By Michael Burns | on September 03, 2009
Price When Reviewed: 155 . 80
Pros: Lots of new content; new morphing tools; new interface/CMS; rendering and texture enhancements; Wardrobe Wizard.
Cons: More expensive than competition; some new features are complex without tutorials; some application crashes.
The new Tone Mapping control in the Firefly Render Settings window provides more control for brightness, saturation, and post-render processing to produce better images, especially in scenes with a high dynamic range. You can choose exponential mode for film-style sensitivity or the more artificial HSV mode. Once Tone Mapping is selected you can adjust the new Exposure value in the settings panel, to produce the required effect.
The Lighting properties have also been enhanced, including new attenuation settings for point and spotlights. Choosing between Inverse Linear and Inverse Square, as well as the Constant setting found in Poser 7, lets you control how bright or dark a spotlight or point light gets, based on the distance from the light source. Both the new settings make the scene lighting more physically correct, with the Inverse Square option giving a harsher effect.
Previously introduced in Poser Pro 7, Poser 8 can now handle Normal Maps, a way of faking geometry with bitmap textures. It’s found in the Material Room, and is quickly applied by connecting an Image Node containing a normal map to the Gradient Bump channel on the Poser Surface Node. Daz Studio Advanced 3 offers an equally quick setup within its newly enhanced Shader workflow.
We tried Poser 8 out on a MacBook Pro and an older Mac G5 machine and while rendering performance was definitely improved in the newer machine, the G5 took advantage of the new multiprocessor support in version 8 for much quicker model manipulation than previous versions. It crashed a couple of times on each platform, however.
Both Poser and Daz Studio both offer ready-to-pose content to give artists a starting point in designing their scenes, but whereas Daz supplies its latest two highly specified character models, Poser is offering eight new fully textured humans of different ethnicities and body types.
The Poser 8 content library provides more than 2.5 GB of human and animal figures as well as a range of accessories including hair, clothing, sets and real-world props and elements such as lights and cameras to produce complete scenes. Poser’s 1GB of new content, with the rest of the bundle made up of legacy content, therefore compares very favourably to a smaller Daz offering – though you’re paying more for the privilege.