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Some Tips on using Poser to make Units

Discussion in 'Civ3 - Tutorials, Reference, & Guides' started by Kinboat, Nov 25, 2002.

  1. Kinboat

    Kinboat Conan the Librarian

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    First I have a Poser 4 file that has the lights and cameras set up how I use them. The green ball in the center should be right between the feet of any models you add.

    Next, I use the Main Camera as the render camera, and I don't move it at all. I use the Auxillary Camera for most of the 'posing' and the others less often.
    Once I set up a model designed as I want it I select the 'Body' and turn it on the Y axis to 315 degrees. I create whatever animation I may be working on in that position. Then all I have to do to get the other directions is turn the 'body' of the model 45 degrees each time. First to 0, then 45, 90, 135, 180, 225, and 270. As a bonus I can choose to make a movie instead of rendering each frame at a time. In the Animation tab choose 'make movie' and make sure to change the format to image file instead of AVI format.
    I don't really like how Poser renders very small images so I render them large, around 200X200 or larger, then shrink them down in an image editing program. I then paste each frame into the PCX I get out of Flicster... The palette will take some tweeking but you get that problem with any method.

    A note... I like to shrink my Human figures just a bit on the Y axis... Something like down to 95%, you'll also need to shrink any conformable objects by that same amount. It may just be my eyes but the people look stretched tall when I reduce the image in size.
    Any other questions can be posted here and I'll try to help if I can.


    New Setup File and New suggestions...

    I've been using this one for all my most recent units (Japanese, and Native American sets). And I feel this gives a closer match to the lighting and shadows of the original game units.

    The Work Light is shining on the back of the model to aid in posing but it should be reduced to 0 Intensity before the final rendering.

    The Shadow Ball is there to help create blurrier shadows. The way Poser works the larger the area the program needs to calculate shadows for the blurrier the shadows will be... This combined with a reduction of the Shadow map size gets rid of a hard line cast shadow. All this should be set up the way I use it... Moving the ball closer to the Center Pole will sharpen the shadow, farther away will blur it.

    The Center Pole is just there as a reference when placing the model and can be removed afterwards.

    I've also set it up so that almost all of my units are rendered at 140x140 size... The main camera should be setup that way. Also I no longer render at a larger size... Basicly the distortion was because I was saving in JPG... BMP works much better and you don't get fuzzy borders. Any questions can be posted here and I'd be happy to try to help.


    Some tips from CamJH on using this setup with Poser 5
    Came across some discrepancies with running the default setup on Poser 5 instead of Poser 4, and thought I'd mention them here. The first is that shadows for the Main Light need to be reduced to .667 from 1.0. This has been brought up before by other people, but I thought I'd include it. The other is that the Blue and Red values under the properties for the Main Light need to be bumped up to 1.333 from 1.0. The magenta for the background, along with all the other colors, become slightly distorted without fixing this.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Redking

    Redking Chieftain

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    any suggestions as to where to find Poser cheap?
     
  3. Kinboat

    Kinboat Conan the Librarian

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    I don't want to support illegal software so I can't help you there...

    Now that Poser 5 is out you might be able to pick up Poser 4 at a discount somewhere. I use Poser 4 Propack since I don't have the money to upgrade to the new version.
     
  4. gael

    gael Ard Ri

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    Only scum bags use the free 'Kazaalite' program to download free software.
    Stay away from it.
     
  5. Redking

    Redking Chieftain

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    okey dokey High King.

    Rua Righ.

    (I'm too lazy to anyhow - if I had 500 spare bucks I'd buy one of these 3D programs, but I'd rather spend my next 50 on SimCity4 and the 450 after that on food and winter heating)
     
  6. Gringo

    Gringo Chieftain

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    HACK THE PLANET! :p :D
     
  7. gael

    gael Ard Ri

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    I use free software, put the forum rules don't allow the promotion of it.

    Sorry Kinboat, your thread has become a spamfest and its probably my fault.

    Future posters stick to the tudorial:
     
  8. Vdog

    Vdog G-Unit

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    Get a job!
     
  9. pdescobar

    pdescobar Moo, baby. Moo.

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    I happened to come across a copy of Poser and decided to play around with some units using Kinboat's suggestions.

    Keeping in mind that I'm a complete 3-d moron, my first questions are:

    1. Am I supposed to delete/hide that green ball before I render the animation? :)
    2. Can I get away with rendering "draft" quality since the unit will be shrunk rather substantially or should I stick with "professional?"
    3. Can I do anything with lighting, etc. so that the shadow actually renders in a nice purply color instead of near black to make it easier when pasting in later?
     
  10. retroflow

    retroflow Chieftain

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    Actually, I think it would be great if the seasoned artists here, made each tutorial software specific. I've spent days now trying to locate good tutorials on how to work with Poser 4, specifically in a way that can be used with Civ3. I'm not using 3D Studio Max, Rhino 3D, POV Ray, Maya, Lightwave, etc, etc, etc..

