General News - Purpleblob Discusses Custom Portraits - RPGWatch Forums
|
Your donations keep RPGWatch running!
RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » General News - Purpleblob Discusses Custom Portraits

Default General News - Purpleblob Discusses Custom Portraits

October 16th, 2021, 13:14
A significant part of RPG is the choices of the role; Purpleblob explains why she likes being able to customize the portraits and wonders whether it can coexist with 3D models.

Opinion - my love for custom portraits in computer roleplaying games

There is just something about painted portraits - I always feel so irresistibly drawn to them. Not only are these portraits exquisite to look at but they help me tune into the characters I create by setting them apart from other player's characters, making them uniquely mine.

My love for painted custom portraits started with Baldur's Gate II. For my first character, I chose a portrait depicting a half-elven lady with brown hair and eyes, wearing brown armor and a staff in her hand. While I found this portrait very pretty, it wasn't quite what I wanted as I envisaged my character having blonde hair and blue eyes, wearing armor more vibrant than brown. Then one generous person from the Baldur's Gate community gifted me with this beautiful custom portrait - created based on an image I found in a local magazine along with a vague description of my perceived character's appearance. It was like magic - the only thing that changed was her portrait but I felt much more connected to my character than before.

[…]

So why do I still favour painted portraits?

Because it would take away that unique feel of my characters. There is just magic in painted portraits - I love how they capture the perceived image I have of my characters - the right expression, motion, outfit and background. All these nuances help me to identify with and roleplay my character better. Although it was mere coincidence, I couldn't help but feel like Celeste was destined to be an angel upon seeing her portrait, perfectly framed with golden splashes of white and blue when I chose her mythic path in Wrath of the Righteous (which you can see in the character sheet above). No matter how high quality the in-game graphics are or how varied the character customisation options are, I feel that character renders just can't replicate the beauty or the unique feel of painted portraits. For these reasons, portrait hunting was never a chore but an integral and enjoyable part of character creation for me.

What is your view on custom portrait vs. character model renders?

More information.
Redglyph is online now

Redglyph

Redglyph's Avatar
SasqWatch
RPGWatch Team

#1

Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Good old Europe
Posts: 3,189
Mentioned: 64 Post(s)

Default 

October 16th, 2021, 13:30
For some games I don't mind taking the default portraits, when it's more casual playing. But in games I know I'll spend time, like Pathfinder, I feel more committed with a custom portrait. I'm a bit sad they don't provide more support to change the portrait, BTW.

At the beginning in the alpha / beta, there wasn't much choice in the 3D model and it was indeed a challenge to make both match.

I'm sure many other players like having their own custom portrait too. For example, Dark Crystal Games added the possibility of custom portrait in Encased because it was a popular request. And we can find alternative sets of portraits on Nexusmod for many games.

Portraits created from the 3D model… not sure. I don't like them so much, but for games without much of a story, I don't mind either. I'd hate it in Pathfinder.

Thanks for the article, by the way!
Redglyph is online now

Redglyph

Redglyph's Avatar
SasqWatch
RPGWatch Team

#2

Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Good old Europe
Posts: 3,189
Mentioned: 64 Post(s)

Default 

October 16th, 2021, 13:56
I also prefer portraits to renders and I often find myself a bit frustrated that none of the portrait-choices provided by a game feels quite right to me. Also, the selections available are often far, far fewer in number than I'm happy with.

Of course, many games offers the option of inserting your own custom images but…I'm usually to lazy/eager to start playing to bother with that.

I suppose, at some point, I might make the effort of creating a folder filled with custom portraits downloaded from the web, all handpicked to suit my tastes for spellcasters, rogues, clerics or fighting classes. Then I would almost certainly use my go-to portrait for various archetypes, in all games where it was possible to do so.
Feist is offline

Feist

Feist's Avatar
Sentinel

#3

Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Sweden
Posts: 356
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)

Default 

October 16th, 2021, 14:08
Thanks for post @Redglyph

I'm not sure if people can access the full article since I can't see the link?

Just in case, link to full article is here:

https://princesspurpleblob.wordpress…playing-games/
purpleblob1 is offline

purpleblob1

Princess

#4

Join Date: Sep 2021
Posts: 270
Mentioned: 19 Post(s)

Default 

October 16th, 2021, 14:46
Originally Posted by purpleblob1 View Post
Thanks for post @Redglyph

I'm not sure if people can access the full article since I can't see the link?

Just in case, link to full article is here:

https://princesspurpleblob.wordpress…playing-games/
Fixed, sorry. I keep forgetting to put the URL in those news posts
Redglyph is online now

Redglyph

Redglyph's Avatar
SasqWatch
RPGWatch Team

#5

Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Good old Europe
Posts: 3,189
Mentioned: 64 Post(s)

Default 

October 16th, 2021, 15:10
I love being able to add custom portraits but perhaps I am a bit unique in that I have taught myself how to make my own portraits for games using either Skyrim or Fallout 4 - which are 3D games. So it's a bit of the opposite since I am using a 3D game to make a "painted" portrait. Having taught myself the skills needed to use tools like ReShade and ENB for those games, combined with mods, I can make really varied images right from the game, often with a painted look thanks to the added tools I use. I have lots of samples of my image work in my FO4 and Skyrim threads here at the watch

To be clear on a purely visual level I prefer the painted portraits over a 3D one for a lot of the reasons Purple explained. I love painted artwork and I follow a few folks on Patron for their fantasy artwork that I admire so much. I grew up on fantasy and I remember fondly so many wonderful fantasy books whose covers took me away to other worlds along with the words.

