Kicking Back & Creating Characters

3D computer modeling is used to render the "Amanda" character for a story. Photoshop was used to integrate the model and the background.

Kicking back and creating a new character can be a relaxing diversion from day-to-day writing work. I’ve been slowly populating my cast of characters over the past year, but haven’t really put faces together with names yet. After spending a day grading papers the words weren’t coming so instead, last night, with the wind howling out of the west and sleet rattling on the window of my office, I figured it was time to see what one of my cast members looked like.

As I get more deeply into working with 3D computer graphics (CG) software, I find that creating a new character is coming more quickly. This character was created in less than two hours using modeling software that is available for free. The models themselves – the human figure, hair, and clothes – can often be purchased for under $20 and there is a growing library of high quality models available free.

For some reason I wanted her at the edge of the Gobi Desert. I’m still working on getting the 3D CG landscape modeling to the level of quality I’d like so a quick search of Flickr’s creative commons images turned up an interesting background.

This particular image was created using a render of the 3D character, which was then integrated with the background image using Photoshop.

Clicking on the image will let you zoom in and see the level of detail that can be rendered using today’s off-the-shelf “consumer grade” 3D modeling software.

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