Poser Render Passes (1 Intro)

Don’t do things in 3D when they can be done in 2D.
Render passes save a zillion trial and error test-renders, and make results interactively adjustable.

Download this tutorial in PDF format (1.4 Mb).


While working in Poser, I can build a scene, and start tweaking the lights, shadows, atmospheres, specular and reflection strength, and more. And I might like to add special effects, like depth of field (focal blur), volumetric lights, etcetera.
Especially with multiple objects, multiple lights, the use of raytracing and IDL (Indirect Lighting) and alike I have to face renders, re-renders, re-re-renders and all of them having serious waiting times even on my – pretty fast – machine.

Professionals facing a deadline, with a limit on the hours they can spend on the job, or with a customer that shows a lot of variance in his requirements, this is not very desirable. But even hobbyists might face deadlines (the image must be done before Christmas or another event), might find themselves quite flexible in the result they want to achieve, and certainly don’t have the time to spend all forthcoming hours on perfecting that single image.

This is why Render Passes are invented. Each Pass (image) addresses a specific facet of the result, then all passes are combined as layers in a single Photoshop (or GIMP or else) image handling kit, and then the layer parameters are manipulated instead of re-rendering the scene over and over again. In practice, this is not only much faster, it’s also far more interactive.

In this article, making and re-combining render passes is presented, as far as Poser and Photoshop are concerned. Vue will be added in a later stage, or in a separate article. I presume almost all Photoshop steps can be performed in other, similar image handling kit as well. Just the screens might look different.

Step 1 will deal with separating the darks: handling shadows. Step 2 will deal with separating the lights. Both steps can be made in just Poser, and can be combined in: separating darks as well as lights.

Step 3 will deal with the tools available in Poser Pro, and step 4 deals with the Advanced Renderer toolkit.

2 thoughts on “Poser Render Passes (1 Intro)”

  1. Excellent work as usual. I’ve never done multiple render passes, so I don’t really know what I’m talking about here, but it seems to me that to do this it would be critical to keep the camera position exactly the same for each pass. I recently stumbled upon a Poser feature (P8 at least) that could help here. Hidden behind the UI dots are Camera dots and Pose dots (just click the down arrow). Before you start with the first pass, set one of the camera dots to lock in your camera settings. Now if you move the camera for whatever reason, you can return to the correct camera position.

    1. Bill,

      the good news is, that since most passes are created in a single run of the renderer, you’ve got no way to move the camera between passes.
      When multiple render-runs are required, just produce those runs immediately one after the other. Don’t change anything in the scene.
      When using Advanced Renderer or something alike, it will perform the multi-render-run for you, and not before all are completed it will release the scene back to you.
      Have fun!


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