Painter 3D for Poser 4 Tips & Tricks
                                                                                                              by Bloodsong

     If you've poked around on your Poser4 CDs, you may have found the Painter 3D application, and thought, "Huzzah!  I can make super-accurate texture maps now by painting right on the 3D model!"  (Okay, maybe you didn't say "Huzzah.")  Then you tried to work with this sucker, and said, "Who's the idiot who came up with THIS thing???!"

     Well, it has it's quirks, but it can be handy to use for some things, if you know how to tame this unruly beast.  Here's my eminent knowledge of the situation.  :)


     Do NOT try to load your Poser figure obj into P3D.  Yes, it is possible, but as you may have noticed, you have to add/share/apply a texture map to EACH and EVERY object group.  If you're working on a human, that's what?  2000 parts, according to Lever2000 soap commercials.   No no no, my friend, we don't play dat!

     Load your prospective model into UVMapper.  You can use other modelling apps to accomplish this step, I suppose, but UVM is quick, easy, and fast.  What you want to do is select all (Ctrl-A) and assign it to one group (Alt-E, A, G, or use the menu).  Just call it Body, or All, or Everything, it doesn't matter.
     Now, after saying that, I'm going to say you might not want it all in one group.  If you feel a little more advanced in working with P3D, you may decide to have a few groups.  Eyes, for example, are a good group.  If you're trying to paint an eye in P3D, and you slip and hit the eyelid.... well, if the skin is in a separate group, you won't mess anything up.  Also, if you're working with dual-mapped objects, you will need at least two groups: one for each map.  So if you want to torment Vicky in P3D, you need to select all the bits that use the head map and stick them in one group, and all the bits that use the body map in another.

     Save this new obj somewhere.  I call mine *-p3d.obj.  So I have a CatHiP3.obj and a cat-p3d.obj.  The P3D version is what we'll use in P3D.  
     Note:  P3D uses groups, not materials.  Deep Paint uses materials, not groups.  Though if you have Deep Paint, I can't imagine why you're poking around with P3D.  (Unless your demo expired.)

   On with the show!


     Hopefully, you have somehow organized your P3D workspace so you at least know where some important things are.  The Tools are important.  The Tool Controls are important, sometimes.  The Brushes and Brush Controls, and the Colour thingy, and the Floater thingy...  Well, stuff them somewhere.  Mine are all overlapping on the entire right side of the screen.  Here's a handy-dandy tip.  Ctrl-H is "Hide," but not to hide marquee selections (as in most sane 2D apps), but to Hide all the tool windows.  Try it, you'll like it! (Hit it again to make the palettes reappear.)

     Now to get an OBJ into this sucker, we can't open it, or import it, we have to "Acquire" it.  If you just installed P3D, you'll notice the "Acquire" sub menu has little XX's instead of file types.  Somewhere or other is a patch to fix that, but I never bothered with it.  All you need to remember is that the 4th XX is "OBJ."

  That one!

     Find the p3d version of your obj.  Now a box will pop up asking you how big you want your viewport to be.  You can't resize it after you put this in, so think carefully!  It depends on how big you screen is, and how small you feel comfortable working.  I usually use about 250x300 or 300x300.  It doesn't have to be square, if you're doing an animal, make it wide, if you're doing an upright figure, make it tall.

     There's your model; now it may be sideways.  Select the rotation tool and find the Tool Controls.  Hint: Ctrl-7 turns them on/off.  Set the rotation sliders to 0, 0, and 0, and your model should be an upstanding citizen again.  Use the rotation sliders to move the view around, rather than dragging the rotation tool in the window and ending up all drunken and listing.

     Now that your model is facing front, you may notice that only one side is lit up.  Select the light tool.  Before you start shining your light here and there, check out the Tool Controls now.  (Ctrl-7, remember?)  Try turning up the Ambience, and now things won't look so dark and sinister.  Also fiddle with the Brightness and Exposure sliders, you may need to turn them down as you adjust the Ambience.
     After messing with that a bit, some parts of your model will still be darker than others.  You can click on surfaces of the model with the light tool, to get a light shining onto the model facing that surface.  So, basically, find a dark area and click on it.  It has to be on the model, you can't click in space.  You can't otherwise control or position the lights (that I know of), and you can't delete lights (again, that I know of), so don't go too nuts putting them on.

