Behind the Scenes: Anne Character-Examine


Hey there! My title is Steve Miller. I am a 3D generalist and I’ve labored my method as much as the place of Inventive Director at Secret Location in Toronto, Canada. I’ve had the chance to work on quite a lot of initiatives for TV, movie, and immersive media like digital actuality. One factor that is been lucky for me is that I have been in a position to make use of Blender in all of my work through the years.


I’ve had the privilege of working with some extraordinarily gifted character artists through the years, so with some current spare time, I wished to see if I may develop my very own abilities in that space a bit. Right here, you’ll be able to see the primary steps of that journey, warts and all!

As an 80s baby, I like the analog really feel of media from that point interval, so I made a decision to strive my hand at a portrait of a personality from that period. Anne of Inexperienced Gables is a Canadian establishment and a collection I keep in mind watching rising up; though, I’ve obtained a nostalgia-fueled record of characters I might wish to strive subsequent!

I began with a fast reference board, together with picture references of Anne, together with just a few CG characters from Disney, Pixar, DreamWorks, and Sony for just a few stylistic approaches.


I am undecided if everybody’s sculpt goes by way of an unsightly stage, however mine definitely did. At first, it was simply to get the primary concepts roughed in. I added placeholder meshes for eyeballs, eyelashes, and eyebrows fairly early on. I discover it is laborious to guage enchantment (or lack thereof!) with out these issues. I attempted to maintain the varieties comparatively gentle as I am no anatomy skilled, and the extra hyper-detailed I went, the extra uncanny I figured it could turn out to be.

I additionally threw on the beginning of a vertex painted pores and skin texture and a few Voronoi procedural freckles. I even added in some fundamental lighting to approximate the primary reference. I’ve heard others say this too, however I discover it useful to leap round a bit when creating, so you aren’t getting pissed off or caught overworking any single factor.


Subsequent, I dove a bit additional into the eyes, hoping that may assist seize the ‘soul’ of the character. The fabric is totally procedural, and I once more targeted on the weather I felt added enchantment reasonably than harsh realism. The best way they approached eyes in Spider-Verse was a particular inspiration. I additionally made certain so as to add an eye fixed mild for that little glint!


I moved onto the seen elements of the outfit subsequent. This was comparatively simple subdivision modeling. I made use of face snapping and shrinkwrap to evolve to the underlying torso sculpt, after which used the solidify modifier to copy the heavy fabric.

Lastly, I added some imperfections by way of a noise texture displacement. The supplies are principally procedural, utilizing the ‘magic’ texture to roughly suggest a cloth weave, and the ‘wave’ texture to create the blue stripes.

I initially used a placeholder texture for the floral sample, figuring I’d simply paint my very own model in Procreate at a later level.

Nonetheless, what I finally did was use the Dream Textures add-on to copy one thing shut sufficient. AI stuff might be contentious, however I figured I’d make use of it for this small side simply so I used to be conserving accustomed to how the instruments could possibly be integrated into workflows. Some instance outputs I obtained utilizing a mixture of a textual content immediate and the reference texture as enter:


Initially, I assumed I’d take the chance to check out Blender’s not too long ago revamped hair system.

Nonetheless, making braids utilizing the outdated particle hair system with its ‘kink’ choices was too tempting. I extracted a haircap from the pinnacle sculpt and made particular person particle hair programs for either side of the half and the braids.

I additionally transformed the mesh lashes and eyebrows to particle programs.

Sarcastically, the braids nonetheless proved difficult to artwork direct the orientation of their weaving sample. To my data, there is not a method to set the ’tilt’ of a particle hair curve the way in which you’d an everyday curve. Perhaps braids will finally turn out to be simpler with geometry node hair, the place you could have extra ‘beneath the hood’ management of issues!

I made certain to totally make the most of the assorted particle hair roughness choices to maintain issues from being too CG-perfect and so as to add flyaways.

The hair materials is simply the principled hair shader with curve intercept used to regulate the melanin worth to be extra blonde close to the roots, serving to ease the transition to the scalp.


After a fast mannequin and materials for her hat (which most likely may have been a lot better, however I wished to wrap issues up), I felt like I had sufficient that I may step again and consider the piece as a complete.

One thing felt off in regards to the face proportions, so I went again into sculpt mode and nudged issues round to attempt to enhance it. It is price noting at this level that I might considerably deserted the concept of getting an important likeness; I simply wished it to really feel good in its personal proper. That is an space I might actually wish to progress extra in future initiatives.

Ending touches to the character included the curve-based bows on the finish of the braids, and making a easy armature for a much less stiff posture.

The ultimate steps had been including a white fence to counsel the Inexperienced Gables property, some remaining lighting tweaks, and compositing in a touch of grain and dispersion to counsel older movie inventory. 

And with that, I figured I’d name it achieved.


Thanks for the chance to share! I hope this breakdown was of some curiosity!

In regards to the Artist

Steve Miller, a 3D generalist and artistic director from Toronto, Canada.