How are 3D Characters and Models created? Here’s the process in a nutshell:
Concept / Wireframe:
I start by creating concepts for what the character will look like. Sometimes I will draw a traditional sketch or digital painting, other times I will create a few different model concepts in 3D. I decide as I create each model which parts of the concept get me closer to what I want and which parts get me further from my goal.
When I create the concepts in 3D I am developing a “Mesh” or “Wireframe”. If my concepts are drawn I will create the mesh when finished. The mesh is a cage that can be used to show skin, wood, metal, or whatever I choose.
Textures and Shaders:
When I’m finished modeling the mesh I will create Textures and set up Shaders. Textures and Shaders give the mesh color and can make certain parts shiny or bumpy.
The next step is to create a “Rig” to define how the mesh will move and where pivot points will be. I often use a skeleton as a reference when creating human characters.
Skinning / Weight Painting:
The final step is to combine the rig and the mesh so there are smooth transitions in areas of deformation. If they are not smooth the rig will look very mechanical and inorganic. Areas that need a lot of attention are shoulders, elbows, fingers, et cetera. As I skin the mesh I will “Pose” each bone in the rig (change the bone’s position by moving and rotating) to make sure the mesh is deforming properly.
When I am done I will create “keyframes” between may different poses to show how the character will walk, jump, eat, et cetera.
I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the Character Creation Process!