Course Character: Hatsune Miku - The World is Mine Version.

polycounter lvl 11
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Hazardous polycounter lvl 11
Hey Everyone!

Kicking off my thread for this course!

I’ll do my best to explain everything as thoroughly as possible as I go.
I’m also combining this into one fat PDF which I’ll upload at the end of the course.

I’ll try to give reasons on why I’m choosing what I’m choosing, or why I’m doing something a specific way. Ill also add random notes and bits of info ive gleaned along the way. Forgive me if it’s a lot to read, but I’m going to take the time to write it all, so too bad. I hope to eventually flesh everything out with a lot of pictures as well.

Also here are the links to the other guys and girls that im working with!

Mr Skullface
Funky Bunnies

Stage 1:

•Choosing my girl.
•Gathering reference.
•Drawing & painting my girl.

Choosing my Girl:

I decided early on, that there were 3 things I wanted to be the focal points of this course for me:

•Nice Face.
•Nice Hair.
•Great final pose, full of great feminine lines, movement and expression.

I also knew I wanted to create an anime styled girl.

Because of this criteria I want to go for a very simple character overall to really draw attention to those 3 main points. I don’t want to spend hours crafting complex armor, or epic amounts of cloth when I could spend that time refining the face, hair and executing feminine lines and the simple character as best I can.

I wanted to focus on making a really nice face that I could then pose and present different expressions, because it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.

I also wanted to create a really amazing head of long hair, full of movement and expression, because I think it’s a very lack luster area of the characters I've created in my personal and professional career so far.

The anime style choice is because I’ve recently discovered just how extremely challenging it is to execute simple forms, as well as other reasons:

• There are very few details to hide my mistakes behind. Every weakness I have is on display. ie Can’t sculpt cloth? Well this simple and plain blouse is definitely going to show that!
• The character design and personality is often at the forefront and on display clearly and not hidden behind layers of complexity and noise. Awesome, but again very challenging for me to portray and capture from head to toe.
• The colors are bold, contrasty, yet balanced and often very clean. Generally 1 or 2 primary colors with a couple of repeatable motifs (usually a complimentary color).

Too often in my experience with character art so far it’s been very easy for me to hide behind photos, dirt, and layers of armor detail to make things look gritty, ‘cool’ and complicated. It has helped me get this far but I need to progress and address my weaknesses!

So with these thoughts in mind, I set out to pick my girl.

I had about 100 girls instantly that I wanted to model hah! So it was very difficult to make a top 10 list and refine that down to just 1.

Here is my Top 10 List in no particular order:

1) Echidna – Queens Blade
2) Hastune Miku - VN02 version
3) Kiriko Hattori - Shunya Yamashita
4) Kureha – Shining Tears
5) Lacia – Beatless
6) Misato Katsuragi (plugsuit version) Neon Genesis Evangalion
7) Rin Tohsaka - Fate/Stay Night
8) Yoko - Gurren Lagann
9) Hatsune Miku – World is Mine Version
10) A concept by the legendary that I couldn’t find online, only in poppic artbook.

I sent my top 10 around to a few friends, along with what I wanted to focus on, and got their recommendations along with my own thoughts and feelings which enabled me to pick my girl.

I ended up chosing Hatsune Miku – The World is Mine version.


She meets all the criteria, and will help me address many of my weaknesses. I’m super stoked and tbh I can’t wait until I finish her so I can see the result haha!

Gathering Reference:

2 Things:

1) It should be obvious but it’s important to find relevant reference for what I want to achieve.
I want ref that highlights and reminds me of the things I want to focus on, nice face, nice hair, feminine lines etc And include as many shots of Miku as possible – BUT ONLY GOOD ONES!

When I look at this page, I want to be inspired by the awesomeness of Miku.

2) Alongside this inspirational / reference page it’s good to have one singular reference point to use as my major / overall direction. In my case its a nice photo of the 'world is mine' version of Miku. I use this to provide the answers whenever I get stuck on something.

My inspirational/reference page for Miku:


My overall directional reference:


For the course, I'm going to attempt to replicate and capture this version of Miku as closely as I can using 'next gen' techniques.

INFO: There’s something I’ve noticed in my experience so far and that is, no matter how cool an idea sounds when you first talk about it with people, each step in bringing that idea towards reality in some fashion or another diminishes its original magnificence.

