Category Archives: Character

Blender test week four (NSFW?)

I think I shouldn’t just put my successes online. But also my failures. Only then can I learn….at least that’s the plan.

I continued where I left off last week. The face needs a body. Oh a heads up. Maybe this is a little bit NSFW. There will be a naked lady. 3D model, yes, but naked non the less.

seighti sitting

As you can see I draw most of my characters from the front, back or from the side. Just like Seighty here. She sits, I draw her from the side.

Because this is easiest. No foreshortening. No weird or difficult perspectives. Just ‘straight forward’, and a little bit boring. Characters seem even more 2D when drawn in this fashion.

Especially when storyboarding an action scene you want to be able to position your hero, or heroine in a dynamic pose. And I’m not a good enough artist to do that successfully.

So the point was to make a model I can manipulate in Blender for the harder positions and camera angles. And maybe rotoscope, or use as reference material.  I started out by drawing a turnaround again. Always start with turnarounds. Front, side and back. This time everything was drawn on the same sheet so there would not be a scale issue.

refpage5

As usual  the character is 7.5 heads tall. I measure my characters in heads. That works the best for me.

The only problem I encountered with this is that you only have 2 of the 3 axes. You have X and Y. But no Z. This means the round shapes are a bit tricky. I noticed when modeling her backside. From the front, back and side the character looked ok. But viewed in 3quarters. She looked like…euh…a bad drawing.

Oh, by the way. What works in 2D doesn’t necessarily work in 3D. In the turnaround her upper body, or breasts, seem normal. After modeling the character, this area was just too much. But you only notice after a while. When working on a detail you tend to overlook the bigger picture.

Here you can see the character as it is right now. I’m still not fully happy with the result. Please don’t mind her shoes too much…or socks. They look more like socks. I kinda lost focus there. I also got a little bit discouraged by her arms. They just didn’t look right. Also her head was an issue. I have rescaled that noggin for at least 10 times.

Just As proof. I did think about her shoes. Sporty army shoes. shoes2

But her shoes just wouldn’t do. And I’m starting to think I went a little overboard with this little exercise. Every day after work I would eat and spent at least 2 hours following tutorials. But my intention was not to make a realistic character. My goal was to make a template for me to use as reference material. A poseable character. Which reminds me; I also rigged the model.

The rig was fairly simple. Even the weightpainting seemed pretty logical. But somehow I kept messing up some of her joints. Instead of compressing the polygons they started to overlap. You can see it in my pictures…the red circles. Well I still have a long way to go…But not right now. I’m going to focus a little bit more on my initial idea. And draw the backgrounds with Blender. And animate the character by hand, with maybe some help of a 3D blender model.

blender test 10

As a proof of concept I made this T-pose in GIMP. I wanted to see what a rotoscoped Seighty could look like. There is something I forgot when making this model. An organic character doesn’t need to be exactly the same shape every time. Drawing inconsistencies give the animation ‘character’.

But to end on a high note…I do think the image has potential…but just not yet. Hope you enjoy!

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Blender test week three

This week I wanted to do something more organic. I tried to make my own character – S8i /Seighty-  into a 3D model.

This is the character;  I think I changed her chin, or at least her mouth. Her mouth should be a little bit lower and her chin should be a bit rounder….but I can’t find the picture anymore.

Then a year ago I tried to sculpt the head in Blender. Blender has a really nice sculpt option. A little bit like zbrush…but somewhat less advanced. I’m sure they will expand on the sculptingtools in Blender in upcomming versions.

This time around I tried to model a head, instead of sculpting it. The same head, but a little more organized. I followed a tutorial by blenderella. you can look it up on youtube. So she (the lady giving the tutorial) started out by making a front and side view. She used photo reference, I use drawings. I’m still not going for realism but for a more cartoon look. In the end I want to have a 2D feel to it all.

So above are the drawings I used as a template. front and side view. Somehow the end result doesn’t exactly match the original. But it will do for my first organic modelling test. I started out around the eyes, moved towards the nose bridge..top part of the nose, and worked towards the chin.

