I’ve been looking into external renderers for Poser 9 / Poser Pro 2014, other than the “PoserFusion” plugins that ship with 2012 (and which let you use 3DS Max, Maya, Cinema 4D, and LightWave). Vue 10 seems the best option. But I think I still need to research more, to find out if one of those PoserFusion plugins for Maya or 3DS Max or Lightwave can offer something more seamless and “three-clicks” than Vue. But from my research it seems Vue is the currently preferred choice of many Poser users. Anyway, here’s the survey…
1. Cinema 4D: Interposer ($75) is an alternative to the PoserFusion C4D module that ships with 2012. Fine, if you own Cinema 4D ($1,000+). Personally C4D is not a 3D software I’ve ever touched. I have old versions of 3DS Max and Maya in their educational versions, so one of those — probably 3DS Max — would be my choice over C4D.
2. Blender: a Poser importer titled Poser Tools 2 for Blender is actively underway at 2012 — but it seems far from finished. While Blender is free, it has a nightmare of an interface, and I really doubt I’d want to use it unless Poser Tools comes with a “really simple five-click Wizard” or similar.
Verdict: Very unlikely.
3. Pose2Lux ($ free) gives access to the free LuxRender. The disadvantages are…
* still in beta at version 0.8.7.
* download pages and even the quick-start page are presented in “techie developer”-speak that’s likely to have that average hobbyist creative running screaming to the hills.
* getting it to actually work looks to be an incredibly fiddly process.
* LuxRender doesn’t exactly seem stable. The same stability problems appears to affect the Reality 1 LuxRender plugin for DAZ, which negate a Poser-DAZ-Reality-LuxRender pipeline.
Verdict: Unstable. No, but look again at Reality 2 when it arrives.
4. Vue: Vue 10 Frontier ($99) is commercial hobbyist software dedicated to working with DAZ and Poser imports. It’s a cut down version of the more expensive and more complicated Vue software versions. Vue is definitely more affordable than the big beasts such as 3DS Max, Maya, Cinema 4D, and Lightwave. Worth trying. Some drawbacks, though…
forums say Poser 9 / 2012 character import currently only works with the 64-bit version? And then possibly only with the more expensive Vue 10 Complete or Infinite versions?
Update on the above point: this official page for Vue 10 Studio states…
“Poser SDK from August 2011: This SDK adds support of Poser 9 and Poser Pro 2014. This SDK used on Mac will only work in 64 bit. It will work in both 32 and 64 bit on Windows.”
But it seems this is incorrect. Several different forums users are adamant that a Poser Pro 2014 .pz3 file will only import under the 64-bit version of Vue 10. I’ve tried some 32-bit experiments myself, and it seems the forums users are correct. A 32-bit Vue 10 install will not import a Poser Pro 2014 .pz3 file. Vue’s spec sheets on their Web site are misleading. I also learned from the forum that E-on, the makers of Vue, are notorious for giving out such misleading information on their products.
* import of .pz3 files can be a bit of a nightmare, in terms of getting Vue to accept them.
* model import other than from Poser or DAZ requires the $129 3DImport plugin.
* bump map import can be glitchy, and many other materials may need fiddly tweaking to reduce a likely performance-hit from a scene with characters using massive 4000px textures, and from any texture mess-up that may happen on import to Vue.
* static characters / props only. No animation gets imported.
* Vue really bogs down when importing more than a simple character.
* the ability to render higher than 1920px needs an extra $70 plugin called RenderUp.
* Vue’s rendering is really s…l…o….w……
Despite its many apparent drawbacks Vue looks initially like the best value and simplest option, and comes with a skin shader plugin called SkinVue that’s designed to do a mostly-automatic conversion of the skin materials on the Poser character imports. However, SkinVue requires the purchase of extra per-character modules.
But at a total purchase of $300 for Vue 10 Frontier + RenderUp + 3DImport this version of Vue is not as cheap as it first looks. You might was as well buy Vue 10 Studio. Even then, I’d have to be prepared to shell out for Windows 8 in 64-bit, and for SkinVue character modules.
Verdict:Perhaps. But very expensive. And slow. And heavy on system resources.
5. The other alternative to consider might be DAZ Carrara, which supports Poser .pz3 files. But I’ve not been able to find out much about the quality of the renderer when compared like-for-like with Vue. I see lots of reports of crashes, although from some years ago. Most people seem to currently use Vue instead, and I guess there’s a reason for that. Possibly it’s render quality? But I guess the new “coming soon” Carrara 9 might change that, if it can offer a simple “three clicks” import and render of complete Poser scenes with the original placement of lights.
Verdict: Wait, see if Carrara 9 works well with whole Poser scenes, and gives great render quality
6. Octane. I found out about Octane after this post was released. I made a separate post on it. It seems to have the same problems as LuxRender.
Verdict: Interesting. But doubtful.
Overall, Vue 10 seems the way to go. But only if you’re running on 64-bit Windows with lots of RAM and generally have a big wallet. So until then, for me, it’s back to looking at the PoserFusion plugins, and the possibility of using them with 3DS Max.