Simple, manipulable 3d stick figure / posing tool?

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  1. #1
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    Simple, manipulable 3d stick figure / posing tool?

    I'm pretty adamant about studying the human figure, especially the range of motions in the limbs and the expressions produced from different poses. I am finding myself lacking, however, in something simple in helping to fill in the gaps when I'm doing quick sketches. Google image search helps some, but I find myself scouring the net looking for a remotely similar pose and usually wind up cobbling together a reference image from several different sources, and the whole process takes longer than my actual damn quick sketch. For longer pieces, I take photo reference and use a mirror, and I've got two different super-articulate Spider-men to help me out, but it's just not enough.

    I'm not looking for something that'll outline all the different muscles and basically "take over" the knowledge that should be inherent when I'm producing my work. I'm not looking for something I can pose and then paint over. To this end, I've (mostly) ruled out Poser as being a decent source for inspiration when it comes to posing the figure, though I'd be open to it as a suggestion if there were a simpler version of the program that would just let me manipulate a figure quickly and then be able to flesh out the pose ideas I've got in mind. I am not looking for a "crutch" to rely on for all my posing needs.

    What I am looking for is something that'll just let me fool around with a simple yet proportionate figure that can be posed realistically, so when I'm doing my quick sketches or thumbnails I can push the figure around and kind of feel out where the legs should be or where I can put the arm for the most effect, to help me flesh out my learning. I want to eventually be able to do this mentally, but right now I'm at the stage where I can't do that just yet, and I don't have access to a model 24/7.

    If you know of anything like this, please, let me know, because it'd be a huge help.

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  3. #2
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    First, let me commend you on a very self aware post that will probably rules out any snide comments from others forum members!

    It might not be what you’d like to here but from what you’re saying, taking a photo reference of yourself sounds like the simplest, quickest and cost effective way of getting pose references. I firmly believe that nothing out there can mimic the human body accurately whether it’s with of deformations, muscle shifting, limbs limits and cascading, but especially believability (or soul) behind the pose. Posing in my line of work is paramount and I cannot help it but beat it into my animators or student’s head to *get their poses right AND from RL reference*. Usually by getting up, doing the action or poses in front of a mirror or filming themselves. You could always ask your little sister to do it but unless you’re an ace director who can guide actors to do something *exactly* the way they want it, just do it yourself. It should have the intensity that you want, the subtleties that you want, etc.
    Now, let’s back track a tad here. If it’s posing inspiration you are also seeking here, be very wary of clichés. This is the main pitfall of this kind of exercise. It would also be a huge time saver to start conceptualising your poses in thumbnails first where you explore a few ideas and find your action line(s) first. Then get reference for accuracy and pushing the pose you singled out.

    So anyhoo, that’s what I would recommend first, plus you’ll become more aware of your own body by practicing this. Although it could take time, it also helps deconstruct the posing (and consequently structure) of each limb. The spine gets especially challenging and fun to figure out. It’s like practicing and learning your basics before jumping into Poser or any 3D posing software.

    Hope that helps..!

    P.S.: I’ve been looking everywhere to find that now-discontinued 67ish joints Spiderman. Any idea where I could find one for a reasonable price?

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    Thank you for the suggestions! Your words are spot on with what I'm trying to achieve: keeping a very pure connection between my work and the pose I'd like to represent. I follow Vilppu's philosophy of not copying the pose, but getting down the very essence of its expression, and taking the pose myself has brought me closer to that ideal.

    Unfortunately, I run into a couple of problems when I'm trying to do quick sketches. The first being that I'm not always around a full length mirror or a camera with a tripod, and even if I were my current situation calls for me to be away from my studio for many hours at a time, out in the public. I take my laptop with me when sketching, either digitally or in my moleskine, so it's my main resource for when I'm out and about. It's hard to get up and start stretching and posing when I'm in the middle of a coffee shop, or (as is usually the case) at work and subject to being spotted at any time by hotel guests.

    The other problem is that the gaps I'm facing stem from non-traditional poses. Superheroes leaping in mid-air, swinging swords or fighting dragons or what have you, are images that are hard to draw inspiration from when all you've got is google search and yourself. These are poses I can't take myself, except maybe piecemeal, but even then I feel like I'm not getting what I want out of the pose.