After that I compared the head with the original drawings and noticed that her chin was getting too pointy. Too much like an anime character. By now I was following a manga – blender tutorial.

You can see the subtle differences. The chin is somewhat rounder and her ears are bigger. I can honestly say; I hate making ears.

SeightiFace 3d test

Colors/hair and such are painted over using GIMP and SketchBook. That’s where I was last week. Now I’m working on the rest of the body.

Enjoy

Blender test

OK last time I made some buildings in Sketchup, but I wanted to have more detail. So I decided to use a proper 3d-manipulation program…and…..since I don’t have any experience working in Blender I did a tutorial online. A very good one at that.  A beginner’s tutorial made by BlenderGuru. A nine part tutorial in which you learn how to make a still life: donuts on a plate.

donut tutorial

Of course the subject has nothing to do with the S8i story. This was just a way to learn about blender; the User interface, shortcuts etc. etc. The tutorial focused on a photo-realistic render.

But photrealism is not really what I am going for. My goal is to make the backgrounds with blender, but still using hand drawn textures. The overall feel should remain that of a cell animated feature. I want the backgrounds to be reminiscent of the work of: Kazuo Oga (the man is a genius!) and of Jean-Leon Gerome (another genius!)

I’m still in doubt: should I make the characters in 3d or keep them 2d.

Like you see in my (GIIMP) sketch below I work with gradients, shadows, highlights and rim lights. This is possible in cgi (3d). But not as much in 2d animation. I really want to make an animation that remotely looks like this sketch. And I should find out what mix of 2d and 3d would be best.  The sketch is made for a prologue. More on that next time.

uniform try 2

OH……..I noticed I need a new computer.  My computer takes almost 5 minutes to render just one frame (the one with the donut).

Catwalk 1 or more

Designing a character is in my case a very slow process. It evolves during the entire time I work on the project.
 concept boek 50
I make a first doodle, and keep changing it bit by bit untill I like the final product. Except I’m almost never completely satisfied with the final design…and thus am never finished.
Finding the character is very important for designing an outfit or wardrobe. Would my protagonist wear shorts? Does she wear an amulet she recovered in an ancient temple. Does he have a tattoo of a deceased loved one? Would this character ever wear green clothes?
concept boek 88c
Not all my designs are approved. The upper one is just silly! Why would she run around in large boots, have inward feet and no pants!? Okay, it just looks kinda sexy (?). But it’s not really efficient.
With S8i I started out with a doodle. A woman thief for hire. So her profession indicates she wears a suit in which it’s easy to sneak into places. Running shoes to get away. Those are the overall elements. But what about the details? In my opinion it’s those details which make the character come to life. A bracelet. Different color shoelaces. Some homemade adjustments? Well to be honest. Those elements come when thinking of the stories…I can think of a couple of these attributes. But they seem a little bit forced.The character model itself is another point of interest. In which pose should I put her. Is it form over function? Or the other way around? Does she have a strong stance? Or a strong body?I chose a strong stance and a lean athletic body…but not strong. I hoped to achieve a feel in which S8i is known for her wit. And not brute force. She would lose in almost any physical fight.
outfit v1
Her first line-up. These are the first general outfits. As you can see there is not much of an overall look yet. Not a defining color or design element which returns in every outfit. I decided to redo this line-up simply because I thought it’s too sketchy. Sketchy is good. Don’t get me wrong. But this one is just sloppy. I wanted a little more clarity.Next stop is her body. Like I said, I didn’t want her to look strong.
pose 1.2
So I changed her shoulders. I noticed them only after I drew the standard outfit. She looked too strong.
s8istrong
After tweaking I still was unsatisfied with the result. So I looked at it from a different angle: copy image and flip horizontally. Only keeping the outer lines and started drawing her back. Immediately some of the flaws became apparent.Here my first version of her back, next to it for comparison, a tweaked version.
s8inormal

I will probably tweak it and tweak overan over again. And then decide to fully redo the drawing. This is the way I learn how to draw, and hopefully increase my skills.Next step is to take one of these designs and make 3 or five different versions of it. That way I can see which one really works best.

To be continued