Poser 11.2

I have posted in the past in previous iterations of this blog, and recently on Instagram, about “gear snobs”.

These are the folks who look down on other folks because they need to feel that their gear is superior in some way. They are inherently insecure, so having the best, latest, or professional camera/bicycle/phone/guitar/software lets them feel good about themselves.

I have little respect or use for people like that in my life.

I’ve been around on the planet long enough to know that it’s not the tool, it’s how it’s used. Ahem.

Poser software was how I got my start in CG. Hmm. No. Actually, it was Bryce, back in 2001…but I got my hands on Poser about five years later and whoosh. Though it’s no longer my main toolbox, I still use it for kitbashing because it’s quick and easy and very familiar. Annnnd it doesn’t cost hundreds of dollars.

Yes, Poser, despite the aspirations in its name, is not “Pro” software. Yes, Poser is “hobbyist” software (and, really, so what?). Yes, we know Poser is a joke amongst the “pros”. Yes, “pros” are often gear snobs.

If you are a “professional” and really believe that you can only use Maya or something to create art or models or whatever, don’t trouble yourself with reading further… the Snobbery Queue forms to the right, over there. Bye.

Truth be told, I gave up on Poser about a year ago because the company that previously owned it, Smith Micro, had all but abandoned it. They fired their original dev team, hired a low-cost dev team outside of the USA, then…fired them, too. Then they were down to hiring literally one dude, who… well, we won’t go there. He tried, I’ll give him that. But several years later, after all of this, it seemed that Poser was abandonware.

Well, Renderosity came along, or Bondware, their parent company (do I have that right?) did, and bought Poser for… *cough* some money (you can look it up; it’s in Smith Micro’s published financials). They committed to further development. Cool. 🙂

To make a long story boring, they just released the first new version of the old Poser (so to speak), Poser 11.2

I just installed it, primarily to keep my copy functional (there’s a new licensing system via Bondware). But of course I was curious to see if it all functioned.

I’m pleasantly surprised with the new content that has been included (though I really don’t need the giant photos of the contributors in my Runtime; no offense, folks). Poser’s existing included content, distributed for years with the program, dates back to another decade — and another century, in another millennium, in some cases.

But there are some cool new figures, props, and sets that people will love. The hobbyist crowd loves free stuff — and why not, right? But this time the free included content is higher quality, and of particular note are the figures. Two new figures from the old Poser team, as well as several from Hivewire3D. The newest figures make use of Poser’s “advanced” features, so that’s cool. Maisie and LaFemme (sorry, I really hate that name) are figures that should’ve been released with Poser 11 in 2015 (or was it 2016…forever ago, regardless).

I think Poser users will be pleased. I also think they are encouraged with the direction Bondware will be taking. I still have concerns where they may be catering to a small but very outspoken base of users who seem to want Poser to stay “the way they like it”, but Poser can only be way better off than it was under Smith Micro’s (mis)management.

I’ll continue to use Poser for building this or that. I have a decade worth of assets I bought to use with it. It’s easy, and familiar. But…the big question for me remains: Do I think it has what it takes to “compete” with DAZ Studio, iClone, or the “pro” packages out there under Bondware’s shepherding? Not presently, not as-is. Not yet? I’m not sure that’s where they want to go with it, though. Poser’s previous team did have delusions of grandeur for a few years: “Professional Figure Design and Animation” or somesuch slogan. Er, no. They tried, though. I was pleasantly surprised with each new version’s advancements.

Unfortunately, the three years of …whatever the heck that all was at Smith Micro… the utterly broken initial release, the updates that seemed to break as many things as they fixed, the lack of real innovation or advancement, the firings, the further hirings and firings, the long stretch in software development limbo… the CG hobby world changed during that time.

So then the next question is: can Poser get its mojo back?

No. It’s not 2006 anymore. But…maybe Poser can find some new mojo.

