Thursday, December 3, 2009

3D Character creation ... art meets reality

Doing some more work on the design for Jarrat and Stone -- the partners at the heart of the NARC books (from Mel Keegan and DreamCraft). It's far from easy taking characters as described on the page and rendering them into 3D. You can start with the obvious ... Stoney is taller and more muscular; Jarrat is fair haired with gray eyes. Stone has the blue eyes, Jarrat's the one who tans fast any time he can get off a carrier and onto a beach ... and so on. Then it gets harder. They're both drop-dead gorgeous; Jarrat is described as being "able to pass for a kid, if he had to," but -- the actual features, please?? Like I said, not easy.

DAZ Studio 3 gives you a fantastic set of controls to work with. They're called Morph++ (you buy this plug-in separately), and you can use them to change every single aspect of ... everything. Pointed ears? Sure. Fangs? No sweat. A nose like Cyrano de Bergerac? Easy. Butt ugly? No problem. You can change absolutely every feature of your character's face, body, the lot.

So, eventually, you wind up with characters that start to look something like what you want. The physiques you see above are pretty true to the descriptions from the books. Stone's face is very close ... Jarrat, not quite so close. The mouth isn't quite right yet, but the eyes are. The glare that would stop a truck. I actually enjoy working with the Morph++ tools, but it can get really frustrating, because you're chasing around tiny details, and you can make a face go "wonky" far more easily than you can make it good. Put it this way: it's a lot easier to get "butt ugly" than it is to get beautiful! Good thing it's fun, huh?

Jade, 4 December

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