Need help for the novice 3D cartoonist



  • Need help for the novice: can someone direct me to the basics for creating a character from scratch? I have had limited success using a character from the library and adjusting it to fit my needs. I am just a hobbyist not a professional level graphic artist. but I do enjoy cartooning and I have become proficient in Anime Studios for 2D cartooning and I would like to make the move to 3D cartoons. The light, animation, cameras, setting up scenes, are all understood my hurdle now is the development of an original (2D) cartoon into a working 3D cartoon figure that I can finish into a animated movie clip. Is this to basic of a request for the level of artists on this forum, or is there someone out there who can provide me with some basic steps to get me going in the right direction? The manuals as well as the tutorials are a little thin on original character development from scratch when it comes to cartooning, which bring me here. Can anyone provide some basic steps to help me over this hurdle or point me in the right direction to a specific webinar, chapter, utube video, tutorial? To whomever reads or responds to this, my thanks. If your advice gets me over the hurdle and up and running, consider yourself a costar in my first video!



  • character modeling would be done in another application like Blender, ZBrush etc. Blender is free and has a tone of info and tutorials on the net.



  • Don't know whether this will help or not. It's just the way I tend to work as an amateur screenwriter. When I want to create a new character, I just picture the character in my mind. Race, gender, hair, how it's styled, what color, how long, short, bald, any distinguishing characteristics, maybe they walk with a limp, then incorporate that into their backstory. In other words, I create a person and give them a backstory. Maybe you even know someone like that person and that will give you some idea of how that person will walk, talk, dress, exercise, etc. Sounds like a lot, but really, you can do it in a paragraph.





  • Ghostship is correct (in fact the latest version of Blender now has the option to animate 2d characters really well). If you want to stick to just Poser, I'd suggest doing what eclark1849 suggested, then find a base character that is close, and get back to the forum on ways to morph/mold the basic character into more what you envisage. It's rare to find a character that is exactly what you want, but Poser is pretty good at morphing them. Morphing an existing character is a lot easier than building and rigging one from scratch, and will give you useful skills for when you do decide to 'do it all'.


  • Poser Team

    If your interested in Character creation in Poser, Blender is a good program to do the modeling in.
    There are some addons for Blender for character creation that are worth learning as well even if they are not the style you are after.
    There are also thousands upon thousands of tutorials for Blender as well.

    Darrin Lile has an extensive collection of tutorials for Blender revolving around figure creation, and Unity.
    His Youtube videos are here and he covers just about everything you need to know Blender wise on figure creation.

    Depending on what version of Poser you use, depends on if you would rig it in Blender then import that (FBX, etc), or simply rig it in Poser.
    If you are going to rig it in Poser, Philc has some rigging tutorials on his site to get you going on traditional Poser rigging.



  • In my humble opinion, sending someone to Blender is horrible advice for a novice. The OP does not tell us anything about what the character would look like. The figures that come with Poser, currently Paul and Pauline, have built-in morphs, and there are more avialble from Evo and Lyrra. You use morphs to change the features of the figure, and you can change the body proportions using scaling (e.g., shorten the legs if you want a little person). Poser can adapt the joints to work nicely with re-scaled figures. You can create almost any character you want right inside Poser using morph add-ons.for the more popular figures such as Vicky 4 and Michael 4, Genesis, and Genesis 2. They all have, for example, creature morph packs. EZskin 3, which is free, lets you change skin colors. Poser has a morph brush that allows you to sculpt figures' features if you have some talent. All these routes are vastly easier than going to Blender.


  • Poser Ambassadors

    I am going to send you in another direction ... with all due respect for the others who answered this thread ... perhaps a new perspective.

    IF you already have Poser and a few models. THESE models can be used to create characters without having to model from scratch. there are characters/models you can purchase that hopefully will come close to the style you are looking for. From there you can customize to your needs. Between Poser 10/11 you can create comic style images and if you couple that with Clip Studio Paint (Also by SmithMicro) You have a great head start and tons of tips and tutorials to get you going. If this is more what you are asking ... perhaps some specific needs can help us help you better ...


