Black History Month Free Model: Ashli

Show off your skills by downloading and lighting this free character!


Have you noticed how black skin-toned characters are not well represented in animated films?

Additionally, darker skin tones have also taken a back seat to how they are the best lit. The light setup for a light-skinned character does not translate well to a darker skin character, yet it's something that is rarely addressed or studied on how we can improve our lighting in these scenarios.

Academy of Animated Art would like to change this.

Providing this asset for free is the first step.

Meet Ashli

Created by Danny Williams & The Academy of Animated Art, this character is designed to showcase your ability to properly light dark skinned characters.


We are offering this powerful dark-skinned female asset, entirely modeled, textured, and ready to be lit by YOU!

This character is the result of a collaboration with the incredibly talented artist, Danny Williams.

Let's start making compelling positive visuals to create awareness in all forms.
We can't wait to see what you create.

Please share it with us HERE in the lighting community and tag your creations on Instagram @academyofanimatedart

*You are free to post your work freely, but we do ask that you do give credit Academy of Animated Art and Danny Williams for the asset when showing your work. Thank you!

**For non-commercial use only

Curious what others have created with this model?

Take a look below!

By Academy of Animated Art Student, Aaron Beyer

By Frederik Sallaerts

By Trent Dyer

By Mathieu Grenier

By Rijo

We can't wait to see what you create!

Unsure of proper techniques for lighting dark-skinned characters? We've got you covered!

On February 4th, 2021, Jasmine and Mike went on a Live Webinar with members of The Foundry to discuss this exact issue. Check out this section of the presentation below.

What software is the easiest to work with her?
Ashli was created in collaboration with The Foundry so we have her completely set up in Katana. All of her shaders and everything are all set up and you can download and start lighting in minutes.

What if I don't know how to use Katana?
You are in luck! We have an entire course devoted to teaching you Katana created by the great Abel Vargas.Click here to access the course

What if I don't like learning new things?
We also wanted Ashli to be easily used across a wide variety of software and renderers. So we have included a .fbx file which is compatible with multiple software (Houdini, Maya, 3dstudio max, blender.. it doesn't matter!) and also we supply you textures so you can apply it with any renderer.

This character is cool. Do you have more assets?
Absolutely! Click here to see our entire asset library!

Can I post my images I created using this asset?
Yes, you can post any non-commercial use of this model.

The only thing we ask is that you credit the Academy of Animated Art and Danny Williams for the asset. Thank you!

She Is Completely Setup In Katana!

Download and start lighting her in minutes

Course Curriculum

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Get started now!