Why do elitists look down on the use of Poser?

July 20, 2008 at 8:53 pm 53 comments

As an introduction, Poser is a “3D Character and Scene Design” graphics software program created by Ghost Effects, then sold to and upgraded by MetaCreations, then sold to and upgraded by e-frontier, and then sold to and upgraded by Smith Micro (link opens in new window).

Poser’s low price (normally in the $250 range) and included content (models, clothing, poses, etc) allow almost anyone to quickly make digital images immediately after purchasing and installing the software. The learning curve for Poser is a lot less steep than that of more complex graphics programs.

However, many people seem to think that Poser is “unprofessional” because of its low price, its low learning curve, and the “amateur-ness” of many images made by beginners. These people tend to look down on the use of Poser simply because they don’t use it, don’t understand it, or more-often-than-not, because they just don’t like it. For this discussion, I’ll be calling these “professionals” by the more-correct term of “elitists”, which will mean “people who look down on something for their own personal reasons”.

Some Common Arguments from the Elitists

1) Not Professional?

These elitists claim (usually with specious logic) that “professionals” don’t use Poser simply because it’s “unprofessional”. Do they really mean that if I use an “unprofessional” software program, I can no longer call myself a “professional”? How’s that for circular logic?

Many elitists also claim that Poser images show a distinct “amateur-ness”, which obviously means that the software itself is amateurish. While I will agree that a lot of Poser-created images are amateur in nature, you have to look at the “big picture”: since Poser is inexpensive, fairly easy to use, and doesn’t require a super-computer, it’s only natural that a wide variety of people would use the software. Like anything in life, some people will have the talent to make good images, while some people won’t.

As an aside, I think Poser images can be compared to photography. As we speak, more and more people have cameras available to them, usually on their cell-phones. With so many people taking pictures with their cell-phones, can these photos be considered “art”? Probably not, but maybe some are.

Is it fair to say that every cell-phone camera is bad simply because some photos aren’t very good?

One of the worst arguments I’ve seen is when one of these elitists says something like “I know plenty of professionals and none of them use Poser”, as if to say, “Since I personally don’t know any ‘professionals’ who use Poser, then no professionals in the entire world use Poser.”

This would be like me saying, “My parents don’t use Poser and none of my friends’ parents use Poser.” Therefore, by this logic, my statement must obviously mean, “No parents in the entire world use Poser.”

This is just absurd.

What the elitists never see is how many real, professional studios use Poser. Here’s one example: In the book, The Art of Star Wars: Episode II, I saw a screen shot of a pre-visualization storyboard which used the human figures found in Poser. This storyboard helped the artists at Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) figure out how to block their shot, where to position the camera, and how background figures would be positioned in the scene.

Hmm… I guess this means ILM isn’t “professional” if they’re using Poser.

At Epcot’s Spaceship Earth attraction (at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL), there is an animation of the ride vehicles rotating in space. There’s a family sitting in the seats… and guess what the figures are? Yep, the Adult Male, Adult Female, Male Child, and Female Child that come with Poser 4.

And we all know how unprofessional the artists and engineers at Walt Disney World are, especially for using a program like Poser. (Yes, that was meant as sarcasm.)

If you read newspapers like USA Today, you’ll commonly see the Poser figures used in the illustrations. In fact, once you’ve seen the Poser figures a few times, you can easily spot them in almost any setting.

2) No Professionals in the Forums?

Another argument put forth by the elitists is that no “professionals” post messages in the Poser community forums; therefore, the logic goes, if there are no professionals posting in the forums, there must not be any professionals at all.

This argument is pretty absurd as well, but let me just say this: real professionals are the ones who work 8, 9, or 10 hours a day (or more) to finish their deadlines. If you’re spending this much time on a project, you don’t have time to spend in any forums, let alone the Poser community forums.

Besides, would these elitists believe that a new user called “AndrewS” was really the director of Pixar movies? Or would they laugh him off as some “poser” (pun intended)?

3) Jealousy?

The most logical reason for the Poser-bashing is probably the simplest: professional jealousy. Some elitists may have spent years to build up their talent to the point where they can make a human figure from scratch. But, along comes John Poser-User who can place a pre-made human into a scene, pose it all kinds of different ways, and make an image in a few minutes.

Where’s the years of study? Where’s the “mastery” of building models?

This is also similar to the idea of using computers: when the Macintosh computer first came out, it was looked upon as childish, especially by the “pros” who had mastered DOS commands. To them, Mac users were almost dummies for not spending years learning arcane, text-based commands.

The idea continued into the Internet years: America Online (AOL) users were commonly looked down upon because they simply installed AOL, ran the software, and connected to AOL. There was no fiddling around with programs like “WinSock” or needing to configure a “TCP/ IP” Control Panel.

Where were the years of study of network protocols? Where’s the mastery of using computers?

4) Bashing Others is Cool

Or is the answer even simpler? Maybe people want to be “one of the gang” and enjoy bashing something because “everyone else is doing it” or because it “looks cool”.

Since John Super-User is bashing Poser, then it must be the correct thing to do. And since I want to be like John Super-User, I should bash Poser as well. Maybe I’ll even impress the cool kids with my pithy put-downs. (Yes, that was meant as sarcasm.)

Maybe people don’t actually think this when they post their message in a forum, but I would be willing to bet that it’s somewhere in the back of their mind.

Without getting into a deep philosophical discussion about mob mentality and group-think, I believe sharing put-downs creates an “us versus them” thinking: you’re either a “basher” or you’re “one of those people”.

A “mob think” dynamic starts to form, where people start to blindly act like everyone else without consciously realizing what they’re doing. In the case of online forums, people may bash Poser simply because that’s what the other people are doing. And since these other people have some high-quality images in their gallery, then they must be “experts” and they must know what they’re talking about. Maybe I can impress these “experts” by joining in with their bashing.

On the other hand, some people may start these kinds of message threads simply as a way to start a controversy and get attention, kind of like jumping into an online forum about Star Trek and posting a message that Star Wars is better. Does this message serve any constructive purpose? Usually not- for the most part, these kinds of message threads are simply created because the poster is either being a jerk or he wants attention.

Unfortunately, people will take the bait and they’ll post their own messages, both attacking his post and then attacking each other for their posts. Again, does this serve any constructive purpose?

What Does the User Want to do?

The answer to all this comes down to one answer: what does the user want to do?

Some people enjoy building things from scratch and learning every tool available to them. Some people enjoy reading the 3-inch manual cover-to-cover to master everything the software can do. But some people “just want to get it done”, whether it’s finishing a piece of artwork or writing a document or connecting to the Internet.

Imagine how hard it would be for me to write this blog (and for you to connect to the Internet and read it) if the “newbies” and “hobbyists” had lost out and we were all still using text-based software! I’d still be looking over the keyboard to find the Alt-Ctrl-Shift-F10 command. And, yes, even up until the late-1990’s, WordPerfect still used complicated keystrokes for bolding text, printing, and saving files instead of using the mouse.

Getting back to the world of digital artwork, I think this comparison is best:

Using Poser is like playing with action figures. As a kid, I played with Star Wars action figures (you may have played with G.I. Joe figures). Was my imagination stunted because I didn’t build my own figures or because I bought pre-made spaceships? In fact, George Lucas made tons of money by making action figures from every character, even the ones in the far background (such as “Prune Face” from Return of the Jedi).

On the other hand, building your own digital models in programs like Maya or Lightwave or 3D Studio Max could be compared to building models with LEGO bricks. Yes, I had LEGOs when I was a kid, though I always had trouble building spaceships for my Star Wars figures. 😉

Are either of these “wrong”? Is playing with action figures somehow “worse” than building your own toys? Did anyone’s mom tell them to put their action figures down and “go build something”?

A Case Study

Here’s a quick case study that should amuse the elitists… or maybe not:

The boss walks into the graphics department and says that he needs a rough animation of a man walking around the client’s new car. The client will supply the car model, but the boss wants the animation to show how the proposed animation will look. And, if the client likes it, he’ll sign the contract for a full version, using live actors.

But, time is of the essence: if the boss doesn’t submit the animation quickly, the client may find someone else.

So, the project is given to two artists: John (who uses Poser) and Mary (who uses 3D Studio Max). Both John and Mary start working when they come in the next day, at 8:00 am.

John starts Poser, adds Simon (the Poser 7 male figure) to the scene, adds a business suit, loads a pre-made “walk” animation, and renders the animation. John finishes around noon, but spends the rest the day answering e-mail so the boss thinks he’s working long and hard on the project.

He goes into the boss’ office the next day with the finished animation. The quality is good and it gives the boss (and the client) a good idea of how the finished animation will look.

Mary uses Maya. She’s very skilled with the program, but it still takes her four days to make a human figure with clothes. She asks for an extension since it will take her a few more days to rig her figure and model the clothing. (“Rigging” allows a digital model to move as if it had a real skeleton inside it.)

She asks for another extension since she still has to make textures for the models.

Ten days after the boss asks for the animation, Mary turns hers in. The quality is excellent and the animation looks practically real. The client even comments that it’s hard to tell that Mary’s animation is computer-generated.

However, after looking at the animation, client changes his mind: he would like the guy to be wearing shorts and t-shirt instead of a business suit.

