Undoubtedly Useful Utilities
• Morphography • Tutorials • Undoubtedly Useful Utilities •

Here's my round-up of useful things to have - most are free, but where I think it's worthwhile spending money, I've said so.

DAZ|Studio

First of all, how about a complete 3D character posing and rendering application for free? That's what you get if you download DAZ|Studio.

This is potentially the most valuable asset on this page, and I feel it should have more text associated with it, somehow... Just be aware that a lot of useful functionality is contained in add-ons that you'll have to buy. That's how DAZ's business model works. You weren't really expecting a free lunch, were you? :)

If I was starting in 3D now, I'd probably start with DAZ Studio. It's free! :) As things stand, I started with Poser (also free, off a magazine cover CD) and don't feel the need to learn a new interface; so you're unlikely to read any DAZ advice here, but that isn't because I have anything against it.

Post Work / Image Manipulation

You'll almost certainly need a painting program / picture editor. This is for preparing texture maps (an editor with layers is more useful, e.g. PSP version 5 onwards) and tweaking your images after you've rendered them (known as "post" work).

I use Paint Shop Pro version 7 which is long out of date. It only just works in Windows 7 (protip: run it in compatibility mode for XP), and not at all in Windows 10, as far as I can tell.

Alternatives include PhotoShop (the industry standard), and at the other end of the price scale (but not ability), The GIMP, which has the advantage of being free. Some people (myself included) find the user interface confusing.

UnZIPping

Poser library content that you can download from this site and others is usually compressed in some way. Windows can handle ZIP format natively from XP onwards, but some archives seem to confuse it; you will need a stand-alone application in any case, for other popular formats such as RAR. I use PeaZip, specifically the portable version. I can put it on a Flash memory USB stick and work on any Windows computer I happen to be sitting in front of. I can recommend the rest of the PortableApps suite too - but that's getting off-topic for this page.

Free Modellers and Convertors

If you want to get into making your own props, morph targets or even clothes, then you need a stand-alone modeller. Your best bet is to try them and see which you get on best with. Here are some free ones that you can try:

In addition to a modeller, you'll most likely want a 3D mesh convertor, especially if you spend your time trawling the web for freebie downloads. :) Each of these will do some formats better than others, so it's probably advisable to have access to them all.

Stuff for more advanced use

You'll need a text editor capable of handling enormous files. Sooner or later, there will be something that can only be done by hacking one of the gigantic text files that Poser uses. Notepad won't do! I now use NotePad++, specifically the portable version from PortableApps.com for reasons which I've already mentioned.

I now do most of my Poser file editing with a dedicated editor. They are safer to use, because they look after the matching of braces {} for you, and they're easier to use, because you can see the file in a hierarchical layout and it's easier to navigate to the various sections.

I mainly use Dimension3D's Poser File Editor. Free alternatives are:


UVmapper by Steve Cox, from http://www.uvmapper.com. Use it for generating texture templates, decoding UVS remap files, and lots more besides if you start modelling. The Pro version is worth paying out for if you do this seriously; features such as 3D textured previews, displacement mapping and smoothing are very useful for modellers and texture artists.


RoadKill is a different type of UV mapper, which offers better "flattening" of your mesh - this may help to explain where it got its name from... It's Windows only, and is available free from Pullin Shapes. The download for RoadKill is a little confusing: you want the Maya version, which despite what you may think is stand-alone, not a plugin. You won't need Maya to be able to use it, fortunately. It's labelled Roadkill 1.1 (release candidate 3) - and be aware that you will get a file named RoadKill_1_1_RC3.zip, not 5vyhgt7d9t.zip as it says on the page. I've put together a tutorial which uses it.


Morph Manager by Paul "Mr. X" Mason. Download a copy here (326KB). This can transfer morph targets from one model to another, extract, delete and rename them.


Objaction Mover by Maz; his site is now down, but you can get it from Renderosity Freestuff (free registration needed). You'll need this to decode modified meshes which are distributed in the .pcf format to avoid copyright trouble.

Most recent downloads use RTEncoder by Russell Cook. The RTEncoder site has been blank for a year or more (February 2017), and I don't know of an alternative source. Redistribution is forbidden in the terms of use. However you can use Archive.org's Wayback Machine to download: March 2015. The archive will throw up some PHP errors, but it still works.


P3dO Explorer by Yarp; get it from SENO Software. This is very useful for organising your Poser files. Once again, the Pro version is worth the outlay for regular users, and offers many more features. This application is my go-to method for browsing, organising and adding library content to Poser.


STOMP by Keith "Spanki" Young. Download it from here. This is useful as a viewer for OBJ files, which gives you information about their size etc.; it can also perform various other useful functions including mirroring, scaling, editing materials and more.

Of particular interest to Poser users is its ability to "de-fragment" an OBJ file to streamline the Adding Objects phase of a FireFly render. See this thread at Renderosity for more details.

Note: the e-mail contact address given in the program, and in the readme, is no longer operational. If you need to contact Spanki, the best way is via his member page at Renderosity (just click on his name in the thread linked above).


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