A complicated poster.

Yet another in the series of posters for the newly-rechristened Second Interworld War. This one is inspired by the many different posters that had streams of planes passing overhead in a not-too-subtle V formation. The purpose was to impress with the sheer excess of Allied production. And of course, the exhortation to work hard and to invest in war bonds. My poster reads “Give them the Tools of Victory: Work to Win”.

The Tools of Victory

Executing this poster took quite a bit more work than the others; the gruesome details appear below the fold.

The key bit to understand is, Poser is an excellent program for, well, posing stuff. But as a full 3D rendering program, it’s simply not ready for prime time. As a user, I’m becoming aware that it simply gobbles memory and uses it not terribly efficiently. This will be important in just a little bit.

For this design, I had to replace the ubiquitous WWII bomber with my workhorse, the retro rocketship. I decided to cheat a little and have one leg of the V come from the Zharkov type and one from the Mongo type, though in the end product the distinction is hard to spot. Placing them was simplicity: I put one up in the sky, then duplicated it and translated it in the -z direction, Repeat that ten or so times, and you have a line of rocketships stretching back toward the vanishing point. Yay.

To get even more flashy, I decided to add some steam flying machines, which I envision as the gunboats of the campaign. This added some complication, because the SFM is a complex mesh itself plus it needed two or three crew to make it work. Otherwise it looks ghostly. I added Ava and Gene, specialized versions of Victoria 3 and Michael 3, and posed them carefully. Then I began the replication …

… and ran into that memory thing. Five gunboats, on top of the rest of the scene, killed my computer. I mean, the render really drove a stake through its heart — it was everything short of a Blue Screen of Death. I started removing objects from the figures far enough away to tolerate th e loss of detail. Not good enough: the renderer just wouldn’t take it.

I sat back and regrouped. I know of, but not how to use, a program called PoseRay, which I knew converted Poser objects to POV-Ray meshes. POV-Ray is a kick-butt free renderer that’s been the standard for something like a decade. I have lots of experience with POV-Ray, dating all the way back to version 2.1 (it’s at 3.7 now) and Ion Yadigariglou trying to render relativistic retarded-potential electromagnetic potentials around neutron stars. Poser is new to me, but POV-Ray — for POV-Ray, I know some real tricks.

So I grabbed a copy of PoseRay, read a quick tutorial, and converted my scene object-by-object. I lost the interactivity of Poser; POV-Ray is a scripted language, lacking direct manipulation. But in return I gained numerical precision and ease of adjustment. Most importantly, I gained the POV-Ray advantage: While meshes are not particularly efficient, the second copy of a mesh costs almost no memory. In other words, replicating the Mongo rocketship a thousand times took almost the same amount of memory as rendering it once. Suddenly, I could have entire air fleets and it would hardly impact the render time.

I didn’t go quite that crazy but I included, easily, twenty or more. Something about the textures didn’t quite take and things look a little plastic-y. But for the most part I am quite satisfied with this effort. As much as possible, I want to stay in Poser, but it’s good to know that POV-Ray is there when I need the big guns.

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