John goes back to Poser, removes the business suit and add the shorts and t-shirt. He goes back to his boss the next day and presents his new animation. John pads his time again so it looks like he worked hard. 😉

Mary says it’ll take her another ten days to finish this part of the project. She has to remove the business suit from her model… and since her figure doesn’t have real arms and legs, she’ll have to create them (and shorts and t-shirt) from scratch. She’ll then have to create new textures for the guy, the shorts, and the t-shirt.

The boss shows John’s animation to the client and the client changes his mind again: he would like the guy to start with a shocked expression, and then change to a happy expression.

John goes back to Poser, adjusts the expression of the guy, and makes a new animation. He knows he’s got Mary beat, so he hands in the animation that afternoon.

Mary says it’s impossible for her to change the expression since she didn’t know this was a requirement and she didn’t build her model with the ability to change facial expressions.

John’s time to finish the animation: about 3 to 4 days.

Mary’s time to finish the animation: 20 to 40 days.

This is only a quick example, but in the “real world” where graphic designers have deadlines, I think using Poser is lot more common than the elitists would believe.

The Right Tool

The main point is that all of these programs are tools used to get the job done. Does it really matter if you use 3D Studio Max or Maya or Lightwave or Poser as long as you can get your project done in time to meet the deadline?

Poser was never meant to compete with programs like Lightwave, 3D Studio Max or SoftImage. This should be obvious by looking at the pricing: Poser is much less expensive than Lightwave (around $1,800), 3D Studio Max ($2,000 or more) or SoftImage ($10,000 or more).

Yet elitists only focus on Poser’s lack of features when compared to the more expensive software programs.

It’s kind of like saying everyone should drive a Rolls Royce because it’s “the best”. Sure, some people may consider it to be the most well-made car, but can it tow a boat, like an SUV? Can it handle eight kids and the equipment needed for soccer practice, like a minivan? Or maybe someone just doesn’t have the money to pay for the quality of a Rolls Royce.

Again, the point is that people should choose the tool (or software) that best suits their needs rather than reading a message in the forums by a guy who says SoftImage is the best program ever made. Again, it might be the “best” program for him, but is it really the best program for your project?

And, of course, these elitists think that everyone has the time and the interest to learn complicated software. Maybe you just want to make an image for your son and you have no interest in learning how to create polygons or UV map an object or create textures. Then why should you spend $10,000 and days (or weeks) learning software that you really have no interest in learning?

What Do You Think?

What do you think? Please feel free to post your comments and opinions.

Are you someone who looks down on the use of Poser and thinks it shouldn’t be used by “professionals”? Why do you think that?

Are you a professional that uses Poser (or are you a Poser hobbyist) that thinks these “pros” are being elitist snobs? Why do you think that?

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Price Versus Value for Digital Products Designing Artwork for Online Galleries: Image Size and Your Audience

53 Comments Add your own

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    • 2. Growls  |  October 27, 2009 at 9:42 pm

      Im not a professional Artist, I’m a master of zombie thousand yard stare pictures ie a talentless hobbyist. I get enjoyment from learning and improving slowly who cares it harms nobody and no-one is forced to look at my output if they don’t want to.

      I am a professional programmer coming towards the end of a 40 year career. Would it be fair to say to those ‘Elite’ people your not a professional artist either – you merely assemble the ‘lego’ bricks I built?

  • 3. Pauline Danilovic  |  July 25, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    I’ve been using poser since version 4 in wich I still have along with the new version 7 which I recently purchased. The only reason that I even resorted to Poser was because I had been trying to save up to get Maya…never happened. I even tried to save up for 3D studio max and Lightwave and even those were pricey! Poser was affordable, easy to use, and achieved what I wanted it too. I was not looking to do anything extra special other than still images with actors which would then be manipulated in photoshop anyways so it worked out for me and I am still using it now. I just recently started messing with the animated feature which was always there but again I never really needed. It’s a robust program and it’s possibilities are endless and keep growing. Maya and other “industry standard” 3D programs are worried that Poser has caught up with them
    and just want to discredit the software so people can pay almost $3000.00 on their program. The prices have gone down since then but learning the program is still really complicated.
    Maya needs to merge with Poser…then we’d have a powerful

    I think at the end of the day it’s all about the “Technique” on how you achieved whatever it is you’re doing.
    I guess it’s like doing an awesome graphic and then saying you did it in MS Paint and not Photoshop! Before I was able to afford any softwares I’d use 4-5 different programs just to achieve something that would have taken a half an hour in photoshop.

    • 4. Joe Jones  |  December 26, 2009 at 3:21 pm

      “Maya and other “industry standard” 3D programs are worried that Poser has caught up with them and just want to discredit the software so people can pay almost $3000.00 on their program. The prices have gone down since then but learning the program is still really complicated.”

      Poser is not a modeling program. I doubt it ever will be, unless you call deformations modeling but that would be a far stretch. It’s tenuous, at best, for rigging. It’s too memory intensive to handle large scenes. Scenes have to be split apart and rendered in pieces for efficiency. The materials capabilities of Poser are primitive. It’s great for adjusting a few settings, and sure there are a lot of settings and dials in the Poser 5+ materials room, but the problem with most of them is that you either have crap settings or decent settings…there seems to be no in between. Many of the advanced dials in the Materials Room do more harm than good. It has no terrain generation whatsoever, no atmospheric settings, no effects, no volumetrics.

      The bottom line is that it’s in no way competition for for Max, Maya, XSI, Lightwave type of programs, nor does it even try to be. And it does more harm than good to mention it alongside those programs.

      Personally, I love Poser. I use max plenty and I often stick my models into Poser for easy manipulation. Despite what the “elitists” say you can actually get some very high quality renders in Poser. Just have to know what you’re doing, and it’s a hell of a lot easier to create good renders once you have Poser mastered than it is to create a good, fast render in another program. It could take forever to tweak some of the high end programs to get your lighting and all the settings exactly right for your render. Sure the results are worth it, but in Poser you can load your model, click a button to load your custom light setups and render a pretty decent render in five minutes. Poser comes with an absolutely hideous default light setup. Almost the first thing I did was change that, so I have custom light setups I created that work perfectly with any figure. Then again, before I ever started using 3D programs I was already a master in photography and film lighting, but anyone who has the ability to distinguish good from bad can create some quality presets.

      BTW, if you don’t know what 3DSMax, Maya, Lightwave really do, maybe you’re better off not using them. Those are serious modeling tools. Only a very small percentage of users use those programs to create finished art.

  • 5. Janey  |  July 31, 2008 at 5:07 am

    I totally agree with you. Technology nowadays have so much to offer, whichever direction you’d like to go at your preference, then choose your own direction.
    Thank you for your post, it’s very enlightening, an eye-opener. I have just started with Poser 7 last month and it’s a great program. Just like the lady who wrote a comment before me, I only need to use it to make my own models and use it for my Photoshop art. I don’t intend to buy a super expensive program, budget is the main problem. Now I am thinking of how I can create my own poser clothing and hair using another affordable program. If you have any recommendation, I’ll appreciate it very much.

    • 6. Joe Jones  |  December 26, 2009 at 4:21 pm

      Janey, If you need to make your own models you have a lot of options, some more expensive than others. Each one can also have a different approach to modeling. Some methods might be easier than others to use as well, for example Maya, Max, XSI, Lightwave seem most optimum for methods like cloning edges, extruding, meth smooth and divide. You might have heard of a loft tool or something along that lines as well. You can do patch and spline modeling as well in most of them. Rhino, sometimes known as Rhinoceros Nurbs, uses nurbs, which from my understanding relies on a lot of boolean operators. That was actually the program I created my first Poser product release in and it’s real easy to learn, but it has suck rendering capability and now that I’m proficient with other modeling methods I absolutely hate nurbs, although I admit there are some good things about it. Cinema 4D is considered by many to be a lower cost alternative to the commercial grade programs that produces high quality results. I haven’t used it, but it’s worth investigating. Personally, I think Maxon has some really strange interfaces, but people say the same about 3DSMax, which I absolutely love. Both Maya and Lightwave have the most confusing interfaces because everything is hidden in the default interface. That’s the main reason I gravitated toward Max from the start.

      Both C4D and Rhino start at about a thousand bucks, but the academic versions are only $2-300.

      Pixologic is perhaps the most unique of all 3D Modelers Zbrush it has a bizaar interface and workflow that to my understanding is based quite a bit on deformations, but it offers a surprising amount of control, and the power is undeniable. I’ve experimented with it a fair amount but it has a very steep learning curve. The base price is around $600.

      If you have no budget there are actually a host of options:
      When it comes to free software you have about a million warez enthusiasts and script junkies screaming about Blender. Sure, Blender can do a lot, especially for a free program, but the interface is atrocious and it’s got a steeper learning curve than any of the most powerful commercial programs. Last I checked the tutorials were horrible too. It’s almost like they were written in a different language. It also has a terrible workflow, and an a surprisingly poor amount of public resources for a free program, so while I acknowledge the power I’m hesitant to actually recommend it. The real main thing Blender has going for it is that it’s one of the most successful, robust examples of an entire application being created in Python.

      Another I was never really convinced of was POV-Ray. a host of ill-conceived, hap-hazard renders, non-existent support, an abhorrent interface, and probably the dumbest name of any 3D software to date all helped to cast this one into oblivion.

      Anyway, there’s also Anim8or, which has some rudimentary modeling tools but I really don’t know enough about it to make a recommendation. I haven’t been too impressed with what I’ve seen done with it.

