Character Design

To be ready to start Trevor's unit on 3D Character Animation we will start now and develop your character design as part of the 2D unit.

Model to be humanoid-bipedal from any time period prior to the use of gunpowder (1500AD approx). Not necessarily European medieval - Inca/Egyptian/Roman/Stone Age/African/Japanese/Chinese/Primitive Alien and others are available options. Your design is individual to you - it doesn't have to fit into anyone else's environment.

Character should not be clad head to toe in plate mail. Part of the costume should conform and move freely - silks, leather, furs can have secondary animation.

Limited to a final maximum of 10,000 poly count as it will be a games character, which may later be reduced to 5k and 2k.

Additional detail will be provided by your texture maps. Weapons to be separately modelled but include them in your formative character sketches.

Consider alternative gender option, and possibly ethnical options too.

We need to prepare 4 images, each 1024 pixels square, saved as jpeg or png (3DMax will take layered Photoshop .psds and scaleable Illustrator .ai files are recommended). Background can be any colour but should contrast with your main character colour so you can use these sheets for the proportions as you sculpt your CGI model. Best to avoid bright red or green as you will be looking at the screen a lot.

Front       Back       Side       Top

At the last moment we will increase the contrast and colour saturation to make modelling easier.

Any clothing, armour and boots which will not be removable in the game should be modelled directly rather than added on. Also true of hair and hats, hoods or helmets.

Once complete, consider weaponry, additional clothing and then simple mouth phonemes.

"I don't have any shoes"
lip-synch animation tutorial by Aaron Blaise

If you scanned your drawing as a mono/greyscale, don't forget to change the file from greyscale to RGB by choosing Image > Mode > RGB Color


Rename the default Background layer to anything else (the default is Layer 0) otherwise you will be unable to put any other layers below it (see right >).

Create one layered master Photoshop .psd file which is at least 1024 pixels square (and perhaps as much as 2000 pixels square).

You will need layers for Front, Back, Side and Top, plus a layer underneath that you can set to a contrasting colour, and perhaps cross hairs to line the layers up.

Use Save for Web... to create your 4 jpegs at 1024 pixels square at High 60% quality, ready for 3ds Max.


basics-of-3d-animation.html the image below is part of their tutorial:

character sheets


Some useful links: good portfolio site with a wide range of styles on show.

Illustration in Photoshop with Aaron Blaise.


3D character programs

mixamo Adobe Fuse (preview) - User-Manual-Fuse-1-3
now included with CreativeCloud subscription


Daz3D - free figure posing app


Poser - market leading figure posing app

Blender3D - powerful free open source 3D package (with challenging interface). Available for Windows, Mac and Linux.