Creature Creator Pro ~ Tutorial #2

This section covers using .phi files to convert character models into Poser Figures. This tutorial uses a few of the group creation options covered in the previous tutorial. Those first few steps are repeated here. If you have completed that tutorial and exported the model with the new head groups, you can jump ahead to step 4.

Step 1
First, use the File Import Wavefront obj menu to start importing the sample model. In the Open File dialog, start from the main Poser folder, and then go into the Runtime\Geometries\CCPro-dke folder. Double click on the CCP-V04a.obj file to import it. When the Import Options dialog opens, use the following settings.

Centered - This option isn't really needed, since by default CC-Pro figures are centered. However, if your CC-Pro character has non-symmetrical arms, do NOT check this box, or the character will be slightly offset in the direction of the longest arm.

Place on Floor - This option also isn't really needed, since by default CC-Pro figures are placed on the floor. In the future that will not be true for all models though, so it's a good habit to get into.

Percent of standard figure size - CC-Pro figures are larger than the standard Poser figures, so this option can be quite helpful in getting them to the proper size. The 100% setting is generally good, but if you want your creature to be a little smaller or a little larger than the standard figures, then settings between 80% and 120% produce nice results.

Step 2
CC-Pro has additional head groups, since it allows you to mix and match different nose, mouth, eye and ears parts. We need to rename these additional parts so they are part of the full head.

We do this using the Group Edit window, so open it by clicking on the Group Edit button in the toolbar.

  • Make sure "head" is selected in the drop list at the top of the Group Edit window.
  • Click "Include Group" button to start adding these extra parts to the head.
  • You will get a popup dialog box with a second drop list in it. Select "nose" in this list, and then click OK to add it to the main head body part.

Repeat these steps to add the mouth, lEyeSocket and rEyeSocket. We have long, pointy ears in this model, so for now we will keep the ears as separate body parts.

This process creates a copy of the original part, and in effect, we now have two noses, one that is part of the head, plus the original one. We need to remove the original one:

  • in the Group Edit drop list, select nose.
  • This time click the "Remove Group..." button
  • In the popup window, select nose again. In effect, we are removing the nose from the original nose group.

Repeat these steps for the mouth, lEyeSocket and rEyeSocket

As a final step, click the "Create Perspective UVs" button at the bottom of the GroupEdit window. This is a not a particularly useful texture mapping layout, but perhaps better than nothing. There are additional tutorials that cover texture mapping this exact same model, so in the meantime, let's not worry about getting too fancy.

Step 3
Just to be safe, let's export our revised model. We will be using it in later tutorials, plus, if we mess up in the next section, we can use it as a starting place and skip the Group Editing part.

In the Save As dialog, open the "Runtime\Geometries\CCPro-dke" folder, and save the model as CCP-v04b.obj

The name will be important when we get to the tutorial about using .phi files to build the characters, so make sure you spell it properly.

Step 4
Now we are all set to create the actual poseable figure.
  • From the Poser File menu, select the Convert Hierarchy menu choice.
  • Runtime\Geometries\CCPro-dke folder.
  • Double-click the CCP-v04b.phi

You will be asked to enter a name, so use CCPro-v04b for now. You can easily change it later. Poser will try to open the "New Figures" folder in the Figures library, so likely you will get a bit of screen flash as the library is opened. If this doesn't, you may have missed a step in setting the joint rotation order. Go back to the Hierarchy window, expand all the body parts and their parameter buttons, and verify you didn't miss any changes. Especially for the ears and feet. (Note: If you need to create the figure a second time, it will not let you use the same name. You will either have to delete the previous copy from the the New Figures folder, or use a different name.)

Don't worry if you get a 'black' picture for the figure icon. This happens a lot when have the Hierarchy Edit window open, (and the Group Edit or Joint Edit windows as well.) Since you can't click the "Create New Figure" button if the Hierarchy Edit window is closed, you're kind of stuck with the problem. Not to fear, as we will be making additional changes to this model and will save it to a different folder. At that time we can get a better looking library pic.

Some final checking before we start using the new figure, so let's not discard our work just yet in case something went wrong.

First, make sure the "hip" is still selected, and using the standard Poser dials, find the "xTran" dial, and slide it off to the left or right. A setting of -1.00 works well to place it off to the left of the scene. Since the rest of our parts are parented to the hip, they will also move off the viewing area of the screen.

Now let's check our new model and see how it works. Open the Libraries tab and in the Figures section, open the New Figures folder. Scroll down to find your new creature, which should be call CCP-V04a unless you used a different name in the above steps.

Select your new character click on it, and then click use the double-check mark button at the bottom of the library tab to add your figure. After a brief pause, you should get something like this.

(If the character isn't visible, then we likely missed some of the joint setup steps and will need to go back to check them.)

So lets test if it bends OK.
  • Rotate the camera slightly so we're looking at the left side a little
  • Select the Left Thigh and set xRotate to -45 degrees
  • Select the Left Shin and set xRotate to +45 degrees

Viola! it bends!

Now turn the camera back to look at the front of the model, and select the Left Thigh again. This time drag/change the zRotate dial. You will likely get the bending problem as shown below. Not very nice, but it just means we haven't set up the joint bending information properly. That's covered in the next tutorial, so in the meantime feel free to bend it around and see what all we will need to fine tune.

You've now created your new character directly from the output of Creature Creator Pro.

The following tutorials provide additional details on setting up the joint bending, as well as several advanced topics such as using .phi files, pointing to an external .obj model, and other related topics.

When you're done playing with the new creature, you can clear out all the remaining parts. I prefer to use the File->New menu item, and that way you're back to a fresh, clean slate.

Copyright 2003 by Bruce Lamming

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