      Lastly, I really think now is the time for anyone getting into 3D art. We may have hit the mother load currently with 3D programs.

      The long forgotten, once staple of the industry, rumored to have been involved in the making of certain commercial Hollywood films, including one of the Terminator movies, Caligari Truespace is now updated, free for unrestricted use in all its glory. I totally recommend downloading this.

      Also, believe it or not Autodesk has released a full-featured game modder version of their award winning modeling program, Softimage XSI. Get it before they change thier mind folks! That’s all I have to say.

  • 7. Mike Matheson  |  August 5, 2008 at 10:43 pm

    I posted this for you in the Daz forums but I thought I’d post it again on your blog:

    I ran across a post today on DeviantArt that reminded me of this topic. I’ll include it after my message.
    I’m a C4D user (by NO means am I a pro) and I have no qualms about using Poser figures and clothing in my scenes. The Poser universe provides me with a wide variety of high-poly characters, costumes and props which saves me having to build everything from scratch. That saves me time, thus money.
    However, I’m a bigtime lurker of 3D forums and, while I’m not sure about the term ‘elitist’, I can absolutely confirm that there’s a stigma attached to those who use Poser. As far as I can tell, it boils down to two primary issues:

    1: Work. Some people find it irritating that while it may take them many, many days to model, rig, map and texture a character then pose it for a scene, a Poser/DS user can spin a few dials and (ostensibly) have a gorgeous, professional-looking render in a matter of a few hours, maybe minutes.
    A Poser user doesn’t require the training or depth of 3D knowledge that someone who, say, builds a similar scene from scratch in 3DSMax.
    This ability to let anyone walk in off the street (well, almost), spin a few dials and call themselves a 3D artist really irks some people who have spent a lot of time and/or money training with ‘higher end’ applications.

    2: Awful, awful ‘Poser art’. Don’t look at me like that, you know what I’m talking about. In spite of my mentioning above Poser/DS’s ability to produce professional-looking renders, most of the pics I run across are variations of that stereotypical awkward, stiff-jointed, V4 Poser-zombie with the 1,000-yard stare, dressed in a strippers costume, and lit by those horrible, muddy default lights.
    Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made many zombies in my life (didn’t post them anywhere, though). Most people who stick with Poser for a while and learn various 3D techniques produce better and better art. But the interwebs is clogged with the zombies of newbs and talent-deprived hobbyists. This is what many people are exposed to and judge Poserdom by.
    That and those people who use Poser to enact their fantasies of gravure idol lolita catgirls engaged in perilous S&M with tentacled gym equipment. Come on now, no one needs to see that. Honestly.

    Anyway, that’s my take on it.
    Here’s the DeviantArt journal post:
    (original link: http://athey.deviantart.com/journal/19788220/)

    [quote]Okay, so I’ll be frank. I HATE Poser and Daz. They sicken me. They REALLY piss me off. I’m sorry if you do that stuff, but that’s just the way I feel about it.

    It seems like everytime I come across a promising 3D club on DA, it’s always flooded/focused on/ or run by someone who does Poser and Daz crap.

    I can’t seem to find any no-poser-daz clubs out there that are active at all. There’s like… two, and they aren’t updated or maintained at all.

    Sooooo… I was wondering if anyone would be interested at all if I just went and started one myself.

    I’d probably flood it with tutorials to start with. I dunno… would anyone be interested?

    EDIT –

    Okay, I had a thought to include some 2D artists in on this.

    I think I’d have a Model Sheet challenge.
    People could submit model sheets (drawings of the front and back of a character, or weapon, or vehicle, etc.) and we’d have a model sheet section in the club.

    People who like to model, but aren’t so good on the idea side could use the model sheets and actually try to create the models.

    So if you’d like to see your design in 3D, but don’t do 3D, you could do this…

    Sound interesting?[/quote]

  • 8. Celyia  |  August 6, 2008 at 2:32 am

    An argument like this only works if the people you are trying to persuade are willing to listen.

    Look, you’re going to come across people with attitude problems. At the risk of sounding like a cynic, there will always be someone out there who has a problem with what you do.

    No matter what, some “professional” will always have a problem with this stuff – we didn’t do it the “hard” way, we’re taking shortcuts, blah blah blah. But, if you ask me, a true professional would realize that certain tools are better for some situations than others.

    And Poser/D|S are just that: merely tools. Yes, some will handle it far better than others, but the same can be said for any other medium. After all, I’ve seen a bunch of oil paintings and sketches I wouldn’t even touch, much less hang up on my living room wall.^^

    Naaah. If the person is incapable of separating their dislike for the output of some Poser artists with the program itself, they’ve lost a little bit of credibility with me on this subject.

    In short, don’t let it bother you. Their attitudes don’t really affect you beyond a minor inconvenience and, really, this stuff is all subjective anyway.

  • 9. David  |  August 9, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    All you do is download obj files, modify them, and call it your own. It’s stupid

    When starting out in 3D I tried it out, realised how rediculous it was, and moved on to make much better things BY MYSELF in 3DSMAX and Zbrush.

    Good luck finding a job in any company saying “well I have skills in poser, nothing else”

    Professional usually means you are paid to do something.

  • 10. RobertValentine  |  August 11, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    ((All you do is download obj files, modify them, and call it your own. It’s stupid))

    Although it may be a “cheat” it is not stupid, per se…again it goes back to ‘what do you want to achieve.’ Second on that statement: Most people do not call a DLd model their own…the community is entirely too touchy for that.

    ((When starting out in 3D I tried it out, realised how rediculous it was, and moved on to make much better things BY MYSELF in 3DSMAX and Zbrush.))

    Good that you could afford 3DSMAX and Zbrush, seriously. I work as a pro graphic designer and I still don’t use those for the reasons JHoagland mentioned. I also make my own models, btw.

    ((Good luck finding a job in any company saying “well I have skills in poser, nothing else”))

    The vast majority of people learning or using Poser to create artworks and such usually use an Image Editor such as Photoshop, PSP, GIMP or Dogwaffle. Though Poser is an extremely powerful and useful program for it’s price, it does have it’s limits.

    ((Professional usually means you are paid to do something.))

    So, I guess by your standard then you are contradicting yourself. I use P6 regularly with Bryce 5.5 and PS CS…and yes, I get paid everyday to use them.

  • 11. ArtesiaSTP  |  August 24, 2008 at 6:50 am

    I don’t use Poser, I tried it on a friends computer years ago however.

    Poser does have its niche. In my opinion that niche is in 2 areas… 1) Previsualization 2) Hobbyist artists 3) background characters 4) reference (for painting and drawing and such) 5) architectural firm flythroughs

    I would likely get flamed by Poser users by saying Hobbyist, but I don’t say that in a bad way. A hobbyist would be someone who just likes to make cg images for fun and either has no desire, or hasn’t started professional schooling in modelling and animation.

    Sure some companies may use Poser for previsualiztion, but I’m also just as sure that they haven’t hired anyone who used poser on their demoreel. The only possible exception would be an animator, who wasn’t showcasing modelling on their demoreel. This would assume they imported the poser model into an animation package like Maya or 3dsmax or XSI. However there is flaw with this possibility, in that there are many free animation rigs found online for animators to animate, so this possibilty is therefore slim.

    Basically my understanding of why people “look down” on poser is the fact that you are using premade models and just adjusting sliders to what you need. This is fine in many areas, in many productions characters in the background may not be in focus or seen clearly and Poser might be a great option for a smaller studio to use, and likely no one would know. But for a main character it would be obvious to many people. This is speaking from an animation standpoint, I do not speak of integrating poser with other apps like photoshop.

    As a 3dmodeler poser is a no-no. Simply because it is not modeling. I know some animators that can’t model for crap, and if they didn’t bother me to model characters for them I think poser ‘could’ work for them. Although I still caution anyone making anything to put on a demo reel they want to send to Pixar or ILM or any big studio when it comes to using poser models. Animation is about the movement not the character so there would be no reason to use poser models. In fact Pixar during the interview process, I hear, has applicants animate a juice box to show emotions… a box…

    I do admit that when I first looked at Poser, and I was just barely learning 3d I was really enticed. Poser is very attractive, modelling the human figure is very difficult and being able to set up a character like you would in a video game is a lot less daunting then learning how to model. But once again it boils down to what you want to do. If you want to mess around with 3d software without any commitment, or just want to try to make some cool images Poser is right up your alley. However if you are wanting to get into the industry, you will need to learn how to model, in which case I would suggest not to touch poser until you have done so, so you don’t use it for the wrong purpose. This also applies to Vue, which makes terrain and skies.

    for those that say that they can’t afford to get an animation or modelling package… I would suggest deciding if you are serious enough to attend a school. Also you could download a fully functional PLE of Maya, it watermarks the renders, but you can learn the entire program.


  • 12. vex and her blog » Blog Archive » Poser = Legit artform  |  October 2, 2008 at 8:15 am

    […] Click for link! Site Stuff Trackback […]

  • 13. vexiphne  |  October 2, 2008 at 8:30 am

    I read your whole article and I think its absolutely great. I come across the “you didn’t model, so what did you do?” on deviantART a lot and now i have something to link them.

    What i’m really fond of, is the 16-18 year olds telling me that they use 3dstudio max. Its a flat out admission that they’re criminals that stole $3000+ worth of merchandise from a company.

  • 14. Philgreg  |  October 2, 2008 at 9:55 am

    As many people before me have said..it’s a case of “horses for courses”.

