Almost all of my art includes characters of some sort. These characters are usually animals, creatures, or people, but also may include unique trees, skulls, dwellings, vehicles…anything that is meant to stand out in my images. Sometimes, I will sculpt a character from scratch using something like Scupltris, but often I will just use pre-existing characters, and for these, you really have two really good choices in tools to pose them:
Poser was the first on the scene to allow artists to pose virtual characters. Originally, it was intended to be used as a tool for artists needing pose references, but quickly it became a way of making art unto itself. Not only can you load and pose characters, you can also render completed scenes with it. That means it can simulate the effects of light and atmosphere and take a virtual snapshot of a scene with the posed characters.
I like it because it has a great interface that is easy to use and fast to pose characters. I also like that the native poser file format is compatible with Vue, the application that I use to build and render scenes. Also, Poser has a very powerful cloth simulator built in. A cloth simulator turns an object into virtual clothing recreating the effects of gravity and wind on an objects as it is draped over a character. Poser also has a few other features that I don’t use very often myself, but might still be useful to you including a hair and fur simulator, a feature that allows you to apply photographs of people’s faces to virtual characters, animation, limited sculpting capability, and a rather advanced material editor.
Daz Studio is the leading competitor to Poser. It can pose all of the same characters, plus a few more that Poser may not handle well. What’s really nice about it is that it is FREE! However, if you want to do some of the more fancy things with it, you need to purchase plug-ins. For instance, the cloth simulation will set you back $50 dollars.
I find the UI not nearly as fluid as Poser. Personally, I would not use Daz Studio if not for one thing: It has a plugin called LookAtMyHair which I have found to be the best system for adding fur to animals. With mammals being one of the primary subjects of my art, that’s rather important to me.
Where to Get Characters for Poser and DazStudio
There are lots of sites out there where you can get characters that will work in Poser and Daz Studio. The two I recommend are:
- Daz3d.com – These are the same people who make Daz Studio (not surprising considering the name). They have perhaps the largest library of characters, but be careful, some may only work well in Daz Studio.
- Renderosity – Renderosity started as a social network site for 3D artists, but they have a great store too. They don’t have as many characters as Daz3d, but they have tons of things to add on to characters such as clothes and hair. Their prices tend to be a little better, too.
If you want to get started in 3D art, either Poser or Daz Studio is a great tool to look into, but be careful, you might easily become obsessed with making 3D art 🙂
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