This review appears in the April 07 issue of PC Advisor, available now in all good newsagents.

Given Poser's background as a modelling program for illustrators, it's something of a surprise that it is animators who have most to gain from the arrival of Poser 7.0. Its most impressive new features, such as automatic lip-synching for models and layer support, will benefit anyone creating animations.

We found lip-synching remarkably easy to work with: import a WAV sound file and Poser works out how the model's lips should form the words. But words on their own are never enough. Through a single panel you can add realism by adjusting other facial elements such as eye blink rate or level of emotion. Another plus is a feature that splits animations into layers. Each one can take an element of a model and move or edit it independently. You can even use a visibility channel to fade layers in and out. It's a far cry from the limited linear animation of previous versions.

Modellers haven't been abandoned, though. New and improved characters Simon and Sydney have been introduced, alongside additional modelling material. Morphing tools now allow morphs to be applied directly on to a figure by dragging a brush over the area. The brush has adjustable weights and you can see the effect of the morph instantly.

New users will still find Poser's unchanged interface confusing. Working out its adjustment technique remains an awkward rite of passage. But Poser compensates through useful timesavers. You no longer have to visit the library to add a model – to duplicate a figure simply select it and choose Duplicate.

Best of all, Poser supports up to 100 levels of undo. And there are performance improvements, too. Now multicore and multiprocessor aware, Poser provides faster rendering times.

Poser 7.0: Specs

  • 700MHz Pentium processor
  • Windows 2000/XP
  • 520MB RAM, 1GB hard disk space
  • Open GL-enabled graphics card or chipset recommended
  • 700MHz Pentium processor
  • Windows 2000/XP
  • 520MB RAM, 1GB hard disk space
  • Open GL-enabled graphics card or chipset recommended

OUR VERDICT

Poser's new animation tools make this upgrade vital for many, but speed improvements and multiple undos are attractive to anyone.

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