Poser 4 Beginner Reference
Here's a basic Poser 101 for the new kids.  We'll give you a rundown on how to load, texture, pose, light and render an image in Poser 4.

Ok, let's clear off the desk, take a deep breath, light a candle and pop open a beer. It's time to make some great art.
On loading Poser you'll be staring at a fairly decent user interface (UI or GUI). The menus are self explanatory, the tools are easy to use and the layout easy to learn. Most all of these things you see can be moved and adjusted to fit your particular liking by left-clicking once on the title of each and holding, then drag it where you want and let go. You don't like where the camera trackball is? Move it. Left-click on it once and hold, then drag it where you want. The pose dots in the way? Move them too. The dials on the right of the work window not where you like them? You can resize it by playing with the little bit on the bottom too. The animation panel at the bottom blocking your view? Minimize it by clicking on the black handle. Play around with all that a bit then come back to this.

Through farting around? Good. Over on the right-hand side you'll see the library menu. You can open and close this by the little black handle, just click on it and watch it pop back and forth. Groovy, eh? Now in the library you'll see the various subcategories. Just to make sure you're using Poser, these are: Figures, Poses, Faces, Hair, Hands, Props, Lights, and Camera. Under each of these will be loads of things that came with the app and things you've downloaded and installed. Let's begin our scene.

From the top library, "Figures", choose your star of this great masterpiece. For this example we'll be using Victoria 2 (from Daz3D). We'll use her since she's not too loaded down with morphs but a far cry better looking than Posette (the default P4 nude woman included with the program). If you haven't splurged yet you'll scroll down to "People" and you can choose from the default Poser characters. V2 will load in a default stance that really seems to be non-productive. She's not perfectly upright, her limbs are a bit bent and her legs have IK (inverse kinematics) turned on. IK is mostly good for keeping things in proper perspective in animating but that's the default. So let's turn that off for now. In the top menu, click on "Figures" then scroll down to "Use Inverse Kinematics" and uncheck the left and right legs. V2 is looking kind of scary with her default look so let's texture her now.

There are two ways to do this. With a MAT pose (usually included with a character) or by choosing body/head parts (the old fashioned way). If you have no MAT pose set available you'll have to do it the old fashioned way, via the materials manager in the menu (Render\Materials), by selecting main character parts and browsing to the directory the texture is loaded in. We're in a bigger hurry than that so we're going the MAT pose route. Go to your library menu again, and click on the second little ball at the top, "Poses". Included with our character (Dalinise's Misty Frost) is a MAT pose. That is a material setup that has been packaged and saved for use via the Pose library. You can texture your entire character with a click. So we're doing it the easy way, scroll down to the texture set you want (some have various options, makeup, pubic styles) and double-click your choice. With our Misty character we had to make two choices, we opted for normal pubic region and a red makeup style. Purchased characters usually include a morphed version, called a MOR pose. This changes the default body into the character you saw in the marketplace. You can use those or play with the morph dials yourself.

Now she's looking pretty good, except she's bald. Some guys might go for that, but I want something to hold on to. At the top of your library menu, go back to "Figures". I'm going with Kozaburo's free Kyoko Hair Mk3. This particular hair is considered a character, which means it's not in the "Hair" library. Find the version you need (V2 or V3) and instead of double-clicking on it, just click once on the set of double-checks. This loads the hair in addition to the original character (V2 Misty) and places it right on her head where it belongs.

Now we need to conform it to her head, go to the top menu and click "Figure\Conform to..." and in the popup box choose "Figure1". Now we can move the character about and the hair stays in place. Most hair will load with that white mesh look, this is because the hair uses a transmap to make certain parts of the hair invisible - or it would look like default Poser hair, kind of a sculpted lump of clay.

So now let's get this wrapped up. This is the stage where you would start building your scene around her. For the sake of time (this is really dragging on) we're just going to toss up a black backdrop and say we're making a portrait. At the top menu, choose "Display" and then "Background color". I'm going with black, it's artsy.

 

Let's pose this baby. If you're not comfortable posing the character piece by piece there are many sets available for free. These are often quite fantastic but most of the time you're better off using them as a base starting point and doing some tweaking to them after you get close to how you want it to look. When posing, USE THE DIALS. Don't try to pull, twist and yank the character around with a mouse until you get a firm grasp of how posing works. For the sake of time let's assume we're using a premade pose, we go back to the "Pose" directory, find a pose set that you like (most are interchangeable between V1, V2 and V3 with some minor tweaking). Double-click on the pose and voila, it's a done deal. Misty is now standing there looking sassy in front of a very artsy black background. ;)

We're very close to great art. Can you feel it? I can.

All we have left to do is light the scene, find a perfect camera angle and render. Let's go to the library menu and choose the seventh ball from the top, second from the bottom, "Lights". Now any good Poser fiend has loads of lightsets available from their many download scarfing trips. A lot of purchased characters will include a lightset as well. You can also purchase great light sets from the various marketplaces or just mess around and come up with one of your own. In this case, you guessed it, we'll be using a premade set from the fine folks at RDNA, the DNA LightStudio01.

Ok, the pose is done, the lightset chosen and now the part about rendering. In the top menu choose "Render" and then "Render Options". This part isn't as confusing as you think. On the left side you can choose whether to render into the little work window or make a big ol' render window for your masterpiece. If you're going to upload your art it's best to render larger and resize down to the final size you want rather than resize up. You get a cleaner sharper image. I'm going for speed and leaving the size set to 640x631 in the main window. On the right you'll see settings for Anti-Aliasing (clarity, no jagged edges), bump maps (some textures include bump maps to make a more detailed skin surface), texture maps (duh), and cast shadows. We want a semi-realistic look here so we're checking all the boxes except the bump map (I don't believe there is one for this particular texture).

Now I like to click "ok" so the box closes then go to the top menu again and click "Render\Render".

Here's the final render.  It took about 2 minutes to finish the rendering process:

That's about it for Poser now. If you like the final image you're done. If you prefer to postwork the image afterwards then be sure to save it as high quality as possible for importing into your paint program.

This is the final version after the postwork:

2004 BenDover, RaunchyMinds.com

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