Poser is a 3D rendering and animation software program optimized for models that depict the human figure in three-dimensional form.


Poser is a 3D rendering software package for the posing, animating and rendering of 3D polymesh human and animal figures. Akin to a virtual photography studio, Poser allows the user to load actors, props, lighting and cameras for still and animated renderings.

Natively using a subset of the Alias object (OBJ) file format and a text-based markup for content files, Poser comes with a basic library of human, animal, robotic, and cartoon figures.

Poser also includes poses, hair pieces, props, textures, hand gestures and facial expressions. As Poser does not allow for original modeling of objects, a large community market of merchants and artists creating, selling and marketing third-party Poser content emerged.

Poser is available in English, Japanese, German and French for both Windows and Macintosh platforms.


Poser 6.0 comes with a host of features, such as the inclusion of "Primitive" zygotes; spheres, cubes and other shapes at both low and high resolution. As with Poser 5.0, it is compatible with 3ds Max, LightWave and Maya, which enables Poser 6.0 to render more than simply people. Indeed, Poser has become almost limitless in the characters it can render. As a result of its huge third-party community, many models are available, such as spaceships, aliens, weapons and other such props.


Two different communities have developed around Poser


There is now a cottage industry of commercial artists and fine artists who create original artwork (illustrations) of human figures using Poser. Previously, drawing realistic human figures was both difficult and very time consuming. Now over 200,000 artists create everything from magazine covers, print advertising and product illustrations using Poser. (Note: While Poser has animation capability, no significant cottage industry has developed for creating motion pictures with Poser. However Poser animation can be seen in industrial applications such as the animated instructions for check out machines in Albertsons and Save-On stores.)


Poser has a large and avid following at a high number of online sites, and due to the inability to perform 3D model creation inside the application, an ecostructure has grown up around the trade and sales of ready-made Poser content. As a subculture in its own right, the Poser market has spawned a number of individuals known by their high-resolution human figures, and photographic quality skin 'textures' that can be applied to the models within Poser. Also there is now a vast catalog of props and scenes, both historical and fantasy in nature, as well as various animals, dragons, and other creatures, along with many photorealistic buildings and other real world and fantasy objects.


The Poser 7 package comes with many already-installed features that do not have to be purchased at an online store. These are stored in the "Library." The Library includes:

  • Figures, which contains human, animal, cartoon, dinosaur, insect, wildlife, and many other poser figures that have a multitude of animation tools to work with.
  • Poses, There are poses for almost every figure, and there are many human poses from sleeping to picking something up to fighting.
  • Expressions, which contains any expression imaginable, or close to it.
  • Hair, which has many types of hairstyles to place on the characters.
  • Props, which contains objects like clothes and chairs.
  • Lights, which contains many ways to light your scene.
  • Cameras, which contains many camera angles.

Program history

Poser was created by artist and programmer Larry Weinberg, as a software replacement for artist's mannequins. Versions 1.0 and 2.0 were published by Fractal Design; in 1997, Fractal Design was acquired by MetaCreations, and Poser's interface was redesigned by MetaCreations' Phil Clevenger for release as Poser 3 in 1998. This interface has remained as the basis for all subsequent versions. In 1999, MetaCreations sold Poser to egi.sys AG, who established the subsidiary Curious Labs, with Larry Weinberg as CEO, to handle Poser development and publication. Curious Labs, and Poser, were sold to the publisher, e frontier, in 2003. On 15 November 2007 Smith Micro Software announced the purchase of Poser, Anime Studio and Manga Studio from e frontier.

Version Release date Publisher Improvements / Notes
1.0 1995 Fractal Design

  • Initial release

2.0 1996 Fractal Design

  • Ability to add props
  • Animation
  • High resolution models

3.0 1998 MetaCreations

  • New user interface
  • Facial posing and animation
  • Human figures with jointed fingers.

4.0 1999 MetaCreations

  • Natural-media sketch renderer
  • Figure sculpting via deformers
  • Transparent mode for materials
  • Conforming Clothes
  • Transparency (which lead up to TransHair that increased the quality of hair sold today)

4.0.3 September 1999 Curious Labs

  • Markup path names made to use relative paths
  • Currently sold as entry level Poser Artist

Pro Pack February 2000 Curious Labs

  • Add on pack for Poser 4
  • Implementation of Python scripting,
  • Custom figure rigging
  • Ability to host Poser scenes in 3ds max, Lightwave 3d, and Cinema 4D.
  • No longer available

5.0 2003 Curious Labs

6.0 March 2005 Curious Labs / e frontier

  • OpenGL Hardware acceleration
  • Image-based lighting, Ambient Occlusion
  • Cartoon outline rendering effects
  • Inclusion of "Primitives" Zygote Props
  • Binary Morphs (allows you to load the morphs for a characters in a separate file linked to Cr2 resulting in faster load time in Poser)
  • Inclusion of male and female genitalia

7.0 December 2006 e frontier

  • Simon and Sydney (new AdultG2 male and female figures)
  • Wildlife including eagle and wolf
  • Updates to Ben and Kate the Poser Child figures with new morphs, textures and rigging
  • New motion capture data, light sets, poses, and materials
  • Talk Designer for lip-sync animation
  • Multiple Undo/Redo
  • Multithreaded rendering
  • High dynamic range imaging
  • Brush morphing
  • Animation Layers
  • Universal Poses for bipedal figures, with automatic conversion of Poser 1-6 poses
  • Streamlined access to Runtime libraries
  • Universal Binary

Poser Pro 7.0.3 May 2008 Smith Micro Software

  • Poser Pro was released adding COLLADA support and plug in support for Cinema C4d and Maya.

See also


External links

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