Can't beat painted artwork … so why do I make my own portraits using Skyrim and FO4? Because they are even more my characters that way. If I could paint like these extremely talented folks you can find all around the net (Pinterest and DeviantArt are some great places to find unique images), or was willing to pay someone to paint what I wanted, and could find such a person, I would do that.

Since I can't paint worth crap the next closest thing is to use tools to get as close as I can. Luckily I can use tools in Skyrim or FO to design a character, then use mods, ENB, and ReShade, to create the graphical look in-game (I don't use any post-game tools like Photoshop, I do all my images purely in-game) pretty close to the idea I have in my head and matching it up to the game style and outfits.

I have examples in the Kingmaker and Encased threads but here is one from in-game for my Dhampir I made in Skyrim using mods and my own ENB preset:



Custom portraits are at the heart of the whole idea of being able to create your own character and make them your own. For games that utilize that style I really value being able to make my own characters. So far I have made my own portraits for both Pathfinder games, POE I and II, and Encased … and before I could make my own, or if its a game style I am unable to duplicate in Skyrim or FO, then I do what Purple does and hunt around till I find one.
--
Character is centrality, the impossibility of being displaced or overset. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
wolfgrimdark is offline

wolfgrimdark

wolfgrimdark's Avatar
SasqWatch
Original Sin Donor

#6

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: NH
Posts: 3,224
Mentioned: 67 Post(s)

Default 

October 16th, 2021, 15:12
Originally Posted by Redglyph View Post
Fixed, sorry. I keep forgetting to put the URL in those news posts
Thanks!

Originally Posted by Redglyph View Post
I'm sure many other players like having their own custom portrait too. For example, Dark Crystal Games added the possibility of custom portrait in Encased because it was a popular request. And we can find alternative sets of portraits on Nexusmod for many games.
Good to hear Encased is supporting custom portrait! I will have fun collecting post apoc style portraits when I get around playing Encased

Originally Posted by Feist View Post
I also prefer portraits to renders and I often find myself a bit frustrated that none of the portrait-choices provided by a game feels quite right to me. Also, the selections available are often far, far fewer in number than I'm happy with.
Yes, I rarely use portraits provided in-game for the same reason even though they are often gorgeous! Oh well, at least in-game portraits set the quality standard of custom portraits I look for

@wolfgrimdark Amazing job on your dhampir portrait - love it!!
purpleblob1 is offline

purpleblob1

Princess

#7

Join Date: Sep 2021
Posts: 270
Mentioned: 19 Post(s)

Default 

October 16th, 2021, 15:49
I must admit that was never that much interested in custom portraits … BUt I must agree that there are so many good ones … and so many stock portraits just don't resemble the character I'm intending to play.
--
"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
Alrik Fassbauer is offline

Alrik Fassbauer

Alrik Fassbauer's Avatar
TL;DR
Original Sin 1 & 2 Donor

#8

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Old Europe
Posts: 20,342
Mentioned: 41 Post(s)

Default 

October 16th, 2021, 17:25
While I enjoy painted portraits, I've found them more limiting than anything else. I'll go into a game with already a solid idea of what type of character I'm building, but then I get to the portraits and cannot find one remotely close to what I'm looking for. I then change my character to match the 'closest' portrait I can find, and I shouldn't feel compelled to do that.

Bottom line-- they look great, but it takes choice away from the character building process. At least for me.

I've looked online at portrait options, but when I see how ridiculously complex the instructions are to import them, I walk away from that quest.
ChaosTheory is offline

ChaosTheory

ChaosTheory's Avatar
Virtual Reality Hero

#9

Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: San Juan Islands, WA
Posts: 1,495
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)

Default 

October 16th, 2021, 21:58
I totally agree that painted portraits are far superior to the other style in rpgs. As purple said, there is just a sense of magic about them, and helps to create the atmosphere in a game that can't be matched.
--
"Let Justice Be Done, Though The Heavens Fall"

To check out my games library, and see what recent games I'm playing, visit my steam profile! -- http://steamcommunity.com/profiles/76561197982351404
Arkadia7 is offline

Arkadia7

Arkadia7's Avatar
SasqWatch
Original Sin 2 Donor

#10

Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Pacific NorthWest, USA!
Posts: 1,872
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)

Default 

October 16th, 2021, 22:58
I can't play games with default portraits for the most part if customisation is allowed. Not being able to find the exact portrait you want for your character is less of a problem when you can draw your own.
<------

Edit: Yes, that's my WotR character - hopefully, that proves I don't hate the game as much as some think I do!
Last edited by Nereida; October 16th, 2021 at 23:13.
Nereida is offline

