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This tutorial describes the process of adding field generation to a Poser figure and adding a multiple layered MetaForm Surface to create an "energy field" around the figure.

Please ensure Display Units are set to Poser Native Units in ‘Edit > General Preferences…


Begin by loading Poser and MetaForm. Load and pose a figure. The following process can be applied to almost any figure, but it may be a good idea to work through this tutorial using a standard human figure (Poser 5's Don figure used).

Posed figure
Select any body part or the Body actor itself. Click the Object Properties button in the Current Object panel. Object Properties button

In the Prop/Figure Properties dialog, check the Enable Field Generation box then click OK. Your figure will now generate a Surface when Surfacing is activated.

When you do this, MetaForm automatically creates a Surface prop if there is not already one in the scene and also adds some new parameters to the figure's Body actor. We'll look at these in a moment.

Enabling Field Generation in the Prop/Figure panel

By default, MetaForm Surfaces are created with a single layer. MetaForm can create Surfaces with up to 32 concentric layers.

To add more layers, open MetaForm's Surfaces panel, and click the Edit Surface button. This opens the Edit Surface dialog for the current active Surface.

The Edit Surface button in the Surfaces panel

Drag the 'Number of Layers' slider to 3 and click OK.

The Edit Surfaces panel

Enable Surfacing by clicking on either of the Surfacing buttons on the MetaForm interface. You will see that the Surface that is generated doesn't look too good.

To fix this, click on the figure's Body actor. In the Poser parameter palette there is a Field Extent parameter. This controls the maximum distance that Surface will be created. Increase this to 0.060.

Next, select the Default Surface prop and in the parameters palette change the Layer Threshold to 0.2. This will space the layers out a bit.

Default Field Extent creates a weak field in these circumstances

Enable Surfacing again to see how this affects the Surface.

Much better.

We can only see one layer so far because the Surface's outer layer is completely opaque. We need to add some transparency so we can see the underlying layers.

Larger Field Extent covers the figure and increases the quality

Go to Poser's Material room or Surface Material dialog. We'll be editing Layers 0,1 and 2 as these are the first three layers. Layer0 is on the outside.

Set the Transparency (P5) or Transparency Max (Pro Pack) to 1,
Transparency_Edge or Transparency to 0.2, and
to 0.2.
Pick a Diffuse_Color or Object Color of your choice for the layer. We used lime green.

Repeat this for the other two layers. As always, feel free to fiddle with the parameter values to get a result you like.

Figure generating multiple layers, rendered

You can continue adjusting the material values, and the Field Extent and Layer Threshold values until you are happy with the layers and their spacing.

This is our final image:

Figure rendered at higher quality



You may wish to explore this further by adding more layers and increasing the Field Extent. You might also want to increase the Subdivision Level parameter of the figure (select the Body actor first). Bear in mind this will increase the calculation time and mesh density of the surface.

Why not try different colored layers? Try out different effects on the layers too.

Here's what we did:


Using a layered MetaForm Surface as camouflage.

Each of the four layers use refraction to bend the light. 16 - 32 raytrace bounces were used to accommodate the multiple layers. The figure's visibility is turned off, so only the layers can be seen. Download the Surface preset here (put in \Poser\MetaForm\Presets\).

Light-refracting camouflage
This "thermal imaging" effect was created using four layers: the external blue layer has high transparency, and the three internal layers of varying colors (orange, red, white) have low Transparency and high Transparency_Falloff settings. Download the Surface preset here (put in \Poser\MetaForm\Presets\). Note: again, the figure itself is invisible. Thermal vision (kinda)
Here we applied similar Surface settings to several metaballs and changed the colors slightly. Download the Poser .pz3 here (390kb). We have a little animation of the blobs in action (DivX 5.1.1, 134kb). Multi-layered blobs


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