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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.
Now to turn these simple polygons into flow zones that complement the circular mouth and eye shapes. We'll use the Extrude tool to quickly create an edge-flow pattern that can be easily refined later. Everything from the chin to just above the laugh line should be part of the mouth flow zone. Everything above that will be part of the eye and brow flow zone. Now let's get the actual edge flow for the mouth made. I'm going to select the mouth poly and then use Inset to extrude it inwards. So I'm going to into Polygon mode.
Let's select the polygon over the mouth and go down to Inset. Now we're in Inset mode. Just click and drag on the polygon. Now it does something kind of weird. It's kind of split into two, but we'll fix that later. I just roughly want to create an extrusion that creates some more edges that come down from these edges that were already created. To clean this up, I'm just going to delete some of these faces that I don't need anymore. I don't need that one. I don't need that one. And now I'm just going to tweak the positions of some of these vertices so that it lines up better with the mouth.
So let's just tweak this a little bit more. And I'll keep making a few adjustments. Let's zoom in a little bit closer so we can do this more precisely. And I just want to make sure that these vertices right here are very close to the center line, so we don't run into any problems.
With the symmetry, if they're too far away and my break apart, so let's try to get them as close as possible to that center line. Okay, that's pretty close. Now let's make the inside of the mouth. I'm going to go into Edge mode and just select these edges around the inside of a mouth. So I'm just holding down Ctrl while I click so I can select multiple edges. Now let's extrude them back by holding down Shift while we move them. It's going to be easier to zoom in Perspective view, so just let me zoom in here. I can hit Z and it'll just zoom in right to anything that I've selected.
Okay, holding down Shift, I'm just going to move these edges back. Now let's get a basic nose and eye going. The first thing I want to do is insert an edge loop kind of vertically right here that will separate the two different eye flow zones. It's also going to create a bridge for the nose. So I'm just going to go into the Edit menu, and I'm going to pick Swift Loop. So with this tool I can just click once and it will insert an edge loop along any set of edges that are parallel with each other.
Now, let's do the same thing with the eye that we did with the mouth. We're going to use inset to create a flow zone for the eye. So right-click to lock in that Swift Loop that we just added, and let's go into Polygon mode. Let's pick the face over the eye, or the polygon over the eye, and go down to Inset. Go ahead and click that and then just click and drag to create a new polygon inside here. And we just need to tweak the shape of this to get it to fit to the reference a little bit better. So I'm just going go into Vertex mode so we can do that tweaking.
I'll just zoom in closer and just pick individual vertices and move them so that they are a lot closer to the eye and the reference. And I'll just keep refining this, and the side view as well. Looks like this need some refining.
There's just a few extra adjustments I want to make. All right, that's pretty close. We can always tweak it a little bit more later if we have to. Whenever you create new geometry by extruding or cutting edge loops or anything else like that, you always want to tweak it to fit the reference before you go and make new geometry. This is because if you go and add lots of new edges and vertices it will be a lot more work to tweak lots of them at once, rather than a few of them when geometry is relatively simple.
Okay, same as the mouth, we're going to delete this polygon that's covering up the eye right now. So I'm in Polygon mode. It's already selected, and I'll just hit Delete. Now we need to select all these edges right here. We can actually use the Border Selection mode and just click once and get all of those edges right there, and now let's get a better view on this so we can just extrude them back. I'm going to hold down Shift and move them back a little bit, and I'll just extrude that one more time so we can get those eyelids kind of wrapping around the eyeball that we're eventually going to create. So I just extrude it one more time, and now we'll go into Scale mode. To go into Scale mode, you just hit the R key and just kind of scale that up a little bit.
So as we work on this some more, this geometry is going to kind of wrap around and kind of form around the shape of the eyeball. Now let's get the nose going as well. First I'll cut some loops around the nose to define where it should extrude from. So the nose needs to extrude out of this area, but right now there's not any edge loops defining either the sides or the bottom of the nose, just the top of the nose right now. So let's go up into Edit and grab Swift Loop. And I'm just going to use this to insert loops on the side of the nose, underneath the nose. And let's just add one more loop above the nose to separate it from the eye flow zone a little bit.
And as always, once you've created more geometry, you want to tweak it so it fits your reference. So I'll just hit W to go into Move mode again, and we'll just move things around so that it fits the reference better. This tweaking can be tedious, but it's really important to do, because otherwise the model won't line up with the reference and you'll have a lot more work later on. Now there is this one edge loop that's really important.
It's going to follow the laugh line, or the nasolabial fold, if you want to be medically precise. It's a very important one to make sure that it's lining up with your reference. So let's just tweak this a little bit more. Some of these edges are kind of close together too--like these two vertices are very close together--so I like to spread them apart a little bit.
It looks like I could adjust this some more. Okay, so now you can see we've got polygons going all the way around the nose. Now, let's go into Polygon mode so we can select these polygons and extrude them. And so in Extrude mode I'll just click and drag and we will extrude out. Now you'll notice something really weird is happening; it splitting the nose into two, and we'll just fix that up.
It's kind of a similar issue that we're having with the mouth. So I can just select this one polygon right here in the middle. You see it's kind of splitting the nose in two. I'll just select that and delete it. And now I can go into Vertex mode and tweak these so that it lines up better with the reference. It looks like I could adjust this some more.
Something I like to do when there's vertices right on the center line is instead of grab them right here where you could move them at all different angles, what I like to do is grab it with just one axis at a time, so that no matter how I move the mouse it's only going to move. That way it won't go off axis and mess anything up.
And let's see what this looks like. I like to go into Perspective view a lot and just look at it from all angles to make sure there is not any big problems. And there is the basic structure for the face. This way of starting a face is the fastest and most easily configurable that I've found. You can use it for all but the most extremely stylized faces. It even works for many animal faces. Although what we have so far is crude and blocky, you can see the flow zones have been established, so that as we add more detail with Swift Loops and Extrude, it will automatically follow the major anatomical forms that we have already established.
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