Setting up the Unity Project
It's possible that you can use older and newer versions of Unity, but for the sake of not complicating things, I recommend you use Unity 2018.3.14f1, since it's the same I use.
As always, create the Unity Project with the correct version. No need for Android versions. Now you should be on the empty scene. Before creating anything, let's install a couple of things first.
The Unity Recorder allow us to record videos, Gifs and images directly from the program, so no need to screenshot anything. Just Unity.
To install this, you need to go to Window > Package manager
The package manager will open up, and it'll take a couple of seconds to load everything.
Unity Post Processing Effects
Same as the Recorder, go to Window > Package manager and search for Post Processing
Now you only need to install it, there's no need to do anything else for now.
This is more of a personal preference, but you can search online for diferent shaders that you can use on your avatars to make them look cooler. The one we use is Toony Colors Pro 2, although there are a lot of free online alternatives that give similar results.
This is the fun in this part of the avatar process, experimentation.
Setting up the scene
It's time to set up the scene. At least the basics so you can always start with something.
I'll leave a UnityPackage down below with everything I'm about to do.
For a good representation of our characters, we use 3-point lighting method. It is a traditional way of lighting up a scene and it uses, as the name suggests, 3 different points of light to illuminate the avatar. Only the avatar, not the scenary around it.
Use this link to get the basic set-up of lights.
This is the basic setup we use for the avatars. Regarding the rest of the scenary I use the standard directional light that comes with every Unity scene and I create any new light that I see necessary to achieve the result I want.
You might be asking yourself "how can I make one set of lights affect the avatar and not the scenary or viceversa?"
We use the layer system Unity has by default. For this test I use a cube, but its exactly the same when you have your avatar posed.
First you need to create the layer your avatar will be on.
We have the canvas ready with the frame but how can I see the final result?
You need to set up the game window to display the correct resolution for it to work.
If the canvas is active everything will set up correctly and you will see the frame in place.
Poses for your avatar
Now it's time to pose your avatar!
I hope you used Mixamo because if you did, this part will be a lot easier.
Just use the FBX file you used to create the VRM (with the rig and the visemes) and upload it again in Mixamo. This time it won't ask you to put the bones in place, because it already has them!
Anyway, find a pose that you like.
Once you have what you need, download the avatar and put it on the scene. But that's not all!
You can still manually edit the pose by manually moving the bones to get a better, exagerated and more expressive. Also you can move around any dynamic bones you have manually to get much better results.
Think how your avatar would be like, what kind of personality would have and how it would act. If you have a nice base pose you can get a much better result if you edit the pose afterwards. Look at this example:
Play with the poses so you can represent how cool your avatar is! There is no limit!
Color and composition
Color is one of the most important factors. You need to understand what colors your avatar have and how to complement them accordignly to make it pop-up in the scene.
Having a basic understanding of the theory of colors will help you tons in this one.
To give you an example, I'll use the Cool Banana render that I made because it shows perfectly what I'm trying to explain.
The principal color of Cool Banana is, of course, yellow, which complementary is purple.
Of course this is not a Law, but rules. You should not follow these strictly and can bend it around how you please, so for Cool Banana I used both purple and tones of Dark blue.
By using these rules, you will ensure that no avatar will blend with the background and they'll be the first thing you will see. Not only that, it'll make sure complicated poses are easily readable.
What? You don't know what color is which and you can't figure it out? Don't worry, I have a solution! Adobe Color Wheel!
You can select the colors you want and with a click of a button, it will give you your complementary colors. What's even better, is that you can actually upload an image and it'll tell you what are the 5 more prominent colors, so you can then, select a few to color the rest of the background.
One of the most useful tools to have, and with practice, you won't even need it in the future!
Now it's time to set up a scenary for our avatar.
This is really up to you, if you have ideas where your avatar will be posed, make it a reality. Play with the primitives Unity provides to make a scenario or use Blender or Maya to create an even more detailed background.
Play with perspective, at the end of the day, its just an image, so you can stretch and deform everything to make it look cool. Look at this example of out Avatar nº26 Udon.
Looks pretty normal. But look how the scene is set up.
You can use another shader material to give a different look to you avatar. The material is one of the most importants parts to change on your avatar since it will radically change how it looks. See the diference down below.
Now that you have the background and the avatar in there, it's time to give the final touches, that is, post processing. Go where you camera is, and add a new component called "Post Processing Volume"
Now it's time to take the picture.
If you have done the steps of how to configure the recordings from before, just open the recording window and hit "Start Recording". It'll automatically render the first frame of the camera and it'll save it on your PC.
Be sure to turn off the frame from the canvas since it'll be already added when you mint your Avatar in CryptoAvatars.
Thats all I have! Experiment, and look at the renders we and other creators make for inspiration for your own work.
The avatar cards are one of the most important pieces on the whole process since it's the first thing any potential buyer is going to see.
Be creative and have fun!