Evolution

I don’t really want to start this new iteration of my blog with …blah… controversy. But I have to talk about an evolution that’s happening in my work.

This’ll probably only be controversial… wait, let’s put that in quotes because it’s really just a tempest in a teacup … “controversial” to me. I’m not one for the Poser versus DAZ wars. I think people who argue about that kind of thing don’t have much else going on in their lives. It’s software, people. No need for tribalism. Isn’t it about the art?

I’ve said before elsewhere that I’ll use whatever tool I need to use, to do what I need to do with my art.

In photography, if that means buying adapters so I can use my Minolta or Pentax lenses on my Canon camera body, I’ll do it. If that means using a Mac and a PC to make my art using platform-specific programs or features, I’ll do that. Whatever it takes.

Artists are supposed to be resourceful, aren’t they? They’re not supposed to limit themselves by clinging to some pigheaded brand loyalty, are they? In my opinion, no. They aren’t.

Sure, we all like the stuff we like, for reasons that may only make sense to us. I completely get this. I’ve used Poser for a long time. So long that I don’t even remember the first version I bought. It’s familiar to me. It’s comfortable. I understand people who’ve used Poser for far longer than I, for whom Poser has become part of their identity. Poser has become part of them as much as they’ve become part of the community that formed around Poser. They’ve made fast friends and it has been part of their daily life for so long that it would almost be impossible for them not to form some kind of loyalty to the software itself.  The fear for a lot of these people is that if the software goes, the community will go, too. So they’re rabidly loyal and protective of it.

But while I understand loyalty… I hate the rabid tribalism. It’s been a constant source of conflict pretty much forever. The same arguments based on the same old half-truths and selective interpretations about what makes Poser, Poser …and what makes DAZ Studio, DAZ Studio. Step out of line, say something that goes against the grain, get pummeled to death.

Seriously, enough already.

I’ve flirted with using Studio for a while. I have never really liked it. Mostly because it’s so different interface-wise from what I’m comfortable with in Poser. But it facilitates thousands of people making art, some of which is amazing, so there must be something to it. And when a significant member of the former Poser development team abandons Poser to start using and making products for Studio, I have to think they must know something. Like, maybe Studio isn’t all that scary and horrible.

I gave it a try again this morning. I imported a character that I’ve had for a while, a character that works perfectly well in Poser. I have resisted going here …but I’m going here. 😐 The image above is a comparison of Poser Pro 11 and DAZ Studio. I wanted to see what I could do with Studio, out of the box, with minimal fussing about.

My Poser file imported into Studio with no real complaints (I had to direct Studio to one face texture that was non-standard); I did have to reset the character’s body pose, as things got weird in a way I couldn’t make sense of, but resetting the pose took literally seconds; I made no adjustments to mats/shaders (Cycles-style metals didn’t work OOB); the camera was set up quickly using Studio default background and lights; and it all rendered in Iray (which uses both my CPU and GPU). In five minutes.

Yeah, it’s not perfect…far from it…the eyes aren’t reflecting anything, so …ew … but it was surprisingly easy and crazy fast. Damn. (You can click on the image to get a closer look; beware, it’s been resized and is not as crisp as the original(s).)

Now to those who are yelling “But I can make a render fiftyhundredjillion times better than that in Poser!” … yes, you probably could. Go for it.

This isn’t about which program is “better”. The issue is, why am I ignoring DAZ Studio when I could be using it to my advantage?

Look, I still like Poser. I wouldn’t be where I am, or do what I do, if I hadn’t discovered Poser in 2007 or so. But Poser seems to be falling behind. Hard. Admittedly, having a full reset of development by losing the longstanding development squad in one fell swoop was a huge hit. And here we are, three years since PP11 was released. That might as well be a century. People have been worried about the state of Poser development since the Great Mass Firing. *shrug* 

And as others have stated in other places, with all the new competition, Poser needs to have something to set it apart in the now-crowded character design software space. So I’m encouraged to see the development team posting some updates and goals for the community to see. That’s very positive. Like, really encouraging. Because we will see that yes, there is still development happening. And apparently there’s an update coming, too. That’s also good. (Though given the cosmically weird issues previous updates have had or created, I think I’ll wait a while before I choose to install it.)

Meanwhile, back in the real world, I have work to do. And if I have to start using DAZ Studio or whatever to augment or supplement my creation process, so be it. I’m not thrilled about climbing a new learning curve, when Poser is so easy and familiar to me. But I’m an artist and my priority is making my art. So it would be ridiculous for me to cling to some demented tribalistic notion of loyalty, and limit myself to using only Poser.

Look. We evolve, or we die. We adapt and thrive, or we stagnate and are done. 

I think it’s better to thrive.

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