How to Create 3D Characters From Photos With Freeware
By Daniel Ketchum
In modern society, 3-D characters have become common in motion pictures and video games. Many people also like to create 3-D models and characters for their own use, and they frequently use photos to create or alter the textures for their characters. A misconception is that in order to do this you will need extensive training and some fairly complex and expensive software. However, you can create these characters entirely for free using Daz Studio and Gimp, both of which are freeware.
Visit www.daz3d.com, download the free version of Daz Studio, and install it on your computer. While you are there, also download and install either the free Michael 4 figure or the Victoria 4 figure. At www.renderosity.com, download a free texture made for the character you selected. Also download the Gimp utility from www.gimp.org.
Load your photo onto your computer either by connecting your digital camera to your computer via USB and transferring it or scanning in a printed image. Keep in mind that scanning will produce a lower quality texture. The photo itself should be uniformly lit with a direct view of the face. Faces should be clean shaven, and glasses should be removed.
Open Gimp. Select “File” and click “Open." In the dialog box that pops up, browse to the location of the texture you downloaded. Now open the picture you want to add to the texture.
Use the “Polygonal” selection tool to select the face, avoiding hair at the top and sides and stopping at the jawline. Select “Copy.” Go back to the texture and and select “Paste.” Use the “Scale” function to resize the face and place it into position over the part of the texture you want to replace.
Select “Hue/Saturation” and adjust the color of the background texture so the skin tone closely matches that of the pasted photo. Merge the layers. Now use the “Smudge” tool to blend in the edges to remove any lines.
Select “File” and “Save,” naming your new texture and saving it as a jpeg.
Open Daz Studio. In the library panels on the left, find your figure and drag it into the scene. Now find the original texture you downloaded and drag it onto the character.
Daniel Ketchum holds a Bachelor of Arts from East Carolina University where he also attended graduate school. Later, he taught history and humanities. Ketchum is experienced in 2D and 3D graphic programs, including Photoshop, Poser and Hexagon and primarily writes on these topics. He is a contributor to sites like Renderosity and Animotions.