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 How Do I Look: You and Your Avatar.

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Astrid Stjerna


Posts : 43
Join date : 2011-10-12
Location : Rens

PostSubject: How Do I Look: You and Your Avatar.   Wed Oct 12, 2011 5:53 pm

Since we hope to have a lot of people coming through here checking us out, I figured it may be useful to post some tips on creating an avatar. Whether for an alt or a main, I hope these will help.

Don't go off on a face-sculpting rampage, not yet! First, look at the pre-generated face. I know, it's been said that it's not very creative to 'go with what they give you', but quite often the pre-generated face morphs look very good with only minor alterations. Astrid, for example, was a pre-generated face with a bit of slight tweaking to make her mouth a bit bigger (not that she needs help with that, mind you... Wink )

Also (and this is a very important thing to remember) when face-sculpting, less is definitely more. Smaller changes are easier to judge, and take less risk of making your shiny new character look like a botox-injected nightmare. Not only that, but it's very easy to remove the 'structure' of the face with too much adjustment, making them look 'flat'.

When deciding on decorations, there are several things to be aware of:

Tattoos, makeup and piercings have a large effect on your character's facial appearance, either by disorting the 'visual shape' of the head or altering the appearance and prominence of a facial feature. They also change the way light-sources flow, so one particular method of lighting a character may not work in all situations.

Hairstyles are the same -- what looks good on one sculpt will not, obviously, look good on others. Experiment and see which one works for you. Keep in mind, you can change anything except the overall body/face sculpt later, should you want a new look.

Finally, we come to the 'posing' aspect -- how you choose what your character portrait will look like. I'm only going to offer a few generic tips here, because it's mostly preference anyway.

First of all, most professional portrait photography involves the 'Rule of Thirds': align your subject in a mental tic-tac-toe grid, and have their eyes (or another prominent area in the picture) on one of the intersecting points in the grid (usually in the upper third of the image). This gives it a more 'dynamic' appearance and draws the eye more naturally.

Next, look at where your eyes are focused. Have you ever had the feeling that a painting is 'watching you', and no matter where you go, the eyes seem to follow you around the room? That's a very, very difficult technique to learn, espeically with a 3D model in lieu of a painting, but if you can pull it off, your portrait will be a winner.

Posing your head is another area that can make or break a portrait. It all depends on your subject's background (photographic and heritage), their attitude, their mood at the time a portrait was taken....in short, this one ain't so easy to pin down.

There are some poses you want to avoid, however:

1. The sultry 'come-hither' look. You know the one I mean: head tilted down and away, bedroom eyes, seductive smile. Trust me, it's over-used. Find a more conventional look.

2. The 'I'm Super-Angry' look. I see this a lot: someone wants to make their avatar look like a bad-a**, so they go all the way with the frown and the tilting and the snarl, snarl, snarl. Way too easy to overdo it here, folks. As I said above, less is more. You can do a lot to make your character look potentially violent just by the careful application of tattoos and piercings.

3. The 'pale clone' look. Yes, I'm talking about an avatar with the skintone cranked to the lightest with the icy-blue blush for an accent. It just looks bad, especially in some of the more 'demanding' lighting setups. At best, your character will look slightly anemic; at worst, you'll end up with a porcelain doll.

Finally, try not to have your character looking 'downward' out of the frame. It looks awkward in terms of composition, because you begin to see the top/side of their head, instead of their face. Instead, have them looking out-of-frame at eye-level or (slightly) higher, or even towards the viewer. Look at Astrid's portrait for an example.

Hopefully, this'll help you find a face you're proud to show off to all of New Eden.

See you in teh Intarwebz Spaceshipz!

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Lara Alash


Posts : 22
Join date : 2011-10-09

PostSubject: Re: How Do I Look: You and Your Avatar.   Wed Oct 12, 2011 7:41 pm

I feel like I've broken about half of your rules.

That said, I was going for the pale look (but actually didn't go full pale believe it or not). Tan doesn't make sense when they're in stations/pods all the time unless they do some sort of fakebake.

I went with cold colors to be sure, but tried to warm her up a bit with light reddish blush and a Minmatar rust background, and black roots (originally had white, but I agree it was way too much). The black lipstick as well I think tries to offset the color for more balance. That said, I'm thinking of going with something dark for her shirt instead of the white-trimmed top again to add more accent colors.

I'm kinda doing the looking down out of frame, but at the same time she's not super-tilted down. Lara's small, and I think the tilt conveys that--it sorta feels like you're taller than her and can see the top of her head as a result.

Definitely went with the rule of thirds though, I think, the middle of her face would be the end of the first column of the tic tac toe board. And I think the Minmatar logo behind her helps juxtapose her face.

As for facial features, I wanted to go delicate but strong at the same time. Powerful jawline but delicate chin, middle of the road nose. Piercings to bring out the more "don't give a fuck" side of her, and the blue facial tattoo with the hair to match.

I don't know, I still tinker with the accesories a bit, but I think overall I'm quite happy with her face. And I totally agree that less is more with both facial structure changes and makeup. It's amazing how quickly and easily a character can go the route of "holy hell that's terrible" with just half a step too far on either.

Feel free to critique. I can obviously tinker with the colors/piercings/accessories/lighting/background.

Bigger version than my avatar:

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Astrid Stjerna


Posts : 43
Join date : 2011-10-12
Location : Rens

PostSubject: Re: How Do I Look: You and Your Avatar.   Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:42 pm

Oh, they're really 'guidelines' rather than 'rules'; it's hard to get a really good-looking face if you're new to the Carbon facegen. Smile

For Astrid, I wwanted the combination mohawk/combover (I call it a 'buzzhawk'), but it didn't really look right. Here's a bigger pic:

I chose dark eyeshadow and eyeliner to make her eyes 'pop' a bit. The piercings, you can probably see, are all sharp metal. It was a concious decision on my part to make her somewhat unapproachable and 'hands-off', and the spikey piercings illustrated that beautifully.

I deliberately kept her expression mostly-neutral, though I tweaked her lips and eyebrows for that brittle almost-smile. Again, she doesn't let people get too close, which includes cameras and pictures like this one.
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