Illustrious Illustrations (Part 2)

Last month I gave five simple steps in illustrating a book cover for young teens or children. One of the tools I listed was Adobe FUSE. It’s a free software program that allows you to build three-dimensional characters on your screen. It’s quite simple and you can create anything from simple cartoonish characters to thuggish gangsters. Here are some simple steps to get you started with


Fuse:

STEP 1: Open Adobe FUSE

The following window opens:

Step 2: Pick a Head, Any Head

If you have a physical description of your character, you can look at the faces on the screen and choose the one that looks more like what you will develop further. Keep in mind, you can always change things.


Step 3: Pick a Torso


Step 4: Pick Arms


Step 5: Pick Legs


Step 6: Modifying your Character

Once you have the head, torso, legs and arms, you can start customizing your character. Fuse starts with the head and allows you to adjust the size of the eyes, the nose, mouth, and the expression you want on your character. All of these can be changed depending on your needs. The same with the legs and arms and torso. Any conceivable character can be made. I suggest you dive right in, get to know the program, and have fun!


Step 7: Putting Clothes and Accessories On

There are limitations to hairstyles and clothes, but there is a pretty good array of items to choose from. Here is an example of one of my finished FUSE characters.


The purpose of FUSE is to develop characters for games and animated videos. However, I use FUSE to help me develop characters for my novels. It’s also a perfect tool for graphic novelists because the next step of putting your character into the Miximo software allows you to animate your character and view her from any angle (so important to graphic novels).


Limitations of Fuse: Once you put glasses or a hat on your character, you can’t take them off. I saved the above character as Dolphyn. If I put a hat on her I save her as Dolphyn With Hat. That solves the problem of having to build a face from scratch again.

Step 8: Send your Character to Miximo

Miximo is another free Adobe program that allows you to animate (move your character). There are 2,484 animations to choose from. You can save a still frame of the image. Later open them in any photo editing program to modify them further.


Next month, I will show our readers how to place FUSE characters into Miximo and Photoshop to create dynamic illustrations or graphic novels. Look in the Caprock Writers & Illustrators Alliance Blog and monthly newsletter for more to come.


Happy illustrating!

—Jaz