     Once you can see your model, you can put textures on it!


(if you want to load a texture, see next section)

     Here's two more handy hints you need to know:  Ctrl-2 and Ctrl-3.  Stick these palettes anywhere, like smack dab in the middle of the free space on your screen.  You only need these on when you're creating/loading a texture.

    Ctrl-2 is the 3D Hierarchy; Ctrl-3 is the Maps Manager.

     The 3D thing unhelpfully opens all closed up.  Press the thing that looks like a black box with red, green, and blue children.  This opens the object list with all the objects unhelpfully named "Object," "Object1," etc.  Told ya it didn't matter what you named your groups you made.  Okay, so how do you figure out which one is Vicky's head and which one is the rest of her Body?  Make sure you can see the 3D Model viewport, then poke the eye next to each group.  Whatever turns invisible when you poke the eye is what that object is.  Poke the eye again and it will re-appear.  Poke the eye again if it makes you feel better abusing this poor program.

     After you're done with that, click on whatever Object you want, and then double-click in the Maps Manager where it says "Texture."  This pops up the Load/New/Share image box.  If you're making a new image, there's a cool feature called "Minimal Distortion Ratio."  Most texture templates (and textures) are square, but that might not accurately reflect the proportions of the model.  This thing somehow calculates the UV setup and the model proportions and what the best image ratio will be for it.   Don't worry about your texture not being square, it will still map properly to the model.  UV maps use relative coordinates, not absolute.  In other words, it doesn't say "50 pixels down and 20 pixels across is the tip of the nose."  It says "50% down and 20% across...."
     Lastly, in the section with the vases, the one on the far right should have a red border.  That's "Implicit" aka UV mapping.

     Okay, so you have a new map, and it's utterly blank.  If you're ready to dive right in and paint ON the model, you're all set.  If you'd rather have a safety net and see your template, then go to the Canvas menu and Show Mesh.  There's the mesh, and you don't even have to load the template, or copy and paste to a new layer, etc etc etc.  Also, you can see your map is upside down.  Well, upside-down compared to Poser, which is upside-down compared to the rest of the world....
     But you can fix that!  Look again at the Maps Manager (Ctrl-3).  See down under all the big stuff, where it says "Flip X"?  Check that box.  Well, it's more impressive when you check it in the next section.
     Also in that Maps Manager is a checker to show/hide the mesh, and to drop the mesh.   Dropping the mesh will make the mesh part of the actual image.  You could use this to save a template.  (If you didn't already have UVMapper, which you used to fix up the obj to import into P3D in the first place anyway....)  Actually, this might be useful to create higher-res templates, or to make the non (or "less") distorted version of the templates.

     For Painting, see below.  If you have more than one Object, see below.  Keep reading.... ;)


     Well, if you skipped the Creating Textures bit to come here, go back and read it.  It has important info for ya!

     Okay, so you hit Ctrl-2 and Ctrl-3, and you see your Object(s), and you double-click the Texture for one.  Now instead of saying "New," say "Open."   Everything else is the same, the red border on the Implicit vase, etc etc.  Find your texture you want to work on and open it.

    Badda-boom, badda-bing, your lovely texture opens and applies to your Object.  And this is pretty much where things fall apart.  It does NOT go on the model  right!  ARGH!  Now you can spend your time flipping the canvas, and flipping it back, and going back and forth, but (if you read the previous section, you know what's coming) if you peer at the Maps Manager, you'll find something that says "Flip X."  Click on it *now*.  OOOOOOH!  Magic!
     At this point, unless you have other Objects (keep reading), you can close those two palettes.  How's that go?  Say it with me:  Ctrl-2, Ctrl-3.  Poof.

     Now hit Ctrl-H to sweep away those palettes and shrink your texture image down to where you can access it in the narrow working-area of your screen.  :)


     Once you put a texture on an Object.... you can't get it off.  At least not that I've figured out!


