My students are creating 2D artwork of characters for integration in a video game. I'm unhappy with the results, because the bodies are "wrong", but I can't really help them out because I'm worse than them at painting people.

Is there any simple tool, like the wooden figures of oil painters, that we could use to position a 3D puppet in the proper position, render that in a rough picture, and compare to the 2D creation to "see" the issues?

2 Answers 2


Go to the master! :D The vitruvian man by da Vinci is well worth studying. And I mean; spend time looking at it: enter image description here

There is of course the classic artists mannequin, that you can buy in all sorts of places; sometimes even toy shops:

enter image description here

Any search for human proportions or artists model would give you massive amounts of a technical approach:

enter image description here

I would like to point out two things:

These are illustrations of the ideal human. Deviations will sometimes bring the character more to life.

And: even if your students are making fictional creatures, studying anatomy is very, very helpful.

  • Heh, look, little fat me: imgur.com/0e5OhaF , we actually have books of human anatomy in our bookshelf too ^^
    – Kheldar
    Commented Apr 10, 2014 at 15:07
  • Haha! class! Any of da Vincis studies of form and anatomy is good; and what he writes about it is often succinct, simple and to the point.
    – benteh
    Commented Apr 10, 2014 at 17:59

You could ask your students to strike a pose, take a digital snapshot (with a mobile phone) of it and use it as a model. Could be fun and also would teach them how to solve problems creatively with the resources you have in hand.

But if you are looking for virtual tools (software) that would show you figurines striking a "pose", then there are several. I have read that their downfall is that some of them allow you to place the figurines in any position you want, resulting sometimes in very awkward and non-anatomical poses (let's make him kiss his elbow!). This is a list of them I found in Yahoo Answers. I have not tried any of them, since I tend to illustrate more objects than humans.

Posemaniacs.com online http://www.posemaniacs.com/

Poser Pro http://poser.smithmicro.com/poserpro.htm...

DAZ Studio poser http://www.daz3d.com/products/daz-studio...

Makehuman http://www.makehuman.org/

Sketchup + 3D warehouse http://www.sketchup.com/ http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehouse/s...

Pixologic Zbrush http://www.pixologic.com/home.php

Silo Nevercenter http://www.nevercenter.com/silo/

Blender3d http://www.blender.org/

Seamless 3d http://www.seamless3d.com/

  • MakeHuman seems the best tool for our need, but I actually think your "stoke a pose" suggestion + pics is the best idea. Simple, efficient. Blender, we use, but "positioning a character" isn't the easiest thing for 2D students.
    – Kheldar
    Commented Apr 10, 2014 at 15:10

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