Here’s a quick tutorial on how to use the “Chain Break” tool, aka the “Chain Tool” in Poser. Ever wondered what it does? Here’s how it works.
1. Inside a Poser figure is a simple ‘chain’ skeleton that allows it to move. This is very useful — for instance, when you pull on a hand, the arm will follow along with it and the figure will start to bend over to one side from the hip. Sometimes you need to temporarily break the chain skeleton inside the figure. This is what the ‘Chain Break’ tool does. To get to it, ensure you can see your Editing Tools panel of icons.
2. First, place a figure on the Poser stage. Ensure the figure is selected. With the Editing Tools panel and its buttons visible, click the ‘Chain Break’ icon (or press the ‘l’ key).
3. Now simply click on the body part you want. After your click, the body part will now have a little icon on it. Its skeleton chain has been broken off from body parts further down the chain. (You will also see one on the hips, but that one cannot be removed).
4. Now, if the figure’s hand is selected and moved, the lower arm will no longer follow along with it. Select the Translate/Pull tool (press the ‘t’ key) and try it. The selected body part is no longer part of the skeleton chain. You will see however that the wrist, hand and fingers can still be moved, even while the lower arm stays put. The rest of the figure’s torso is also unaffected when the hand moves.
5. Once you have made your adjustments to the hand, click the ‘Chain Break’ icon again (or press the ‘L’ key). Then click on the icon on the locked body part. This will re-link the skeleton and the figure will be back to normal.
6. The re-posed hand will stay as you posed it, and will not suddenly be jerked about once the skeleton chain re-connects. For instance if you now move the arm and tilt the figure’s torso, the hand will not change. This does not mean it is locked, just that it is at the end of the arm chain and thus it has no further IK ‘chain’ pulling on it. However, if you have parented a prop to it (e.g. a battle-axe) then you will have effectively extended the chain. Pulling on the axe will move the hand.
The tool works on more than arms and hands, and can work on nearly all chained body parts (except the hips).