When Poser comes out the box, it has to be installed first. Always install into a fresh folder, never install over already existing Poser software. In Windows this will put the software in a new Program Files subfolder which is fine. When Poser Pro installs on a 64-bit Windows, it does so in Program Files (the 64-bit software) as well as on Program Files (x86) for the 32-bit software – that is: when I tick the box to do so. In all cases, I can define another installation path.
As a bonus, I can keep on using my previous Poser release, they happily coexist.
The point is: Windows takes some serious effort to protect those Program Files folders against additions and modifications by users and user programs, like Poser and scripts, as these adjustments are a main source of errors, bugs and threads. For neatly created software, Windows offers an alternative for those additions found in the hidden (user)\AppData\Roaming folder which offers additional features for those working in a networked setup, and for data backup. This folder also houses program essentials like Poser.ini, LibraryPrefs.xml and so on.
However, for Library data, projects, scene details and for scripts storing their settings in local files, Program Files is the place not to be.
Therefore, the next step: Select Content Location should be considered with care.
- Shared Documents – will put the contents (is: Library data) on the C:\ drive visible over the network (when sharing folders is enabled), and available to other users on the same machine. This is the default.
- My Documents – will put the content on the C:\ drive but not visible over the network, and neither available to other people using the same machine (and logged in with a different account). This makes sense when I want to protect the integrity of my content against other users, like in college environments.
- Poser Directory – will put the content in the same folder as the software. Although this was the default (or even only option) for older versions of Poser, this is definitely the option not to choose as already discussed above.
- Other Location – will put the content somewhere else, like another hard drive or so. This enables me to use C:\ for programs and D:\ for data, or something alike.
More on software installation
Just a few side notes on the installation.
- When installing older versions of Poser, please note that these might (and need to!) install the Library content in the same folder as the program files. At the same time, this Poser version might not be able yet to deal with the Windows protection schemes that came with Vista and up. For those reasons it might be advised to install these older Poser versions outside the Program Files, in a folder of your own.
- The main Poser software might be installed on multiple computers and can be used by multiple persons, but only as one instance at a time, “like a book”. Site licenses allowing for multiple simultaneous use can be obtained separately.
In order to render on multiple machines, Poser is not needed as only the Poser Pro Queue Manager can be installed on multiple machines to support rendering over the network.
- When installing the Poser Pro software, just installing Queue Manager only is one of the selectable options.
- Even when Poser will not look for new versions of the software itself, and when it won’t access the Internet, it still needs the proper firewall permissions. Grant them. They are used for communications between several software components. Various 3rd party software like the P3dO library manager also uses internal networking to communicate with the Poser program.
- Poser needs the Library to function properly, which requires either Adobe Air (preferred) or Flash being available. They come on the installation CD but not with the download version.
The issue with Flash is that some systems tend to become unstable when multiple instances of it are active simultaneously. This might happen when opening Poser Library, Google Chrome (Flash embedded) , Internet Explorer (explicit Flash plugin) and more of those at the same time.
Poser will detect Air by itself, but just in case: the Poser.ini file (in the hidden (user)\AppData\Roaming\… folder) contains a line LIBRARY_IS_AIR 1, where 1: Adobe Air, and 0: Flash
- The main source of Poser failures is the video card, its drivers, and its handling of OpenGL. Symptoms are: crashes and freezes at startup, and at random moments even when working on small scenes and not rendering yet. In most cases updating the drivers resolves the situation.
While using an outdated video card with no new drivers available, switching the preview from OpenGL to SreeD might solve the issue at least for a while. SreeD is quite limited compared to OpenGL but it paints the preview entirely within the application, not using any advanced video card features.
Also note that large texture images require sufficient video memory, and might cause problems when that resource falls short. The various options for setting the video card behavior can be found in
- The Display menu
- Right clicking the preview pane
- The Preview tab in menu Render \ Render Settings…
If nothing works, try the magic of deleting the LibraryPrefs.xml but make a copy of it if there are external runtimes installed. Poser creates a new one but only with the standard runtime plus downloads. Same to deleting the Poser.ini: a new one with just the default values will be recreated at Poser startup.
The appendix to this article contains an annotated list of the Poser.ini settings.
More on content installation
Poser requires all content to be available in a Runtime folder which is part of any <base folder> of my choice. I can have as many <base folders> as I like, which are referred to as “external runtimes”.
In the old days (and perhaps still, with the older versions of Poser as well), one Runtime folder was present in the Poser program directory. This “internal Runtime” hosted all standard library content that came with the package. Next to it, the program folder hosted a Downloads folder as well, for all my other content. The basic thought was that a new version of Poser came with its own internal Runtime, and I only had to transplant my Downloads in order to continue.
Nowadays the Downloads folder has gone (*), and all content is supposed to reside in external Runtimes. At install time I just create my first one, or when I’m upgrading: I just create a new one next to my existing ones. Personally I disadvise against installing the content from the package into existing runtimes, or over one from a previous version. I can however add the previous runtime as an extra library to the new set of libraries.
(*) more accurate: the <base folder> created at installation contains a filled Runtime, a Documentation folder with the manuals, and a Downloads folder which contains an empty Runtime. After installation, the Library refers to this Runtime as well as this Download folders, everything else had to be added into it again.
The program folder still contains a Runtime subfolder, which is used to host plugins, standard scripts etc. but is not meant to contain scene-building components for library content.
More on the Library can be found in the File Usage chapter.
The standard catalogue of scripts can be extended by myself, or by 3rd party ones. Actually the scripts can be stored anywhere, and opened using the File \ Run Python Script menu option. Some scripts however prefer to be launched from the internal Runtime, within the Poser program folder.
Scripts which are stored in the internal Runtime, ..\Python\PoserScripts\ScriptsMenu folder are displayed in the programs Scripts menu, which can be quite handy.
Placing scripts in the Poser program folder, when hosted in Program Files, might trigger a warning since Windows is protecting the environment. Well, I know what I’m doing, so I just go through the routine. For the same reason, Windows will prevent the scripts to write themselves in that area. Modern, Windows Vista and up – proof scripts, might not have a problem and put their settings files in the proper place. But … other scripts might run into problems. Then I have a choice: I put the script somewhere else and have a more elaborate way launching it, or I really move Poser itself to another base folder outside Program Files.