How to ren­der char­ac­ters

Pramin Phatiphong re­veals how to make your 2D char­ac­ter de­signs look like 3D mod­els.

ImagineFX - - Workshops -

Oc­to­ber 2014

fix­ing colours, size, char­ac­ter poses, for­mat and ren­der­ing styles will be some or all of the things that you’ll be asked to do dur­ing the vis­ual devel­op­ment process. This can be time con­sum­ing and cre­atively drain­ing, even for the best of us.

So in this work­shop, I’ll in­tro­duce an ap­proach to ren­der­ing that I’ve used over the years to help me through many de­mand­ing pro­duc­tion re­quire­ments. Es­sen­tially, my process cov­ers the ren­der­ing of a 3D look in 2D. This is a time-sav­ing method that helps the devel­op­ment team to clar­ify and de­fine con­cepts be­fore the char­ac­ter or as­set is sub­mit­ted to mod­el­ling, which is a length­ier and more costly process, and more dif­fi­cult to cor­rect at a later date.

The ap­proach adopts a rel­a­tively non­de­struc­tive method of ren­der­ing, which makes use of many lay­ers along with the Pen tool. It re­quires some time to set up prop­erly and this might seem counter- in­tu­itive, but spend­ing the ex­tra time in es­tab­lish­ing your graph­ics up front will give you the flex­i­bil­ity to deal with most pro­duc­tion de­mands that raise their heads dur­ing the lat­ter part of the process.

Stay­ing or­gan­ised, nam­ing lay­ers and cre­at­ing con­text fold­ers will give you back more time for higher lev­els of creative think­ing and ex­e­cu­tion. Fi­nally, know­ing the ba­sics of 3D light­ing or just plain cin­e­matic light­ing will al­ways come in handy, what­ever the as­sign­ment.

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