What I mean by that is, say we need a new epic chick character for our game, here’s what might happen in the typical course of things:

1) We brainstorm what she might look like with Concept artists & Art director.

2) We find concept art or photo-reference to start the visualisation.

3) Concept artist produce some pieces.

4) We pick and refine a concept.

5) We model and texture the character.

6) We rig the character.

7) We animate the character.

We see the final result in the game.

At each one of these steps, the original grandeur will almost certainly get watered down further and further, due to concept art clarity, technical issues, shader issues, rigging restrictions, animation problems, communication problems between departments and many other things. A lot of these can be avoided somewhat by designing within a closed box and 'to the system', but I truly don’t believe in stymieing the creative process by technical limitations so early on.

I believe it’s especially important for unique concepts to start off WAYYYY out there; go for the absolute extreme version of what you want to do:

Dude: We want her to be sci fi and in a mech suit!
Me: NO!! We want an epic space bunny girl in an mech suit with 2 rail guns the size of warships and one of them transforms into a giant clawed fist for close quaters melee action!

Dude: But our game is pacman.
Too Bad.

Start crazy because no matter what idea you run through that pipeline, it’s going to be watered down by the time it reaches the game. If you start off mediocre it will end up super ordinary at best. So start with super awesome insane biblical epic-ness and hopefully you’ll end up with awesomeness.

Next Step: Drawing and Painting my Girl.

This is taking place right now..... Stay tuned!


  • gilesruscoe
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    gilesruscoe polycounter lvl 7
    Subb'd! This will be good... proceed!
  • itismario
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    itismario polycounter lvl 9
    Suuuuuuuuuuubscribing. Can't wait to see the progress.
  • Del
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    Del polycounter lvl 9
  • uncle
    The only thing that bothers me is fluctuating size of her breasts...

    Putting that aside, I will shamelessly suck good info from this thread (actually I already started) . Subscribed!
  • D4V1DC
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    D4V1DC polycounter lvl 13
    This is a boat load of information for beginners that are serious, you guys are lucky to be getting this so take notes and review this thread thoroughly.

    Thanks for posting your progress and notes for all, this is what everyone should do but I guess if they don't have the time.
  • Delega
    Out of those 100 girls you wanted to model did Haruko of FLCL happen to be in there?

    Just wondering
  • SanderDL
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    SanderDL polycounter lvl 7
    And so the adventure begins! I'm curious on how the hair is going to come out as it looks like it will be the hardest to get right.
  • Hang10
    And so it begins, sub'd!
  • disanski
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    disanski polycounter lvl 10
    wow :) Thanks again for sharing your process man.
  • urgaffel
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    urgaffel polycounter lvl 12
    This is going to be interesting :)
  • yndaaa
    Can't wait to see how you pull off the face.
  • Seirei
    Man I love Miku, and with you doing it this can't fail!

    Can't wait to see the awesomeness unfold. :D
  • EdibleFood
    Del wrote: »

    Seriously though, this sounds awesome. I can't wait to see it.
  • Donavonyoung
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    Donavonyoung polycounter lvl 6
    Can't wait to see what happens with this man. Super excited for some learning.
  • SnaFuBAR
    shit yes...subscribed
  • Andrew Mackie
    Free teachings from an amazing artist? Yes...yes I think I will subscribe to this. :D
  • Anuxinamoon
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    Anuxinamoon polycounter lvl 11
    So glad you went with Miku!
  • Beestonian
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    Beestonian polycounter lvl 7
    Would love to see how this unfolds. Is this going to be a fully rigged complete game asset? If so are you going to append cloth physics onto the hair, animated and make it functional in a game engine, or is the whole thing going to be a static sculpture? Because her hair by itself can constitute an entire Art Nouveau piece if you want it to :P
  • chrisradsby
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    chrisradsby polycounter lvl 10
    Sweet, it's gonna be great following this. :)
  • Steve Schulze
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    Steve Schulze polycounter lvl 15
    Wow, those are some real child-bearing hips on the one in the second row with the binary code background.

    Looks like a good character to go with. She's simple and iconic enough for you to play a lot with the proportions and still have her be recognisable. Rigging and animating her hair might be an interesting experience.

