I've been using Pro 2012 for a month or so now, and am beginning to take certain features for granted, such as the SSS and an under-promoted benefit, which is the sheer speed improvements over previous versions. Also the ZDepth feature is vastly improved, so I thought I'd try and combine them all into one (hopefully) relevant/informative post, and also hopefully show the benefits of postwork over a base image.
I'm an illustrator at heart, and whilst I love to see photo-realistic renders for their sheer "Wow" factor, my own priorities lie elsewhere i.e. I like a render that looks like a painting or an illustration. With Poser 2012, I've finally got a workable tool that I can use with relative ease.
So, on to the render! Here is the basic render, which is nothing you couldn't achieve with Poser 2010 (actually it was rendered in Poser 2010), except it renders far, far faster in Poser 2012 (this includes not just the actual render itself, but the initial launch/loading of the scene file, and a particularly welcome improvement over 2010, which is the loading of all the texture maps which used to take an age):
Now, while this looks relatively OK to me, I know that I won't be happy until I've attacked it with Photoshop and my graphics tablet. First off however, I decided to add some atmospheric depth with Poser, so I switched on the volume option for the atmosphere, set at a density of .004:
...I also took the opportunity to make the blade of the sword an SSS material to show that feature. Next, I took the base render and the ZDepth render to Photoshop:
This shows another improvement in this version - if you closely at the hair, you'll see that Poser 2012 can now handle transparency maps in the ZDepth render, which the previous version couldn't (which is why Semideu's plugin was so handy! Sorry, Basil!), and which is vital for postwork. Using the ZDepth map, amongst other things, you can add depth-based effects such as depth of field, atmospheric depth and depth-based selection. Using the latter technique, you get this:
You can then use this mask to isolate the foreground figure, which allows you to paint in effects such as smoke and lightning etc, which then do not obscure the main figure. You can also reverse the selection, to allow you to paint in effects over the main figure such as dirt, blood etc and not have to worry about them spilling onto the background. Putting all these together, I then produce the final version:
I took the opportunity to re-do the base render with an extra light to match the postwork. It might be of interest to note that I did all this in one morning, thanks to the speed and efficiency of Poser 2012.