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Book Review: The Art Of Poser And Photoshop – The Official Guide by Stephen Burns

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When it comes to digital art, the range is endless from traditional to contemporary to the fantastical. The Art Of Poser And Photoshop blurs those lines even further by taking two completely different types of software applications and merging them together to create visions of fantasy that could only be dreamt of only a few short years ago.

The Art Of Poser And Photoshop will show you how to take both of these programs and use them to create unique and very original works of art. By combining these two programs, you will be able to create images that would not be possible by using either one separately. This book is 475 pages and is divided into eight chapters.

Chapter One, “Poser and Photoshop Interface Overview,” begins by looking at both of these programs and making sure that you have all of the requirements to run the programs as well as their navigation systems. Next you look at basic posing, model manipulation and body-morphing techniques within Poser Pro. The chapter examines cameras, lighting, and retexturing as well.

Chapter Two, “Creating a Profile Carved in Stone,” shows you how to create a fantasy scene of a portrait carved into a coastal landscape. The image is of a head of a man in the middle of a scream. Topics covered are how to apply the morph tools in Poser Pro, how to paint a contour on a model, creating a 3D format that Photoshop will understand, creating composites, creating a paint brush, and applying contours using layer styles.

Chapter Three, “Posing and Perspective,” takes on another fantasy scene with a female form as an angelic light being with the power to emanate energy through the palm of her hand. Topics covered here include getting consistent lighting, posing in Poser Pro, understanding perspective, how to mimic focal lengths, and how to edit an original texture map.

Chapter Four, “Using the Nodal Texture Engine,” examines working with multiple Poser models and two 3D layers in Photoshop to create a fantasy image of two human beings that have been petrified and left in a concrete interior. In this chapter you learn how to use digital images as a basis for texture, integrating multiple characters, integrating paint techniques, and the creative use of nodes to texture your characters.

Chapter Five, “Advanced Nodal Texturing in Poser,” describes more complex techniques in Poser. It describes how to use each texture mode to create textures and glowing effects. This gives you a good feel for texturing with photographic images, creating a glass tube from scratch, importing 3D content from the web through Poser, and creating custom libraries.

Chapter Six, “Image Based Lighting in Poser Pro,” will show you a different type of lighting concept in Poser Pro that makes a digital image become the source of the light. This is called Image Based Lighting (IBL). Here you become more familiar with IBL techniques, see how to apply it to a Poser scene, how to apply the various lighting properties, and how to use Photomerge in Photoshop CS4.

Chapter Seven, “UV Mapping in Poser Pro,” gives you the ability to add textures to 3D images by using a two-dimensional paint program to apply and paint textures on to a UV map. In this chapter you learn what UV mapping is, how to use the face room to create a UV map, how to create a custom UV face map in Photoshop, and how to apply your custom map to a Poser Model.

Chapter Eight, “HDRI Lighting,” now takes from the prior chapter and completes the character by painting the contour onto the head that reflects the shape of the head. Following this, you learn about High Dynamic Range Imaging (HDRI) in Poser Pro. You will also learn about importing objects from other 3D programs into Poser Pro, editing 3D texture layers and 3D mesh properties, as well as how to alter the render settings.

The Art Of Poser And Photoshop really shines on the step-by-step descriptions to create these unusual, but visually appealing images. I also like the fact that in most of the chapters you move to specific works of art. You are actually creating something that you can get your hands around and not just working with some concepts that you may not know what to do with later.

The Art Of Poser And Photoshop is more Poser-centric and therefore really uses Poser as a base and secondarily using Photoshop to work with your Poser creations. But, with that said, you do learn some very useful lessons on how to work with Photoshop’s 3D capabilities to interact with objects from other programs. If you want to learn how to create 3D works of art using Poser and Photoshop, then I highly recommend this book.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.