Tutorials

Quick View Other Tutorials   

Using Magnets in Poser

For Poser 7, or earlier versions back to Poser 4

Deformer Magnets are a very powerful tool in Poser if their mechanisms and philosophy are understood.

Magnets are useful for creating subtle animations of parts of the surface of objects (bulges, shakes, swinging, scaling, mouth movements, etc) or they can be used to alter the appearance of objects by resizing and stretching features. This latter use can additionally be "captured" into a morph target if you wish.

Deformer Magnets are a very powerful tool in Poser if their mechanisms and philosophy are understood.

Magnets are useful for creating subtle animations of parts of the surface of objects (bulges, shakes, swinging, scaling, mouth movements, etc) or they can be used to alter the appearance of objects by resizing and stretching features. This latter use can additionally be "captured" into a morph target if you wish.

Magnets are made up of three independent elements in the scene.

This is fundamental to the power of the magnets. By having the defining elements of the magnet be composed of seperate objects in the scene, you can place them independently into the hierarchy of Poser objects and use this to your advantage during animation.

A magnet deformer is composed of the following:

1. A Zone Object

2. The Magnet Object

3. The Base Object

The Zone Object is a spherical object which specifies what vertices of an object (or objects) will be affected by the magnet deformation. This is essential to understand if you hope to have any control over magnets. The zone can be made a child of any object in the scene (typically the object you want to deform). It can be scaled, rotated, and positioned to surround exactly the vertices you want to affect. And because it is an object in the hierarchy (actually a kind of Prop), it can be independently animated to change the area to be affected by the magnet over time or it can be set up to stick to an object (its parent) so that it's area to be affected by a magnet will NOT move.

Now, if every vertex which was in a zone got affected by the full deformation, you would get a sharp change in surface at the edge of a zone. Because of this, the zone is set up so that vertices near the center of the zone will get the full effect of the magnet deformation and vertices at the edge of the zone will get no effect of the magnet. There is a natural falloff of this effect from the center of the zone to the edge. This falloff can be edited to get exact control over the area of influence. More on that later.

So clearly, how you place a zone will directly affect the kind and look of deformation you will get.

The Magnet Object is what you actually move to create a change in the surface of your body part or prop. It's not really a "magnet" in the sense that it doesn't "pull" vertices towards it. If that's what you expect, then that might explain any confusion to its use.

The magnet is actually a representative object which shows you what the transformation of points within the zone will be. If you translate the magnet, you will see the vertices within your zone translate. If you rotate the magnet, you will see your vertices rotate. If you scale the magnet, you will see your vertices scale.

"Ah, but if I rotate or scale the magnet, where will it be rotating or scaling from ?" you will ask. That's the essential question and that's where The Base Object comes in...

The Base represents the center of transformation

You can place the Base Object anywhere you like and this will represent the center of rotation and scaling of your deformation. This is an important decision to make if you are going to rotate or scale your magnet to get a desired effect.

In the following images, the magnet is not changed. Only the base has been moved to the side so that the center of the transformation is in a different place. Note the effect that the Z rotation of the magnet has when the base is in different positions:

Pop Quiz

OK. You're ready for the test now. Can you guess how you would want to position the Zone and the Base if your goal was to be able to bend, stretch, and scale the nose of a figure ?

Would the base object be placed at the tip of the nose, the middle of the nose, or the base of the nose?

Would the zone object be centered at the tip of the nose, the middle of the nose, or the base of the nose? How might it need to be oriented?

How wide would you make the zone?

Think about this and then go to the next page and see if you came up with the same thoughts.

Pop Quiz Solution

Here's how I would set up a magnet and its zones for manipulating a nose.

I would place the base object at the base of the nose where it joins with the face. The position in Y would depend on where you want to scale from, but I would guess near the bottom.

The center of the zone I would place at the tip of the nose, and then I'd scale the zone so that the outer edge of the zone is just hitting the center of the base so that all rotations and scales would fade to nil just as the verts neared the center of rotation. The zone would probably need to be scaled in Y and rotated back so it contains the length of the nose and not the lips.

It would look like this:

Now, if you translate the Magnet in Z and/or rotate in X, you will get deformations like these:

Great! Now go have some coffee so you can stay up all night playing with your newfound understanding of Poser's magnets.