Poser likes to keep old renders around in what it calls the Render Cache. It allows you to pull up a previous render and compare it to another one. In the Render Tab, at the bottom of the screen, you’ll find a black and a white triangle icon that let you select previous renders.
But this list can grow long, cluttered and out of control. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an option to delete individual renders from this list? Yes it would be – but sadly Smith Micro haven’t implemented such a solution.
There is a workaround though: curb the amount of old renders to a single one. While this won’t entirely clear the list, it will at least shorten it and delete old renders as a side effect. To do this, head over to Poser – Preferences (or Edit – General Preferences on Windows), find the Render Tab and under Cache, choose a value of one for Max render cache.
As soon as you hit OK, previous renders apart from the latest one are removed. Feel free to go back and increase the same value to 25 again, which is the default. You can keep up to a maximum of 100 renders in the Render Cache.
Note that you cannot choose zero as a value here.
Removing individual files
The exact location of these temp files has changed over the years. If you feel so inclined, you can navigate to the following locations and remove (all) files as you see fit:
Poser is a tad – shall we say – pernickety about where it allows you to save files if you’d like them to appear in the Library. You can save files anywhere on your system of course, using the options in the File Menu, but Poser can also save files into the Library with the little plus icon. This requires a Runtime folder structure.
By default Poser sets up two for us: Poser Content and Downloads. To create others, specifically empty ones for our own content, we need to create a specific folder hierarchy so that Poser recognises this as a Runtime. Here’s how to do it:
create a folder with the name you’d like it to be displayed as (say Your Scenes)
in this folder, create a new folder called runtime
inside the runtime folder, create the following three folders:
And that’s your Runtime Structure. Capitalisation is (or once was) important here. Poser will create other folders in this structure when necessary, as does content from 3D marketplaces.
To add your new Runtime to Poser, click that little “plus icon with a running man in a folder” type button in your Library palette. Now you can select it, just like the Poser Content and Downloads runtimes.
To remove it, select your runtime (make sure the drop down does not read <All>), then click the “minus icon with a running man in a folder” icon. Your actual folder will remain in place, but it no longer shows up in Poser.
Other 3D apps rotate around the currently selected object by default. Poser does not. By default Poser chooses to rotate around the center of the universe. That’s great for characters but relatively maddening for larger scenes.
The secret lies in the Display menu, in an option called Orbit Selected Mode. Select it and Poser will rotate around your current selection. Unselect it and you’ll rotate around the world center again.
In this menu is another helpful feature: Frame Selected. This will zoom in on your selection with a healthy distance, making it easy to pick out single objects in larger scenes.
Fly Around is a nice concept in which the camera circles the current scene, around the selected object if you choose. It can be a bit tough on the old CPU though and tends not to stop when you unselect it. Instead, simply click the top bar of the scene window (next to the object selection drop downs). That’ll make it stop.
Knowing these simple things may make Poser drive us just that little bit less insane.
Poser can two two types of Motion Blur effects: 3D Motion Blur as seen above, and 2D Motion Blur. The latter is more of a “preview” mode rather than the real thing. Motion Blur can be used on both still images to convey the idea that something is moving, as well as in animations.
A few years ago I bought Prostudio by Synthetic and Blackhearted. It’s a “light preset kit” for Poser that comes with an extensive manual and many presets to start a good render, but as the author explains you really need to know something about lighting to make renders look their best.
After reading the manual I took some important tips away which I wanted to make a note of, in regards to render settings. It appears they are closely linked to getting good results – so no matter if you’re using this particular light set or not, the following tips apply to any Poser render I guess.
The above are the default FireFly settings you’ll find with a fresh scene in Poser Pro 2014 Game Dev, under Render – Render Settings.
As with all the settings, experimentation is encouraged and not one setting fits all.
Blackhearted recommends to switch off the Gamma Correction for more realistic renders(bottom right). Here’s the difference without (left) and with (right), using the default lights and the Andy2 skeleton figure.
This setting has no impact on render times, just on the contrast.
This confusing term controls how anti-aliased rendered objects appear. Less anti-aliasing means a more jagged edge, while more anti-aliasing means a smoother edge.
Note than even though the edges and textures appear more jagged, the lighting looks the same. Lower values are good for test renders.
Here’s Andy again, on the left with a setting of 1, and on the right with 20. The highest Pixel Sampling I can achieve on my system is 36.
This option is not to be confused with Render – Antialias Document, which only applies quick anti-aliasing to the current preview, thereby creating a quick render. Pixel Samples are applied during the “real” FireFly rendering process.
Minimum Shading Rate
With this setting Poser defines how well defined shadow areas are rendered (I think). Lower settings take longer to render, but give a much more detailed and accurate definition on a model. Higher settings render quicker, and again don’t affect how the overall lighting looks – and as long as you don’t see a split render you can’t really tell what’s different between these settings.
Hence here are two full renders instead of a split: the top image is rendered with a Min Shading Rate value of 0 and yields a lot of detail in Andy’s chest cavity. Look at all the small reflections and detail, as well as the thin sharp shadows at his joints.
