Smith Micro Software has released Poser Pro, which has a feature set and functionality geared for professional content creators within studio and production environments. The new software builds on the success of the company's popular Poser 7 tool but offers advanced features such as scene-hosting plug-ins for popular 3D environments, a 64-bit render engine, COLLADA support and advanced network rendering,

Poser Pro delivers a powerful, yet easy-to-use 3D character design and animation tools that help artists integrate custom and pre-built characters into professional projects and production pipelines, says the company. It lets artists fine tune light, shadow, colour and detail on figures, and ships with distributable 3D characters that are specially designed to provide a starting point for scene development, thereby saving production time.

Poser Pro includes PoserFusion plug-ins, which enables hosting of both animated and static Poser scenes in Autodesk 3DS Max and Maya and Maxon's Cinema 4D. Poser Pro supports COLLADA data interchange, which permits the import of 3D data and the export of Poser scenes with character rigging and blend zones, morph targets, texture information, lighting, cameras and other scene details.

To save production resources and time, Poser Pro includes a distributed Network Render Queue and Queue Manager, which allows users to set up and manage a cross-platform rendering network. Background rendering enables users to continue working on Poser Pro scenes while rendering, and the updated 64-bit Firefly Render Engine permits full system memory to be utilized for the rendering of large scene files.

For greater realism in rendered images, Poser Pro provides both high dynamic range (HDR) image import for textures and image-based light (IBL) maps plus optimized export of those rendered HDR images. Gamma Correction permits users to accurately match rendered image output to the final output or display device by setting gamma values on a material-by-material basis.

Poser Pro offers new content specific features, including Normal Mapping support to increase surface detail without increasing polygon count. Also unique to Poser Pro is a collection of four medium-resolution, face room compliant, rigged human characters that can be modified and freely redistributed as new content, serving as an excellent starting point for the development of new characters for games, movies and other real-time 3D projects.

Poser Pro is priced at $499.99; registered users of Poser 6 and Poser 7 can side-grade to Poser Pro for $199.99 until July 31, 2008.