotated about the center of the scene and are the main cameras that you'll probably want to use. These cameras are not affected by the movement of the figures in the scene. The Main and Auxiliary cameras work exactly the same, but the Auxiliary camera lets you maintain the Main camera's position while you investigate another view.

Using Orthographic Cameras

The Left, Right, Top, Bottom, Front and Back cameras are all orthographic cameras that are located at the end of each axis. Orthographic cameras are special views that show the scene as a 2D image without any perspective and all dimension measurements are correct. Figure 3 shows the scene using the Four Ports layout, which includes three orthographic views. Orthographic cameras also cannot be rotated, and the Trackball in the Camera Controls is disabled when any of these cameras are selected.

[Figure 2] Select Camera icons in the Camera Controls. 

Note: If the Four Ports option is selected from the Layout List at the bottom of the Document Window or if the Display, Camera View, Four Cams menu command is selected, three of the views will be orthographic cameras.

Using the Posing Camera

The Posing camera can also be rotated about the scene, but it is focused on the selected figure. If the selected figure is moved, the Posing camera follows along with the figure. If a different figure is selected, the camera view changes to focus on the new figure.

[Figures 3 & 4] Front, Top and Right orthographic cameras (left). Face, Left Hand and Right Hand cameras (right). 

Caution: The Face and Hand cameras look for objects named Face, Left Hand and Right Hand. If you rename these elements, these cameras will not work.

Using the Face and Hand Camera

The Face and Hand cameras work like the Posing camera, except they are focused on the current figure's face or individual hands. These provide a quick close-up of the face and hands so you can check their details without having to maneuver the camera. The Face and Hand cameras also rotate about the face and hands of the selected figure. The Three Ports -- Big Top layout displays views using the Face and both Hand cameras, as shown in Figure 4.

Using the Dolly Camera

The Main and Auxiliary cameras orbit around the center of the screen, but the Dolly camera pivots about its own axis, making it act just like a real camera. For animation sequences where the camera is moving, you'll want to use this specialized camera.

Using Shadow Light Cameras

The pop-up menu in the Camera Controls also includes a Shadow Light camera for each light in the scene. These cameras are positioned and oriented to point the same direction as its light and provide a look at how the shadows will be cast when rendered. Shadow cameras, like orthographic cameras, cannot be rotated. Figure 5 shows the Shadow camera for Light 2. Notice in the figure how the highlighted areas are facing the camera.

[Figures 5 & 6] Shadow camera (left). Various camera views (right). 

Change Cameras for Viewports

  • 1. Open Poser with the default figure visible.

2. At the bottom of the Document Window, select the Four Ports option from the Layout List.

The Document Window is divided into four different views.

3. Select the upper-left port.

A red border that indicates the active port surrounds the port view.

4. Select the From Back option from the pop-up menu at the top of the Camera Controls.

5. Select the upper-right port, right-click on the Document Window, and select Camera View, Bottom Camera from the pop-up menu.

6. Select the lower-left port and change the camera to the left view using the Display, Camera View, From Right menu.

7. Select the lower-right port, click on the Select Camera icon in the Camera Controls, and drag to the right until the Face Camera is selected.

All the cameras for the various ports have now been changed using various methods, as shown in Figure 6.

8. Select File, Save As and save the file as Various camera views.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.

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.