Images Process:

-First, the model’s 3D form, or wireframe mesh, is created from sketches or other reference material.

-Next, a 2D skin image, or texture map, is created and projected onto the mesh.

-Additional image maps produce effects such as opacity and reflectivity, completing the appearance.

-A virtual skeletal system is created inside the model and each “bone” is linked to the corresponding part of the character’s body.

-Animation brings the character to life.


Mars Attacks! Martian  ··  Low Polygon Character Development

This character was created as a proof-of-concept for a game project proposal. The development process for game content is similar to the one used for creating film effects, but the complexity must be carefully tuned to the capabilities of the target platform. (In this case, the PC.)

The end product is a digital puppet that can be animated by hand or driven by an actor using motion capture technology. In addition to games, film, and broadcast, this type of product is useful for advertisements, web graphics, or any other multimedia presentation that needs to feature a character or personality. The visuals can be realistic, cartoonish, or anywhere in between.


Because this model was based on an existing movie character, I relied heavily on reference material. Whether existing or original, it’s critical that all aspects of a model, including form, appearance, and movement, all work together to convey the character's specific idiosyncrasies and mannerisms.

Low Polygon Detail

Because 3D games must remain fully interactive on a wide spectrum of systems, the geometry and skin of the model must be highly optimized. The result in this case had to closely match the quality of a film effect, but could use only a small fraction of the computing resources.

Modular Animation Segments

Because a game character responds to the player's input continually, many of the animated sequences for movements such as running, walking, jumping, dodging, crouching, swimming, etc., must be carefully designed so that they flow into one another seamlessly during gameplay. Also, many sequences require different versions in each direction so that moving the character forward, backward, left, and right appears correctly on screen. This Martian character has over 80 custom optimized sequences in all.


Mars Attacks is the property of the Topps Company, Inc.

Mars Attacks logos and images™ & Copyright ©© of The Topps Co., Inc.

Mars Attacks! Movie and Movie images ™ & Copyright ©© of Warner Brothers.

UT2k4®® is a registered trademarks of Digital Extremes and/or Epic Megagames.

Back to Top