Nereida

Banned

#11

Join Date: Sep 2021
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 444
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)

Default 

October 16th, 2021, 23:44
I just grabbed a few of those packs from the Nexus and literally have hundreds of mostly ugly mugs to choose from now . For Kingmaker I quite like the pack with the pretty realistic looking Game of Thrones portraits. I hope when I play WotR in a couple years there will be a similar pack.
Moriendor is offline

Moriendor

Moriendor's Avatar
Grumpy Cat

#12

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Schland
Posts: 3,228
Mentioned: 17 Post(s)

Default 

October 17th, 2021, 00:30
Originally Posted by Nereida View Post
I can't play games with default portraits for the most part if customisation is allowed. Not being able to find the exact portrait you want for your character is less of a problem when you can draw your own.
I'm jealous - I wish I can create my own too!
purpleblob1 is offline

purpleblob1

Princess

#13

Join Date: Sep 2021
Posts: 270
Mentioned: 19 Post(s)

Default 

October 17th, 2021, 02:29
I'm usually pretty happy with default options, for the most part I can always find something compatible with the characters that exist in my mind. I do appreciate when there are many options!!
Carnifex is offline

Carnifex

SasqWatch

#14

Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Holly Hill, FL.
Posts: 13,854
Mentioned: 50 Post(s)

Default 

October 17th, 2021, 08:19
Originally Posted by purpleblob1 View Post
I'm jealous - I wish I can create my own too!
And I wish I could write articles like you.
Nereida is offline

Nereida

Banned

#15

Join Date: Sep 2021
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 444
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)

Default 

October 17th, 2021, 09:04
I made my own portraits for both baldurs gates. It added alot to put my characters into the game.
Silver is offline

Silver

Silver's Avatar
Spaceman
RPGWatch Team

#16

Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 8,931
Mentioned: 78 Post(s)

Default 

October 17th, 2021, 14:21
Arcanum and Wizardry 8's portraits are my favorite but Iron Tower Studio has amazing ones too. Lovely artwork with consistent poses.
Then there are most of Baldurs gate portraits which have way too many dumb expressions and positions at weird angles its why I'm ok with a game if I have the ability to pick how close and what angle to take a pic of my character model for a portrait.
The ability to zoom and pose the character model or import a pic should always be an option.
shamroxor is offline

shamroxor

shamroxor's Avatar
Watchdog

#17

Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Northern Hemisphere
Posts: 138
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)

Default 

October 17th, 2021, 19:10
I also much prefer painted portraits; I think they have a much better ability to encapsulate the personality of the character with small details of expression. Because of this I actually like portraits having a variety of pose rather than consistency/uniformity, if it helps differentiate their personalities.

It's true that sometimes there isn't a good match for a self-made character, so it's best if there is also the ability to import our own, and/or tune the ready-made ones.
JaakkoPeltonen is offline

JaakkoPeltonen

Watchdog

#18

Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 134
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)

Default 

October 18th, 2021, 00:46
Nice! Purple's article illuminates something I wasn't quite aware about but reflects my own thoughts pretty closely.
I like to start creating my characters based on a portrait I've chosen. Given a completely blank slate, I feel sometimes overwhelmed in fleshing out my character, no matter how many stats, classes and backgrounds I can choose from. An artful portrait, on the other hand, hints at much more than meets the eye and really helps me "get" my character. Of course, that means I draw from something someone else thought up, but there is always more than enough space to fill in and since I can choose from such huge online custom portrait repositories, I will find something intriguing every time. Only then do I start choosing class, race, and everything else.

What I find much more difficult is when I'm creating whole parties. Picking portraits from different artists can really feel uneven. I'm more likely to keep to the included set of pictures in those games. Fortunately, we've been lucky in the past with games like Icewind Dale having fantastic art!
Moorkh is offline

Moorkh

Moorkh's Avatar
little backer that could
RPGWatch Donor
Original Sin 2 Donor

#19

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 395
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)

Default 

October 18th, 2021, 10:02
So glad to hear many of you preferring painted custom portraits like me!

Originally Posted by Moorkh View Post
Picking portraits from different artists can really feel uneven. I'm more likely to keep to the included set of pictures in those games. Fortunately, we've been lucky in the past with games like Icewind Dale having fantastic art!
Funny enough, IWD was one of the games I had very difficult time to find decent custom portraits due to its very unique style.

I only ever found two I quite liked:
https://www.deviantart.com/vielmond/art/Pan-501361811 <-- I really liked this but wish she wasn't holding a sword :/

https://www.deviantart.com/vielmond/art/Mauve-473614469 <-- bit rough compared to the other one

Another game I gave up looking for portrait was NWN due to its weird picture file format (tga) requirement. So I used one of the in-game portrait which covered most of the character's face with cloak/hood (so I could imagine what she look like in my head only).
purpleblob1 is offline

purpleblob1

Princess

#20

Join Date: Sep 2021
Posts: 270
Mentioned: 19 Post(s)
+1:
RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » General News - Purpleblob Discusses Custom Portraits
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT +2. The time now is 14:37.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
vBulletin Security provided by DragonByte Security (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2021 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2021 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Copyright by RPGWatch