The starting point: A model of a Figure.
How to model a humanoid figure will be not the subject of these pages. There are a number of excellent modelling tutorials out there, the one I like best and use as a reference for all my figures is the one from Arild Wiro.
I will use my female Dwarf figure for this example, of course modelled in Wings3d.
The poser standard pose is with the arms straight out and the legs straight down. If you want your figure to utilize poses made for other poser figures, you should stick to this pose.
I find it hard to work with a model with the legs straight down and personally don't use ready made poses much, so I build my model with the legs spread a bit. I also find it a bit easier to set up the poser joints from this pose. But if I decide to use the standard pose, I can easily do so later.
The forearms should be rotated so that the hands are in a horizontal position.
One of the best things about custom figures is the ability to make expression morphs that really work. Expressions are unique to a face, they will never be really good on the usually, generic poser figures.
The face should be modelled with the expressions in mind, try for an edge flow along the line of movements in the face.
I model a mostly neutral expression with the mouth open a bit, that makes morphing easier. The figure I use here as an example has a face mesh with a relative low density, for a very expressive face some more edge loops would be better. She is supposed to be quit young; older people develop more ceases when the face muscles move. An older face would definitely need some more edges, especially on the forehead and on the cheeks.
I will cover the creation of the morphs in a later chapter of this tutorial.
But there a number of things to look out for if you plan to make a figure ready for poser using the methods from this tutorial. The starting point is an unsmoothed, symmetrical figure. Working with an unsmoothed figure will make UV-Mapping and morphing much easier, we will smooth later.
For building the morphs, it will be important that the mirror plane has the x position of exactly 0. Check for that by selecting an edge on the central edge loop and read out the x position. If it is not 0, move your model in body mode for this amount (use tab for numerical input) but in the opposite direction.
I usually do specialized figures that are not meant to be morphed in totally different forms. For such figures I usually aim for a unsmoothed polycount of about 7000 to 10000, giving a final polycount in the 30000 to 40000 range after smoothing. That is enough for good bending; nice expression morphs and looks good in Poser 6 (or 5) with polygon smoothing.
Modelling for bending
To get good bends in poser, a few things about the mesh are important. The most critical parts are the shoulders, the crotch and the first finger joints.
Poser hates long thin polygons, so try to get the faces at the joints as square as possible. In my experience, anything that is much more than two or three times longer than wide is problematic.
The size of the faces should be reasonable uniform around one join, avoid bordering big faces to small ones. When in doubt, add some edges to cut the big polygons up.
For the crotch, it is important to have at least two rows of polygons between the legs.
The hands should have enough polygons to separate the fingers.
When I am satisfied with a model, I move forward to UV-Mapping.