Character: Mermaid


This is something that I’m doing for a graphics breif at university. I’m trying to make her look mysterious and like a possibly dangerous creature of the depths. The hair is supposed to look like tentacles. Can anyone suggest anything that I could do to improve on her?

Thanks in advance.


I assume you use a 3D program for her, it’s better if you post the wireframe as well so people have a better look how things stick together. Maybe other people can help you with how to model tentacles, never done it myself.

There’s no background yet, so it’s hard to give a bit more atmosphere. Usually people use misty/dark backgrounds with visible light for a bit of mysterious atmosphere. Ow well you know your movie/videogames classics i guess :wink:

She has no features that make her look dangerous, you could give her claws or other physical features or maybe there’s something special with her face.

But it’s a bit rough as it is now, why don’t you make some scribbles for the mermaid/background and work on her tentacles so there’s more to comment on, this way it’s not clear where you want to go, since there are no scribbles/concept/background just this model :slight_smile:

Don’t forget you need to know what you want or you can’t ask for specific help :slight_smile:


If you want to really make her spooky, make her hair more like dreadlocks (tentacles).
Think about “seamonsters” like the angler fish (if you’ve seen “finding Nemo” you know what I mean :slight_smile: ) or murene (moray?) (big black eel) and incorporate that into her…
That’s the best advise I can give, hope it helps…


I was thinking you should download or rent some documentary footage about various species of octopus. Of course to make it look like hair and not like she has an octopus plopped on her head you would have to flatten out the octopus body and focus mainly on the tentacles. Tentacles tend to have more movement. And depending on the state of the animal can be tightly wound(think pin-curls) or waving about. They do have rhyme and reason and would move in a likely similair fashion to one another. Good choice tentacles…since octopuses(octopi?) and squid are predators.


oh and it’s a good idea to buy finding nemo on DVD for the behind the scenes extras. Though Pixar uses a different sofware than is readilly available to most(I think it’s proprietary), there’s still alot of good info about rendering water and how to make underwater scenes look like they’re, well, underwater.


Thankyou everyone for replying, sorry I haven’t updated for a while, I’ve been having problems with the internet. I’ve since added claws to the mermaid, but I haven’t fixed the hair as of yet, she is meant to be sort of beautifully dangerous, but she could look alright with octopus tentacles. Here are some wireframes and updates of scenery, I don’t know if I’m going to keep the mermaid where she is at the moment, I’d rather a more closeup shot to make her the focal point.


Considering how much you’ve hidden her behind scenery, she’s now just another piece of coral or something.

Before jumping straight into the software, try scribbling a layout of how you’re going to put down your scene.

One of the best things to remember is that you want to ‘place the scene’ around your characte/focal point.

Then start doodling what else you’ll need in the scene. I mean everything. If you don’t, it’s going to look tacky and unprofessional. Make sure you nut out every individual aspect neccesary.

No professional will jump into a project without assessing what is going to be encompassed in one individual shot. Sheck out any Pixar stuff (and study their scenes) to see how much detail can be needed…



well i think she need a better texture for the skin it looks like there is no texture just a colour and it is reflective she needs to have zero specular and a better facial texture oh and she could use some better eyebrows i know this isn’t how to evoke emotion but it may or may not make it look better anyway hope it helps


Hoi Bon!

Wow seen heaps of mermaids here (CGTalk).
Your model is a bit low res and still flat. Get stuck into the anatomy books (base of throat at the breast bone intersection is never concave) she is overall a little bland.

If we take the head as a starting point then look at fashion magazines and if you are aiming for beautiful and dangerous see that photographers choose models that amplify this quality so you need more shape there and apply this to the rest of her body as well. Your hair needs more shape and character and it appears not to be part of her.

Once happy with the model get into the composition, dramatic pose, lighting, facial expression.

Humanoid models are the most difficult because of the power of recognition and comparison our audience has.

Have heaps of fun! Looks like you are enjoying youself already.
Greetings Kanga.


my take is keep first image you posted…lose the typology part…then just extend the base of the picture down into the dark depths…eg mermaid in top 3rd of image…then 2 thirds darkness falloff into deep ocean…
just a thought.


Thankyou everyone for the replies. I haven’t been able to do anything on the mermaid lately, as I’ve been too busy with university.

flingster: I like the first pose better as well, and I think that I’ll go with that in the end, I just need to work on the model more.

Kanga + mr.wheels: thanks for your opinions, I do need to study anatomy more, I was only sort of using myself as a reference when I got stuck on details.

When I get some spare time (can’t see that happening any time soon) I’ll get to work on the mermaid!

Thanks once again for replying!


How did do the rock she laying on in Ligtwave?


Folio hand in is coming up in a few weeks for university, so I haven’t had any time at all to do anymore on the mermaid… sigh… I wish I had more time!!!

Julez4001: I actually need to do quite a bit more work on the cave, I just roughly modelled it and used a few bump maps to give it a bit of texture.


lovely Mermaid !
Her colour is not very good. squama should be advanced.
good begining!:applause:


Hey, nice start.
i don’t quiet get the “underwater” feeling with your image. you picture has Too much Green it in, add juuuuust a little dark blue value to it. more contrast would be nice too, but i guess it’s beacause of the low poly model that you don’t get a better picture. also i think there is too much Light. if she’s that deep then there shouldn’t be that much light.
tell us more about what the project is about.



i’d say, you could add some transparency to her fins, even some Sub surface light scattering would be good. other than that, i’d say the scene fits well…


The start is looking bad. But who nows?Maybe the end will be excellent.


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