    I found Poser, it reignited my love for art. since using Poser, I have discovered a host of other programs. I’m learning Hexagon and z brush..I’, no good at them yet but I’m improving and hopefully I’ll make a lot more of my own models in the future.

    this IS important to me because I do have a limited budget. So what I can make as a bespoke item will save me spending money on an item.

    However, for me…my use of 3d objects is to create art. I’m not overly bothered about how it was created , just so long as it is created, and looks pretty good.

    I fully respect those people who have taken time to learn complex progs like maya and 3ds. However that was their chosen path, and it wasn’t an option for me ..so I’m coming in where I am at is the only option.poser is the perect entry point.
    I deride anyone who says you cant make professional art with Poser. Some of the work out there is …beyond Brilliant.

    As for those horid dummies with the 1000 yard stare..that fill many poser galleries well, just remember, we all had to start somewhere. Be humble and congratulate people on their first steps.

  • 15. Shonner  |  January 18, 2009 at 6:07 am

    I don’t know about any great art being made with Poser, professional or otherwise. But Poser is just a posing tool. If professionals are using Poser for posing things, I see no problem with that.

  • 16. Guy  |  March 16, 2009 at 12:32 am

    I love using Daz and poser. But the only thing I can tell others is to NEVER bother sharing anything you make with it. The problem is that it allows ANYONE to make quality 3D images, and those who came before it feel lessened by it. It really comes down to jealously, and it is really pathetic.

  • 17. Rick  |  June 15, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    To a great extent this is comparing apples to oranges. Sure, you can do great stuff with Poser and DAZ Studio (DS) as well as crap with Maya or the other big-time tools. They don’t have the same purpose, though. If you are a Maya person and get hired, it will be to do all sorts of custom work that isn’t typically done in Poser. Some of it can be done in Poser or DS, some can’t, or at least would be so difficult that you might as well do it in Maya or some other industrial tool.

    Pixar and DreamWorks aren’t going to do a feature length film in Poser or DS any time soon. They have many heavy duty simulation tools for clothing, light, liquids, particles, etc. that their developers write in-house to get their films done. Poser and DS are not powerful or stable enough for this, and Pixar developers would need access to source code or to people who could do modifications to the code to sync up with in-house tools. Poser and DS don’t fit this particular user space, so it is silly to compare them to it.

    Poser and DS crash too often (at least in my hands) with scenes that are not really so elaborate. This is a no-no in industry, but tolerable (barely) for a hobbyist. My final DS renders are in the 10 to 20 megapixel range, have a few dozen lights, and take 8 to 48 hours to render. I get the distinct impression that DS and Poser huff and puff under the load, and give up more often than I would like.

    I don’t use Maya because I haven’t had the time to learn it and because there are so many existing figures and models for Poser and DS. No, I do not make a living at this. I am a hobbyist. I am largely unconcerned about whether I am unprofessional or not.

    Poser and DS are evolving fast enough that I am not currently worried that I will always be trapped in constricting software. In any case, there are other amateur 3D packages out there that complement them just fine, and leverage the enormous collection of free and commercial Poser/DAZ models and figures.

  • 18. Grenadeh  |  August 23, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    I look down on it because it’s a piece of shit. Very horribly programmed, very unstable, and altogether far clunkier than DS. The learning curve isn’t easy at all, lighting something and making it look halfway decent is not easy with poser. I bought DS and i haven;’t used it yet because I am very forgiving of poser and its a lot of file migration to do. However, it gets the job done more often than not.

  • 19. Jim Shorts  |  September 5, 2009 at 12:07 am

    I like your analogy about photography and this is how I think of Poser and Daz Studio. It’s prone to the same problems that you do see in photography. Anyone can take a snapshot but only decent artists can make engaging photographs. Good photographers don’t make anything in the scene they shoot either. They just create a scene that is compelling with availabe materials.
    Poser and DazStudio are really more like photography tools than 3D software tools to me. “Artists” can use them to create compelling images like photographers do with cameras. There will always be several million snapshots for every decent artistic photo.
    The 3D software that you mentioned doesn’t really work with the same analogy. While you can also produce artistic pictures with the 3D software, the most practical use of it is to create the content for such scenes.
    Poser isn’t a 3D software proogram since it doesn’t model. It’s an image / animation application. Personally, I’d put Poser into the group of tools like Photoshop or Illustrator more so than 3D Studio, Maya, Lightwave and the like. I think this distinction has something to do with why people are down on Poser, it’s not really a 3D software application just because it can incorporate 3D content anymore than Photoshop is. People who claim Poser is in the same discipline as 3D studio and the like are going to annoy people who do use 3D applications by making this claim. It’s not a matter of money, it’s a matter of them being totally different disiplines. It’s like a photographer claiming to be an architect becaue they take pictures of buildings..

    Thanks for the article, I have also been puzzled by the concerns and do believe it’s just confusion over which genre of tools Poser and DazStudio actually should be compared with They are sort of hybrids and hard to pigeon hole. Painters did (and may still do) feel the same way about photographers. The two are similar but unrelated disciplines.

  • 20. Pete  |  September 26, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    First of all Mr. Hoagland, I highly respect your opinion because I greatly respect your work. I have purchased more than a few items with your name associated with them.

    I was a full-time professional fine artist for nearly 30 years. I can tell you from experience that the “art world” is built on a lot of bulls**t. Jealousy reigns supreme. If you are successful…they call you “commercial”….if you are “unsuccessful” then you are the revered “starving artist”. I am a businessman/artist. I paint what I like and people buy it. Simple, eh?

    As for Poser, et all….I compare them to tubes of paint, brushes, etc. (or actors). At one time, you weren’t considered a serious artist if you didn’t make your own paint from scratch. Today professional artists buy the paint….buy the brushes…buy the paper…buy the pre-treated canvas. Extending this logic to animation does not take much imagination. I am interested in making documentaries, stories and short “films” at this stage in my life. I bring my experience as an “artist” to the table. I don’t build models….I leave that to professional artists, like yourself. I concentrate on the lighting, placement and the emotional impact I am trying to achieve.

    I work not only with Poser…but with Cinema 4D, Vue, After Effects and even Daz Studio to a limited extent. Frankly I do most of my rendering in C4D, because the light and camera setup is easier for me. I also prefer the materials setup in Vue and C4D. In other words, I use a pipeline to produce the wanted effect. Sure Maya is probably the way to go if you are starting out as a younger person….with a lot of the plug-ins in place it can be its own “pipeline”. But for me, I am comfortable using pre-built models…good lighting set-ups and After Effects to put the polish on the production.

    Back in my days of more leisure time I played the guitar. I was convinced that my crappy playing was the fault of my cheap guitar….until I heard a real musician play it.

  • 21. Grant Moore  |  December 8, 2009 at 8:39 am

    The biggest problem that leads to the “elitist” Poser argument is the sheer volume of people who use it and try to pass the work off as if they had created everything. There is a very big difference in creating art where you have studied human form and modeled something yourself VS importing a model and setting up the scene. There is great value in knowing how to do this skill, because you can then actually create any character that is required.

    However I’m glad I read this post, because Poser has a purpose, and a very valuable one at that – quick prototyping. if you need to block out a scene, or get a quick reference image made but don’t have assets you can use at your disposal, then of course it’s going to make sense and there should be no grumbling in the process. If the requirements of the job only requires the quality that Poser can offer, then there is no need for AAA art.

    All us “elitists” ask is that all the Poser art out there not be snobbish and acknowledge that they used pre-existing assets. AKA, market your art as more about the composition, lighting, concepts whatever… and less about how awesome of a 3D artist you are.

  • 22. Joe Jones  |  December 25, 2009 at 11:35 pm

    ‘These elitists claim (usually with specious logic) that “professionals” don’t use Poser simply because it’s “unprofessional”.’

    Plenty of professionals use Poser, and they’re rendering much more than the P4 family of figures. P4 and lower figures were used plenty back in the day but shouldn’t be looked at as defining the limitations of Poser, because you can import almost any object you can import into Max, Maya, XSI, or Lightwave.

    Masamune Shirow has used Poser extensively during certain stages of his finished pieces. Poser has been used quite extensively in the comic industry for certain stages of the process.

    “The most logical reason for the Poser-bashing is probably the simplest: professional jealousy.”

    Definitely not. Users who use more complex applications but shun Poser typically do so because they perceive that other applications: 3DSMax, XSI, Maya, Lightwave, etc. require more man hours and skill to master or even use at a basic level. While there is some truth to that perception, Poser is not as simple as those people would like to believe, Those people have not experienced the finer workings of advanced Poser techniques, for example, Poser Setup Room, Cloth Room, Joint Editor, CR2 editing, and a multitude of Python addons. Some of these areas, for example, the Cloth Room is amazingly powerful but incredibly difficult to master, far more difficult, in my opinion, than ClothFX for 3DSMax. The Setup Room as well is incredibly tedious, whereas, rigging in Character Studio is straightforward. Setup Room creates figures that are barely functional for animation, whereas, Character Studio rigged figures are optimal for animation. However, the goal isn’t always the same. There’s really no other program that allows you to “click” to conform truly wearable clothing items once the arduous task of setting them up in the Poser Setup Room is completed, with the exception of relative newcomer Daz Studio which is designed almost completely with Poser’s functionality in mind anyway.

    “All you do is download obj files, modify them, and call it your own.”

