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Modeling a Character in 3ds Max with Ryan Kittleson covers the process of designing and building a 3D human character that can be used for feature film, broadcast, and games. The course begins with an overview of the 3ds Max tools and techniques used in character modeling, and how human anatomy is represented using 3D geometry. Once this foundation is in place, the rest of the course goes step by step through the actual process used to model a simple human character from the ground up, including facial features, musculature, and details such as hair and clothing.
We've already learned how to attach body parts that have the same number of edges when we welded the ear to the head, but what if body parts have different numbers of edges? This is a common issue that modelers run into because many times we make new models by cutting up and reusing existing models. It's also an issue if we make body parts separately, like we've been doing in this course. There are just a few strategies to keep in mind when doing this and once you learn them, attaching anything to anything else will be simple. There are three basic techniques to equalizing the number of edges on either side of a gap.
The first two are really easy to remember. Simply add edge loops to one side or remove them from another. However, there are times when adding or subtracting edge loops isn't an option. For example, if more geometry will make you go over your poly limit, or if it would just make things too complicated and removing them isn't an option because there is just no geometry to spare, in these cases you want to do a reduction. This is a neat little trick that takes three edge loops and closes out two of them, leaving just one behind.
Let's take a look at the neck connection. I'm just going to zoom in here, and also let's turn on Edged Faces so we can see what we're dealing with. I've already counted out the number of edges on all the borders that we need to attach. The head currently has 19 edges, and the collar area has 21, a difference of two edges. That means that this is a perfect place to use a reduction because it removes two edges. Let's look at the hand very quickly.
The hand has 16 edges, and the arm has 18, also a difference of two. If their difference was close to double, say one had 10 and the other had 20, you may consider simply subdividing the smaller of the two so that they would instantly have the same number of edges. Let's put this into practice. I am going to go up and start with the neck. We need to reduce two edges on the body side of the neck. It's usually a good idea to do reductions in a place that's less visible, like on the back side of a character or in a place that won't deform very much.
So let's look at the back side of the character. I'm going to do a reduction on these three edges right here. So the way I'm going to do it is go to Edge mode and select two of these. Now over here in your Editable Poly panel click Collapse. Finally, click on the edge that's left behind here, and let's go up to Edges > Remove. The result is clean and uses only four-sided polygons.
Now we can attach the two meshes and use Target Weld to close up the seam. So now let's attach the two together. I want to select the head and then go down to Attach and select the body. So now it's one object. I'll right-click the lock that in. Now we can just to use Target Weld to close up this gap. So we've got all those welded up. The seam between the head and neck can look a little jagged, so I'll just use Paint Deform to smooth out some of the unevenness.
Go up to Freeform > Paint Deform, and I'll use Relax, and I'll just crank some of these settings down because they are too big. And I'll keep making a few adjustments. Now to do the wrist. Let's get out of this object here. Let's take a look at this from over here.
The arm has two more edges than the hand, but instead of reducing edges on the arm, I'll do a little variation on the reduction that we just learned. This time I'm going to add a reduction to the hand. And watch how this works. We use the Cut tool to cut through some edges. So let's go up to Graphite Modeling Tools and select the hand, and actually let's go back down to Editable Poly in this object. We can actually remove the TurboSmooth, so I'll just delete that. Let's go up to Edit > Cut.
Let's see, let's cut some right here. It looks like this is a pretty broad area where there is not a lot happening anyway. Let's cut from, let's see, right about here, and let's cut up through a few of these and then up to a vertex and then back down on the other side. Right-click to lock that in. And let's go into Edge mode select this edge that's in between these two triangles right here. Go up to Edges > Remove. Great! Now we've just added two edges to the hand.
Go ahead and weld and smooth just like we did before. Making different parts of the body flow smoothly into each other is a task that character modelers are constantly faced with. Armed with these skills, you'll be ready to take it on with the least amount of stress possible.
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