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Material Room 101- Working With Image Maps

For use with Poser 6 or 7

Poser's Simple Material Room provides an easy-to-manage interface that allows users to quickly apply basic surface textures to objects and figures. This tutorial will walk through the process of applying an image map in the Simple Material Room.Poser 5 introduced the Material Room, a powerful new tool to manage surface textures and image maps. In Poser 6 and 7, the Material Room has a Simple option, for those times when you just need to make a simple adjustment to a texture. This tutorial shows how to use the Simple Material Room to change the image map attached to a particular surface of a Poser item.

To begin, we'll open a new Poser scene, with the default James figure. Then we'll add a couple of props, which we'll use to demonstrate the Material Room functions. From the Primitives folder in the Props library, we'll bring in a cylinder prop, scale it to 50% in the X and Z dimensions (in Poser, the X-axis runs left-to-right, the Y axis runs bottom-to-top, and the Z axis runs back-to-front) and position it to James' left. We'll then bring in a cone from the same library and position it on top of the cylinder, and then bring in a ball (regular or high-res, it doesn't matter) and position it on the point of the cone, so the whole assembly looks like this-

Now, we're off to the Material Room by clicking the Material tab. By default, the Material Room will open in Simple mode; this is where we'll apply our texture changes. First, if the ball prop isn't already selected, we can select it from the Object menu as shown here-

Now one feature of Poser props and figures is that their surfaces can be subdivided into "material groups"- since Poser's figures and props are built of polygons (which you can see if you switch the Document Display Settings to hidden-line or wireframe mode) their surfaces can be grouped into areas, like a figure's lips or fingernails, composed of groups of polygons. These groups can have different textures, which you can select and modify in the Material Room. The ball prop has just one polygon group, the Preview group. It can be selected from the Material menu as shown-

- and then modified. Let's apply an image map and wrap a digital photo around our ball prop. You'll see in the Material Room workspace that there are several parts to the Preview material- in the Simple Material Room we can only modify the Diffuse Color, Highlight, Ambient, Reflection, Bump and Transparency channels. These each have a color and a map strength setting, and may have other special controls depending on which channel you're modifying. In this tutorial we'll just be loading an image into the Diffuse Color channel; to do so, let's click the small preview square as shown-

This brings up the Texture Manager dialog; we can click the Browse button and navigate to our chosen image. Any TIFF, PSD, JPEG or PNG image should work; Windows users will also be able to use BMP files, while Mac users can use PICTs. For best results, use "flattened" images, without layers. Once we locate the image we want to use (I used a JPEG-formatted digital picture of a rose) we click OK to apply the image as shown-

With the image map loaded, the simple Material Room should now show the image in the preview square in the Diffuse Color channel. If the image map isn't showing up on the ball prop, it may be that Poser is set to display the scene in Smooth Shaded mode, in which image maps aren't shown. To make sure we can see our image maps, we can go to the Display menu and choose Texture Shaded from the Document Style submenu. Then we should see something like this-

- and if we render our scene, the image map will be wrapped around the ball prop. This same technique can be used to change image maps on figures as well as props- just be sure that you've selected the correct material!