    I do my best to "pick" my way through a pose, doing several thumbnails before I get it right, but even when I'm trying to do quickies to get an idea of a scene it'd be nice to have a little helper there to sort things out visually. I work best when manipulating things in front of me. I've done a lot of work towards internalizing a lot of things, to the point where I have a pretty good grasp on traditional poses and extremes and keeping the stiffness out of my figures. But when faced with extreme poses or even if I'm stuck creatively, it'd be nice to have something I could play around with to send me off in new directions and help realize what's in my mind.

    I know this is a tool I'll be using less and less as time goes on, but it's one I feel would help me take great steps right now. I'm still doing all my other exercises, figure studies, life drawing, photo ref taking, etc., but in this one area a quickie tool would help me learn how to patch these minor gaps in my art.

    I will try to get in front of a mirror even more, but until I can get my room of mirrors set up complete with cable wire and a 3-dimentional camera, a little computer action figure would be a helluva plus right now.

    P.S. I bought both Spidermen back when Spiderman 2 came out. I was hoping Spiderman 3 would bring out even more articulated figures, but no dice. Your best bet is to try E-bay, honestly, or if you're willing, a local toy show. I know there's at least a couple of those near me every so often, and both times I've gone there's been a few articulate Spidermen floating about. Seem to be super-popular, as most artists I know in town have one. It's become kind of an iconic figure around here, haha.

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    http://www.posemaniacs.com/blog/pose/



    not sure if this is what your looking for, i use it every now and then and find it to be a great help

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moggie View Post
    http://www.posemaniacs.com/blog/pose/



    not sure if this is what your looking for, i use it every now and then and find it to be a great help
    Thank you for the link! That's a damn good resource, and I heard of it in passing but had completely forgotten about it and had never actually seen it in person. It's a good place to gather some decent poses.

    Though what would be killer would be access to the model itself in a super-light 3d program, so I can move the arms around and have more control over the figure. After scouring the internet all weekend I think Poser is going to be about as close as I'm going to get, though I'll have to take care to take a few steps away from it because of its limitations.

    Regardless, this will definitely help fill in some gaps, so thank you!

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    DAZstudio will do everything you want Poser for, for free. You'll just have to buy some figures (although you can find downloads of their base figures for free too). There's also a slightly stripped down program from e frontier called Poser Figure Artist, geared more towards what you want than full-out scene creation/rendering. The drawback of both is that you have to already know how to draw a good figure to pose a Poser figure convincingly (hence the flood of awful Poser renders out there).


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  11. #7
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    Those sound what I'm looking for, thank you! That doesn't sound like too big of a drawback. I've been doing figure drawing, both from a model and from imagination, for a while now, so I know how to make something look "right," I'm just in that weird transition phase between having seen something so much that I know when it looks right or wrong, and being able to produce the right thing innately and as quickly as I'd like. I just need a bit of a helpful nudge in that regard for the time being, just something to be able to manipulate to help nail down some of the harder poses that I do sketch after sketch of and just can't get right, and I'll be on my way.

    Thanks again!

    Last edited by lavhoes; January 14th, 2008 at 12:43 AM.
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    Thnx L, ... Looks like that's just a rendering program, right?

    At least Icarus tried!


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  13. #9
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    You could also try Makehuman. It's very similar to Poser but completely free

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    Ever tried Pivot? I use it alot but it makes whatever you do into a bmp and I don't know how to make it into a .GIF

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  17. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingsean12 View Post
    Ever tried Pivot? I use it alot but it makes whatever you do into a bmp and I don't know how to make it into a .GIF
    Pivot's great, been using it for really super basic stick figure stuff. For my purposes, though, I need something that'll let me foreshorten and have a bit more control over the figure. Thanks for the recommendation though!

    Quote Originally Posted by Yiako View Post
    You could also try Makehuman. It's very similar to Poser but completely free
    I think this program is as close as I'm going to get. I was hoping to get a program where I can manipulate the figure using my mouse, instead of a bunch of sliders, but I've been fooling around with this all night and it's definitely helping me flesh out some poses. I haven't been using it as the golden gospel when it comes to what a pose looks like, since it's just a 3d program and is thus inherently flawed vs. the real thing, but as a start for making some difficult to imagine poses it's a real help.

    I mean, all I have to do is get it vaguely right, and it'll push me in the direciton I want. If I want a leaping pose, it's hard for me, where I'm at right now, to be able to sort out where the legs and arms go, so being able to move them along their natural paths into where they'd look interesting is a huge boost.

    Now, if there was a program exactly like this but would let me use the mouse to move around the limbs and everything, that'd be absolutely perfect. But for now, I'll settle with this.

    Thank you so much!

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