How to create 3D characters from photos?

Hi everyone,

I hope this is the right section to ask this, if not, please forgive me.

A little bit of background: I’m a wannabe 3D artist, I’ve actually looked into this when I was 15-16 (now I’m 23) but it seemed too complicated and I just didn’t have the patience, but now I regret not sticking to it. Since then I just spent my time learning Photoshop, after effects, Video editing and watching porn.

now my goal is to learn 3D animation, and creating my own 3D characters. I know that these are two different skills, I’ll take it one step at a time.

Anyway, my question is:

For example, if I take a couple of photos of someone from different angles, can I use them to create a 3D character of that person, in order to animate it? is there a specific name for this task? or does it just fall under “modeling”? is this something that can be done in Blender easily?

When searching on Google, I’ve came up with two programs 123D Catch and ReCap photo. I haven’t tried them so I don’t know their accuracy, but I would prefer to learn how to do this manually.

Thank you so much and sorry for the long post.

Use the photos as background reference images and model your character

Hi Richard,

Thank you for the fast response! I’ll check the links you provided.

Is there an in depth DVD, Book etc… regarding this, that you would recommend?


You can try CGcookie for some tutorials (you have to pay a monthly subscription for the courses and some of the harder tutorials though)

Moddeling a character isn’t exactly an easy thing to do.It takes skill,time and patience.

subscribe to the blender cloud, they have the complete blenderella training DVD on there, which covers photo realistic character modeling from reference photos. which sounds like what you want to do.

keep in mind that modeling from a person you just randomly take photos of can be a difficult task. you need pretty specific views to get the correct silhouette at the start, or you will be frustrated with the results. at minimum, you need a good head on front view, with the arms outstretched in a T, or at a 45 degree relaxed position. and you need a straight on side view, with the arm positioned in such a way as to not obstruct your view of the profile of the body. and of course ideally you want the model wearing their birthday suit, or if not possible, a skin tight swimsuit or other article of clothing so you can see the anatomy of the body to lay in your main edge loops. it also helps to have some closeups of the head from front, side, and a few quarter angles. and detail shots of any other tricky bits of anatomy. hands, feet, etc. when i was learning, i found using female reference material far more interesting than male reference. if you know what i mean (wink). but its important for you as an artist to separate the sexuality of the nude body from the art you are trying to create. think of character modeling as you would a sculptor or a painter with a live model.

Thanks DC!

Yeah I know, I’m not in a hurry though.

Hi Dave,

Thank you so much for the detailed response! I’ll check out the Blenderella DVD.

I do know that the photos must be taken in a specific way, I just didn’t know what way exactly, so thanks again for the tips!