    I don’t know of any Poser user who modifies someone else’s obj file and calls it their own. Poser users typically use pre-created obj files in accordance with a license agreement, which never provisions claiming a mesh as their own. If a piece of art which happened to involve the use of Poser includes figures that weren’t created by the artist of the derivative work but appear as if they were, doesn’t that mean the Poser artist did a good job? Because if they didn’t then it would look like a bunch of incongruous objects placed together not a coherent piece of artwork. If a sculptor creates sculptures out of old junk they find in a junk yard not a legitimate artist because they didn’t create the junk? What about someone who makes mosaic out of small pieces of tile? They didn’t make the tile. Poser artists don’t typically claim to be modelers, they’re typically just people who specialize in creating interesting pictures, some of which you can’t even tell were done with the assistance of Poser.

    One of the big problems here is that the “elitists” have created their own definition of “3D Art.” By their definition “3D Art” is synonymous with modeling, texturing, rigging, or perhaps animating. WTF? Think about how ridiculous that is. Before computers ever existed was art limited to drawing with penciles, painting with oil, and sculpting with clay? No way. Even people who did sketchbooks were called artists. A gardener might even be called an artist. Art really has no boundaries and if you’re putting a narrow definition on art then you’re showing your own ignorance. You could be the best modeler in the world, and guess what some snob, haughty, classic art connoisseur would call you? That’s right, the same thing you’re calling the Poser artists you big pea brained, numb skull. If that happened you guys would be bawling about all the reasons modeling is actually art, wouldn’t you? But then you’re eager to turn around and diss on another artist.

    Man, the more i think about this the more arguments I can come up against that. If a production studio makes a movie with sets and props pre-designed by another company, which happens all the time, does that mean the movie isn’t a real movie and doesn’t deserve credit? They’re just taking a bunch of stuff and popping it into the scene and taking credit for it right?

    Personally, I got my introduction to 3D art beginning with Poser. I have used every version to 8 except Poser Pro, but I am also advanced in 3DSMax. I’d say do what you have to to get the job done. If you’re a modeler you wouldn’t want to use Poser, but if you’re just creating art, why not? It’s a damn good program. The biggest disadvantage I’d say is that it’s not really standalone. You can’t model, rig, and render everything in it if you want the best quality image. You might have to model a little here, rig a little there, and render both here and there, but if it makes a good finished product, who cares? Poser art is all about the final picture, not about the making of the mesh. Besides, a crap Poser artist is still going to make crap art. If they’re a good artist it’s going to look good and they deserve credit for it.

    I think people would be surprised to know how many professionals use Poser. Unprofessional? The only thing that determines that is how professional the person is using it.

    BTW, Rick, try Poser 4 Pro Pack, Poser 5 SR2 through SR4, or Poser 6 SR1. Those are all pretty stable. I’ve probably noticed the overall best stability with Poser 5 SR2 through SR4, but Poser 6 seems more robust and renders much faster than Poser 5 did.

    • 23. Mustang Gunner  |  March 21, 2014 at 4:06 pm

      “Some of these areas, for example, the Cloth Room is amazingly powerful but incredibly difficult to master, far more difficult, in my opinion, than ClothFX for 3DSMax. ” exactly so why use poser? once you get to the point where you want to create your OWN models you need to go outside of poser anyway so why not just take the time at the beginning to learn the basics so you are not limited by your tools. and you skill set. You do not have to use poser long if you really want to create original characters in your art to reach it’s limits so why bother with it. the other thing people forget is YOU can get pre-modeled pre-rigged base meshes you can start animating even after one day using Maya Motion builder or 3DSMax . (and many professionals spend all their time just animating not modeling and some just model and do not animate. But a good modeler models with animation in mind. Poser may have it’s use for some professionals but you sure can’t build a production studio around it. and without also having a good base of artistic knowledge you can’t even produce a decent still image with it.

  • 24. Borrowind  |  January 4, 2010 at 1:54 am

    One of the problems is that it is really _really_ hard to find Poser art of the highest quality online. The Renderosity galleries are closed to the public, and no other galleries (if there are any quality ones) seem to rank highly in search-engines. Typing Poser + Art into Google Images gives the impression that the tool is only used by hormonal 16 year olds creating shoddily-posed renders of “hot babes” with large chests. Or the militant wing of the Fairies and Unicorns Brigade. Deviantart seems to be the place where one can sometimes see some decently imaginative and well-made Poser art, but even a search for poser + art + deviantart won’t let you easily find anything impressive. The Poser community badly needs a strictly curated gallery for only the highest-quality and most imaginative work.

  • 25. Jen/Ruby Dragon  |  March 19, 2010 at 12:11 am

    Beautiful article. My thoughts on the matter are similar to how I feel about life, itself: There are no right or wrong answers.
    (I have to admit, what *does* bother me, is when someone feels that “if [they’re] doing something DIFFERENT from us, then [they’re] WRONG.”)

    …Almost sounds like they’re trying to create a religious debate of some sort?! X-D

    Just always remember (everyone): It’s not about what’s right or wrong for someone else: It’s about what YOU want. 🙂 Now: HAPPY RENDERING!!!!!

  • 26. David  |  August 12, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    “The most logical reason for the Poser-bashing is probably the simplest: professional jealousy. Some elitists may have spent years to build up their talent to the point where they can make a human figure from scratch. But, along comes John Poser-User who can place a pre-made human into a scene, pose it all kinds of different ways, and make an image in a few minutes.

    Where’s the years of study? Where’s the “mastery” of building models?”

    Exactly, there’s absolutely no mastery and no skill in using Poser. Its like giving a Lightsaber to a 10 year old emo kid to solve all his problems. Sure he’ll Slash and Burn all his problems away, but it takes actual skill and mental development to be able to act in a different way.

    Sure you can just click-click-click and have a perfectly anatomical human. But you won’t know anything about Anatomy, measures or how things work and why.

    Also, you wont be able to create anything from scratch, meaning you’ll have less chances of being succesful as a professional. Poser is just a tool for Digital Humans, period.

    Ill agree on the fact that the images made with poser if rendered with high quality can add realism to any scene, but people shouldn’t be saying they are experienced in the 3D Industry just because they poke around with poser.

  • 27. Arquimedes  |  December 10, 2010 at 8:04 am

    I have found this very fine to make me smile, to “Elitists” i just have to specify this pipeline:

    Poser – Interposer Pro – Cinema 4d – Cineman – Pixar Renderman Studio. I think some of great companies dissagre with you, mine does as well,

    Creation in poser, importing to Cinema 4d via Inteposer Pro plugin, and rendering via integrated Cineman exclusive Pixar Renderman Studio plugin. If Pixar gives support to a software that can import from your so called “low” program well i think the ones going in the wrong direction are others here.. At aSeven Studios we are glad to take a look at any people art form may it be in Maya, 3ds, Cd4, Iclone, DS, Blender, any of them send us your work we will like to take a look at it info@asevenstudios.com

    Many of you “Elitists” or Not may remember Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (commonly shortened to Alice in Wonderland) is an 1865 novel written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll there he described Alice pretty well, in 1923 Walt Disney made his first movie which happened to be Alice`s Adventures in Wonderland, the one with he moved out from Kansas and got his first contract and had the look Lutwige described OHHH no!! so we must say that man is not a Professional??

    Based on that stament i would like to share a phrase:

    “It is possible to do darn near anything if we figure out certain definite things… We can do anything we think of with this” Walt Disney.

    Maybe today artists or hobbie artists have figured out that certain definite things using Poser or other tools to speed up their proccess and create art forms, an artist is that one who can express felling using diferent tools, 3d is a tool by that i can state that 3d artists express using 3d as form, the ones using poser are expresing using their own form by posing a model. But giving the exact angle to something is definetly an achieving method as well as an example Mona Lisa`s perfect expresion from any angle, besides that perfect expresion is just a woman in a dress.

    Always give credit to whom it belongs.

    A. Gonzalez

  • 28. konradtacular  |  September 19, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    It’s main problem people have with poser is that they produce fgreat images but don’t do any of the work. Sure you can pose a pre-built model SOMEONE ELSE made that was probably made by an expert at 3d and call it your own. In a sense you aren’t doing 3d like making your own models. All the work is gone, all you do is mooch off someone elses work and call it your own. All you do is light it and frame the model. If your’s going to do that than you might as well go into real photography. For example if I took a Rembrandt painting and glued it in a another painting making it the center of attention, Could I really claim that work as my own? I think no. That is what most people think about Poser. All those cg pictures of people that are made with poser done reflect the artist who clams to make that pictures skill. The real skill is with the person who made the character that was put into the picture.

    • 29. Yannis Martynov  |  September 25, 2012 at 10:22 am

      And, my dear konradtacular, lighting and shading, are the most ipmortant parts of 3d images.
      Let me give you a rough example. If you own a PS2, you probably have played, as a demo, or a full game, Tomb Raider: Legend, or Tomb Raider: Anniversary. In their original versions, they were all awesome, but with today’s standards, they are nearly obsolete, in graphics values… however, the PS3 got a “re-worked” pack of these two titles… what they did? They added indirect (call me environmental) lighting, subsurface scattering, and ambient occlusion. But, they kept the game meshes intact. So… same polygons, same bad joints, same meshes, same environments… but the damn thing looks like a different game.

