Character Creation: Modeling and Preparation

This document covers considerations and preparation of models to be imported and rigged in Poser Pro as follows:

Creating a character for use in Poser Pro can be a daunting task but compared to other applications, is fairly easy. Regardless of your modeling method (box modeling, spline modeling, edge extrusion,etc.), there are a number of things to consider when building a character for use in animation and specifically Poser Pro. This tutorial will give you an understanding of the required steps.

Requirements: Poser Pro is required, download the Nathan character runtime here.

Polygon management

Even a simple character should have polygons flowing roughly with the shape of the muscles. This helps in achieving believable movement and also makes the character easier to rig. In addition to creating the polygons so they flow along the musculature of the body you must also take into a count the areas that will be bending when rigged and more specifically the areas that will have the most extreme bends such as elbows, thighs, shoulders and knees. These areas should contain more edge loops to achieve a smoother bend in the rigging, otherwise your character will seem “blocky” when posing. There are any number of theories as to which pose to use as a starting point but for Poser Pro it is recommended that human characters be placed in a T pose, with palms facing down. This is the most “neutral” pose in the range of motion of the body. Again, this will aide rigging the character later on and also decrease oddity when bending.

UV Mapping

The model should be UVmapped and, in some cases textured, before attempting to rig it for Poser because the rigging process in Poser requires you to split the mesh into body part groups and this will create group seams in the mesh which could break apart during the UV mapping process. Doing so will make texture mapping more consistent and minimize the amount of groups you'll have to deal with. But there are cases in which you do not want to start  your texturing until after the rigging is done. The reason for this is that if you find in  your rigging process that you need to alter the geometry and re-do the UV mapping then you will not want to have textures already created. The majority of Poser figures utilize multiple maps (ie. separate maps for head, body, teeth,etc.). Nathan does also but it's not a requirement of the program. This is done to allow more texture detail in various body parts. So, if you want the character to appear directly in front of the camera for extended periods of time, the texture will not appear extremely blurry if you create multiple maps where important objects utilize as much UV space as possible.

Nathan's Body UV's

In some ways, this is more important than the actual template size, which can vary from body part to body part depending on importance. For example, a map for an iris shouldn't be larger (or as large as) the map for the face. That's just a waste of detail, as it won't be seen on so small an object unless it's very close to the camera.  While it may be beneficial to have multiple maps, there are a few difficulties using them can bring up. For one thing, it will make it that much harder to match up texture seams over a single object like the body, which may take up more than one map. It will also mean that you'll have to treat each uv map as separate objects when attempting to use them in applications like ZBrush, where a single map is preferred instead of multiple maps because multimaps overlap in some 3D paint programs, but not all, causing distortion . Programs like BodyPaint 3d and DeepPaint will allow you to paint on a mesh that has overlapping UV’s (multiple maps) as shown below and export each map out. A single UV map, containing all objects without overlapping, can be used without difficulty but can have a loss of detail in areas like the face when compared to a multi-map setup. Then again, this also depends on the skill of the texture artist. Ultimately, how you decide to map your model is up to you, just keep in mind the pros and cons of the various approaches and you should be fine.

Example of Overlapping UV's


Assigning Materials

Assigning materials to your character is a good idea because it allows you to apply different material settings to parts of the character without affecting the rest of the character. An example of this would be if you wanted to create a highlight on the fingernails but didn't want that same shininess to effect the rest of the body. It is also a good practice to have the materials assigned prior to bringing the character into Poser to start the grouping and rigging process. This is because having the materials assigned before will aid in setting up your groups in Poser. This process will be demonstrated in the grouping section. You can assign materials either using your modeling application or in a UV mapping program like UV Mapper. For a human character you can make materials such as Head, Body, Fingernails, Eyelashes, Tongue, Teeth, Eyeball, Iris, Pupil etc. Again, having these different material groups will allow you to quickly and easily change the settings without effecting the rest of the figure. A complete demonstration will be given in the material room section of the tutorial.

Material Assignment



Once you have correctly modeled the character and added proper UV Mapping you should proceed to importing and grouping the character.

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