Bringing Kate to Life!

by | Apr 26, 2023 | News, PS Animated, Restless Sleep | 0 comments

So, how do you go from this…


The first full test animation of Kate using Blender. This was a “proof of concept” that showed me that making an “anime” version of Kate was entirely possible!

The answer is 3D. While I would dearly love to see Paradigm Shift animated in a traditional hand-drawn style, the truth is that it is far too labor-intensive for me to do by myself. Perhaps one day I will be lucky enough to work with a studio full of professional animators to bring that dream to life, but in the meantime I’m relying on a tool that is much more accessible to me: the amazingly powerful, FREEl open source animation program BLENDER.

The trick was creating a version of Kate that could actually be animated in the first place. Creating and “rigging” a 3D character is really complex process. And frankly, it’s still not one that I could do from scratch. Thankfully, this is 2023, and there are a TON of resources out there for someone who’s just starting out.

In this case, I turned to another free program DAZ Studio, which has been offering fully rigged 3D human characters for FREE for over a decade. I ended up modifying one of their Genesis 8 Female models to create Kate. But it was a fairly long learning process. In fact, I when I first started out, all I wanted to do was see if I could make a more “human” version of Kate that would be able to transform into her werewolf form.

DAZ3D’s Genesis 8 Female—This is the model I started with. I learned how to export this base mesh out into Blender. After making changes, I’d then import them back into DAZ to test them out on the rigged model.

Modeling the werewolf form in Blender—I had modify the mesh by pushing the individual points around to create new shapes. The trick was I couldn’t add any vertex points to the model, so it would become a clean “morph” back in DAZ Studio.




Once I had a working werewolf transformation up and running in DAZ, the next step was to figure out how to make Kate look more like an anime character. I started by looking (and purchasing) a few anime-esque character mods for the Genesis 8 model, then it was back to Blender to fine tune them into a recognizable version of Kate.

“Human Kate” test in DAZ Studio
Partially inspired by playing games like Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Horizon Zero Dawn, I wanted to see what Kate would look like in a more realistic form when I first started this process. But ultimately, I decided making an anime version that was more true to the comic would be more fun.

Early “Anime Kate” test in DAZ Studio
This was using a character called “Catara” give Kate bigger eyes and more seed-shaped anime head. This was about 35% of “Catara” head shape on the morphing slider.

Modeling Kate’s head in Blender. In addition to sculpting Kate’s anime face and werewolf form out of the Genesis 8 model, I also had to learn how to model her hair!

Final transformation test animations done in Blender. The cel shading comes from a custom material on the objects.

This whole process took about two months. I spent the first month or so figuring out how to get the transformable version working in DAZ Studio, then another week or so to make the “anime” version. Then once I got her moved over to Blender using the DAZ to Blender Bridge, it was a couple of weeks to create these test animations.