      As a Poser user, I do not claim creation of the meshes, figures, or props I use. I claim ownership of the result only. A result that is a lot more hard work than you’d consider. I don’t have luxrender, or v-ray, or mentalray, or pov-ray to assign materials. I must dive into a complex shader tree, add nodes, test-render, fail, change things, render, fail again, rinse, repeat, and keep failing until the lighting, shading, and raytracing/indirect lighting is good, before adding indirect lighting and depth of field. And, in some total fail cases, I do wish I was using a 3d modelling suite rather than Poser, because people would be less criticising of minor faults, knowing I made everything from point zero.

      And, once I’m done, I have to put my render into photoshop, and work on tonal correction, add effects, compose a photomanipulation final image… Poser, to end my reply, is not a 3d modelling studio, it’s a photography studio, or, photography/animation studio.
      And now, ask yourself…. how would YOU feel, if you’d find out that people bash photographers, like Helmut Newton, for presenting photograpghs as art, when they should actually draw and paint them from scratch? The analogy is not random, or unrelated to what goes on and on around the web, between Mayans and Posers

  • 30. SJ  |  April 1, 2013 at 8:04 am

    Well, I am a professional. I don’t use poser but I do use Makehuman models (free) and Blender (free) I thought I may have to do some game-related art so I started learning Blender 3D in my spare time in college. I agree with another poster that it has the most insane learning curve. I don’t recommend it for people who want to not be frustrated out of their skulls until they pass that learning curve… but it’s free.

    Anyway, I do use Makehuman models, which come rigged and textured once you’re done modifying their features, and then I use them to come up with lighting schemes in my traditional artwork, which is what lots of people use poser for. I guess I work backwards from most artists, who start with pencil drawings and paint them digitally.

    But the two cents I wanted to mention was that all that matters is the end result. All the master painters used grids and other tools to make their job easier.

    And…. I don’t really think that the comparison to Mary is very fair. I imagine she would have some pre-made, pre-rigged human figures to which she owned the copyright, because a professional would be aware of tight deadlines. And, being a modeler, she would have a better artistic eye, and her models might be tailor-made to the client’s specifications, or even have her own unique style. That’s why a client would choose her over John… who doesn’t have a style.

    John’s going to get more clients, though, no doubt about that–those will be the cheap ones!

    • 31. Mustang Gunner  |  March 21, 2014 at 3:45 pm

      Yup and one job Mary gets will pay what John makes in a year

  • 32. Mandrake Rootworker  |  December 18, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    I suspect that one reason professionals don’t like poser is because it’s glitchy, crashes frequently, and has obvious memory leaks (as evidenced by the fact that the same file will crash the system if you load it repeatedly.) Amateurs can put up with the necessity of rebooting their system periodically, and may be alright with rendering an animation one frame at a time because Poser can’t stay up for an entire .avi (even a relatively short one), but professionals are not. Moreover, the fact that these same bugs persist release after release after release, while Smith Micro adds features (for which they can charge upgrade fees) instead if fixing bugs (for which they cannot) is an indication of an attitude in the industry that is most prevalent in consumer-focused software companies.

  • 33. Mustang Gunner  |  March 21, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    HA HA HA you make me laugh , Case Study ha ha ha really? what a bunch of bull hows this for a answer the Girl using Maya did not just start using maya that day and has a huge library of pre-rigged human models (that are original not poser dolls) and can produce the same poser quality animation in the same time as joe poser. Only hers has real dynamic cloth and the final is near production quality.
    Or lets go back to YOUR fake case study let me add one wrinkle for your joe poser user client says the character must look like exactly like Scarlett Johansson and the car model must be on top of a new york city sky scraper and you need to pull back from a closeup of scarlett’s face as she fires a zip line across to another building and then slides to the street where another car a convertible model of the same car is waiting for her to drop in to the driver seat and drive away. Now do that in poser and oh make it look as real looking as live action because the client is Audi and they already have scarlett johansson filming the live action footage of the commercial.

    Now how about a REAL world case studies not a fictional made up scenario in which poser wins. The head of a next gen game development company asks your 3d production studio to create CG trailers and cinematics for Prototype 2 and 2Deus Ex. Vancouver-based Goldtooth Creative got such a REAL job. http://videos.autodesk.com/goldtooth_1_video_1280x720.mp4

    Or how about this you want to produce a next gen game models for EA sports the models MUST look like real life Mix martial arts fighters would your poser users even know How to do that? http://videos.autodesk.com/ea_tiburon_mma_1_video_616x346.mp4

    Jealousy? please son jealous of what your lack of demo real?

    Ops sorry is that too real world for your poser to handle Poser is a toy for wannabe pinup artist who can’t draw well enough to just draw their soft porn fantasy girl. So they pose the barbie dolls in poser and dress them up in conforming clothing created by someone else who by the way CAN use 3d modeling software and is making money selling you clothing for your poser barbie dolls that if you actually learned how to use a real 3d modeling and animation software you could make yourself.
    If all you do is pose models in poser for fun then go ahead knock yourself out if your goal is to actually get hired by a 3d production company or a game developer or own your own 3d production company then you are wasting your time playing with dolls when you should be honing your skills learning the basics of modeling, UV mapping, rigging, mo-cap, Character Concept design, (which by the way usually starts with someone that can actually DRAW) Poser is not going to teach you what you need to know to get hired nor produce a demo real or a body of work that would get you big name clients for jobs that pay real money.

    Or maybe your not interested on animation just producing still images THEN learn to draw? and if you want to start with a poser model OK but make the final image look better then what a good 2D artist can produce faster then it would take you to create the custom clothing.
    Most of the good poser images I have seen have a ton of post render 2d paint work done to them before they can match what a 2D artist that can actually draw can produce starting from scratch.

    I am not a 3D production pro I have been using 3D modeling software staring way back with Infini-d electric image, and strata studio, Yes I use maya and mud box now I was trained in 2D illustration back when computer art looked like mine craft and I can tell you most poser users have no idea about lighting composition or how to produce a still image that would have been considered a acceptable illustration even back then.

  • […] To model from scratch or not. This question has caused great debate between modellers and Poser users. On one hand Poser is great for pre-visualization, forensics animation and drawing reference. On the other hand no major motion picture has ever used Poser for the finished product. No major video game has ever used Poser for the finished product. According to some Poser users, Poser is looked down upon by modellers because of jealousy. From JHoagland’s Weblog “Why do elitists look down on the use of Poser?“: […]

  • 35. Uku  |  May 30, 2014 at 9:15 am

    I’m no professional either but I have heard and see just about same elitists look down on Daz Studio. I don’t really understand it where it all “my program is better than yours” ever comes from anyway? It doesn’t matter what program person uses, but to results they can create with it.

  • 36. admstrange  |  January 30, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    Thank you for the great article and comments. I was considering poser for some pre-visualization work and now I’m convinced it’s the right tool for me. It’s great to know using poser will make me the rebel populist I always wanted to be.

  • 37. erogenesis.art  |  March 16, 2015 at 9:29 pm

    Great article.

    I am a comic artist, I make comics using Poser among others. Its a great application and you can do very very professional things with it. Indeed, not all Poser artists are good, and that has nothing to do with Poser. Poser is ideal for really fast production of comic images, for example. Anyone that says Poser is for amateurs is an elitist imbecile that probably has all the time in the world to make 3D scenes from scratch.

    Look at photography, is that art? Yet the photographer usually contributed nothing to the content. I see Poser as Virtual photography, but now you can also move around the content anywhere you like, and edit some of it too. I do make an effort to make most of my own content though, because I don’t want my art to look like some DAZ Catalog. But I see nothing wrong with using something generic like a table or a model of a Mercedes since those things all have the same shape. Reinventing the wheel is a bit silly for the sake of being authentic… unless you have nothing else to do with your time…

    Thanks for this article!


  • 38. Alan Smithee  |  April 12, 2015 at 9:11 pm

    Elitism? Yes, I have experienced it. From 3-D modelers, to users of certain render engines, to Poser users. I’ve been dogged because I don’t use Photoshop. But all that aside:

    Last year I attended a large comic convention, rented a table at Artist Alley there. I was the only one who had artwork done in 3-D. The reactions from con-goers were unique, because my work was unique in that venue. People would walk by, do a double-take, then stop and just stare for a while. Then they would walk up to the table and say something like, “I couldn’t tell if they were real photos or not” or, “I’ve never seen anything like this”. Feedback was extremely positive, but it took a long time for things to first register with the people I met. It was literally a shock to them, it was disorienting to some of them, at first. Now, the little kids? Instantly taken by my work. I owe that to the huge popularity of Pixar films and the like. Anyway, here’s what I’m getting at……..

    My tools are DAZ Studio, GIMP, Blender, and a Wacom Bamboo tablet. I sold small and large prints at the comic con, many of which I printed myself.

    Again, I’ve had elitists bag on me for using DAZ Studio, for using GIMP, for not having a Cintiq, for rendering figures that aren’t realistic, for not using subsurface scattering, I could go on and on. But most, if not all of those elitists, have never attended a comic convention. I may not have a professional salary, but I’m still a professional. I don’t give a rat’s ass what tools someone uses to make a final product. The client doesn’t care, all the client cares about is the finished product. I don’t do animations, so my workflow is perfectly fine for what I do currently. Eventually I’ll move to Blender full-time, because I do have loftier goals that DAZ Studio alone will not allow me to achieve. But Poser and DAZ Studio are not unprofessional. They’re just not 3-D suites. They’re composition tools.

