Head-hunting

I decided a few weeks ago to start drawing/digitally-painting faces more realistically as opposed to a more anime-ish style. That meant a non-flat face, smaller teardrop-shaped eyes, mouths with lips and noses with nostrils.

In a way, I already know how to do this but I want to be better at it. I figured that the best way to do this is to draw actual faces. Sure, I can use mine and Raquel’s faces as models for my work (and I already have) but that would always give my characters a more Asian appearance. I also want to be able to master drawing faces with a distinct caucasian appearance.

To that end, I’ve been head-hunting. Literally, hunting for heads I can use as art reference. I’ve been going to shops looking for toys, action figures, dolls and statuetes I can buy and use as art models. I also went on eBay and started looking for mannequin heads for sale.

I soon discovered that these things are a bit expensive. I wonder if there is anything cheaper I can use out there. I’ve even contemplated on going to the nearby Catholic shop and look for a good statue of a saint there that I can use instead. It’ll probably be cheaper there. I have yet to look.

Another option I thought of was to use a virtual head reference instead. I have games like Half Life 2, Sims 2 and Oblivion at home. Maybe I can use the characters on those games as my models, I thought. Well, I tried Oblivion and Sims 2 but I found that there are some limitations on how I can control the camera. I couldn’t get a worm’s-eye view of the characters at all.

Fortunately, Half Life 2 has this mod (modification) called Garry’s Mod which allows the “player” to play around with the characters and objects of the game and position them anyway the player wants. That actually worked quite well. The only downside was that I was limited to the characters already in the game. Maybe there is a way to add mod characters in there. I’ll have to look into that later.

Wanting a potentially better option, I searched the web for software that actually does what I really wanted. I found various 3D modelling software but those were more geared toward animators. I did find the software called Poser Figure Artist which looks like exactly what I’m looking for. It was made for artists wanting to use live models for art reference but was willing to settle for virtual models. There are various models to choose from, the models could be posed however you wish, and the environment (lighting and such) could be manipulated. It was great but, unfortunately, it costs US$99.

I guess that’s cheap compared to buying collectible action figures. For 99 bucks, I have more model variety at my disposal and I can pose it anyway I want. Although I’m very tempted to just purchase Poser Figure Artist, I also want to just have a model that’s tangible.

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Published in: on November 4, 2007 at 12:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

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