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Rendering with Depth of Field

For use with Poser 5, 6 or 7

Poser's Depth of Field setting can provide a 'photographic' look to your renders, allowing you to create subtle or dramatic focus effects to emphasize particular parts of your images.

By default, everyting in a Poser scene is rendered in focus. Poser provides controls to make its cameras behave in very realistic ways, but in this respect it departs from the real world. However, the Firefly render engine does have a 'Depth of Field' (DoF) option in its Render Settings; this option allows us to focus the camera on one part of the scene and have the other parts render out of focus to one degree or another.

Using DoF is actually very simple. In the current camera's Parameters palette, we can use the focus_Distance dial to set the focus to a particular distance (in Poser's default units of feet, unless the default unit has been set to something else.) Determining how far from the camera a particular object is can be tricky however, so in Poser 6 and 7 we have provided a Python script that will provide that information with the click of a button.

An Example

To illustrate, the scene shown here contains six objects at various distances from the camera-

A default render, with no depth of field calculation, looks like this-

If we want to use Depth of Field, we start by selecting the object that should be in focus, then bringing up the Python Scripts palette and choosing the Render/IO Scripts section-

Clicking the Calc DoF Focal Distance button runs the script, which calculates the distance to the selected object and displays the result (in the current units of measurement) in a text window-

The only thing to do then is to enter that number (rounded off, if you like) into the focus_Distance parameter of the current camera (you can copy and paste from the text window if you like)-

- and then of course activate the Depth of Field option in the Firefly Manual Render Settings and render the scene.

We can focus the camera on objects nearby or farther away depending on the effect we want.

Other camera settings may affect just how far out of focus a particular object may be- increasing the f-stop parameter increases the focal length of the camera, diminishing the impact of the depth of field setting (and allowing for more precise control over its behavior.) For example, the preceding image and this next one were both rendered using DoF; the only difference is in the f-stop setting (1.6 in the first image, 5.6 in the second)-

Calculating depth of field adds somewhat to the render time, but the final effect can make all the difference in providing just the right look to the scene.