The most interesting of these from a professional standpoint are new plug-ins for both NewTek's LightWave and Discreet's 3D Studio Max that allow users to import Poser files and access them directly from the host applications. Since Poser figures are relatively quick and easy to create, using them in conjunction with the more powerful rendering and animation environments of both LightWave and 3D Studio Max can help animators save a good deal of time.
The Poser Pro Pack also includes new Web-ready export formats for both Macromedia Flash and Viewpoint's 3D Media Player; a Setup Room that provides a fast and interactive way to define bone structures for figures; Python scripting capability for automating repetitive tasks or designing custom features; and multiple camera view panes that let users see changes from up to four different perspectives simultaneously without having to change cameras. Additional new features include 2D motion blur; animated materials such as transparency, color, and specularity; the ability to save animation sets; and built-in file compression that allows users to save figures, props, and scenes in the Zlib format.
The Poser Pro Pack requires Poser 4, a machine running either the Macintosh or Windows 95/98/NT operating systems, and 20mb of free hard drive space.
The 3D Studio Max plug-in requires Max 2.5 or later and the LightWave plug-in requires a Version 5.6 or later of LightWave. Both plug-ins will entail an additional 10mb of drive space. The cost of the Pro Pack is $219. (Curious Labs; www.curiouslabs.com) -JD