    Some digital illustrators use Poser, DAZ Studio or MakeHuman to set up a composition that they will paint over. No different from doing the same thing with Max or Blender. Those illustrators are no less professional.

    There is one final thing I feel I should add, though. If you are exclusive to something like Poser or DAZ Studio, you’re not experiencing everything there is to offer in 3-D. It’s very frustrating to have such a nice figure, and a vision in my head about what I want to render, but I am a slave to the content. Last year I pushed myself to model a gothic choker to be used in an exclusive for the comic con I attended last November. Took me about 3 days but I did it. And you won’t find anything like it in any Poser content store. And that’s actually kinda sad, considering that the choker I modeled is quite simple, it’s a standard gothic choker you’ll find pervasive on Etsy and DeviantArt.

    I won’t bag on anyone for the tools they chose for their artwork. But I have to say that Poser and DAZ Studio can be quite limiting, because you constantly have to compromise your full vision due to the limitations of purchased content. That is where the difference lies.

    • 39. jhoagland  |  April 13, 2015 at 2:45 pm

      Thank you for your comment.
      This is exactly the point I was trying to make: clients (and customers purchasing artwork) don’t really care about the tools as long as the finished project looks good.

      And congratulations for getting accepted into a comic convention. I hope you made a lot of sales. 🙂

  • 40. Frank  |  September 12, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    Wonderful, I’m glad everyone has so many hours in their day to be able to master everything they ever need to do. In my case I want
    to do web comics. I do not want to spend another couple of thousand hours mastering the nuance needed to convey my storylines through drawing everything in a 3D fashiob giving off all sorts of just plain wrong perspectives and views.

    So, what to do? I searched and searched and finally found Poser. OMG, look a diorama box that is infinitely configurable and thousands of pieces of content that are placeable and modifiable on a scale that boggles the mind. I can fly 360 degrees, zoom and pan and create scene panel after scene panel in minutes saving hours and hours of effort and time.

    My work flow has gelled to Poser, Paint.Net and Comic Life in the short strokes. Scene, changes and compilation. Comic life is a wonderful way to jump straight into web format. Paint dot net can render all sorts of tweaks and conversions to Poser output rather than use the Poser toon options and readily allows for completely different styles for each separate web comic. In the end I have a proper perspective 2D web comic scene devolved from an accurate 3D perspective complete with shadows.

    I build powerful computers. I contribute on forums about what to build and why and for what. I am a former medium format photographer now totally digitalized right down to my bit twiddling darkroom. My profession has nothing to do with any of this, it was steady work to pay the bills.

    Now at retirement I want to write and create. Poser is one of the tools I will be using along with oodles of content purchased with this in mind and enhancements like Reality to speed things along. The writing will be hard enough without getting bogged down with ninety-seven other time-consuming issues.

    So, on my shoestring budget for a modest $3,000 dollar investment, in software and content and computer hardware, ok, $6000 over the last five years I have what I need to do what I want without ever having had to spend my time budget on learning things not directly connected to my desired output.

  • 42. KDV  |  December 26, 2015 at 1:35 am

    From both user’s and programmer’s point of view, it is not “unprofessional”, it is lame. But why, since Pozor user can take a figure, play a little with some dials and get almost professional render?
    At first, since Pozor lacks many, many basic things. When e.g. positioning an element, there is no way to choose a coordinate system to work in. That’s lame. Did anybody try to use morphing tool in Pozor, or draw some pixel weights? The performance is catastrophically low, even on 6-core Phenom and 8 GB RAM, even on 4-core i5 with 16 GB. That’s soooo lame. In case of a complex figure there is no way to use morph of a single element(so keep some space cutting-off unused parts) because of point ordering bug in Pozor, persisting in several releases. That’s really lame. There is no way to create a complex morph like in stock figures in the Pozor GUI, only basic things. With any serious change to a default figure it’s necessary to involve external 3D editing tools: from Maya, 3D max, C4D, etc. to a Python source editor for e.g. morphing, UV-mapping, rigging and so on.
    At second, since it’s programming is lame too. What an idiot you have to be to develop GUI basing on Abdolbe AIR, not on OS native libraries! What an idiot you have to be to develop 3D calculations in Python, not in native code! Even the lame DooZ studio performs faster, really faster, since it’s GUI is based on QT and calculations written in, probably, c or c++! What an idiot you have to be to integrate permanently shown IE view into GUI! What an idiot you have to be to open a permanently refreshing page in this IE view! What an idiot you have to be to offer plugin support without any GUI allowing disable/remove buggy plugins! That’s sooo lame!
    And the money amount they ask for Pozor doesn’t matter. Since in case of professional use it is necessary to have some professional tools in addition(moreover, copyrastic idiotia is a headache of the employer anyway), and in case of personal use it just doesn’t matter.
    That sucks, really sucks. And if e.g. Blender import load Doozer/Pozor stuff accurately, i would immediately forget about Pozor as about a nightmare, like i did with lame DooZer Studio!

  • 43. erogenesis.art  |  December 27, 2015 at 11:40 pm

    One thing I do need to say, especially after having spent all year battling with Poser (and actually for the last 4 years, on a daily, intensive, basis), is that Poser is definitely not a professional program. Yes, you can get great results with it, you can indeed do professional things with it, like one could do with notepad, but its definitely not a professionally designed application.

    I’ve used it for many years now, intensively and professionally, but never before have I used such a profoundly buggy application before in my life. And I’ve used LOTS of applications, with equal intensity, from Cubase to 3DSMax, Photoshop to even Deamweaver. None were ever as unstable, unreliable and just plain unprofessional as Poser. In my workflow, 95% of all the problems and bottlenecks arise when I hit Poser. It is a badly programmed application, with a great materials room and renderer, but it fails in many of its fundamental parts.

    Unfortunately nothing really compares to it yet. DAZ Studio comes close, but Poser UI is much simpler and Poser’s materials handling and rendering is still superior. Poser is much faster and easier to work with than for example Max or Maya, and trust me I work with 3DSMax a lot too, but you simply cannot whip together a scene as fast as you do in Poser.

    So I suffer the bugs, with gritting teeth… but I’ll tell you this, the instant they come with an alternative to Poser, and I mean a GOOD one, good UI, good shader management, and STABLE!… basically an Autodesk version of Poser that allows me to slap together scenes in a matter of minutes using pre-designed stuff by either me or others… I’m out of there!

  • 44. PoserNoob  |  February 2, 2016 at 2:59 pm

    I’m a modeler and Poser attracted my attention with its weight map rigging, Bullet physics and soft body dynamics. The new Superfly PBR and Octane integration are pretty cutting edge too. As to “professional” or not, Poser needs to update its UI, animation timeline and hair department. Of course $500 Poser is not $3500 Maya or Max. Even as is, coupled with a good modeler, in good hands Poser can be used to produce pro quality CG animation. At this price point, I’d say it’s value for money.

  • 45. Roger Flint  |  June 9, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    Poser’s basically a toy whereas programs like Maya, ZBrush, and 3DMax are professional tools. It was that way years ago when this post was originally written and it remains that way today, even though Poser and DS have grown since. It seems silly to even compare the two.

    I think one of the things that adds to the stigma of Poser, aside from it simply being an incredibly limiting program, is the majority of artwork we see produced. Due to it’s countless limitations yet ease of access for pure novices, most of the Poser created images I’ve seen are often garish and just visually brutal. Even the rare images created by those with some composition and design sense don’t escape some glaringly obvious markers that signify the work was done in Poser — dead faces, strange deformations on the body (especially knees and abdomen), repetitive meshes, limited materials, poor lighting, etc. To me, that’s the biggest issue — just what the program is capable of outputting.

    More often than not, Poser artwork just screams that it was done in Poser, which is a quality that most visual artists would likely consider undesirable. The appearance of the final product is dictated too much by the tool, rather than the artist, making it a bad choice for most.

    • 46. erogenesisart  |  June 9, 2016 at 4:06 pm

      While I agree that the majority of Poser art is crap, that’s not because of Poser, but because of how accessible it makes the medium to folks that have little to no artistic insight. You cannot blame Notepad for the crappy poems people write with it, can you?

      Used right, together with 3DSmax and other apps, you can make really awesome stuff with Poser, almost on parr with other industry standard applications out there. Poser’s advantage is time, which is excellent for making comics. You have to be very experienced in C4D (for example) to be able to slap together a scene as fast as you can with Poser, and then also animation… Poser is definitely a tool that can be used to great effect. Look at Artdude31’s stuff, or even mine on Deviant Art.

      But there is a limit to Poser, among others the software’s internal design (very buggy), and the Smith Micro’s bull-headedness to re-write the app, and I’ve been hitting that for some time now. Unfortunately because of certain tasks I cannot just switch just like that, but I’m planning on switching to C4D or Modo towards the end of this year. Both are very doable and easy to pick up.

  • 47. Toby O'Brien  |  January 10, 2017 at 11:38 am

    I use 3D Max only for fun. Modelling is just a hobby and I have met a lot of pros online who make assets for games and some films. But I cannot agree more with your statement about time and ease. I have never used Poser as it serves no use to me (I model architecture and like learning how things are made), but if I was in a job where I had a week deadline to create an animation then 3D Max and even Maya would be very slow and expensive!

