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'Poser 7 Revealed': Use the Basic Editing Tools

For our next excerpt from Kelly L. Murdock's Poser 7 Revealed, the section lays out the use of the program's basic editing tools.

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 pose figure elements using the basic editing tools.

In order to pose figures, you need to learn how to move, rotate, twist and scale the different figure elements. The Editing Tools in Figure 1 can help you accomplish these tasks. You can open this set of tools using Window, Editing Tools. You can select only one editing tool at a time, with the current tool being highlighted in yellow.

[Figure 1] Editing tools.

Quicktip: You can use all the Editing Tools also on figures and props in addition to body parts.

Moving Figure Elements

One of the first places to start when posing a figure is to move the various elements. A good example of this is dragging the upper arm to raise or lower the entire arm. There are a couple of Editing Tools you can use to move figure elements, including the Translate/Pull tool and the Translate In/Out tool.

Quicktip: When translating body parts, the body part highlighted in white moves when you drag in the Document Window. The red highlighted object is the current selection.

[Figure 2] Translated arms.

The Translate/Pull tool (T) is the one tool that is selected when Poser is first started. It allows you to move figure elements within the XY plane.

The Translate In/Out tool (Z) moves the selected element in and out of the Z plane, which is towards or away from the current camera view. Figure 2 shows a simple pose accomplished by translating the upper arms using these two tools.

Rotating and Twisting Elements

You use the Rotate tool (R) to rotate elements about their joints. For example, if you drag on the selected forearm object with the Rotate tool, it will rotate about the elbow joint. Dragging an element with the Twist tool (W) causes it to rotate about its joint axis. For example, dragging the abdomen element with the Twist tool makes a figure twist about its waist. Figure 3 shows a figure whose forearms have been rotated with the Rotate tool and whose waist has been twisted with the Twist tool.

[Figure 3] Rotated forearms and twisted waist (left). [Figure 4] Scaled chest. 

Scaling and Tapering Elements

The Scale tool (S) changes the size of the element along a single axis, but you can cause the element to be uniformly scaled along all axes at the same time by holding down the Shift key while dragging.

The Taper tool (P) is similar to the Scale tool, except it scales only one end of an element, leaving the other unchanged. The result of a tapered element is to make the object long and thin or short and fat. Figure 4 shows a figure whose chest and collarbones have been scaled.

[Figure 5] Pop-up color palette.

Coloring Elements

Although the real place to apply colors and textures to a figure element is in the Material Room, which is covered in Chapter 8, "Creating and Applying Materials," you can place basic flat colors to elements using the Color tool (C). Clicking with this tool on an element causes a pop-up color palette, shown in Figure 5, to appear. You can select a color from this pop-up color palette by dragging over the color that you want to select. Clicking a color in the palette closes the pop-up color palette. Figure 6 shows a figure with several colors applied.

Note: The Color tool adds colors to material groups such as Shirt, Pants, Skin Color and so on, instead of to elements. More on material groups is covered in Chapter 8, "Creating and Applying Materials."

[Figure 6] Figure with colors. (left). [Figure 7] Zoomed figure. 

Using the View Magnifier Tool

The View Magnifier tool allows you to zoom in on an area without changing the parameters of the current camera. To use it, simply click the area that you want to zoom in on. Each successive click zooms further in on an area. Clicking with the Ctrl key (or Command key on the Mac) held down zooms out. You can also zoom in on a region by dragging over the zoom area with the View Magnifier tool. Figure 7 shows a zoomed figure that used the View Magnifier tool.

[Figure 8] Direct Manipulation Tool controls.

Using the Direct Manipulation Tool

The Direct Manipulation tool surrounds the selected element with icons that can be used to move, rotate and scale the selected element, as shown in Figure 8. By dragging these controls, you can change the element's position, rotation, and scale in the X, Y and Z axes. These controls have the same effect as dragging the corresponding parameter dial.

Note: The mouse cursor changes to match the corresponding action when moving it over the top of various controls.

Use the Editing Tool

  • 1. Open Poser with the default man visible.

2. Select Window, Editing Tools to make the Editing Tools buttons visible if they aren't already visible.

3. Click the Translate/Pull tool (or press the T key) and drag on the left shoulder to raise it to be horizontal with the ground. Repeat for the right shoulder so both arms are outstretched.

4. Click the Translate In/Out tool (or press the Z key) and drag the left shoulder until it is stretched in front of the figure. Repeat for the right shoulder so both arms are stretched out in front of the figure. The chest of the figure will lean forward as you pull the arms forward.

5. Select From Left from the Camera Controls pop-up menu.

6. Click the Rotate tool (or press the R key) and drag the abdomen until the figure's torso is vertical again.

7. Click the Translate/Pull tool (or press the T key), select and drag the left foot and pull it out and up from the figure as if the figure were taking a step. The side view of the figure shows the figure with both arms outstretched taking a step forward, as shown in Figure 9.

8. Select File, Save As and save the file as Zombie march.pz3.

[Figure 9] Zombie march pose.

Color Elements

  • 1. Open Poser with the default man visible.

2. Open the Library palette and select the Props category. Then open the Poser 7/P7 Male Clothes/Poser 7 Casual folder and apply the G2 Casual Dress Shirt using the Create New Figure button. Then add the G2 Casual Swim Trunks using the same method.

3. Select Window, Editing Tools to make the Editing Tools buttons visible, if necessary.

4. Click the Color tool (or press the C key) and click the figure's shirt. A pop-up color palette appears with the title Diffuse Material:Shirt.

5. Select a green color. The shirt area of the figure is colored green and the pop-up color palette is closed, as shown in Figure 10.

6. Select File, Save As and save the file as Green shirt.pz3.

[Figure 10] Figure with green shirt and black pants.

Caution: The G2 Casual Swim Trunks were removed from the Poser 7 Library at the last second, but will be included using the content updater at a future time.

Use the Direct Manipulation Tool

  • 1. Open Poser with the default figure visible.

2. Select Window, Editing Tools to make the Editing Tools buttons visible (if necessary).

3. Select the hip object in the Document Window and drag the Move Camera in XZ Plane control in the Camera Controls to zoom in on the hip region.

4. Select the Direct Manipulation tool from the Editing tools. Manipulation controls surround the hip element.

5. Drag the right Scale control icon to the right in the Document Window. Drag the red Rotation control to rotate the figure slightly forward. The figure now has a larger belly section, as shown in Figure 11.

6. Select File, Save As and save the file as Direct manipulation tool.pz3.

[Figure 11] Scaled and rotated element.

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.