    This is the character they did the holographic J-pop concert with, wasn't it?
  • sybrix
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    sybrix polycounter lvl 7
    I think it's pretty awesome you're going to stare your weaknesses in the face and do something way out of your comfort zone. Definitely going to keep an eye on this one!
  • Sculptaur
    That hair is crazy. Can't wait to see how you go with this.
  • afisher
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    afisher polycounter lvl 6
    Sweet! Gonna be eagerly awaiting each update
  • Poribo
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    Poribo polycounter lvl 9
    Miku!? This is going to be great! Watching this thread intensively.
  • Stoop_Kid
    I can't wait to see it! I really want to see how you go about the cloth and hair, and it's going to be awesome to watch each step. :D
  • OrganizedChaos
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    OrganizedChaos polycounter lvl 12
    Excellent! Great to see you making a thread and posting your entire process- it'll be a real help for all of us here - one of the reasons polycount is the best forum i know :)
  • daphz
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    daphz polycounter lvl 8
    cool stuff man! really lookin forward to seeing your workflow for this.
  • Vysuki
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    Vysuki polycounter lvl 7
    Glad you are sharing this, looking forward to seeing your process, good luck :D
  • BoBo_the_seal
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    BoBo_the_seal polycounter lvl 14
    Kick Ass! Can't wait to see this unfold.

    Before each project I create reference sheets as well and then collect them in a folder. Just the process of creating the sheets spark ideas and gets me very focused on what I want to do. After several projects, I now have a folders of very focused reference sheets. They range from hands to wrinkles to full characters.

    Thank you for doing this. It will help a lot of people.

    - BoBo
  • njc6425
    Love the amount of ref you gathered, the best part is they all seem to be variations created by different people so itll help you with proportions and what not :)
    Looking forward to seeing this unfold

    good luck:)
  • kevlar jens
    Dude, you are so awesome for doing this!

    I will be keeping a good eye on this, ought to be a lot to learn from such an amazing artist as you :)
  • MainManiac
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    MainManiac polycounter lvl 8
    Really hope this answers a bunch of my questions and I can get back into characters, cant wait!
  • Skyknight
    Registered only to receive my class :D
  • BrendtheCow
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    BrendtheCow polycounter lvl 8
    /popcorn :D:D:D:D:D:D
  • ErichWK
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    ErichWK polycounter lvl 10
    I actually enjoy her music, so I'm pretty stoked to see this finish.
  • Pikey
    great idea! good luck with your venture! definitely following this
  • PaulP
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    PaulP polycounter lvl 6
    "If you start off mediocre it will end up super ordinary at best. So start with super awesome insane biblical epic-ness and hopefully you’ll end up with awesomeness."

    That is some awesome advice. I always end up with less than I started with, so I'm definetly going to start OTT with my next character!
  • Rafferty_Eggleston
    Can't wait to see how this unfolds! Thanks for sharing your process.
  • ceebee
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    ceebee polycounter lvl 10
    YESSS <3

    Can't wait to see this all. Haz you're one badass mofo to offer all this valuable knowledge to your pupils :D
  • duncan
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    duncan polycounter lvl 11
    WOW. I am just gonna camp out on this thread and watch the rads. I am really quite excited to learn the ways of the force.

    Thanks for the knowledge share dude. I am excited.
  • Jessica Dinh
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    Jessica Dinh polycounter lvl 8
    So excited for thiss !!
  • seth.
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    seth. polycounter lvl 10
    i cant add anything that hasn't been written above, but I just wanted to show my support and mention that between what you are doing with the character project and Ryan and his ensembe the PC bible I am genuinely humbled to be in the presence for such awesome people doing stuff of their own back fro the benefit of us all.....ta very much :)
  • DockRock
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    DockRock polycounter lvl 8
    Looking forward to see what you produce dude!
  • Scythe
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    Scythe polycounter lvl 8
    Awesome man, definitely subscribing until the end of times ! Cheers !

    ps : IMO Merugine Luka is fine too :o
  • KyleJensen
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    KyleJensen polycounter lvl 9
    This is going to be great. I'll be keeping an eye on this thread. :D
  • Hazardous
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    Hazardous polycounter lvl 11
    Firstly, holy crap thanks for the support guys, It's really blown me away haha!

