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BBC did a very nice report on Saya – a digital character from a small Japanese studio Telyuka, consisting of Yuka Ishikawa and Teruyuki Ishikawa. The original render of the model had been released almost a year ago. However, the digital artists spend the last 12 month perfecting their creation, resculpting and modeling her face. Now we have the newer version of the schoolgirl, which looks pretty much similar to the original.
The general look of Saya was inspired by girls around the area of Shibuya in Tokyo. The girls has ho specific age characteristics, but the artists tried to use the expressions a typical 17-year-old would use. At first, she was considered to be a character in a short movie, but the creators saw a lot of potential in it and promoted Saya to a separate project. The artists believe this model should work as a modern representation of kawaii. This character now takes most of the time of the Japanese 3d artists, since they’ve already quit their day jobs to devote their time to Saya.
The next step in bringing Saya to life was animation. The first animated version of the character was shown at CEATEC consumer electronics exhibition in Japan. Although BBC believes animation is not perfect, it does look pretty amazing to us. All the animations were captured with motion capture technologies. In the future, the artists want to develop Saya into a full-blown virtual human, whatever that means.
Make sure to check out Telyuka’s official website. It’s got a lot of very cool 3d models there (mostly character art).