    Your words are correct as what client wants to pay for time that is meaningless! (so to speak)

    I use VirtualDub one because it is free, two it is fast to edit and export and three Adobe Premiere is a great tool but my god it takes a while to do even the simplest things. So it is always good to have a toolbag of various programs that will serve you well. There is always a client who wants fast and one who will want realistic. As long as they pay who cares lol

  • 48. Richard L  |  March 26, 2017 at 11:02 am

    Interesting Takes here on how people see this. I can fully understand why a ‘professional’ 3D person may scorn on Poser/Daz as a limited means of producing something acceptable for todays demands in commecial industry. Likening someone using photoshop and how windows paint is seen as a serious program , may be a fair comparison.

    In addition having slaved over having to learn from scratch to produce models and then seeing the ‘off-the-peg’ version being used and then being submitted as productions must be frustrating and not fair as shortcuts like this are the cheap way to completion.

    Problem on dabating Poser and Daz side is that how people using these is different throughout. I myself have been using Poser since 2009 (on and off) and am only using this as a hobbyist would. I usually use a female figure against a scene (lets use Sci-fi with figure(s) as an example) I have little patience to spend litterally weeks (or even months) creating a figure which would then be quickly posed, lightened/scened and rendered to move on to the next project. The appeal of Poser/Daz is the conveninece of being able to produce a lot in little time. The medium of changing face types/clothes etc akin to a Barbie doll has its appeal where you can do much more outside what the vendors offer (material changing and editing bump maps etc means you can do a lot more).

    There is an industry initself for 3D models on most mediums. Are the people who spend hundreds/thousands of dollars buying ‘Archmodels’; just lazy wannabes? or are they justified as they are 3DS users How more justified are they in buying this, rather than the latest Victoria 7 release?

    i aggree however that the amount of female ‘skins’ and slutty clothes in the thousands does show the main outlet for production, but what do you expect when the main purpose is to pose ‘people’ and the fashion industry is what it is (looks is everything – not Architecture which is basic and attention to detail in a person is primary. I know a few artists who use poser just for hair alone which often is far difficult to CAD/Artists etc who are used to either drawing buildings or sculping whilst taking the shortcut for hair on poser (granted its rendered externally, but what the heck…)

    Poser/Daz is often the start of a project. Ive used both Eon’s VUE to render figures and 3DS with Vray because the rendering in Poser or Daz has always been lame. Fortunately this has changed in recent times and i dont need to port over everytime if DAZ’s IRAY engine does the job. and where backgorund are not needed and its person only, this allows me to do a lot over a weekend and get back on with my day job (nothiong to do with 3D btw 😉

    Poser/Daz models converted into STL format for 3D printers is an example of where this type of application can be done in minutes of posing and then converting to OBJ and then STL and printed. I cant imagine having to spend weeks and then getting this done without losing some patience.

    Its hourses for courses with this one – Its may not be ILM standards, and doesnt need to be if your not animating or just doing static stuff. but its purpose merits its popularity and deservidly so.

  • 49. GirlZwithGunZ  |  November 18, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    Heres the thing
    A 3D artist (traditional modelers ) looks at another 3D artist’s work whether it be a grey scale or full blown render and admires (or not) the difficulty in the model the flow of the topo the way they realistically modeled (if a real life item) the items or subject.think how or what they would do different or wonder how they got it so lifelike.
    almost a kin to someone painting a ultra real painting of you on canvas with oils as opposed to someone taking out their iphone and taking a picture of you adding filters in photoshop to get the “painted look”which there is nothing wrong with that either only unless you start running around yelling about how your a Painter also and you dont understand why all these traditional Painters look down at you.
    its art just…..different but the same because in the end it is art.
    keep in mind im not talking about poser or studio vendors/PA’s because obviously “most” are 3D modelers Im talking the average poser user. I wouldn’t consider them “3D” artist anyway…more along the lines of a render artist probably or maybe a photoshop artist (because a lot spend more time in there doing postwork.)
    and because the first word… 3D …nothing they modeled it was/is all purchased and loaded items created BY a 3D artist.
    Im not saying the results are inferior to someone who does everything from scratch either its just…my 4 year old loaded G8 male in Studio loaded some clothes and a pose and rendered it. That didnt/doesnt make him a 3D artist…..

  • 50. Destination Infinity  |  March 25, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    I am going to buy Poser because of its low cost, availability of models and props and easy animation. In my field, bringing in 3D objects and animation, how much ever naive they might look, is considered mind-blowing stuff. And Poser enables me to do just that. So there you go – it all depends on whom you talk to 🙂

  • 51. GirlZwithGunZ  |  June 27, 2018 at 9:32 pm

    Also….I dont look down on them as a whole .I do look down the ones who call themselves 3D artist
    yet do nothing but purchase and load 3D content.
    or Modify other peoples property to the point that even the original creator can no longer tell that its theirs…..then they sell it as their own creations.those are the ones I look down on and the Poser community is filled with people like this ….So if that makes me an ‘Elitist” then Im proud to be an Elitists an not a hack.

    • 52. erogenesis  |  June 28, 2018 at 12:33 pm

      Eesh, is this thread still going? Here’s my biannual update lol:

      So I am an avid Poser user, but I can also make, model and rig in 3DSmax. But I think ‘Elitists’ might have to reconsider their view on Poser (and perhaps of themselves), because at the end of the day it could actually be a very useful tool, and they’re just looking at it the wrong way.

      There are two ways you can look at Poser: the software, and the art that comes out of it:

      1) the software. Although there’s much that they really could improve, and some design decisions they made are truly sloppy, Poser is actually still pretty damned useful and good for the price you pay. Would I call it professional? The software could be more professional, but what you can do with it can be called professional. After all, strictly speaking, I use it professionally.

      2) what comes out of it. There’s a lot that can be said here. The renders that come out of Poser are as varies as its users: from utter crap to utterly amazing. Poser is just software, and trust me I’ve seen crap come out of 3DSMax too. ‘But why cut yourself short with Poser, you should be using 3DSmax, or Maya’. Dude, have you ever rigged a figure in 3DSmax?????? 3DSmax doesn’t exactly make itself available for quick blurbs, every time I open 3DSmax, its a big deal.

      Look, I make comics, on my own. I don’t own a studio, I don’t have animators and modelers working for me. I have to do everything myself. I need to make sacrifices to get something out there. Firstly, I cannot afford 4 licenses from 3DSmax. That’s insane. Second, to make comics using 3DSmax is like pulling teeth compared to Poser. 3DSmax wasn’t designed for ease of use, it was designed for EVERYTHING! I use if for modelling, because modeling in 3DSmax is super easy I think. But rigging and animation… no way. I made a movie in 3DSmax once, I did not have fun doing that. With Poser (which was designed for animation people) things are VERY easy and you’d have to be an idiot to use crazy difficult software like 3DSmax. If you were making a hollywood-level production, yeah then it is better to use ‘high-end’ software, if not just for the FX, but for simple comics? 3DSmax is a tad overkill. But even so, there I could argue that you could use Poser to storyboard and test your models, because its so easy.

      So its about priorities. Kill yourself trying to be an elitist, or like me, relax, render like crazy, and entertain people at a much faster and more fun rate (check out erogenesisCGI on Deviant Art). And its not like I am making huge sacrifices. Man if a movie like toy story or even hoodwinked can entertain lots of people, I’m pretty safe. Can my art be improved, yeah sure, but I’m not going to kill myself over it. People have been entertained with PEN DRAWINGS for decades, so why are people so anal about CGI? Does it really need to be THAT perfect?

      And about using other people’s models, look at it like this: yes, if you steal someone’s model and sell it as your own, you deserve to get shot. If you just use and tweak someone’s model and use it in a scene, then you’re an artist. Yes you are. This whole elitist DIY thing is a little bit silly. Its actually kinda arrogant and immature. Did the photographer that made that iconic picture of the Eifel Tower also MAKE the Eifel Tower? Did you make the designer clothes that you wear? Did you write the software that you use to do your modeling? Nope. you didn’t. If you’re really an Elitist, then you should make the PC you work on, shave the sheep for some wool, knit the underwear you fart in, process your own beer, write your own 3D app, and then also model whatever it is that makes you feel so special. Nope, we all use stuff other people made, in real life, and there’s no reason why you cannot do so in CGI too. And that is the way I look at my art.

      You can also look at it this way: in Pixer studios, they have departments that do different things: the modelers, the riggers, the animators, the writers, the editors, the renderers, the marketers, etc etc. Strictly speaking you should be looking down on Pixar animators
      because they’re doing the exact same thing as most Poser/DAZ users, they’re relying on content made by others. In face Poser users could even be argued to be more elite than Pixar’s animators because they also render their own posed figures lol. Its a silly argument, but you get what I mean, right?

      Look, I modeled and rigged my own characters for my comics, but they wear models that other people made, just like in real life: they are unique, their clothes aren’t. I make my own buildings, because they are usually unique, but I use other people’s weapons models, because they’re not unique… unless I want a special non-existing weapon, then I model it myself. Whatever works, whatever makes my fans laugh and be entertained. Not all Poser users do this obviously, but to brush off an entire software package because of the lack of skill of its users is not a very elite opinion.

      I understand the allure and awesomeness of making things yourself, and I do so when I can, and Poser/DAZ users really need to make an effort to do more of this, but doing EVERYTHING yourself just for reputation is bordering on insane.

    • 53. erogenesis  |  June 28, 2018 at 12:34 pm

      @girlzwithgunz: reply wasn’t meant for you, but to the thread in general


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