Archive for October, 2007

Poser Content Manager

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

screen_pcm3 Ever since I started making games, back in the 80’s on my Commodore 64, I’ve faced the challenge of getting art for my code… I’ve never been much of an artist, so when the brilliant program called Poser came along, I got hooked on it straight away, from version one onwards… It’s a great tool: fairly cheap, easy to use, gives nice result and there’s LOADS of ready made stuff you can just buy, plug in, customize a bit and render out to use in your own creations. I use poser for most of my art needs, but through the years, as I’ve bought more and more content for Poser, I’ve started having more and more problems with finding the stuff I need when I need it. I usually think to myself: "Hmm, wasn’t there a helmet of that exact type I need, or a great sword swinging pose, in one of the hundreds of poser content packages I have?" But it can be impossible to remember which one.

So, when I started Colossus, and got to the point where I needed to start creating stuff in Poser, I decided to take a couple of days to create a tool which could help me to find stuff. I needed something simple, which gave me a great overview of what stuff I have, and which also was as automatic as possible, as I wouldn’t have time to mark things up with keywords or things like that. One week later and I have what I call the Poser Content Manager. The concept is quite simple, and it works like this: You start the program, and it scans your Poser directory, making a list of everything that’s already there.screen_pcm1 Then you install one of the items you’ve got (be it from DAZ or Zygotes installation programs, or a zip file or a manual copy of things to the right folders, doesn’t matter) and then press F12. The program will then scan the Poser folder again, and find the files that have been added. It will then copy all these files, and write them out into one compressed file of the special type .PCA (which stands for Poser Content Archive).

A Poser Content Archive can then be viewed using the Poser Content Manager, which will list all the files making up the archive, will show all thumbnails of any characters, props, poses etc. stored in the archive, and will also let you click a button to install all the files into your Poser folder. If the files are already installed into your Poser folder, it will allow you to remove all of them with a single click of a button. In addition, you can press Space to view the next PCA file located in the same folder as the one you’re currently viewing, or Backspace to view the previous one. Given that a PCA file opens very quickly, this makes for a very convenient way to quickly browse through a lot of archives to find what you’relooking for. It can take a bit of time to create the PCA archives in the first place, but once you have them you’ll never use anything else :-) Myself, I’ve done it to all my Poser stuff, and burned it down on DVD. The archives are compressed, and are about the same size or smaller compared to the original installation packages for most DAZ/Zygote products.

To the right are some screenshots for you, the first is from the archive generation process, the other two shows a PCA file which have not yet been installed, and a PCA file which is already installed.screen_pcm2

The Poser Content Manager is FREE, and what’s even better, the source code is free too. That means that anyone who wants to can modify it to suit their own needs or just generally improve it. And if you do, feel free to drop me an e-mail about it and I can tell people about it here on this page, but don’t feel like you have to.

I give no guarantees whatsoever, use it at your own risk. I do, and I’m real happy with it so far :-)

Before you start using PCM, open Configuration.xml in a text editor and change the paths to something that makes sense for you. Once you have a PCA file, double-click on it and select PoserContentManager.exe to open it with, and you’ll be good to go!

Downloads

Poser Content Manager326 KB. The actual program, all you need to start using PCM. This is the one you’ll want to get.

Source Code1735 KB. This is the full source code for PCM, including the Pixie engine code it depends on. Get this if you’re a C++ programmer and wants to modify the program.