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Editing Poser files on a Macintosh

Author: xalthorn

Tools Needed

  • Poser
  • Maconverter

This is for Mac OS 9 or earlier. Since Mac OS X 10.5 there is no way to use OS 9.

Introduction

One of the most annoying things I find as a Mac user is the problems encountered when I try to edit some of the Poser files such as the .CR2 and .pz2 files.

This tutorial will demonstrate a nice and easy way to allow you to edit the files just as PC users do.

The tutorial assumes that you know where these files are and that you actually want to mess around with them.

Step 1 - Get the tool

I spent a while messing around trying to write my own tools, and then I discovered that the 'Poser Maconverter' from http://www.soft-rabbit.com does everything I need to do.

So, go to the website and grab yourself a copy of the software if you haven't already got it for importing PC Poser files into your Mac version of Poser.

Step 2 - Make a backup copy

Always, always, always make a backup copy of the file you are going to edit. Even if you just make a copy of the file on your desktop and then delete the copy if everything went well. The last thing you want is to be left without a working file.

Making a backup copy means that if it all goes wrong, you can put the original file back and start all over again.

I cannot stress this enough. Make a backup copy. If you don't and things go wrong, you've only got yourself to blame.

Step 3 - Convert the mac format file to PC format

Run Maconverter ready for your file. Now, using the 'Expert' menu, select the 'Export to PC…' option.

Drag your Poser file to the application and untick the options until you only have the ticks that I have in the picture below.

400-014c2.jpg

Once it all looks fine, click on 'Convert' and after a short while, you should see the following screen showing that the conversion went fine.

400-014d2.jpg

If you now look at finder, where your original file was, you should now see two files. The original file and another .rsr file which holds the resources for the file.

Step 4 - Edit the files

Now you can edit the file in a text editor. This tutorial is not going to cover how, that's for the other excellent tutorials that already exist.

When you've finished making the changes to your file, you can move on to step 5.

Step 5 - Convert the files back to Mac format

Run Maconverter ready for your file. Now, using the 'Expert' menu, select the 'PC to Mac Conversion' option.

Drag the two files to the application; the file you have edited and it's .rsr file.

The default options should be fine, so just click on 'Convert' and wait for it to finish.

If you now look at finder, where the two files were, you should now see one combined file with the correct Poser icon.

This file can now be put into the correct position in the Poser file structure (if you moved it in the first place), you can now run Poser and see if your changes worked.

Step 6 - So why do I need to do all of this

I thought it would be worthwhile taking some time to explain what's going on with all of this, and why we need to mess around with all this converting in the first place.

Most filesystems (the PC for example) are nice and straightforward. A file exists, and the whole file is the data for the file. Basically, what you see is what you get, nothing is hidden.

The PC requires that a file is given an extension (.pz2, .CR2, etc) to identify what type of file it is and therefore which program it should be loaded into. Also, the icon for that filetype is determined for those files as a whole, all files of extension .CR2 will have the same icon and so on.

Now we get to the Mac. A file can have an extension or not, your choice. For simplicity and to help you keep track of what is what, it makes sense to keep an extension on the file, but it's not required.

A file has two hidden values that are important to the running of the thing. A file type and a file creator. These identify what type of file it is and what program created it.

A Mac also has things called 'forks'. Not used for eating, but they contain important parts of a file. There are two forks, the data fork, and the optional resource fork.

It used to be the case that the data fork would contain the actual file data (just like a PC) and the resource fork would contain the other information such as the file type, the file creator, the icon, and whatever other resources the file needed. However, to improve things, files have started to place the resources in a special part of the data fork. This part of the file is not seen when the file is loaded into a text editor, and is actually a special part of the file.

You *can* see this part of the file, and you can even make a copy of it should you want to. The resource part is reached by adding /rsrc onto the end of the filename (Cat.CR2/rsrc for example).

Now this sounds all fine and dandy, but when you load a file into TextEdit for example, and then save the file. The resource part of the data fork is overwritten meaning that Poser can no longer 'see' the file. It's also not very straightforward to reset the file type and creator which would allow Poser to see the file. There are many free programs on the internet that will let you do this, and with a little effort you can get Poser to see the file again. However, the icon will have gone and the wonderful, colourful icon that was in the Poser listing becomes a shrugging man.

Not nice, but at least we can avoid the issue by converting the file to PC format before editing and then converting it back.