The bottom image was rendered with a rate of 20 (the highest value) and while not bad, much of that high definition is gone. It’s much quicker to render though.
Depending on the shader that’s used on a surface, you can see what Poser is doing during the first render pass (when it says Precalculating Subsurface Scattering): the preview polygons are larger, hence the lack of resolution on higher rates.
The Poser manual has more detailed explanations on all the other settings, but those three above always mystified me most up until now.
Poser also has an option to adjust all those scary settings with a simple slider, which appears when you select Auto Settings instead of Manual Settings.
Move the slider further to the left for quicker and rougher renders, or slide to towards the right for better quality renders which take longer. You lose finer grained control this way, but it’s a great way to get started quickly.
Note that both Auto and Manual do not influence each other: make a change in Manual and it will not affect your Auto settings, and vice versa. You can import your Auto settings into the Manual dialogue by selecting Acquire from Auto – but it doesn’t work the other way round.
Here’s one final tip on how to speed up test renders: while you’re working and setting up a scene, consider reusing your shadow maps (Render – Reuse Shadow Maps). This will prevent Poser from recalculating those every time. Depending on how much you’ve changed in your scene this can be quite a timesaver.
When you’re finished, just untick the box again. To force Poser to recalculate the shadow maps, select Clear Shadow Maps and they’ll be regenerated upon your next render.
Since I bought the Microsoft Touch Keyboard for my 1st Generation Surface Pro, 3D usage has become even better than before (I went for the purple one). Many functions have keyboard shortcuts that make life quicker and easier when it comes to navigating a scene in 3D Space.
Before I forget how this works, I thought I’d take some notes.
Hold down ALT while dragging the stylus onscreen to dolly the camera around the selected object.
Hold down ALT, press the stylus button and drag onscreen to pan left/right/top/bottom
Pinch with two fingers to zoom in and out
All the above Hexagon controls will also work in Carrara, but we have a few extras at our disposal:
Hold down SPACE while dragging to pan
Hold down ALT + CTRL, then drag the stylus up and down to zoom in and out (just in case you don’t like touching the screen while you’re holding a pen).
Hold down ALT while dragging the stylus onscreen to dolly the camera around the selected object (same as in Hexagon and Carrara).
Hold down ALT + CTRL to bank the camera
Hold down the SPACE bar while dragging to pan left/right/up/down
Hold down SPACE + CTRL to zoom in and out
For best results with Surface Pro and Wacom Tablets, make sure to enable Tablet Mode under Mouse Input in Preferences.
In Poser we have the ability to add and remove entire runtimes, save new items to those, delete them if and when we like, and we can also create folders inside our runtimes. We can remove items, but it seems we can’t remove folders – not even if they’re empty. This can get messy.
According to this thread, SmithMicro made the decision not to include this option via the GUI because it would mean a potential plethora of “are you sure” dialogues when non-essential files need to be deleted. Instead they’ve left this to the OS tools like Finder and Windows Explorer.
How then can we delete folders manually? How do we even know where that folder is buried deep inside the runtime structure? The answer is: the Extended Details Panel. It can show us the exact path which we can hunt for, or even copy and paste into command line tools.
To bring it up, take a look underneath the library panel. Just under the “Folder Plus” icon there’s something like a handle to drag the size of the panel, the one that looks like some decoration. Turns out it can bring up a menu when you click it! Who would have thought? Worst UI design ever.
Click it and navigate to Display, then check the tick box labelled Extended Details Panel. When enabled this will show the full path to the selected item (the one in blue), giving you a clue where a folder is buried.
Armed with this knowledge we can now hunt to the location, remove desired items and then click the little refresh icon to make those changes show up in Poser.
To take it one step further, we can highlight and copy this path, then open Terminal (or the Command Prompt), and issue a shell command that will delete said folder. On Mac we can use rm (as in remove):
rm -rf 'pasted/path/here'
and on Windows we can use del or erase:
del 'pasted/path/here' /Q
Note the ‘single quotes’ enclosing that path, this will alleviate problems if folders contain spaces.
Poser Game Dev was released as part of Service Release 4 of Poser Pro 2014. It adds additional features to the app which can be unlocked with a new serial number. Essentially Poser Game Dev is the same executable as Poser Pro 2014.
But how do we upgrade? Information on this topic is a tad sketchy: all we’re given is two download links to the SmithMicro Download Manager and a serial number. In this article I’ll talk you through how to upgrade without having to uninstall and reinstall the whole thing. I’ll also show you how to archive your installers for safekeeping.
Downloading the installers
The Download Manager is a new tool that was introduced with Poser Pro 2014. It makes downloading the many files associated with the product a bit easier. All it really does is download installers on your behalf from a nice interface and offer a one-click installer for each portion of the app. We had to do this manually with many clicks before.
Game Dev comes with a new version of the Download Manager. When you install it, your old version will be updated. Launch it when it’s ready and have your new serial number to hand, it will be requested upon launch, determining which downloads are associated with it.
