The lifelike character design that you see in some of today’s best computer graphics, films, and video games is created using 3D character animation software. Every character that is created is built using a complex system of computerised 3D models. These models can be viewed using specialised animation tools, making them free to manipulate in order to add or subtract details as needed. This process is known as 3D modelling. To make the most of these programs and create the most lifelike characters, here are a few basic tips to keep in mind.
Start With Brainstorming
Some animators find it easier to write down features that they would like their characters to have, while others will create rough two-dimensional sketches. Taking some time to brainstorm character details before you start using 3D software will help you use your time more effectively.
Create A Basic Framework With Polygonal Models
To create the most realistic 3D Animation character, you’ll need to understand a little bit more about how these models are created. The most common type of 3D model is a polygonal model or mesh, which is composed of different geometric shapes. These shapes can then be manipulated using the computer software to create the features that you have envisioned. Polygonal meshes are faceted, with hundreds of geometric faces to work with. For more detailed areas of a character, like the face, you’ll need to have a high level of resolution or polygon density. You can adjust this using software like Maya. The higher the resolution you choose during the design process, the smoother the final rendered character will appear.
Control Light And Shade
One of the features of your design that will have the most impact on how the final character appears is the shading technique you use. Light bouncing off of a character is one of the techniques that will enhance its realism. When designing your 3D model, you can give the computer a set of parameters to work with that will impact how the model’s surface interacts with light and darkness. There are many different types of tools that fall into this category, each of which will have a subtle influence on the final image. You can control how glossy or reflective your model is, as well as change its opacity to create the desired depth.
Use Texture Mapping
Once you have created a fundamental shape for your character and added in the right degree of shading, you’ll then be ready to start working on those final details that will make it come to life. Texture mapping is the process used to add details like hair or clothing to the final character. These textures could range in complexity from simple layers of colour to a veritable jungle of individual hairs. There are systems built into many of today’s 3D modelling programs to help assist with this, controlling how hair reacts to the environment and allowing you to style it.
When creating realistic animated characters, it’s vital to think about factors like shape, texture, and lighting effects. Fortunately, today’s animators have all the tools they need in 3D software packages designed for this purpose. Taking the time to learn how to use these tools will help you bring your virtual characters to life.