For my research question I am considering investigating and exploring the role of texture in the design and aesthetic of a character model. The visual appeal of a 3D character is obviously determined in part by the overall silhouette and movement of the model in question, however I believe the texture applied to the model can have a drastic effect on the particular tone and mood evoked in the audience, and this is what I would like to look into.
The approaches to texturing aesthetics are countless, but I believe they can be grouped roughly into realistic or stylistic treatments, which I will define as “as faithful to real life as possible” and “trying to evoke a specific non-realistic feel” respectively. A possible third group would be textures meant specifically to look ‘crafty’, as though the characters were made of textiles, wool, paper, etc. These seem to occupy a middle position in some ways, as the textures need to evoke actual materials while not needing total fidelity to real living things – i.e. there is still a large measure of suspension of disbelief on the part of the audience.
Each of these three approaches can of course be split into any number of subcategories, but for the sake of organising my research, this is how I will frame the subject for now. Each one has its own considerations – for example, realistic textures need to work with their underlying models to create the illusion of detailed modelling without having to use millions of polygons. Stylised approaches can be very effective, but need a careful attention to keeping the style consistent while still adaptable to what the animation needs.
Going forward, I will be looking into examples of each approach and considering what the particular considerations and effects of them are.