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I'm looking for a suggestion on a character design software. Sadly my requirements are pretty tight, so I haven't been able to find what I'm looking for so far.

I'm thinking on developing a small fantasy RPG game, but my greatest limit is that I'm totally unable to draw. I could ask someone else to draw for me, but I don't like the idea of depending on someone else, or simply involve someone else in a spare-time project that may as well die in a week.

I already found how to create maps, but I'm completely lost when it comes to designing characters. I looked around for some software that would help me, but it seems that everything I was able to find either needed me to draw everything, the result was pretty ugly and/or extremely limited, or the software was way too powerful for what I need.

To give an idea of what I have in mind as an ideal result, I found this image, but I can't find out how it was produced.

My requirements are:

  • It should work on Linux. The ideal case is a software compiled specifically for Linux, but I can also accept something that can run under WINE (but I also need to know if it needs some special configuration through e.g Winetricks), or that can be installed in a virtual machine, if it's lightweight enough. My computer is quite old and has some problems with the graphics drivers, so 3D rendering may not work that well. Edit: I bought a new computer in the meantime, so computational power is not a problem anymore.
  • It should give me a wide variety of possibilities, particularly fantasy-oriented (clothes, weapons, armor, shields, staves, ...) or the possibility to expand them in an easy way. Editing slightly existing images shouldn't be a great problem, if necessary. Creating them from scratch however is not really doable for me.
  • It should produce not only human characters, but also things like elves, orcs, skeletons and such. If it can create quadrupedal and/or serpent-like creatures, or if you know of another software that can, it's a huge bonus, but that's not strictly necessary.
  • The characters shouldn't be too realistic, I don't care much for things like nose shape, eye color and such. The image I posted above is almost exactly how I'd like to produce the characters. Reallusion's Character Creator for example is way too much, both in terms of results and hardware requirements.
  • The output should be big enough. The Universal LPC Spritesheet Character Generator would be the really good, if the images weren't so small. Again, the image linked above is a good size, but if it can be bigger, it's even better.
  • The game will be isometric, so ideally I need to be able to view the characters from 8 different directions, or at least from both the left and right side for the combat scenes. Kisekae (SFW) would be again pretty good, if it weren't for the fact that it only shows characters from the front. (and creating male characters is quite a pain, but that's something that I'd only have to solve once)
  • It shouldn't be too complicated. Kisekae and the Universal LPC are good examples of what I look for in terms of complexity, Reallusion's CC is a good example of what I'm trying to avoid.

Of course the requirements should not be taken too strictly, this is just what I consider ideal, but I can survive a suboptimal solution, if necessary. :D

Thanks in advance for the help!

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Autodesk Maya

You can use Autodesk Maya, with the right amount of modelling you can create something just like your linked image. It also satisfies all your requirements (except perhaps the hardware one)

Autodesk Maya is intended for use on RedHat/CentOS, but this video guides you to use it on Ubuntu (and Debian...)

However, unless you are a student, costs are heavy (Thousands of dollars), which brings me to another tool:

Blender

Blender is an equivalent to Maya and offers similar features, though the documentation and tutorials are limited as compared to Maya, and is the output.

However, considering your case, it might be a better tool.

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  • Hi Aarav, thanks for the answer! I know of Maya and Blender, I tried the latter in the past, but as far as I know I'd have to design every body shape, item of clothing, weapon, etc. from scratch, which is exactly what I'm trying to avoid. I know my knowledge in this field is limited, so I'd be glad if I'm wrong, but I suspect that these two suggestions are too generic and would require way too much work on my side to create all the poses I need for every object involved.
    – GRB
    Aug 14 at 8:34
  • I do understand that it is quite complicated, but because of your limitations, it is required to use something of this complexity. However, in Maya, you are NOT required to design every pose yourself.
    – Aarav Garg
    Aug 15 at 18:27
  • My main limitation is not being able to draw. Creating base character models from scratch would require years of training. At the moment the best I can do is drawing stickmen. And I'm not even good at that. That's why I'm looking for a software that has customizable humanoid figures, so that I can concentrate on the minor details like the color of clothes, and avoid the work that would take me years to complete, if I don't give up before.
    – GRB
    Aug 15 at 21:16
  • Oh. Visit charactergenerator.autodesk.com. It is a free web tool that has customizable humans! You can customize them in the web apps themselves.
    – Aarav Garg
    Aug 16 at 19:04
  • I don't know if up to ten days ago it was free, but starting the 7th of August 2021 access to the product can be obtained only through a subscription to Maya or other products. In the meantime I also tried Makehuman (makehumancommunity.org), but I don't know if it's what I'm looking for. The available material seems to be lacking, but I'm still exploring the program, I may be completely wrong.
    – GRB
    Aug 17 at 11:28

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