ADOBE MIXAMO CHARACTERS
CONCEPT AND DEVELOPMENT BREAKDOWN

We’re thrilled to share a series of behind the scenes moments of our work for Adobe-Mixamo. Our task was to design, model, sculpt and texture 50 unique characters for the Mixamo platform. The newly updated website of Mixamo is now enriched with our carefully conceptualized characters, from creatures to humanoid models in various shapes and looks. This kind of project showed us once again that character development is something that we enjoy doing the most, especially when we see how our characters are used by other creatives across the world.

This is the first time we were able to interactively have fun with our characters, by picking different poses and animations on the Mixamo website, which led us to create a teaser video and see how fast working with Mixamo animations is.

But the best way to showcase the heart and soul of these characters is to let them tell their own story, so we created the short film “FLOAT.”

Garment damage inside Substance Painter

These are the types of setups that show the unique power of Substance Painter, by using anchor points to reference a layer it’s straightforward and intuitive to keep upgrading the desired effect.

Here you can see how drawing on a single anchor point layer influences a whole stack of other referenced layers: Revealing damages under the cloth, surrounding creasing, bulging and material weathering.

Procedural Hair Card System

Creating hair for realtime characters was always a painfully slow process, usually done by positioning layers of hair planes and then manually rotating them to avoid countless intersections.

To rapidly create 50 characters, we had to find a way to optimize this process and create a useful tool out of it. Firstly we created a fully procedural hair texture generator inside After Effects. Then we created a custom system that gives the freedom of manually positioning the planes to achieve the desired look, but automatically avoids intersections while grounding them to the characters head.

Procedural Stitches

It’s always fun to search for problem solutions in unexpected places, here we imported cloth UV’s to After Effects and created a procedural system that instances any stitch shape segment along a drawn mask path. The resulting image is then loaded into Substance Painter and referenced to the layer stack using the anchor point option. Linked layers above get procedurally updated – creating additional surrounding cloth creases around the stitch.

Sculpting

Each character was sent to sculpting and then baked onto the low poly mesh, transferring details onto the normal map.

Concept work

Each character had a full mood board as well as concept art; having our design team working alongside our modelling artists is always crucial to bringing each character to life.

Garments

All garments were simulated in T-pose, and then additionally sculpted to make sure they press up along the character as much as possible. Hence, they look natural in each Mixamo pose.

Substance Painter screenshots

Adobe Aero

With a click of a button, you can send each character from Mixamo to Adobe Aero, an amazing AR app that tracks surfaces, letting you pose Mixamo models in realtime around your room. You can imagine we had a lot of fun with this in the studio.
Besides having fun, you can also use Adobe Aero for everything from planing shots in realtime to showcasing models to clients.

The Community

It’s incredibly rewarding to see all these models being used by artists across the world. Seeing them used every day in innovative ways completes this project.

This project for Adobe once again proved to us that our pipeline for character design and development is well defined, allowing us to fully merge ourselves into a creative flow.