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Prop Trix

Author: 3Don


There are quite a few things that one can do with props in Poser, beyond the obvious. Here are some ways to use props that will make it easier and faster.

Step 1 - Handful


Often in a scene or series of images it can be necessary for a character to hold more than one prop in the same hand. Once the prop is placed in a hand and saved as a smart-prop you can delete it and re-add it later when needed. That makes for more Library entries. And takes a little more time.

Or, try this. Instead of deleting the smart-prop, make it invisible. Save the pose and/or hand pose for the figure before making the prop invisible. Apply a new pose or hand pose to the figure. Then add a new prop and attach it to the new hand pose. Save that figure pose for that prop. Now your figure can go quickly from holding a spoon to squeezing a lemon in a few clix., switching poses and props. Just turn the props on and off for each pose.

Most props are not large in file size, so keeping them in the PZ2 scene file seems more economical to me. You can actually save several props in one hand that way. Doing a series of nurse poses, I had her holding a syringe, cell phone, ear-light, and a book, all in the same hand, seen one at a time. Her other hand was just as full.

Step 2 - Switcheroo

What do you do if you import a smart-prop that pops into the right hand and your figure is left-handed? Here's what worx for me.

First, make a note of the X-Y-Z rotation and position settings. Select the prop, go to item properties and make the Universe the Parent instead of the Hand. It is no longer a smart prop.

Save the hand pose from which you took the prop and apply it to the other hand. To make the transfer even easier, go to the Figure menu and then to Symmetry and make the right arm like the left arm.

Now select the un-Parented prop and attach it to the other hand (as it is), Apply all of the X-Y-Z coordinates and rotations to the prop, via the Parameter Dials. It should pop in pretty close to the left hand. You might need to tweak it a little, especially if the hips or waist are bent or twisted in your pose. This is not an exact method, but it will get the prop pretty close to switching hands. If you make the body symmetrical on both sides, you often only have to move the un-parented prop along the X-axis to place it.

Once placed and the prop is attached to the other hand, you can apply any pose. Note that when a new pose is applied you probably will need to re-apply the hand pose to conform. Be sure to save the left-hand thing-a-ma-jig as a smart-prop! Now you have one for each hand.

Step 3 - IK Irks

Turn Inverse Kinematics OFF when Parenting a Prop to a hand. If IK is ON for that hand, the hand will not appear as an option in the Set Parent list. If you must use IK for that hand with a prop, turn OFF IK first, pose the hand, Parent the Prop, then turn IK back ON for that hand. Don't move a hand with IK when it holds a prop. IK movement can reset the fingers to strange values. You can lose your hand pose. If you do, turn off IK and re-apply the hand pose.

Step 4 - Over and Over and Over Again

There are times when you want to use the same prop several times in one scene. For instance, I DLd Joe Kurz's sci-fi ladder section for use in a climbing scene. The prop consists of ladder rungs set in a concrete block. The section was not tall enough to complete a sequential climbing scene. I needed to make it taller.

Opening a new Poser doc, I imported the prop. (Sometimes a prop is saved not to the X-Y-Z zero coordinates.) Either zero the prop or place it where it will go in your scene. Re-save it to the Library as a new prop, with a new name.

Import that prop. It will pop precisely into place as the first one like it. Select the 2nd prop and raise it along the Y-axis until it sits atop the first one. Continue until you have as many sections in place as needed. (See the pop-up image in the Zero-Gravity poses at DAZ3D's Special Internet store.)

Another example is building a 6-pack of sodas from a single can. Place one can and save it to the Library as above. Import it and move it along the X-axis to where it loox right. Do that again to place the third can the same way. For the 4th can, import it and move it back along the Z-axis. The 5th and 6th cans will follow this procedure, but are moved along both the X- and Y- axes. Parent cans 2-6 to the first can so you can move them all together.

I have built quite a few things with repetitious Poser primitives or other simple props with this method, such as fences, shelves, panpipes, simple walls, and so on.

Step 5 - Educating Props

Poser will not save a prop's children with it to the Library, only the Parent. So, how do you save that 6-pack for later use? Other than saving the PZ3 file as 6-Pack and re-saving it with each new use, consider this.

Go to Export and select to export as a 3DS or OBJ file (or whatever you prefer). A window opens in Poser asking which items to export. De-select Universe and then only re-check the boxes for the items you want to save. In this case it would be cans 1-6. Select nothing else. Other prompts come up, but are self-explanatory. Name and save the export to a folder.

Import that 3DS prop. You may need to resize it somewhat or re-apply textures. Once you do, add it to your Library as a prop. It will now import as a Poser PP2 file. When you attach it to a figure, you can re-save it as a smart-prop.

Step 6 - Hands Full?

The methods for using multiple props will save you time and is a great way to re-create a scene you might not have saved.

See my Tutorial on this site about placing props in hands and using shadows to guide you.

-Don Albert 6/2003