• Price When Reviewed: 253

  • Pros: Collada export; wide 3D format support; Normal Mapping; HDRI export; 64-bit rendering; background rendering; Network Rendering; Gamma Correction.

  • Cons: Relatively expensive for occasional users of character models; no dedicated Photoshop CS3 Extended integration.

  • Expert Rating: We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10 We rate this 8 out of 10

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This review was taken from our group test of 3D tools for illustrators.

Poser’s last few versions have improved rendering and realism for the venerable figure-posing application: models can be manipulated down to muscle level, offering a good way to bring realistic characters with truly human expressions into your scene.

There’s also support for realistic hair, clothing and props. The latest Poser Pro ships with the Generation 2 family of fully rigged figures (SydneyG2 and SimonG2), with plenty of free content to download.

You can set up a scene in Poser, render it out as a 2D image, then apply post work in Photoshop. Background rendering is a productivity saver, and you can now spread the rendering load across networked computers.

Poser Pro can handle data exchange with Collada-aware applications, so you can import Poser objects as Collada files into Photoshop’s 3D layers. Here, you can manipulate the object with the 3D rotation tools and layer blending modes.

You can’t export the object out as Collada, but it’s straightforward to prepare the object’s textures for export back to Poser. Poser Pro brings greater scope for traffic in this direction, introducing a normal mapping facility. This lets you use
2D image textures to create the illusion of detailed surfaces on 3D objects.

A fully 3D solution incurs high polygonal overheads, so normal mapping comes in handy for adding intricate detail quickly. HDRI support and precise gamma-correction aid texturing, making this a useful solution for any Photoshop-based 3D workflow. However the output-only route stymies Poser Pro in the face of truly integrated solutions like Strata 3D[in] and Daz 3D Bridge, while Poser’s modelling toolset is less significant than some of its rivals.