If you are one of those who create anime art, or at least are interested in anime art, this may be for you. What if I told you there's a software that allows you to create anime characters in a very easy way? VRoidStudio by Pixiv is just that.
I am a fan of animation, and I am a fan of different animation styles, from the photorealistic characters, to the Pixar-like characters and anime characters. Anime is one of those styles that looks simple but can be really tricky to get right, because proportions might look weird when seen from a specific angle. Well, a few days ago I ran into a tool that might make life easier when it comes to create 3D anime characters.
VRoidStudio is a small and simple 3D character editor built on Unity (meaning, the software is actually a Unity game, believe it or not). You can think of it as "Anime-DazStudio" or "Anime-Poser," because it works very similar to those softwares, albeit it's definitely limited in some areas.
On top of that, the software is free.
When you open VRoidStudio, you are prompted to create a new character from scratch, or open one of the already-created characters. The software is really simple to use, and, if you are familiar with Poser or DazStudio, it will feel very familiar, since you use a series of "dials" to modify body and face proportions of your character to get it to look the way you want.
Similarly, you can also modify the look of the skin to make it lighter or darker, as well as modify textures by adding new layers so you can paint on top of them.
The software includes some outfits for your character. I have to say this is one of the first limitations I found. The clothing selection is extremely limited, so you won't really find too many options to choose from here, and I am not sure what you'd need to do to import your own outfits.
A hair editing area is also included. This is a really cool feature, and makes hair creation very easy. When you get into this editor, a mesh is created around your character's head so you can "paint" hair strands on top of it. Hair is adjusted to your character's head really nicely, and the final result is amazing.
Lastly, there's another editor where you can animate or pose your character using really simple controls. For animation, you can choose between a lot of different pre-built animations. For posing, you use handles placed on top of your character and you pull those handles around to move the different body parts. While this is different to using a rotation gizmo to rotate body parts, it's very intuitive so you can pose your character very quickly.
I think the software's biggest limitation (aside of the lack of outfits) is the very limited amount of body modification tools. You have some body modification tools at your disposal, to make the character's arms or legs longer, or make a bigger head, wider chest, etc. However, after using Poser or DazStudio for so long, I felt the modifiers selection here very limited. Just to clarify, you can make interesting looking bodies, but there's a limit to what you can do due to the limited modifiers.
One thing worth mentioning is that the software can export to VRM format. VRM is not a widely used format, like FBX or COLLADA, but there are ways to get that into Maya or other 3D applications. In the future, I will look into bringing a VRoidStudio character into Maya, so it can ultimately be used for game development.
VRoidStudio might be a limited software sometimes. However, it can still help you make really nice-looking anime characters, and, on top of that, it's free. That should be reason enough to download the application right now.