Many years ago my introduction to the world of digital 3D art was through some software called Poser 3. Poser 3 did not have the most user friendly GUI, and there wasn’t much content available back then. But, at the time it opened up whole new possibilities to me and I discovered there was a small but enthusiastic community of people using the software and creating 3rd party content. As I learned to use the software, a new version was released. Poser 4 added some new features and capabilities and a better GUI. But one of the things the rendering engine could not do was create volumetric effects.
What is a volumetric effect? Ever see a beam of light on a humid day or just after it rains, you can actually see the rays of light passing through the air? Or a spot light on a stage in a smokey room? Those are volumetric effects. Another common form of volumetric effect is how someone standing in water, you can see part of their body but as they go deeper into the water you can no longer see their feet or lower legs… as if they fade from view. That’s a volumetric effect in water. Poser 4 wasn’t capable of rendering this.
So naturally I came up with a way to do it sometime around 2000/01. It was crude but it worked for its purpose and gave us a way to render simple volumetric effects. Another member of the Poser community, I believe it was either Traveller or Nerd3D helped me create the prop after I explained my idea for how it would work. A bit of testing and, I’d done it… I’d made volumetric water in Poser 4 (as it happened it was also the first prop I’d ever created and at the time I was inordinately proud of my accomplishment). I gave the prop away free to the community. But it also encouraged me to learn more about 3D modeling and see what else I could create. That might have been the spring board for a 3D modelling career then, except life threw me a curve. I was also a painting contractor at the time and had just started learning to do decorative painting which was popular at the time. That took off and I started getting jobs with left me less and less time for 3D modelling. Eventually I disappeared from the 3D community altogether.
That brings us up to July of 2013, more than 10 years later. I saw a discussion on Renderosity where MikeMoss was asking for help creating water that could be animated for the current versions of Poser (9/10/Pro). These days I’m a fair 3D modeller using Blender 3D and I knew that using some of the modifier tools it wouldn’t be hard to create what I believed he needed. So I quickly created a flat plane and subdivided it to 3600 polys which seemed sufficient for the job (you don’t want to create too many polys, it slows down render time and for scenery props like water or walls, I like to keep the poly count as low as possible. Just high enough to do the job and look good). I applied some distortion effects and a wave effect and soon had a prop mesh built in Poser with 13 different morph targets. I actually spent more time trying to come up with an original water MAT in poser that looked decent (I’m still learning how to use Poser’s Material Room and set up its various nodes, they are similar to those in Blender but less intuitive and with fewer options) than I did making the prop itself.
For me, its a bit of irony that so many years after leaving the 3D community one of the first things I do upon returning is once again create water. Life is just funny that way. Below are a couple of test renders done in Poser 6 the first is the prop with a ripple and 3 wave morphs applied. The second image is the same prop, this time with a ripple morph and Poser’s wave deformer applied. Both images use the basic water MAT I created and included in the prop.
At any rate the free prop is now available at Renderosity in the Free Stuff section for download. I’m looking forward to seeing what uses people put it too.