You’ll see two tabs at the top: Installers and Updates. At the bottom right you’ll see a button labelled “Download All”. You can click that and grab a coffee, or if you’re in a rush or on a bad internet connection, select desired component separately. Do the same on the Updates tab and the tool goes to work.
I can see two updates available at this time: Service Release 4 (which includes Game Dev) and a Content Updater. Notice on the latter that this version is somewhat behind the service release and make a mental note of it. This is an issue that may be fixed by the time you try this.
Let’s install the service release first, followed by the content updater. Grab a coffee and let each installation finish.
Launching Poser Game Dev
Now launch Poser Pro 2014 and you’ll see that splash screen with the raunchy brunette. Note that the version number should now read 10.0.4.xxxx or higher. If it’s still reading 10.0.3.xxxx then the service release has not been applied yet. In which case, quit Poser, go back and install it.
Let’s add our new serial to the app: head over to Help – Personalize and paste it into the serial number field. Your current Poser Pro 2014 serial should automatically be transferred into the “previous serial number” box. Take this opportunity to activate your new version when prompted.
Poser will prompt you to restart, so let’s do that. When you launch again you’ll be greeted with a new splash screen featuring the low-res bald dude, seemingly infiltrating that super secure facility with his laser gadget.
Congratulations, you’re now rocking Poser Game Dev!
Wait… Poser still looks the same – where are the new features?
Game Dev only unlocks a few new features within Poser Pro 2014:
Figure – Combine Figures…
Figure – Find Unseen Polygons…
Figure – Remove Unseen Polygons…
Window – Add-Ons – Kinect Capture (Windows only)
File – Import – FBX
File – Export – FBX
Help – Poser Game Dev Addendum
The latter is a new short manual that explains all those features. When you try to click that option right now, you’ll notice that nothing happens… the Poser Reference Manual still opens in Adobe Reader – but the new Game Dev Addendum does not. What gives?
Updating the User Manuals
Sadly the Content Updater has neglected to update our user manuals! I guess this happened because the Content Updater wasn’t as up to date as the rest of the installers. It would have applied the latest changes to your content, but not to the manuals. Bad updater!
To do this manually, we’ll have to go back into the Download Manager and run the Poser Support Files installer (under Installers – the second from the bottom, about 1.06GB in size). Download it and run the installer. Quit Poser before you do this, and close Adobe Reader if you were looking at the manual.
When finished, launch Poser again and head over to Help and check out the new manuals. The Game Dev Addendum should now load fine, and the Reference Manual should read “July 2014” on the front, instead of “February 2014” (which was the old version).
Note: if your Download Manager won’t let you install just the Poser Support Files component and says “Install Poser Pro 2014 to continue”, ignore this and fret not. There’s no need to re-install the entire application just to update a frigging manual. Instead, find the relevant installer file and run it manually.
I’ll explain below how to find it (called PoserSupport.pkg on Mac and PoserSupport.exe on Windows).
Archiving the installers
SmithMicro have always had a policy that when you buy digital software, you have 30 days to download it – unless you pay for the extended download service. This means that you may want to burn a DVD of that app for $499 you’ve just bought, preferably today rather than “later”.
This rule of expiring downloads still applies, even with the introduction of Download Manager.
Before the introduction of this super high-tech tool we had several download links and we could simply store the resulting installer files somewhere safe. Download Manager uses the same standalone files, so by poking deep into its file structure we can find those very same files. Go ahead and download ALL those installer files now, no matter if you need them right now or not.
The tool is clever enough to store “installed” installers in a different directory than “ready to be installed” installers. You’ll see the main directory at the bottom of the Download Manager. On Windows the default is
On Mac it’s
In here you’ll find several directories, two of which are release and update – representing those two tabs at the top of the Download Manager (Installers and Updates respectively).
In either of these you’ll find two further directories: content and installed. Drill down further to find a win or mac folder (indicating the platform for the installers) and finally the actual installer files. There’s also a corresponding meta data file (.version) which we don’t need to archive.
Save all the .exe files (Windows) and .pkg files (Mac) and you’ve archived your installers. In total there are 11 files per platform: 9 installers and 2 updaters.
Note that these may be spread across the release and update folders, depending if you’ve installed (some) them or not. Download Manager moves the files to the appropriate directory when it’s worked them over. There’s no need to archive the .version files.
Downloading Windows installers on Mac and the other way round
Download Manager will default to the platform it’s running on and assumes that if you’re on Windows, you want to download Windows files. Likewise, on Mac it will show you the Mac downloads.
It can however download either platform’s installers. You can change this under Edit – Preferences.
Note that Download Manager can only show you one platform at a time. It will place the installer files in the appropriate directories (mac or win) as explained above. This allows you to archive both platform’s installer files on a single system.
Once you’ve downloaded, archived and installed your new version of Poser, there’s no need to have those downloads occupying space on your hard drive any longer. On my Surface Pro for example space is limited.
That’s where the Cleanup option comes in handy. It will delete all downloads from the system, except for those that are currently in progress (and of course those that you’ve copied to a safe location).
You can use the Cleanup option even if you don’t have a serial number to hand: simply ignore the prompt and head over to Preferences which will display the above dialogue.