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Modeling a Character in 3ds Max
Illustration by John Hersey

Creating the basic facial structure


From:

Modeling a Character in 3ds Max

with Ryan Kittleson

Video: Creating the basic facial structure

The face is one of the most detailed and recognizable parts of a character. Whether the model will be used in a game, a movie, or anything else, the face is one of the most important parts to get right. It can also be difficult because there's so much going on. That's why there should be a solid plan of attack when modeling a face. In this movie, I'll show you a great technique that focuses on establishing the most important flow zones first, like the mouth and eyes, which makes it easier to refine details later.
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  1. 7m 36s
    1. Welcome
      1m 2s
    2. What you need to know before watching this course
      52s
    3. Overview of the design process
      3m 26s
    4. Using the exercise files
      2m 16s
  2. 40m 7s
    1. