Limitations of a Live Model

Although a live model is always the preferred situation for drawing the figure, there are limitations to what you can have a model do. Live models are humans who live in a real world. They get tired. Even a relaxed pose can't be held indefinitely. The following are just a few limitations you will find when posing a live model:

^ Gravity affects everything in life, including a model, causing fatigue. Some poses are easier to hold than others for long periods of time. Out of respect and compassion for the live model, most figure-drawing situations tend to be poses that the model can hold without a great deal of difficulty. Dynamic poses are often short, giving the artist little time to fully develop the figure.

^ Some poses, such as running or jumping, can't be held at all because they happen in the air. Again, gravity is the problem. I guess if there were a life-modeling class on the space station the model could hold an action pose, but until artists can work in the weightlessness of space, a live model can only hold a pose when planted on the ground. Even rigging a harness to suspend the model doesn't work very well because of the distortions and view obstructions the harness causes.

^ Viewing the live model is usually limited to a range near eye level. Not often can an artist view the model from directly above because most studios or classes are not equipped with catwalks or other overhead platforms for drawing. Likewise, drawing from directly below the figure is impossible because of a thing we call the floor. I guess it would be possible to put the model on an overhead glass platform, but I haven't seen too many of those.

^ Time is also a limitation for live models. Not only is there the problem of fatigue mentioned a moment ago, but there is also the fact that models can't always be around when you want them. They have lives of their own, so drawing time has to be scheduled well in advance. Thus, if you have a great idea for a drawing, you might have to wait before you can pose a model.

^ Another limitation of a live model is the fact that there is usually an expense involved in hiring the model. Few models work for free. Modeling is work, and the models deserve to be paid for the time and effort involved in modeling for artists.

^ Models are people, and because they are people, they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. You might not be able to find just the right person for your drawings. In addition, the person you find might not be able to perform the required poses because of lack of training or ability. For example, you might want to have someone pose for a graceful ballet pose, but you might not be able to locate a qualified model in your area.

^ A living person will tend to move even if it is only a little bit. Holding a pose is hard, and often the model will shift or lean a little while posing. When the model takes a break and then tries to reassume a pose, he or she will never be in exactly the same pose as before.

Figure Artist does not solve every limitation of live models, but it does go a long way toward solving many problems. A model in Figure Artist can hold a pose indefinitely, no matter how difficult the pose. Holding a pose indefinitely is a great advantage because the artist can study the figure in detail. What's more, when a model from Figure Artist is posed, it doesn't move at all. If you come back a year later and load the pose, it will be exactly the same.

Figure 8.2 shows a pose of a character in the act of jumping in the air. This is a good example of a pose that could not be held by a live model, but can be held by a virtual model.

The virtual model can hold this action pose for as long as the artist needs it as reference. What is more, the artist can adjust the pose as needed to fine-tune the action. Figure 8.3 shows another such pose.

You can see from these examples that dynamics of figure movement that go beyond the sedate, static poses of the life-drawing class are now available to the artist through Figure Artist.

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