It’s funny how things snowball. I’ve been using heromachine for a while to create superhero portraits, and it works very well indeed. It’s biggest – and arguably, only – downside is that the number of poses is severely limited, and after creating a couple of hundred hero costumes, I’ve tired of seeing the same old stances.
So, I decide to ramp up the hero building, and install Poser 6. I figure something which can create the amazing images Christa make would work just fine for tossing around a cape and spandex. Oh boy, what little I knew
A spot of nethunting showed it was possible to run Poser in Linux using wine (yay!), and one swift install later (following the instructions regarding dlls, etc), Poser started…. and promptly crashed! I suspect it’s jut one thing I’m missing, so a little more googling should solve that problem. I have faith.
Meantime, I switched over the the Bastard Operating System from Hell, and installed Poser 6 there instead. That Christa configured it for me, added lots of additional figures, props, poses, etc and ate up around 2Gb of disk-space. It’s all good stuff though, and I’m grateful.
Poser is great, but not without it’s own problems. Firstly, it suffers from the same faults ever other Windows program has; it’s running under Windows. That means half your memory if taken up by the fricking Operating System before you start and other programs pre-load into memory whether you use them or not. !iTunes, I’m looking at you. There is no reason in heck why anything from Apple should be in memory if the !iPod isn’t installed or !iTunes isn’t open, so why the heck is it taking up 50Mb of memory all the time?! Grr. Bad, bad app design. One swift trip to the Task manager, and it’s free once more. Until next time, of course.
This may be related, but stability isn’t a strong point either. I’m used to Linux apps where stability comes as standard. If a program crashes in Linux, it’s unusual enough to be noteworthy; the only time I see crashes is when I’m using the developer release of Opera, and that’s unstable by definition. In the Wonderful World of Windows, the opposite is true. If, by some combination of luck and skill, a Windows user has a system which is stable, it’s a point of pride. Strange, that. Why be proud of something you should expect by default? It’s like being proud that you’ve got two feet, per chrissakes.
Anyhow, Poser locks up sometimes, then it’s a royal pain to shut it down. “End Now” does nothing, or does it so slowly it matters not. Oh for kill -15. Poser also sometimes can’t open the Library, but gets stuck in one folder until you close down and restart. By sometimes, I mean once every couple of hours. Not good.
Some of this is endemic to all Windows apps thanks to a low quality OS, but the rest is firmly at Poser’s door. It’ll be good to get it working under Linux so we can see how it runs on a Real OS ™
Meantime, what Poser does, it does very, very well indeed. The models (Victoria 3 in particular) are superb, the Firefly render engine is world class, and the only limitations are your imagination and patience.
Here’s a few sample heroes I created yesterday. Click for a larger view, as ever.
These are from my initial fiddling with the app; hopefully, the best is yet to come.
Poser isn’t a quick app to use. The clothes don’t generally mesh perfectly to the bodies, and need a LOT of fine tuning. The poses may need minor alteration, the materials might require modification, etc. It’s a far cry from heromachine (or even Sims 2!) when it comes to character building; if anything, I’d say that’s something Poser needs to address in future versions. In this day and age, the clothes and props should adapt to fit to the base mesh and only require occasional tweaking. Heck, they’ve cracked realistic hair creation, so they should be able to make a pair of pants that fit
More tests and experiments to come.