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Adding realistic people to 3D illustrations and animations

Adding realistic

One question that comes up fairly often relates to the challenge of including realistic people in 3D illustrations and animations.

Because of this, I’m going to make this a three part post, starting off with a discussion of the challenges of including people, and then moving on to a sample project in which people are successfully included in the illustration. First off, the challenge.

One of the most important aspects of adding what I term “digital people” to your work, is that the people used have to be extremely accurate. A program that is one of the leaders in this area is Poser and I have used it to good effect. Poser is an entire separate discussion unto itself, and I am going to skip over that for the moment, but Google Poser and check out their website to learn more about this software.

Now, I had an interesting experience recently. I was with a client and they were showing me an animation that had recently been done by someone other then myself. The animation featured a product that a figure would interact with. It started off showing the product in a typical environment and everything looked great. Then suddenly, this flat footed and rather goofy looking figure entered stage left. This character walked over to the product, interacted with it and a halting and totally unnatural and weird way, then exited stage right. After the animation completed the client turned to me and said that whenever the present this animation to a sales prospect they become completely distracted by the awkwardness of the digital character and basically lose track of the product that the client is trying to sell in the first place.

And this illustrates a very key point: if you include figures in your illustrations you have to be quite careful because if they are not extremely high quality then you risk that the viewer will not take the illustration seriously. In later posts I will develop this idea and present some solutions in detail.

Richard Bornemann
About the Author
Richard Bornemann has been a full time CGI artist since 1996. As a registered architect with an engineering background, he is proficient at translating client ideas and new product concepts into captivating visual communications. He is also a digital fine artist and is represented by several galleries in Toronto CA, in addition to being a 3 time winner at MacWorld and a one time winner at Seybold. He also provides pro bono coaching to minority owned small businesses as a way of giving back to the community.