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I am not sure if this is a fitting question for gamedev, or if it is too art related. I am currently trying, to create 2D character protraits for my game.

At first I tried to draw them and even though it helped polishing my drawing skills the end result either required way too much time or it simply looked like it was created by a grade school kid.

So I am currently looking into some tools which from which people like me who are not out of the art-world might benefit. Especially tools which can create a 3D head+hair, so that I can render them. I have tried several 3D generation tools such as makehead and makehuman to create the basic head-shape.

But I have to admit I am not well versed in what other options are available/what has the best quality/etc.

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Hire an artist. What else should i say :] –  Notabene Feb 5 '11 at 21:46
    
It's just that, I would like to check my other options beforehand. I actually don't require that high-quality portraits... just that they don't immediately make the player alt+f4 the game. ^^ –  Tyrfing Feb 5 '11 at 21:59
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It's hard to give you an advice since you didn't tell us anything about the art-style you're going for.

If you're planning to create realistic looking portraits you'll have to have pretty solid art skills and they abviously require a lot of work. The fastest way to get there would probably be: Downloading an existing 3d model and modify it, or paint over a photo.

Luckily, we only need some very basic shapes to recognize something as a human face. You could use that to your advantage (and also give your game an unique look). Take Nintendos Mii as an example. There are only a few basic elements available to create portraits from, yet you can create almost every portrait and expression you want.

Of course this is going to look out of place if your other game-art is completely different. IMHO the key is consistency in your art-style. Keep things simple. It's going to look good, if you can keep the same level of simplicity and art-style throughout your game. And if you're not happy with what you can do, ask somebody who has got the talent... better waste your time on things you're good at ;-)

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