In celebration of Poser’s 20th anniversary, we’re bringing back some historic case studies that are still timely and applicable today. These great snapshots show how Poser solved problems and still is doing so.
How long have you been using Poser?
I first started using Poser in 1999. It's the only 3D animation software I use and it's exciting growing and improving as the program itself has developed more and more with each addition over the last 10 years.
What software did you use before Poser?
I have used other 3D programs, including Cinema 4D and Lightwave. The first 3D animation program I used was Lightwave, but I struggled with multiple features on their program including
- Their endless interfaces, which were overwhelming
- The fact that Lightwave invented their own language for copyright names and copyrighting tools. When I read instructions on how to use it, I didn't even know what they were talking about because every single option, tool, or action had its own invented word or language specific to their program.
I finally decided to go for something friendlier and easier to use. Poser was the perfect fit.
I always find myself coming back to Poser. Its interface and tools are easy to use and the renders are up to par with more complicated programs. Working in Poser is just easier and faster than other programs. I can get so much done in a shorter amount of time. Also, the process doesn't get in the way of creativity. I come up with ideas and see them through with ease. I often will render two scenes at once by having both of them running simultaneously on my Mac.
Where does Poser fit into your production process?
I often use Poser mixed with live action. I do a lot of work where I mix live action on green screen with various backgrounds. I usually create these backgrounds in Poser, but it's also nice to make my raw elements in Poser, build a 3D scene in After Effects and then comp in my live footage, which allows me to take advantage of the 3D camera moves and lighting in After Effects as well. This has allowed me to experiment with wonderful effects.
I like the accessibility of Poser. It's pretty astonishing what you can create using Poser, a video camera and some editing software.
I use Final Cut Pro to do my final compositing. I've also enjoyed recording audio and using mimic in Poser to help speed up the animation process. In my projects I can create 3D characters that live actors can speak to and interact with in the same shot. There are lots of examples of this in my video podcast, found on iTunes (search: Lynchland) or on my website www.liamlynch.net
I also use a number of other programs with Poser. I use Photoshop to make my own surfaces and sometimes After Effects to create specific sized movie surfaces for some objects. I also love rendering objects out of Poser and importing them into After Effects to be used as 3D layers in compositions. Poser is not only a part of my professional work, but it is also a VITAL part of my development.
I have used Poser countless times to create: storyboards, animatics for feature films, visual examples for pitching ideas, and also for testing shots or camera movement timing.
What do you find most useful about Poser? What are your favorite features?
I love that I can work fast without endless windows and numbers and problems. The interface is one of the greatest things about Poser. It has all the features and qualities that can be found in high-end 3D programs, but it's simple to use.
I struggle with other high-end programs because:
- With higher-end 3D programs, you have to learn the program’s language before you can get started.
- The programmers invent features and then have to name them.
- These programs invent words to make their features seem different from others, and frequently there will be different names for the same function. They try to make it their own and so they invent their own dictionary of terms. It can be confusing.
- They also offer TOO much control over elements, which hinders my creative process. It becomes an endless process of windows that open windows that open windows... I feel so far from the actual idea or scene when I get buried in jargon and windows and numbers.
Poser allows me to get to the point and makes it easy to create without having to have a doctorate in Physics.
What are some of your time saving tips when using Poser on a project or artwork?
If you are doing a scene where the camera isn't moving, but a character is moving around within a set or scene, it's a good idea to render your set or background and save it as a jpeg. Then clear the scene of all background element, but keep your figure. Import the jpeg of your background and then render the scene.
Renders are faster since the computer only has to calculate and render your figure. It can render the background jpeg much faster than rendering all the objects in that picture for every frame.
Which Poser projects are you most proud of?
I've done many projects with Poser and have also utilized Poser as a visualization tool during pre-production. I often find my camera angles and work with my DP in Poser to experiment quickly and cheaply with shot ideas before going into storyboarding. I used this aspect of Poser to work out sequences for "Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny" as well as "Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic". It was a vital tool in figuring out timing for musical sequences and also for conveying my ideas to my visual effects team. I created several of the scenes for these films in Poser and then used the animation to show all the departments how the scenes play out. It was great!
Besides using Poser as a pre-production tool, I have also used Poser in many final products. These include music videos for Queens of the Stone Age, Eagles of Death Metal, and music videos and short films with Tenacious D. I also use Poser for my own music videos and my video podcast "Lynchland.”
What advice do you have for artists starting out with Poser?
If you are starting to animate characters, it can help to video tape yourself doing a scene. Import your image into the background of your display as a QuickTime movie. You can use your video as a good guide for the character you are animating. You can turn your figure to only wire frame and see through to your video in the background. This will help give you a guide with your poses and timing. After you animate, you can remove the background footage and render your animation without the background guide.
Liam Lynch wears many hats in the entertainment industry. He was the creator, co-writer, musician, actor, director, and executive producer of MTV's Sifl and Olly Show. The Daily Show ran three seasons and was ranked among MTV's top ten shows at the time. His surreal sock puppet show is still airing in countries around the world.
Lynch also writes comedy and music for television and film (Clone High, The School of Rock), and has been releasing his own albums and DVDs on his 111 Productions label.
With a recent radio hit for his song, "United States of Whatever," Lynch now works and records with Ringo Starr, who plays drums for Lynch on his album, "Fake Songs". The album went top ten in both the U.K. and Australia. Liam's homemade music video for the song was a regular on British Television and was nominated for several awards. The song was so popular that it was even spoofed by British Television shows using a George Bush impressionist singing Lynch's track.
While working on the album, Fake Songs, Lynch also managed to find time to direct a music video for the Foo Fighters, work on DVDs for No Doubt and Tenacious D, direct several television commercials and write a few screen plays. Although he's a nerdy insomniac that rarely leaves his home studio, he's been featured in every magazine from Time to Rolling Stone.
Liam recently completed work directed and editing the Sarah Silverman film, "Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic". Besides developing and directing the film, Lynch co-wrote songs with Silverman and performed, engineered and produced her soundtrack album. Lynch recently finished a surreal documentary on the band "The Eagles of Death Metal", a homemade video for Queens of the Stone Age song "Burn the Witch" and a holiday video with Sarah Silverman entitled "Give the Jew Girl Toys".