Maya for Beginners Module – Character Design


This module is split into two parts; a traditional modelling section and a 3D modelling section. First we had to come up with a character concept in our sketchbooks. Once we had a solid idea of how the character would look, we made a very basic model from plasticine which 3D scanned using a Matter and Form scanner. From there we took the mesh created by the 3D scan into Maya and modelled it further. At the same time as this, we continued to add detail to our physical plasticine model and painted them with acrylic paints.

For my character design, I wanted to create a woodland dwelling creature similar to an elf. I took a lot of inspiration from concept designs of the Children of the Forest from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R Martin and how they were manifested in the tv adaption Game of Thrones. The prominent brow of the Children of the Forest and the tribal style markings in place of eyebrows is something I would love to emulate with my model. I was also inspired by the tarot card style designs for the Dalish Elf in Dragon Age:Inquisition, the contrast of the white tribal markings against the skin tone is very eye-catching. For the skin tone for my model, I’m looking at something in between the Dalish Elf from Dragon Age:Inquisition and the Dunmer from the Elder Scrolls series. The angular features of the Dunmer is similar to how I envisaged my character’s features. With my character being a woodland creature, I wanted to incorporate nature into the design of the model in some way. I had thought about having leaves or vines for the hair similar to‘s design. My design was very influenced by Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne sculpture. I love the intricate leaves and how Daphne is depicted mid-transformation.

For my character’s back story, I came up with the idea of a shy young elven girl who lives deep in the forest, very shut off from the human world. That doesn’t mean that she hasn’t stumbled upon the odd human or two who have ventured too far into the forest. These rare encounters have given her a certain obsession with human artifacts and she deliberately breaks her clan rules to go out and find more. Because she has had little interaction with the humans themselves she will more often than not, wear the items she finds incorrectly and appears quite mismatched. Her favourite item is the thick wooly sock that she wears in place of one of her foot wrappings.


Now to transform my sketches into a physical model.