    I just hope there is some stuff in here thats useful and its not all absolute rubbish !

    No sorry she wasnt!

    Beestonian: It will be a realtime, textured asset, the budget might be quite high though as I anticipate a lot of polys in the hair, but as far as physics and cloth etc etc, no :)

    Jackablade: Yeah thats her haha!!

    Bobo: So true man!! I'm in the same boat, reference sheets for all kinds of stuff!!

    Scythe: Megurine Luka was in my top 100 for sure! Love that Tony Taka Version!!!!

    So on with the baring all....

    Drawing my girl.

    Recently a good friend of mine really busted my chops about 2D, so I thought I'd share some thoughts before I start talking about the Miku Sketches. Big shout outs to Herman 'Openaneworld' Ng for his continued guidance in my 2d.

    As a modeller, for the longest time, I honestly didnt think 2d was that important to me. But I couldnt really be more wrong. Its the foundation of what any character artist does, and when you dont have those foundations, it will show in your 3d - Sticks out like dogs balls seriously.

    So, we often work from 2d images, and our skill as 3d artists is essentially measured by how well we capture, process and deliver this 2d information in 3D. The first and major difference between the average character modeller and the awesome character modeller is almost certainly found here.

    Practicing ONLY in 3d, without ever having any skills in 2d, will not teach you that vital step in the process.

    Drawing / painting / sketching helped me to understand my subject on a whole different level. I will go as far as to say that my 3D worked jumped drastically and noticeably when I started to draw. (Around the time I produced this was when I began to take 2d more seriously)

    Man that looks so bad now, but I can see and still remember the subtleties like the way the fingers of the guiding hand out front are positioned nice and elegantly but her wrist is actually higher. (do it with your hand right now, how girly do you feel haha?) Its a very dynamic and flowing lines / feminine thing.
    And the way her right leg is tucked in close, wrapping around her left etc.

    I remember these and they still stand out to me, because I know I struggled with the pose before I started drawing the hands. I looked at figurines, analysed what made them look cool. Not just tried to copy them, but draw them and understand WHY its cool.

    When you get stuck on a model, usually its because you dont understand the subject matter, and almost certainly you havent drawn it.

    My work was actually at a plataeu and I couldnt figure out why I wasnt improoving any further, until I began to draw, it was like a light switched on. It wasnt until I saw the results of my labour though, that I was able to go... okay I see how important this stuff really is!! So if you think thats you, give it a try you might surprise yourself!

    Draw your stuff, because jumping straight into zbrush and going nuts, will only teach you so much. Trust me, in the long term having some 2d knowledge will pay off.

    I want to add something vital in here. Being an awesome concept artist is a whole different ballgame, my goal isnt to be some badass godlike concept artist! But I want to be good enough at least to be able to express an idea in a way that others can go... ahh yup I see! Words are cool but easily interpretted by others in a bajillion possible ways, but a picture says here is what I mean!

    Also if your one of those 3D character artists that hates 2d because your bad at it, dont despair, you're only bad because you dont practice.

    Do gestures for a couple of weeks, just 30 min a day every day!

    Use this

    Then move on to faces, or hands, or another body part and do those for 30 minutes a day moving around the body. Trust me, after a couple of months of this, compare your stuff from when you started, the improovement will be massive........ from just a 30 min a day investment. Not only will your 2d get better, but the next time you sculpt something, It will also be better.

    Baring my soul here, but just to show you how bad I was, Here's my 2D when I first started drawing. I remember distinctly how ALIEN it felt to me, and actually how ashamed I felt for letting myself get to this point, yet still calling myself an 'artist' lol what a joke!


    And after about 2 months of bootcamp doing gestures I was allowed to move on to some head studies in value:


    If you click on those in order, youll see from the first to the last that my strokes become a whole bunch freer, like I'm not worried about depicting such tiny details and more about expressing the movement and overall 'wholeness' of the subject.

    Using big fat strokes to indicate something as opposed to getting right in there with a tiny brush cleaning things up. And I think its important to understand the difference. My goal was NOT to reproduce the photo, it was to understand the lighting, and the values of the form to a point where I understood it, once I got it, its time to move on. Dont waste time taking that pic and polishing it right up to some godlike photorealistic level - UNLESS thats the point of your particular study.