  • Poser Ambassadors

    @cabbage0896 said in Need help for the novice 3D cartoonist:

    I have had limited success using a character from the library and adjusting it to fit my needs
    ...
    my hurdle now is the development of an original (2D) cartoon into a working 3D cartoon

    I don't think you can morph any known Poser figure into this "original 2D cartoon" character.

    alt text

    Some things DO require modeling.


  • Poser Ambassadors

    @cabbage0896

    Goto my YouTube channel (tonyvilters) and start with Video1 : The correct import-export settings between Poser and Blender (or equivalent)

    Video 2 covers how to detail or finetune ALL Poser meshes using Full Body Morphs and HD morphs.



  • You need to learn how to model first before getting into all those other things .

    Cheap way: but the long way (also the proper way to model figure from scratch)

    Blender.(no cost) or any 3D modeling program from max(cost......a lot, to wings..it doesnt matter.

    Quick way:

    Zbrush ,3DCoat (even sculptris which is free but you will have to retopo that obj in either blender or topogun which is 100 bucks).

    I have been creating toons since 1988
    and modeling my creations since 1998
    if you need any help along the way feel free to send me a message.

    good luck on your journey



  • Thanks for the submission! I really like the way how you produce and perform this information! It's advisable to visit http://skywritingservice.com/ and browse each page of the website separately!



  • Let me extend the original question to all of you.

    If one goes to Blender to create a cartoon character from scratch (say a clothed old man), and let's assume that person has gone through the initial hurdles of learning Blender but is not yet a veteran, and that person is aiming at hobby-quality, not commercial or professional quality, and he's looking to get 4 fingers per hand but no toes (he's clothed), and he's going to build some basic expressions (say 30 morphs for eyes+brows+mouth+basic phonemes), and let's assume he's going to be happy with solid colors for textures (to avoid the whole whoola-bloobla with uv maps), and then let's assume he'll do the import of the mesh and morphs into Poser, and then do the rigging and joints adjustments...

    Then how many hours will that person take to get a hobby-level toon of anything like basic quality?

    I can easily see myself spending from 100 to 200 hours on that... that is from 12 to 25 full days working on that 8 hours per day.

    What do you guys think? Can that be done in less time?



  • Let me offer a counterpart thought on this: I know professional studios build rigs all the time. They have multiple people working on that stuff, so one does the mesh, another does the rig, another does the textures, and so on. They have these specialists because that improves efficiency, increases know-how, decreases mistakes, incorporates the process into routine and makes each task repeatable.

    I have no clue as I never worked with these guys, but I'd guess that if I asked for a basic toon like that they'd probably take an aggregate of 4-8 hours to do it.

    Now compare to someone new. He will make mistakes, so will have rework, and will find pitfalls and deadends, so there will be waste of time; will do it less efficiently as he's not an expert; will do with simple free tools instead of high-productivity, expensive tools; he is still learning, so will proceed cautiously; and will have to research a bunch of stuff; and has no guidance from others. That person will easily take 1 or 2 orders of magnitude above the professional team (that is, 10x to 100x more time).

    So it's a loooot of time. I think we're really talking about years of training to get to a level of being able to do that by himself in a few dozen hours...



  • @fbs7 Honestly, it depends on the person. Some people are just quick studies and others just can't seem to figure it out. I look at people who tell me that Poser's interface makes no sense to them, but they love Studio's interface, while I can't figure out where the lights are in Studio. I've been using Blender for about five years now,and I've improved significantly, but there are still features in Blender I've just found out they were there, let alone how to use them. I'd call learning Blender in 200 hours "A dream that your heart makes".


  • Poser Ambassadors

    @fbs7 said in Need help for the novice 3D cartoonist:

    Then how many hours will that person take to get a hobby-level toon of anything like basic quality?
    I can easily see myself spending from 100 to 200 hours on that... that is from 12 to 25 full days working on that 8 hours per day.
    What do you guys think? Can that be done in less time?

    With the tools available today, even a novice could build their own basic toon in a few days, if they had the right instructions to follow. That includes UV maps and basic textures beyond just flood-fill. Technically, if the design was simple enough it could be done in a day.

    This isn't 2007.

    SM used to have a tutorial on their website that showed exactly how to group and rig a basic character mesh that could be completed in a few hours. I'm not sure if it survived their site redesign from a few years back tho.


