" Almost anything can be animated to give the appearance of life and possibly intelligence. But just because it moves, does that make it a character? "

Character modeling can be a fun and exciting challenge, pushing you to expand your skills ever further in the quest to create the next perfect character. The flip side is that at times, it can alos be frustrating, confusing and down right unpleasant. Especially if you are trying it for the first time. I remember my first couple of characters. They were oh so badly modeled. The topology was a nightmare and on the first one I didn't even know about the “set smooth” button, so it was all sharp and blocky looking. But as time goes on, you learn a thing or two.
Techniques come easier and it starts dawning on you that topology is kind of important. A bit of research will lead you to a number of great tutorials on how to construct your models so that they not only look better, but alos nanimate better.
So now that you can model reasonably well, (well at least you think so), it is time to start thinking about what makes a great character. Almost anything can be animated to give the appearance of life and possibly intelligence. But just because it moves, does that make it a character? I have seen some fun animated objects: desque lamps, cereal boxes and even the odd electrical cord.
But are they characters or just everyday objects that had a little too much energy one day and started moving around? Sometimes it is hard to decide if an animated object crosses over to being a character or not.
Humanoid or animal characters are easy to spot, (well if they are done right they are :P ). They display familiar human behavior, movements, intelligence and emotions. Even space alien type characters seem to follow these “norms”. If your character deviates from these so called “norms”, the deviations generally seem to fall into an acceptable range and just add depth to your character. But the further you move away from the familiar “norm”, the harder it becomes to quantify whether you have created a character or an animated object.
After you have spent countless hours pondering the definition of characters, you still need to create that perfect character. And unless you were suddenly struk by divine inspiration, it could take a while to decide on the seemingly endless details.
So, while you are sorting through some of those details, why don't you sit down and soaque up a little inspiration from the wonderful characters that have been gathered for this issue. That 's right, in this issue we are going to take a look at “Character Building”. And just to add a little fun, we not only have articles and tutorials, but some great character models for you to play with as well as a bonus surprise.
Bonus surprise? Yes, that 's right, but you have to read the magazine to find it. So have fun and enjoy!