I started using Poser back in 1997. I was at a computer show and purchased a Fractal Design bundle that came with Poser 1. I have played with every edition of Poser up until the 2010 release. I’ve done quite a bit of art using the program, including a little bit of professional work for R Talsorian, Tri Tac Games, and Dilly Green Bean Games. I think my skills are pretty solid and you can see examples here, here, and here.
I got into Poser because as an independent game designer I have very little budget to pay artists to do work. Art is not cheap and it shouldn’t be. Artists deserve to get paid and like it or not, they are half the reason anyone will buy your product. You can have the best game in the world but if your art sucks, your sales will be minimal. Poser gave me the opportunity to create good looking art without having to pay anyone. Instead of hiring an artist I became the artist. Mind you, I have talent, but I’m more of a designer than a sketch artist. I feel as though this is why most game designers who use Poser have made this choice.
Poser is not easy to use. It seems like a silver bullet but it’s not. It takes time to learn how to use the program. You have to learn how to use textures, shaders, inverse kinematics, and collision detection. You have to learn how to work in the 3D space and think in 3D. You have to position things correctly which includes poses, cameras, lights, props, and environments. Lighting is probably the most difficult to master and it is the thing most likely to ruin your image. The only thing worse is composition. If your composition sucks, no one can fix it.
On top of all that, you either must use supplied models or build them yourself. Building them yourself is a mother fucker. It’s an entirely different skill set and can take years to learn. Buying models is easier but gets very expensive. There are free models available but more often than not, you get what you pay for. The only upside to all of this is that the software is cheap enough and free versions are available that are pretty damn good. DAZ Studio is as good as or even better than Poser in some ways and is completely free.
At the end of the day, you might have just been better off paying someone to do the art for you. Then again, after your initial costs, and if you get really good with Poser (or DAZ), you can generate an unlimited amount of cool art that doesn’t cost you anything but time. Unfortunately, time doing art is time not doing design and writing. If you’re on a tight schedule, it’s going to cause something to suffer.
People Hate 3D Art
Not everyone, but a lot of people hate 3D art. Hate it! As a 3D artist, who initially planned to use 3D art in my products, I have put a lot of thought into why…
The first and most likely candidate is the flood of shitty work. Anyone can get DAZ for free or bootleg a copy of Poser. Back in the day, you could have used Kazaa to get it in about 15 minutes. You could also get a bunch of bootlegged models. Renderosity, DAZ, Renderotica, RuntimeDNA, and many others also have free models you can download. This puts a plethora of working material in everyone’s hands. Thus, everyone thinks they can be an artist. They can’t. And thus, a flood of shitty art has overtaken the industry. People are so sick of looking at shitty 3D art that they have an instant revulsion to it. Check out some shit art here and here. Most of these people fail in composition and lighting.
The second reason people hate 3D art is a phenomenon known as the uncanny valley. That’s where things look real but not real enough. It causes your brain to have cognitive dissonance and it automatically wants nothing to do with it.
Good 3D Art
Some people are able to generate the art using Poser (DAZ), run Photoshop filters on it, and turn out art people like. However, this is also an art and is easy to fuck up. You can essentially create something that looks like someone ran a crappy art filter on shitty Poser art.
Most people using Poser aren’t cheap, they aren’t stupid, and they aren’t clueless. They just don’t have the money to pay artists what they deserve. But they do have a desire to be creative and get their work out there. I’m not saying to give them a pass and I’m not saying you should buy stuff with art you don’t like. But the next time you see an indie game using Poser art please try to understand how hard it is for some of these creators just trying to get their games out there.
What do you think? Do you hate Poser art? Do you like it?