Making/Finding Reference and Concept Art -- EDIT: A COMPROMISE FOUND!!

Where do you guys go when you need to find reference images? Do you usually draw them? If so, do you know of any tutorials on drawing reference images? Thank you!

EDIT: My main problem originally was I figured I couldn’t find a guy to match my description (18-year-old caucasion male in baggy bluejeans, a black Misfits t-shirt, a white belt with a skull buckle, and black converse.) Well duh! The solution I found is:

  • Subscribe to for a month ($25, but it’ll load you up for life!)
  • Find ANY pics with the shirt, pants, body, hands, ect. you need. DONT WORRY ABOUT WHAT ELSE THE PICTURE HAS, BUT IF IT HAS THE SHIRT OR WHATEVER YOU NEED, SNAG IT!!!
  • Then I only have two words my friend: Digital Composition. Just load all the pics you got into Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro (GIMP isn’t really great for this type of thing…).
  • Now start copying, pasting, erasing, etc. until it’s good enough for you to model with. It’s really easy (heck, I can do it…)
  • Flatten your images and ta-da! You’ve go perfect reference from reallife pics.NOTE: This will only work if you’re going for a realistic character. If your character is pretty stylized, just draw your own reference. It just works better…

i pretty much always draw my own, I dont think tutorials would help, your pictures dont need to be perfect, I just usually doodle out a basic front and side view for models, and maybe a quick top down view for level layouts, but if you do want pictures, google always helps

For humanoids I will start with either a Make human, or a nude poser model.
Then I will make a box model around it .
It saves quite a bit of time getting the proportions right.
I also use the models for reference when i am painting in blender or Zbrush.

I can realistically make a human player model in around 8 hours of modeling and texturing if I use the above method.

When you say, box model around it? What does that mean?

You put the box over the makehuman model? then model it? Or, you have an image of the makehuman model in the background and then model it?

If you download this, it has a section on creating your own reference images for a humanoid. You can then transfer that to other objects.

Also, in my file below is a site that explains how to create from a toy dog. But, I think you will have to click through some sites to find which one it is.

I put the file together in a couple hours. It needs to be reworked with more info in the subject for the search to be more useful.

I think he means, is that he has the make human model right there, and he makes a lower polygon model around it, that way the proportions will be correct, and it will be low poly! Really saves a lot of time then making from scratch. :yes:

Here ya go:
that is box of the greatest character modeling tutorials ever.
You can follow it in blender pretty easy.

I model around the make human model.
You can even use the new topology tools to help you “cheat” a bit.

here are some snapshots:

Not bad for 12 minuets modeling eh?
the hard part is getting the face right, this will take me a few hours sometimes.
after this I reduce the edge loops to make him around 1200 quads. then UV map, and paint :slight_smile:

Thanks facemania,

yes that is what I meant. thanks man.

U totally best Facemania, It was exacly this I was looking for…

Here is one of my models from just modeling around a makehuman model. Only took about 30 minutes, and just a bit more then 1100 vertices. This could even be reduced more if there was polygons removed from the hands, as I put a bit more detail there, to fit the need of the project I had been working on.
The head could also be bummed down a bit, since I put more detail there too, to give a nicer shape, or even replace the eyes with flat ones, too reduce it even more.

You’re most welcome, mr_yeahman, and Mmph!

Nice modeling face mania!

I noticed you are testelating the quads to Tris, are you exporting to another game engine?

Thanks! I actually am not exporting the model. The reason I made the faces into tris, was so people could get a more general idea of the overall number of faces on the model, since I hear the game engine converts it to triangles before running it anyway.

Having good reference photos make things a lot easier. For human reference photos, I like It’s not free but they do have some free samples for download. I signed up for a month and downloaded thousands upon thousands of photos.

This is a female model that I created using the reference photos. Obviously my first human model. I made mistakes which became obvious when I tried to rig it. The mesh isn’t very bend friendly and the hands should be facing forward and not up.

facemania and Mmph! ,

I cant believe you can model those so quickly. They look great. How many models did you model before you could do it that fast.

Do you use a mouse or a pen?

I envy you. Ive been working on a woman model for like a month off and on, she still isnt done. I started over from frustration at least 6 times or more. LOL.

I tried makehuman and then reducing the poly count with the script, but it looked pretty bad. But then I forgot I was doing it for GE and could skin it to look much better.

Anyway, I am hoping I am almost done. I started over yesterday, again, but it looks pretty good. I used Makehuman, then rearranged it after bringing into blender.

I am modeling a specific person, and perhaps thats why I find it so difficult. Anyway thanks for your help. All your help!!!

Mmph!: nice idear ya got thur! I used to do that with cars (get a high poly .obj, import it, build my new mesh around it) but I never did with humans…Anyway, not to be rude, I dont have problems modelling, I just wanted to know your reference method(s)

cthames: “I’m just a poor boy, nobody loves me…” = ) Seriously, I dont have enough money to sign up with right now, but when I do I’ll buy an external drive and download pics wherever I go!!!

ititrx: I’m on dial-up, so I cant snag the file. What exactly is it?

facemania: nice work, but I usually model the head differently (as in not with a box/shpere). nice job…

Yes, you can sang it, Im on dialup too! LOL. Do you have Dap download accelerator? Its free and works great. It can resume if you get disconnected.

It teaches you how to make your own reference images. It actually takes you from concept to the finished model and exporting it.

It is a model for a game, dont remember which. And it was made for milkshape, but it works for blender just fine.

Oh, I think they were helping me understand how to model around makehuman. I dont think it was a reflection on your modeling skills, but mine. Big Smile.

Here is the tut on creating modeling photos of the wolf, it was in the wiki. LOL.

Hehe, well about 4 years of constantly following tutorials, and setting your own goals, and enough practice, you’ll eventually get there. I personally have a pen, but I find that the mouse is much more effective, I haven’t really used the pen enough to get used to it.

Also, modeling to a specific person takes a lot more work then just making a general model, since you have to make everything just like them.

I also took a look at the website not too long ago, and have tried some of their samples. To be honest, I can see how it will be useful, but just making a low polygon model around a high polygon model is much faster, and easier, imo.

Well I just work from pictures, found a really good one awhile back, can’t remeber where it’s from though.

![\Documents and Settings\Administrator\My Documents\My Pictures\REFERENCE.JPEG](\Documents and Settings\Administrator\My Documents\My Pictures\REFERENCE.JPEG)
The model is from my game and it is 332 quads. I even have a lower version of the model with less detail that is around 200 faces.

read the top post again for the update.

nice idear ya got thur! I used to do that with cars (get a high poly .obj, import it, build my new mesh around it) but I never did with humans…Anyway, not to be rude, I dont have problems modelling, I just wanted to know your reference method(s)

Yes indeed, I love the method. I saw it years ago done by a great artist named Glen Southern.
I never thought about doing it with cars, but I guess it can be used as a reference for anything.

…Anyway, not to be rude, I dont have problems modelling, I just wanted to know your reference method(s)

If that is not using a reference, then what should it be called?

I refer to the base model for my basic topology and portions just like I would use 2 (or more) photos.
I guess you mean you want to learn how to do it from 2d rather than a 3d reference?

Well anyways, sorry to have wasted your time. It wont happen again, trust me.

Dude! you didn’t waste my time! The whole idea behind the post was to learn how you MADE/FOUND your reference images. Dont go all depressed on us…