Welcome to Issue 25!
Welcome to this ‘Dynamic Posing’ issue. No, don’t worry — we don’t expect you to read this issue while striking an Incredible Hulk pose! I refer here to a popular trend that you may have heard of, called ‘Power Posing’. From 2012 onwards this was the hot new ‘pop psychology’ buzz from California — from UC Berkeley to be exact. Academics, journalists and gurus eagerly claimed that anyone could gain big benefits by acting like a dominant gorilla, standing up straight with your feet wide apart, hands on hips, chest expansive. Many took this notion to heart, did classes and could even be seen practicing power posing in the mirror for a couple of minutes prior to entering a meeting. Some even took to beating their chest like a gorilla. It was all supposed to enhance your dominance behaviour and thus your personal presence among other people.
But — like almost all ‘pop psychology’ and similar fads — it eventually made a monkey out of its believers. Michigan State University definitively disproved it in Sept 2017, with 11 robust new studies. Striking power poses might lead you to say you feel a little better, probably because it’s great fun to do. It may even amuse your team-mates. But it appears it definitely doesn’t enhance your actual behaviour or performance. The minutes spent power posing might be better spent re-reading meeting notes, or giving your shoes a buff-up.
Which doesn’t mean that there’s no effect from looking at dynamic poses in art and media. Everyone from the makers of Ancient Greek statues to Marvel Comics artists to the Olympic althletes have all proven that there is an effect. We all greatly enjoy seeing the human body engaged in the dynamic action which nature has so ably shaped it for — and especially when the dynamic pose is struck in the service of a good story or a contest.
Users of DAZ Studio and Poser have a handy shortcut to such expertise, without having to become a Michelangelo or a Marvel Comics artist. We don’t have to spend decades learning to draw the human figure in motion. We have access to thousands of pre-made pose sets and also countless short character animations — via the likes of the AniBlocks system and the huge set of free Carnegie-Mellon motion capture BHV files. It’s worth bearing in mind that the latter are basically many poses packed in one file. By scrubbing these motion files back and forth on the Timeline, many unique and subtle poses can be quickly applied to the character. That can be useful even if you never intend to animate the character, but just want try out many poses very quickly when making a single picture.
The only real trick then is for us to learn the subtle and natural use of these motion poses. This is especially important with DAZ and Poser, as the software makes it painfully easy to twist and turn your character like a circus contortionist or fold them up like a human origami. Camera angles and lenses can then futher exaggerate an unnatural pose. Which isn’t to say that foreshortening and other time-served creative techniques can’t be used to great effect. Seeing a fist punching right out of the frame of a comics panel or a render can be very effective, it just needs to be done right and not be over-used.
We hope you enjoy this issue, and that it inspires you to explore dynamic posing in your own digital art!
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We talk with a DAZ Studio user about the best ways to delve into and use the weath of store content available to users.
DAZ STUDIO | PS
“With store promos, you have to show the product exactly as it is, yet at the same time make it look appealing enough for them to want to buy it, without all the bells or whistles of an artistic promo…”
Tasos uses Poser 11’s Comic Book Mode, and Photoshop overpainting and line-enhancing, to create his own comics.
POSER | PS
“To kit-bash a new character in Poser… it can take me just a day or even up to a week depending on the complexity. But, as soon as I have my finished characters I can run wild with making my comics!”
We talk with Brian about moving to DAZ Studio, handling dual Titan graphics cards, and his hopes for the future.
DAZ STUDIO | PS
“I feel like we’re approaching something like a ‘golden age’ for rendering software where the realism is just top-notch, and even the advanced features are easily accessible to non-technical users.”
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Part of our interview with Jaki Blue
DAL: Jaki, many thanks for this in-depth interview with Digital Art Live magazine. This is our “action posing” issue, and we thought that many of your various action pictures would fit right in with that.
JB: I’m honoured to be here and really excited to talk to you. Also terrified, ‘cos this is a first for me!
DAL: We’ll try to put you at your ease. Well I should explain to readers that for this issue, we’re emphasising your “action pose” pictures — but readers can find many more DAZ Studio renders on your DeviantArt gallery. How did you first encounter DAZ Studio, and was it your first 3D software?
JB: I stumbled across DAZ Studio back in 2006. I remember coming across a simple image of a fairy online. In the comments below it, the artist mentioned he used this software called “DAZ Studio” to make it. I don’t recall where I saw this, but I do remember the image was of Aiko 3, and she was a Thorne fairy type character, and she was sitting on the ground, and it had a plain white background.
DAL: Ah yes… I vaguely seem to remember the “Thorne” character was a go-to for quality fairy characters, at that time.
JB: I was intrigued. So I searched for DAZ Studio, downloaded it, opened it, and then just sat there, wondering what the heck I should do next. So I searched more, started reading the forums, looked at the art other users were doing, wondering how on earth they were doing it and making it look so easy. It was a good four months or so, before I actually bought any content to use in it, and that was the base Victoria 3 head and body morphs. I was so excited. I had actually purchased something to use in this strange “art software” that I was playing with, and I found I could change Victoria 3’s face!
My very first actual render was of Victoria 3 in a skirt and shirt, and long hair, although still standing in the default T pose. Boy, I was excited! I showed everyone, so excited and so proud of the Art I just did. I no longer have that image (thank goodness), but it is burned into my brain ‘cos I just kept looking at it. It was my very first Art. I laugh now, but I realize that sealed the deal for me, and it’s been constant learning and getting better and of course, spending more and more. I’m hoping I’ve improved a bit since then!
DAL: So you didn’t start by with learning traditional art medium skills, first? It ‘straight to digital’?
JB: I can’t even draw a straight line. My husband is a fabulous cartoonist and I just wish I could do what he does. So, yes it was ‘straight to digital’ for me. I did the usual art classes at school, but that was generally because art was considered a bludge of a subject, a lesson we didn’t have to actually learn anything. I’m kicking myself now of course, about wasting that opportunity. But yeah, digital was what opened up my inner artist.