  • Poser Ambassadors

    One caveat to the above however - it assumes that the novice learner is at least familiar with navigating in 3D space. Oddly enough that can be more difficult to some total beginners than learning how to build a model. Once that's out of the way though, the above is still true.



  • @eclark1849 said in Need help for the novice 3D cartoonist:

    @fbs7 Honestly, it depends on the person. Some people are just quick studies and others just can't seem to figure it out.

    Right, and that's the same with painting and drawing. Some people just don't get it, while others get is nicely. And the people that get it have varying speeds on doing it - from very fast to very slow.

    Yet there are common ranges that most people that have the ability for it will take on these tasks. If we exclude the extremes of very good and very bad, the rest will be a range of common.

    I really can't see myself doing it in less than 100 hours, specially considering 30 morphs (each morph will take 1-2 hours by themselves), and even 100 hours seems quite optimist.

    How much would you see yourself doing that, if you were to take to do it?



  • @AmbientShade said in Need help for the novice 3D cartoonist:

    @fbs7 said in Need help for the novice 3D cartoonist:

    Then how many hours will that person take to get a hobby-level toon of anything like basic quality?
    I can easily see myself spending from 100 to 200 hours on that... that is from 12 to 25 full days working on that 8 hours per day.
    What do you guys think? Can that be done in less time?

    With the tools available today, even a novice could build their own basic toon in a few days, if they had the right instructions to follow. That includes UV maps and basic textures beyond just flood-fill. Technically, if the design was simple enough it could be done in a day.

    This isn't 2007.

    SM used to have a tutorial on their website that showed exactly how to group and rig a basic character mesh that could be completed in a few hours. I'm not sure if it survived their site redesign from a few years back tho.

    So you believe a novice can do in say 50 hours (= a few days), including some morphs to animate the rig?

    I can take that estimate. Thank you for it.



  • Let me wander around with the matter of what's most useful to advise a novice asking about Character Creation in Poser.

    A human character has about 50 bones including fingers, and each bone needs a vertex group and at least 3 zones or weight maps set for the 3 rotations. So that's 150 rotation zones to set, plus the other joint parameters. So 50 vertex groups + 150 rotation zones = 200 tasks to do. Now, if one gets the mesh done right the very first time in Blender, then hooray, just follow the pipeline (build from scratch in Blender / import / rig in Poser). But the novice will NEVER get it right the first time. He'll have to go back to Blender to add/remove vertexes, add body parts, and so forth. A lot of that will involve rework in Poser, which can be significant -- for example, I don't know if one can reuse weight maps if the underlying vertexes were added/changed.

    So I do think that's a monumental task for novice.

    I think maybe the easiest way to address the matter of content creation is to recommend to use existing base figures. Don't add or remove any vertex or any bone, just export the mesh to Blender, modify the mesh there and then import back as a whole figure morph in Poser. As long as a the intended figure has about the same organization and can use the same topology as the original one, that seems to be a much lower pain than building all from scratch.

    So what I think that what SM could do to facilitate the transition of people that want to do Content Creation in Poser is to offer a standard set of fully rigged neutral-looking base figures, what can be morphed into what that kind of user wants.

    For example, one 2-arm/2-leg humanoid; one 2-arm/2-leg/1-tail humanoid; one 2-arm/fishtail humanoid; one 2-arm/2-leg/2-wings humanoid; one 4-arm/2-leg humanoid; one 2-winged/2-legged bird; one 4-legged/2-ear/1-tail animal; one 4-legged/2-ear/1-tail/1-long neck animal; one 4-legged/2-ear/1-tail/1-long neck/2-wings animal; one 6-legged/1-tail animal; one 6-legged/2-antenna/2-wings bug; one 8-legged/2-wings bug; and so forth.

    I listed some 15 models above, and if these are versatile and generic and morphable enough they should be base for someone that wants to do Character Creation to build a lot of land creatures from a horse to a dragon to a pig to an orc to whatever else, by changing the full body mesh in Blender to a morph, and maybe painting the uv map to the texture they want, and avoiding the whole problem of rigging except for the matter of the eventual joint adjustment.

    If SM would commission these generic models for say $1,000 each and then make them public domain for use in Poser, that's just $15K in cost, and I'm sure there's plenty of talent available to make an extra buck or two.


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