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08/20/2004: "Book -- How to Create Virtual Beauties: Digital Manga Characters"

I saw How to Create Virtual Beauties: Digital Manga Characters at a bookstore last week and bought it on impulse. Originally printed in Japan in 1999, this English-translated book contains the work of four digital artists -- Tsukune, Yukie Matsuo, Nekotom and Tetsuya Watanabe.

This full-color book does not contain in-depth tutorials, but overviews of the artists' thoughts and techniques as they create images of a "beautiful girl" from start to finish. With more images than text, the book includes several screenshots from each work-in-progress and nice galleries of each artist's work. Tsukune uses Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop; Matsuo uses HexaSuper and LightWave 5.6; Nekotom uses LightWave 5.6 and retouches with Illustrator; Watanabe use LightWave 5.6 and includes an update that shows the features he likes to use in LightWave 7.5.

Most of the 3D models shown in this book were not built for celshading, but they look like they could celshade well with cartoon proportions/features and mechanically smooth geometry. For celshader artists struggling to make their models look more like anime characters when rendered, check out pages 36 and 37. There Yukie Matsuo gives a detail-by-detail breakdown of a generic "anime-style" female face and how it differs from a real human face, showing one way to translate those features successfully into 3D. Pages 80-83 contain nice full-page printed versions of Nekotom's celshaded renders -- a girl on a bed, angelic cat girls, maids and a girl perched on a tombstone cross. Pages 106-111 contain full-page printed versions of Watanabe's celshaded cat-girl model from Odyssey 01.

For ideas and inspiration, it's worth picking up.

12:46 PM PST [link]