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    Poser?

    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 04:12 AM.
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  3. #2
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    Example of the kind of thing Poser can generate:

    Name:  Untitled.jpg
Views: 427
Size:  35.1 KB

    It can even turn the model into a sketch too:

    Name:  Untitled2.jpg
Views: 360
Size:  45.0 KB

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    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    Like any computer tool its only as good as the programming.
    Rather old software, I'm afraid. :-)

    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.
    Not clear on what you mean by the above.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blogmatix View Post
    Rather old software, I'm afraid. :-)



    Not clear on what you mean by the above.
    Okay,

    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.

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    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.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    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.

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    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 09:55 PM. Reason: Corrected typo
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    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.

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    Medelo: Thanks - all very good ideas. I'll have to go see what clay costs, and I'm not sure what you mean by armature wire. Any fairly soft and easy-to-work wire? How big are such model typically?

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    Armature wire is aluminum wire.


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    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).

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    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Armature wire is aluminum wire.
    Where does one get hold of that? I don't think I have ever seen it around here, in either art supply shops or hardware stores. Perhaps it doesn't necessarily have to be aluminum?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Medelo View Post
    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).
    Okay, that is about what I imagined. Just wanted to be sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Candra H View Post
    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.
    Yes, I'll probably do much more of that too. Perhaps sit on bar stool in front of a mirror, with paper in a clipboard?

    It's a bit of a long story. I am just an amateur, and up to now I never really had much time for drawing, so I followed the venerable old tradition followed by many centuries of amateurs, and focused mostly on still life. I was reluctant to take up the human figure because I felt I did not have enough time to ever really make a proper job of it.

    But it is possible that I will have more free time over the next few years, so I thought "why not try out figures as well?" I'm quite thoroughly a beginner as far as that is concerned though, and I seem not to have any visual imagination to speak of. I have also acquired some bad habits, I think, such as trying to reproduce the contours of what I see without any good understanding of the three-dimensional form. So I'll have my work cut out for me. :-)

    Thanks for all the input; I appreciate it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blogmatix View Post
    Yes, I'll probably do much more of that too. Perhaps sit on bar stool in front of a mirror, with paper in a clipboard?
    That'll work, definitely. I should probably follow my own advice more often too, heh.

    I hear you re drawing the human figure by the way. I've drawn and painted on and off most of my life but was never really interested in people or realism. Just wanted to have fun painting from my imagination. Which was all very well but because I didn't have the experience I needed - being able to translate what I saw around me into a believable fantasy setting - my work always disappointed me.

    So now I'm finally off my arse and learning what I need to know. What's taking most of my time is the human figure so that's where I spend most of my learning time. Everything else gets fitted in around that and the more I study people, the easier everything else gets too, interestingly enough. So yeah, I guess what I'm saying is, go for it with your figure studies because it's really help. And good luck.

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    I imagine it doesn't really have to be specifically that kind of wire... Any old kind of wire will do for the pose comparisons. But for sculpting, it just needs to be sturdy enough to hold up the clay.

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    Here's my simple solution to bad looking joints in 3d model - removing them .

    Poser?

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