Character Commissions

Eh well, those of you who know me know I like playing around in Poser. I’m ok at it. Certainly not a genius and I don’t really tout myself as an “artist”. It’s fun. It’s relaxing. And sometimes it’s just a nice pick-me-up to take a character or situation I’ve written about and make it come to life. For the most part, I enjoy it.

Doing characters for other people is fun too – but there’s a condition to that statement. When I can connect to a person or their character – either by writing with them or through a personal friendship, it’s much easier to put my spin on it. Sometimes it’s really not, though, which frustrates me greatly. I *want* to make it work, but there are definitely times it’s like pulling teeth – either the user doesn’t give me any information or any feedback on the comps or they don’t seem to care. If the user says nothing, or just says it’s “fine”, it doesn’t give me much to go on. I can usually tell when people are disappointed, but if they don’t say anything during the development process then there isn’t much I can do.

It’s always amusing to me, though, when people want a render but skimp on the details. If they have some writing that I’ve read through, that’s helpful, but otherwise I tend to get something like:

Joe is about 6 feet tall, with black hair and green eyes. He wears jeans and has a silver chain around his neck. He’s muscular, not overly so. He wears jeans and carries a sword.


Ok – so, starting with that, I can build up a basis, but *then* the fun part begins. “Well…his hair should be longer. Oh, and his wrists are too thick. And his chin should be more pointed. And can you make the handle on his sword green?”

My point here is that people aren’t always so good at telling you what they want up front – but they’re *damn* good at telling you what they don’t want. It’s always amazing to me how the tiny details start pouring out once they’ve got something to look at. I’m not even sure if those details would have made any difference up front, but they sure help during the comp process.

Some renders are harder than others – either because of the content involved, or the complexity of the scene or just because the user wants something a certain way. In all cases, when communication is flowing freely, I have a much better chance at producing something that will make us *both* happy. I won’t get offended if you don’t like something – it’s *your* character. Tell me what you want and I will do my utter best to do it.

I don’t usually charge any money for my work, either. Not because I don’t think it’s worth anything – certainly I can spend a great deal of time on it – and time is worth an awful lot, these days. Mostly it’s because the rendering is just something I like to do. I used to charge – or really, I’d just tell people to pay me what they thought it was worth, and I would get anywhere between $15 to $60. Sometimes I wouldn’t get anything. And sometimes I’d get people telling me they’d pay me and then vanish off the face of the earth once they had their picture. I don’t like having to hound people for money, so in the end, I just let it go. Besides, I usually end up spending more on meshes and textures for the render than I will ever get back. Several have cost me close to $100 or more, so what’s $15 towards that? It’s only money, after all – and I’d rather work on making friendships anyway. And obviously I don’t ever plan on making a living at it – my viewpoint would be much different if I did.

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4 Responses to Character Commissions

  1. Darchala says:

    I think in a lot of cases, people just don’t have a truly concrete mental image of their character to start with–and some of them just don’t realize that we’re not telepathic and can’t see the little details that they’re taking for granted in their heads.

    Some people go nuts with the details. It can be a bitch to slog through it all, but ultimately I enjoy those more than the commissions where I’ve had to extrapolate a lot about what the person wants.

    And yeah, it is oddly disappointing to hear “that’s fine” when you send someone the first draft. I can never tell if they’re satisfied, or just scared to ask for alterations.

  2. mynfel says:

    Yeah…I feel that. And I’d really rather have them just come out and say what’s wrong up front. That’s why it’s a comp. 🙂

  3. Terry says:

    You did great on Askani, I don’t think I ever had a problem discussing her with you…

  4. Scopique says:

    People are mentally lazy, except when you step on their toes. They actually MIGHT be able to picture something in their mind, but they’re not putting the effort into the articulation of the details. It’s only when they see something that they DIDN’T envision that they get all uppity.

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