Going through old CD-ROMs here, I found a free version of Poser 3 that I got with a magazine many years ago. Poser figures are a bit on the crude side, but it occurred to me that the Poser skeleton may be of some use to learn a thing or two about anatomy, especially since it can be posed.
Alas, the old software seems not to work anymore: it installs on my computer, but when I try to open it I get an error message that says I am out of memory or something to that effect. I think the software is perhaps just too old to work with newer versions of Windows.
Question: Is Poser of any use as learning tool (and I am talking specifically about the skeleton - I am well aware that the figures tend not to be realistic enough)? Should I bother to try to get the software to work? Is there any similar software that one can download for free, anywhere on the web, that anyone would recommend as reasonably useful learning tool?
In some other thread, some days ago, someone referred to Anatronica, which is pretty neat, but I find it a bit difficult to work with, and the skeleton appears not to be posable.
Edit: I have now managed to get the software to work. It seems as if the skeleton may indeed be of some use, though I suppose I'll have to try and see. Any comments/input would still be appreciated. :-)
Last edited by blogmatix; November 4th, 2012 at 05:12 AM.
Like any computer tool its only as good as the programming. The obvious anomalies and problems of assigning weight and outside tolerances for range of motion remove its usefulness for people looking for help in those areas in my opinion.
If you look at the model above you will see that the left hand and arm, and the head and neck are in awkward poses. The model in general seems to float not just because its above the ground plane but because the contact points have no weight bearing stress to them and this gives it an unnatural gesture. Does that make sense? Anyway if you are trying to learn to draw these things should be important to you and so relying on a system that doesn't include them puts you at a disadvantage compared to studying from life.
I've mentioned this before when Poser has come up, but here it is again: the problem with Poser as a learning tool for figure drawing is that you need to already have a pretty deep knowledge of the figure to use it at all effectively. Without that, you aren't going to see the problems with the out-of-the-box figures and poses, which are pretty glaring to somebody who's done much work from life. Poser figures just don't move like real people (especially in the shoulders and head/neck areas), and of course they have no weight/balance/etc. Not to say that it can't be fun to play around with, especially for free, but don't make the mistake of thinking it is in any way a substitute for life drawing.
I've mentioned this before when Poser has come up, but here it is again: the problem with Poser as a learning tool for figure drawing is that you need to already have a pretty deep knowledge of the figure to use it at all effectively.
Very well said...and just to add, if you do have that knowledge (or at least awareness) you just don't need something like Poser. So that is kind of why these things never really break through to become professional level tools.
What would Caravaggio do?
Thanks for the comments; it makes more sense to me now. The consensus seems to be that one should not think that Poser skeletons will teach you anything about how real bodies behave. Are the skeletons at least more or less anatomically accurate, so that if you put them in a neutral standing pose, and rotate them around, you'll get a decent idea of what a skeleton looks like viewed from various angles? And if not, is the Anatronica one good for that? I find that I struggle to visualize parts of the skeleton, particularly the skull, rib cage and pelvis, from any other angles than the ones illustrated in anatomy books. I'd have bought physical models, but at this point I can quite literally hardly afford to eat, let alone buy any luxuries. :-)
Last edited by blogmatix; November 4th, 2012 at 10:55 PM.
Reason: Corrected typo
Get some clay and some armature wire, sit down with an anatomy book and try to sculpt the skeleton out for yourself. Seriously, it's cheap, and will teach you more about visualizing in 3d as well as anatomy itself.
Another exercise to do is to make a simple human skeleton framework out of armature wire, then the next time you go to figure drawing, hold that up in front of you and try to replicate the pose in your armature. You'll find tons of interesting things about foreshortening and weight and balance with the armature, and you can walk around the model 360 degrees and try and get the pose as accurate as possible in 3d. Sculpture teaches you LOTS about figure drawing. And it's pretty cheap. Compared to buying skeleton models.
Also: dang that skeleton up there is super floaty.
Anywhere from 10 to 18 inches tall is a good size for posing and looking at models, I'd say. Obviously, if you plan to sculpt, the bigger you work the easier it will be to get detail (but will cost more).
On a side note. I checked out your SB, Blogmatix, and noticed you spend a lot of time and effort doing detailed still lives. What about setting yourself up in front of a mirror and drawing yourself? That way, you get the satisfaction of learning about drawing a human from life and doing a detailed still life study at the same time.