The Smith Micro store is having a big two-day Poser sale this weekend. I see Poser Pro 2010 at $175.00, down from $499. I see Poser 8 Standard at $100… but keep in kind that Amazon.com currently has Poser 8 at just $88.99 with free shipping. And also keep in mind that a great many Poser users still prefer Poser 6 — that’s why v6 keeps its used prices higher than v8 on Amazon, and it can no longer be purchased from Smith Micro.
Poser takes some learning, and newcomers to Poser may be more comfortable with Poser Debut at a mere $20. At that sale price it’s really a “why not?” purchase if you don’t already have Poser. But why might you want to spend even $20 on Poser, when DAZ Studio is free? It might be useful if you want access to Poser’s excellent sketch-like and toon rendering capabilities (the toon shaders are apparently included in Poser Debut, along with the powerful SketchDesigner for sketch renders). Very useful if you plan to use Poser for its original purpose, artist reference images for making a figurative painting. Maybe even for CrazyTalk Animator backgrounds, using the toon rendering. It might even be potentially useful to help create 2D CrazyTalk Animator figures.
But if that’s all you want it for, then keep in mind that we might well get nice sketch and toon rendering with iClone 5 (due Q4 2011). But then again, iClone 5’s toon/comic presets might be as bad as DAZ’s, and it may not even have sketch shaders and presets. Even if it does do sketch, it’s very unlikely to match the quality of Poser’s FireFly-powered SketchDesigner module.
As a tool for extracting Poser/DAZ content, DAZ Studio 3 is superior. Not only is it free and able to load and export 95% of Poser content (although some of that 5% is superb modelling and character-making) with a little tweaking. It also has the great advantage over Poser that it exports models with textures, without which it wouldn’t be possible to get most DAZ/Poser models into iClone. (Update: the new Poser Pro 2012 now exports Collada)
Either Poser or DAZ will both render you excellent still 3D images to use as impressive static backdrops for iClone movies, using their immense range of stock content and scenes. They can also be useful for animating the sort of obscure and/or ultra-high-quality content you’re never likely to find in the iClone store — you’d get it to iClone as a green-screened video clip via Reallusion’s popVideo software.