Poser 4 Terran Portrait Tutorial
MPQ Editor/compiler if you plan to make your own mod; you can
just send the smk files to your modder if you have someone else
doing it for you
PART I: Poser
Section A: Setting the Scene
First, open poser. Theres a guy there...delete him. Go to
Window...Document Window Size. I suggest setting it to 450x420
(in proportion to SCs 60x56 portrait size). I also suggest
setting Document Display Style to Texture Shaded so you have a
better idea of what it will look like. Make a Poser 4 Nude Male
or Female (under Figures). Change the view to Head view. Go to
Figures...Clothing male, and add any clothing necessary (probably
only shirts, because you cant see below his shoulders, usually).
To do this, you select the item of clothing, click the double-check
box, then go to Figure...Conform To...Figure 1 (the guy himself).
Repeat until all the clothing is on him that you need. A typical
combination is any sort of shirt plus a vest. The overcoat works
fairly nicely as well. Give him hair too (make sure you have Figure
1 selected). Select the figures head and adjust the various
handles to make the type of face you want. The options are fairly
limited unless you have the figure Michael which you
have to pay for (I couldnt find it anywhere else, so I dont
have it). Anyway, so you set him up all nice and stuff. You should
probably move his arms down to his sides so he looks like hes
driving and not pretending to be an airplane. Move the camera
around to where you want it and fiddle with the lights until you
like it. Find or create a 60x56 background image (in some other
program) and go to File...Import...Background Image to import
Section B: Animating
Now youre ready to animate. Go to Render...Render Options,
and set Render to to New window, changing
the size to 60x56. No need to change the resolution (72 dpi is
standard). Check the Anti-Alias box. Click the Render Over Background
Picture radio button if it is not already selected. Under Animation...Animation
Setup, again change the size to 60x56. No need to fiddle with
the other things, theyll work themselves out. OK, now the
fun part: animating. Change the number of frames at the bottom
to 11 (it is 30 by default). Set the first and last frames as
keyframes. This is to ensure that the animation is smooth between
animations. Now you can begin your Fid animations. Its best
to make fairly small neck movements for them. Heres an example:
Select the figures neck. Slide the slider bar to frame 6.
Rotate the neck 2 degrees in the Y-axis. Keyframe it. If you slide
the slider bar slowly, youll see your guy sort of shake
his head slowly. Yay! Now go to Animation...Make Movie. Make sure
Sequence Type is set to Image Files, Resolution is set to Full,
Quality is set to Current Render Settings, and Time Span is set
to go from 00 to 09 (change it from 10). You will have to change
Sequence Type and Time Span for each animation...the other options
will stick as long as the program is still open. Save it in some
folder as bmp files, titled Fid00. You can title it something
else but it doesnt matter; just make sure you can tell it
is the first Fid animation. Wait for it to render, then go un-keyframe
the sixth frame so that its back to normal. Make sure the
first and last frames are still keyframed though. Do it again.
You can do things like raised eyebrows, blinking, eye movements,
etc. Fiddle around for a while to get used to it. Once you have
the 4 maximum required Fid animations, you can begin the Tlk animations.
This is much the same, except that you use phonemes (under Faces).
What I typically do is to keyframe the 6th frame so that frames
1, 6, and 11 are all the same. If you want to apply head movements,
do it now before you start the mouth movements. Then, go to frame
4 and apply a phoneme of your choice (preferably a vowel sound).
Apply another one at frame 8. Feel free to change these...such
as frame 3 and frame 9, or whatever. It just changes the pacing.
Mix it up. If you can fit 3 mouth movements in there, go for it.
You can also do things like blend one phoneme into another instead
of separating them by a keyframe. When youre ready, do the
whole Make Movie thing again, being sure to check the appropriate
settings. Label it Tlk00 or something similar and GOGOGO. Go back,
unkeyframe all but the first and last frames, and repeat with
different movements. When you have the 3 maximum required Tlk
animations, you can do a little dance of self-satisfaction, save
your work, and close Poser 4.
Stipulations: Feel free to change my suggested 11 frames to any
number. As far as I know, StarCraft doesnt care how long
the animations are. If theyre too long, however, there may
be continuity problems; for example, a long talking animation
may get cut off and switch to a fid animation, making the animation
seem jerky. Some of the StarCraft portraits have 15 frames (16
in poser because you dont render the last keyframe). Experiment.
PART II: Smacker
Before you do any smacking you should probably extract one of
the original StarCraft portraits from StarDat.mpq so you have
a palette to work from. Just use WinMPQ or MPQEdit.
Open Smacker. Under the Smack tab, find your rendered bmp files.
Highlight the first group (Fid00_001 to Fid00_010 or whatever).
Click Smack. It will ask you what you want to do; create a list
file. Label it what you want your final smk files to be labeled.
For example if youre replacing Raynor, you could call it
URaFid00.lst. Save. Repeat for the other 6 sets of bmp files.
Now select your list files. Under Use/Create Palette From...
find your extracted smk from StarEdit.mpq and open that. Now,
click Smack. If it asks something like Treat as a sequence?
just say No. It should take about 1 second to complete
each animation. Yay! When youve done all 7, click the Player
tab. Find your smk animations. Check the Frame Rate
box and type in 10. Select each animation and click Perm. This
will make sure that the smk files have the same frame rate as
StarCraft portraits (10 fps). YAY!
PART III: Processing
I suggest making a test mpq to see what the portrait looks like
in-game before moving on to the next project. If you're using
MPQEdit (which no one uses), open BrooDat.mpq and replace all
of Stukov's portraits with your own, then delete all of the other
files. Save As whatever you want (but not patch_rt.mpq, you prankster
you). If you're using WinMPQ (which everyone uses), add your portraits
using the file- ane pathnames for Stukov's portraits, and Save
As whatever you want. DO NOT ACCIDENTALLY DELETE ALL THE FILES
IN WINMPQ. I did once, thinking it worked the same as MPQEdit,
and I had to reinstall. Why learn from your own mistakes when
you can learn from mine? Anyway, use MPQDraft to run your new
mpq. Watch the Dylarian Shipyards mission briefing (Terran expansion
mission 2) because it has a lot of time where Stukov is not talking,
and a lot of time where he is talking. If theres a major
glaring problem you can just go back into Poser and redo the problematic
animations. Then, zip your animations and send them to me so I
can steal the rights. I mean...um...bye.