Character portraits: a call for questions

I’m putting together a quick primer how to create spiffy-looking character portraits using DAZ Studio, and need your help. What kind of portraits are of most use to you? Full-frame headshots like this……….


…… or 3/4 or full length images, such as this:


Do you prefer more realistic images such as the one above, or would you favour a more stylized/photoshopped approach such as the one below?


And is there anything else you favour in your character portraits? Do you prefer a clean (or all-white) background, or prefer the image to be in situ, depicted in a location which suits his/her nature?

Enquiring minds want to know; I’m going to be covering a lot of ground in this mini-tutorial so want to make sure it’s as useful and usable as possible. At the end of it, hopefully you’ll know how you create the kind of images you want.

Thanks in advance, y’all!

11 Comments on “Character portraits: a call for questions”

  1. For me 3/4 view or action shot, always. With the very small exception of if I want a picture for an IM Avatar Profile.

    As for stylized vs realistic. For personal avatars that I might comission for an individual game I’d want realistic. For a game book I’d want to mask the fact that it’s CGI so a more slightly stylized approach would be preferred. I’d have to decide on blank background or setting backdrop on a case-by-case basis, but if you’re creating stock art I’d say the best bet is to do blank because backgrounds are easy to drop in.
    .-= Helmsman´s last blog ..The Endless Frustrations of Writing a Game =-.

  2. The headshot is too close-up — you can’t get much of an idea of the character. So ¾ view.

    I don’t like stylized pics unless the photorealistic model looks too fake. For example, the headshot above looks OK, but in the ¾ view above, her eyes look too open or bug-eyed.

    Backgrounds? Don’t really care, but it shouldn’t detract from the character. The character should stand out (unless it’s supposed to be a thief hiding in the shadows or something). In the ¾ view above, the background isn’t bad, but I think it could still be adjusted to make the character stand out more.

  3. Well, I really prefer the 3/4 view, with a background, and mostly realistically rendered, but with a touch of artistic ‘brushstrokes’. That would be what I’d put on the cover of my character binder if I had a long-lasting PC.

    But what I need, for every PC, is a face shot, preferably on a white background. I play online, so this pic gets reduced into a 63×63 pixel avatar. I tried this on the face shot above and it looses a lot, turning her into a sullen little girl with too much makeup. But it works for what it is.

    So I guess the weasel answer is: Give us both!

  4. I have to agree with the rest of the comments above and vote for 3/4 or full length images. This is particularly important if you’ve got a unique look or style to your PC. If it’s just a human in plate armor then I suppose a head shot is fine.
    .-= Ameron´s last blog ..Skill Challenge: Stormy Waters =-.

  5. I prefer the first one myself, it has a more emotionally evocative impact on me, I find computer artwork tends to fall in the “uncanny valley” with me though.. But I should also admit I have never used character potraits in games, Instead I choose (or get players to choose if Im GMing) a celebrity or historical figure to “play” the characters.

    One group had JFK the Paladin, Ryan Reynolds the Half Elf, Alan Moore the Wizard and Charles Bronson the Halfling.
    .-= Zzarchov´s last blog ..Why "Intro to RPG" games should use six siders only =-.

  6. My personal preference is the 3/4 shot, you get more an evocation of the character when viewed with his/her costume.

    The headshot works great for avatars and other similar uses.

    Backgrounds shouls be made on a case-by-case basis and if you’re producing stock clip-art drop the backgrounds out entirely.
    .-= Vulcan Stev´s last blog ..Five Bullywugs Named Steve: Steve Omega =-.

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