     Okay, for using several objects in an OBJ, you do basically the same thing.  Select each Object in turn in the 3D Hierarchy, then double-click the Texture in the Maps Manager.  But after you create/load the texture for the first Object, you'll want to "Share" the map with the other objects.  Click on the Share radio button, and next to it is a list of images you have loaded.  Probably only one, and that'll be it.  
     You'll notice that your loaded image, whatever it was, doesn't have its name any more.  That's right, P3D can't remember if it was mycooltex.tif or whatever.  Remember  when you got to save  it.

     Once you tell the other Objects to Share the same texture, a new window with the SAME image will pop open each time.  Once for each object.  You can close all the extra ones.  Just one slight caveat.... when you show the mesh, ONLY the mesh for that object will show up; the rest of the model template will be blank.  So if you loaded a map on your eyes, and shared it with the head and body Objects, and closed the two extra texture copies, and then hit "Show Mesh...."  Right, all you'll get on the mesh are the two eyes.

     if you're using a dual-map setup  (Like Victoria or Michael), then instead of Sharing an image with the groups, you'll want to make a new image for each, or open two different ones.


     Okay, you're almost on your own, now.  The Painter-style brushes and tools may be a mystery to you, but this tutorial isn't about those.  Check out some Painter tutorials on the web.  (Concentrate on Painter 4 or Painter 5; I think that's concurrent with the P3D.)

      Once you have your painting tool, you can go ahead and start drawing/painting right on the model, in your viewport window.  Remember that P3D likes you to activate the window, then work in it. So if your'e switching between painting in the 3D and 2D window, don't click and drag in the other window and expect your stroke to show up.  Click on the other window, then draw.  (Or pan, or zoom, etc etc.)

     Another fun thing you've probably noticed in P3D is that when you get near a seam, P3D will zip a line of colour clear across the ENTIRE image to jump to the other side of the seam.  Well, sometimes it goes off one edge and comes in on the other... But still!  Open your 3D Hierarchy again (Ctrl-2) and poke the eye a few times if it makes you feel better.

     There's a few ways to get around this.  One is to draw marquee selections on the map so you can only paint up to a seam.  This isn't foolproof, as sometimes the stray line goes hieing off across the area you are drawing in.  Another is to start on a blank map, and purposefully draw coloured lines across the seams.  Then erase (or white-over) the stray bits in between.  Then you can use the colour-coded lines to try to paint matching seam bits.  Yeah, okay, that's a lame way.
     The way I usually do it is to draw my line and kinda sneak up on the seam, and then kinda sneak up on the other side of the seam, and try to get them to match up without actually drawing *across* the seam.

   Now P3D is not ALL annoying.  What is really cool is, you can marquee select an area and copy and paste it. Then it becomes a "Floater"  (Look for the Objects:Floater Palette).  This is like a layer in 'Shop.  Then you can use the pointing finger, or the cursor keys, to move this bit around anywhere on the map and model.
   So for example, if I've drawn say, one side of my Big Wing Eagle face, I can copy it, paste it, flip it, and then nudge it into position over the map.  You can see what you're doing right on the model, and you can watch the floating bit ease into place.   All my Antelopes needed this on their heads, as I had made them somewhat crooked in 'Shop.  But I just grabbed the whole face area, copied, pasted, and nudged it sideways, until the eye lines and all matched up to the model.

     You can deal with seams this way, too.  Where one flank of your model hits the seam, grab a big chunk of the texture, copy, paste, and flip it.... Then move it over to the other side of the seam.  Now you can have bits mirrored across the seam, and be, well, seamless.  Once it is in place, you can blend it with the original underlying layer by partly erasing the edges of the floater.  (Note: I do this kind of operation in 'Shop, not P3D or even Painter.  Just leave the floaters and save as a PSD, and you can edit the image in 'Shop.)

     Floaters won't stretch across seams and smear out over the whole image to get to the other side.  In fact, they don't get to the other side at all, unless you make another copy there, which is a shame, really.


     The other cool thing P3D has is the Image Hose, just like Painter 4 and up.  With it, you can spray on textures, such as fur or feathers, or scales, or hair.  Check out my tutorial on Feathering Birds with a hose.

     And that, sadly, is about the extent of my expertise  with Painter 3D.  If you learn anything really killer, let me know!  (No, that box in the Maps Manager that says "Wrap UVs" doesn't turn off the zinging lines across seams.  Sorry.)