    The main obstacle and question I have, is how to modify the clothing so I can make uniforms and such for a given unit. Poser does not really have that many clothes for the male figures. Some may be adaptable for certain things, but most aren't. The given references as to how to modify some clothing isn't really that well spelled out. Some seem so abrupt that it looks as though the author got bored and cut it short. It also seems that many tutorials are written by folks who use Poser and the like for flat, 2D artwork. With most empasis on creating fantasy art with "sexy" women as the theme. Most of them are concerned with how to make the clothing maps form fitting, or the hair more realistic. This is useless to me for my goal: Making effective Civilization 3 units.

    I already belong to a few of the 3D forum sites and they're really quite diverse with limited offerings for each of the dozen or so common 3D programs out there. I will try what is posted here, but I know it's not enough.
     
  11. Kinboat

    Kinboat Conan the Librarian

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    Yeah the green ball is just there as a reference point... just so I center my units and everything. You could try draft but I've run across a few problems early on with the anti-aliasing when I tried lower qualities... It's really whatever you can workout best.
    As for the shadows you can fiddle with the ambient color (up for lighter) of the ground plane but then your pink color may be changed. Basicly if you set your shadow palette up right it doesn't matter what color the shadow is just where it is on the palette. If your shadows are too dark shift the colors towards the right and you'll lighten the shadows.
    Well at the scale you're rendering here you could create uniforms and such with texture maps for the provided clothing. The suit could become a camo outfit with the right textures. Or I've been working in 3DS Max to create some of the props and stuff I need... Poser can import lots of different formats so you could start pulling resources from many different sites.
     
  12. pdescobar

    pdescobar Moo, baby. Moo.

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    The problem I had with the shadows originally was that my guy had black shoes which got lost in the black shadows. I'm not sure what you mean about the shadow palette. What I had done was use your setup file posted above, created a storyboard with SBB that I reduced to 8-bit color in PSP, applying a palette I had made in PEdit which had the civ colors at the front and the purple-graded shadows at the back. As everything was basicly the same color, changing the blacks to purples so that they would be in the proper palette position when I applied the palette caused his shoes to change and be shadows as well. Perhaps I'm not understanding the proper way of applying the palette.

    To solve it, I eventually found that setting the refraction (i think) color of the ground to a darker magenta (something like 192-0-0 or 128-0-0) worked fine. The ground and background remained the standard magenta and he is now rendering with purple shadows which fit the palette perfectly and aren't used elsewhere on the image.

    Regarding clothes, I can see how textures would work for some things, but what about capes and robes which flow away from the body? Are those usually created in some other program like 3ds max or have you downloaded models for them or what?
     
  13. Kinboat

    Kinboat Conan the Librarian

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    Well capes I have been having a problem finding decent ones online. I have modeled some of my own but they aren't that good. If you have the Poser Pro Pack there is a thing called the setup room that lets you give static models 'bone' structures that allow you to pose them. So you could take a 3DS model and use it... Or just look around some of the sites... There are a few good ones out there :)
    By shadow palette I just meant the last 16 or so colors on the unit palettes... But it looks like you've found a way to solve that.
     
  14. SK138

    SK138 Chieftain

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    What are some good sites to get characters, props, and clothing? I don't really know how to make my own (any tips would be appreciated). I want to make some WW2 and modern infantry units and a Pirate unit.
     
  15. Kinboat

    Kinboat Conan the Librarian

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  16. Robertr4836

    Robertr4836 Chieftain

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    Just a thought. Have you tried fooling around with the main cameras focal length prior to rendering? It might get rid of the elongation your seeing when you shrink the image without having to reduce the Y axis scale.
     
  17. Kinboat

    Kinboat Conan the Librarian

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    Well actually I think I have... This file is rather old and I've changed my methods slightly. Although the original civ units are squat and bulky so shrinking the Y axis probably still gives you a better match. I think the setting was 200 in the file above... I usually use 100 now.
     
  18. Kinboat

    Kinboat Conan the Librarian

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    Ok... For my 1000th post I'm going to be posting a tip for everyone that uses Poser for unit creation. This wasn't that hard to figure out (maybe some people already do something similar) it just took a little incentive to sit down and fiddle with the settings. Anyway this tip is about the shadows. I've had a problem with the way Poser gives you crisp shadows and the game has more blurry indistinct shadows. Here's what I came up with... Because of the way Poser uses Universal lights if you place a sphere (or anything really but the simplest objects work the same as the complex ones) off to one side and out of the render view, the shadow will become blurry... The farther the object is moved away the blurrier you get. I've moved a sphere 5 on the Xaxis and lowered my shadow map number from 256 to 128 (on the light object... this basicly determines how large an image it will create for the shadow... Larger number equals longer render times and more detail in the shadow). The principle behind this is that the program takes all the objects that would cast a shadow and then calculates the shadow map... So the larger the area with objects in it and the smaller the shadow map number, the blurrier the shadows. Hope this is understandable...
     
  19. Dr. Yoshi

    Dr. Yoshi Emperor of the Universe

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    If you're a student, you can get Poser for a discount at journeyed.com
     
  20. Kinboat

    Kinboat Conan the Librarian

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    I've updated the post at the top to include my revised setup that seems to give better shadow results as I mentioned 2 posts above.
     

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