The CG hobby landscape is not the same. It’s not just Poser and DAZ Studio anymore. Heck, once upon a time, it was just Poser. But now there are entire CG hobby ecosystems that have grown up and matured while Poser slept. There are free options that can do a lot of what Poser does.

As you can tell, I’m torn. I used to love Poser. I looked forward to sitting down with it and letting my imagination take shape. But it got to a point with Poser 11 Pro, as it did with previous versions of Poser, where you had to use so many workarounds and hacks to do what you wanted to do, when other software could do these things out of the box, that it became a pain in the butt to use it. Forum posts were full of people trying to explain that to do A, all you had to do was find this free script, then adjust these three items, then follow these eleventy-twelve steps in exact sequence…and you’ll have that render in no time! (People will argue this point; long-time Poser fanatics are extremely fanatical and tribal and don’t like it at all when you point out something they’ve become inured to. But I, uh, digress…)

Hey, I’m a weirdo who actually enjoys problem-solving and troubleshooting, but not when I have work to do. The end user should not be the beta tester OR the troubleshooter. IMHO.

So I gave up on using Poser for anything but “meatball surgery” and moved on to other, more accommodating, software. Oh well.

All of this having been said, I think a potential Poser renaissance is good. I think some folks might be expecting far more than can be delivered by a small and humble but determined team, but sometimes it’s the small and humble but determined team that kicks the most butt. 😉

Good luck, Bondware. Happy Posering.

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Buy the milk, pay the cow.

One thing I’ve had to battle against constantly in my creative career (meagre though it may be) is people who want something from you for free.

First, don’t get me wrong, I know a lot of these folks don’t understand what they’re actually asking of the artist/photographer/writer/musician. Their request is sincere, and naive. They presume that the artist will give of themselves out of the goodness of their heart.

But… there are some people who ask — almost demand — that the artist give them their work, with no recompense. The (supposed) carrot, dangled in front of the artist, is EXPOSURE. These people know what they’re doing. Promising nothing for something. Exchanging something intangible and ultimately without value for something tangible and valuable.. What they’re doing is stealing from the artist. Because…

I’m putting on my Harlan Ellison hat, here.

Exposure doesn’t pay the bills, [EXPLETIVE].

I have argued (with less than successful amateur artists, tbh) who have insisted that EXPOSURE is the magical unicorn of happiness and success and that every artist should be humbly, bow-and-scrapingly, grateful for any of it. Any and all exposure, they say, is good and will be nothing but a benefit for you. So when a company such as Smith Micro comes along with their “influencer” program, promising exposure to thousands (literally thousands!) of people as recompense for their talent and labour, artists should line up and take what they’re given and say thank you*.

(*”I Was a Smith Micro Influencer”…another story for another day)

Nope. No they shouldn’t.

Wait, what? Isn’t exposure what every artist wants?

Yes, every artist wants their work given exposure, but every artist deserves to be paid for the hard work they’ve done, that is given exposure.

Giving someone the magical mystical non-monetary unicorn poop that is EXPOSURE in return for their work is cynical and mercenary.

Listen, artist: Your work has value. You deserve to be paid for what you do. You have the right to request payment when someone wants your work. You have the right to demand payment when someone wants your work for free, when they are potentially benefitting from the use of your work — or in any way benefitting from your work, even indirectly.

For crying out loud, even the 15 year-old kid cooking the fries at McDonald’s gets paid for his time!

So you’re going to tell me that after you’ve worked hours to produce artwork you’re proud enough of that you’ll put your name on it, that someone should get it for free so that they can benefit from it?

If this is what you think (remember, I’m wearing my Harlan Ellison hat, here) then you’re a shmuck. (Note: Harlan Ellison would have said you’re an asshole.)

There’s so much more I could say about this topic, but ol’ Harlan can say it so much better, in his singular Harlan Ellison way.

Pay the writer. (Pay the artist. Pay the musician. Pay the photographer.)

FYI, NSFW for language. Because Harlan Ellison.