    I learnt that its actually a fundamental way of approaching a sculpt as well. BIG strokes. Dont subdivide your base mesh up to 7 and delve right into details with a small brush!!! Focus on forms first, details last. WAY WAY WAY too often do you see examples of details before form. (But I'll talk much more about this later on and give examples )

    After your 2d practice you can take it further by doing studies like this:


    Draw a piece, then try to match your concept, try to grab all the forms and information you painted in your sculpt.

    TIP: Line drawings will help you with your silhouette, and doing value studies will help you understand forms.

    So anyway thats some info about why 2d has been useful for me, I hope its useful to someone!

    So For Miku, I wanted to draw her in some dynamic poses, and get some studies of the face and hands down and finaly some orthos. TBH I dont usually go as far as orthos, but I thought they might be useful for some people to use so I did them, here are the results:


    Because Miku is already well drawn, and well sculpted, there is plenty of expertly crafted reference available. This REALLY helps. Again I refer to my original post about finding GOOD reference as opposed to really ordinary stuff that can teach you bad habits.

    So I did a quick color study, I usually will not spend any more than 1 hour on this and try to capture as much as possible. No need for details, its purely for my own understanding of whats going on, I'll try only to focus on big shapes, and lighting / value / saturation to indicate depth. I'll always use reference, and I'll constantly be checking my progress with the actual reference - it helps me see where I'm going wrong, and adjust it. Again, I try not to do anything aimlessly. You can waste so much time 'practicing' doing this.

    I also draw several line drawings from different angles, this is mainly because Miku is by nature a dynamic figure, so capturing elegant elements in those silhouettes will make me think about those things when im sculpting or posing her at the very end. I also draw the hands to understand that same elegance, paying attention to the fingers and the face to again help further instill that elegance she has, again all based on good reference material that ive gathered for Miku.

    Heres a few more things that I'm paying attention to:

    *The shape of the legs in the sitting pose and how they flow into the pelvis and torso and especially the resulting shape it creates.
    *The same torso / pelvis area in the standing 3/4 pose - how the hips run straight into the ribcage on that side, creating that really nice shape.
    *The delicate pose of the fingers.
    *The softness of the face, small mouth - almost non existant nose and large eyes in the face sketch.
    *I use big broad flowing strokes for the hair, just to indicate that dynamic nature it always has.

    Shoutouts to Hai 'Haikai' Phan for re-iterating something else to me which I should definitely not forget to metion, and that is Miku is a really elegant and slim girl, something thats actually very difficult to execute. Its quite well done in the east, but in the west we all to often go for more manly / solid looking girls with strong / thick and statuesque frames with big boobs and big hips. Just check my folio for evidence lol.

    When I was drawing the ortho's I tried to pay special attention to that fact. Had to remember to keep her slim and thin, it was so easy to just round things out massively. I first did a naked set and she was much rounder and thicker than she should be in the hips area hah! So after making some adjustments, I came up with the set above. I will use those in the construction of my base mesh. I also did a set with the simple clothes that I will be modelling. Again, these are mostly void of details, all of that information already exists in my photographic reference!

    Ultimately the point of the drawing segment of this course is to gain a greater understanding of your subject, the more you draw, the more you'll understand, and the better equipped youll be when you come to tackle any things that make you go 'hmmm' when your looking at the concept. But definitely, pay attention to the big things before the little details.

    Also lastly I want to re-iterate, the goal for me (not being a specialist concept artist) is to draw to the point where I've understood something. Could these sketches be way better? Absolutely, but if the refinement time of that sketch could be better spent moving on to understanding another area - I will do that every time.

    Up next, Base mesh......
  • ceebee
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    ceebee polycounter lvl 10
    *Archives this whole page and accompanying images to keep and study forever* <3

    Man, Hai and Herman are still here to instantly modest-ify me with their infinite knowledge and make me want to be a better artist. Glad you're able to still do it for me from down under man! Hahaha

    Keep it coming!
  • SA_22
  • fearian
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    fearian Polycount Sponsor
    Hells Yes! Thanks for showing your early 2d attempts as well!
  • MrOneTwo
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    MrOneTwo polycounter lvl 8
    Its like sitting in some master minds head! Thanks Haz.
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