Character Model Pose

Hey, I’m soon going to begin modeling a character in blender, and I was wondering what the correct pose to model in would be. For example, do I want to work off of an image of the character with his arms and legs all the way out, relaxed, or all the way in (I know it’s not the last one)? Which will give me the smoothest motions when I add the armature?


Ideally, you would want the character in some form of T-pose, with the arms slightly bent at the elbows and shoulders, and the legs slightly bent at the knees, fingers slightly bent, etc. This way the armature knows which way things are going to bend when you rig the character.

You’ll get the least unsightly deformations if you model between your extremes. For example, a hand: one extreme is a fist, the other extreme is fingers held stiff and straight out, even bent up slightly. So the middle pose is a sort of relaxed hand with the fingers slightly bent inward. Something like the pose you’d get if you put your relaxed hand over your mouse.

The problem with modeling that middle pose is that from whatever angle you take a reference photo, you’re going to get foreshortening on some of the finger segments. So doing the model from photo references is very tricky.

Safteyman recommends slight bends in all the joints, and this is a good idea, because Blender’s IK solver uses that slight angle between the bones to try to keep the bones lined up properly. You can get around this by using pole targets in your rig, but it’s best to keep rigs as simple as possible, so you only want pole targets where they are actually needed for animation, like for the elbows and knees.

When actually modeling, try to model looking straight on to your reference photograph or drawing. You can always use a lattice deform modifier to put the bends in once you are done modeling, if the bends weren’t in your references.