Like the dead-eyed zombie puppets it often creates, Poser seems set to jerk back into life, bringing with it a bundle of new rendering capabilities.
Poser has been around for 20-odd years, sometimes used for previz or as a cost-effective alternative to character animation tools in Motionbuilder, Maya or 3ds Max, but probably even more so as a ‘studio’ in which to build digital art scenes.
Rather than a traditional 3D suite, Poser comes with pre-built, ready to use 3D characters that enable users to begin posing and animating out of the box.
A library of pre-rigged characters and content, as well as a wide variety of rendering modes and sophisticated body and customisation tools (morphs) has built Poser a dedicated user base of artists and illustrators, particular popular with those of a fantasy and sci-fi bent, as well as some animators and game developers.
This following has had to have patience however, keeping the spirit of the application alive as it has been passed around between developers and software publishers.
Development of third-party content and complementary software for Poser – especially from the direction of Daz3D – has probably eclipsed that of the main application, which seems to have been last officially updated in May 2013.
Presumptions of a demise have been premature, as the current developer though, as animation software producer Smith-Micro, has revealed details of the next version, Poser 11, on its blog.
In a post called the Future of Poser, Charles Taylor, Poser Project Manager, wisely promises to retain the established workflow, in recognition of the powerful content market and the massive libraries of props and figures the Poser community has undoubtedly built up.
Taylor talks up the likelihood of physically based rendering (PBR) integrated within Poser 11, offering a new rendering engine based on Blender’s Cycles and also delivering rendered caustics as part of this new integration.
Code-named SuperFly, the new rendering engine will also bring area lights, enabling more realistic highlights, reflections and soft shadows.
We'll update you with more details as we get them, but for now head over to the Poser site for more info.