Poser Debut is the low-cost, entry version of this widely used 3D software. Currently (12/15/2011) selling for $49.99, it allows the user to manipulate pre-existing models of actors, props, backdrops and lights (aka assets) to create still scenes and fully animated videos, and is used professionally by movie and TV production houses.
Poser comes with gigabites of assets installed, and additional assets are widely available, often at little or no cost. Sources include Content Paradise, Poserworld, Renderocity and RuntimeDNA (this is not an exhaustive list – please ID more sites for our readers).
Poser’s primary competition is DAZ Studio, and the two programs can not only share most assets, they permit you to link to each other’s asset libraries in real time.
Poser is capable of producing some fine renders (the name for the graphic output of scenes). In addition, a free plug-in program called Pose2Lux permits the user to instead render scenes with the free graphics engine LuxRender. While LuxRender normally takes quite a bit longer to output a usable image, it is what is called an unbiased renderer, permitting it to output highly photorealistic scenes given enough time. All of the scenes for my book have been rendered in LuxRender.
I intend to list free and low-cost training resources for each software package. This will come eventually, but if I wait until everything is complete, I’ll never go live with this blog.
In the meantime, please include your favorite training resources in your comments.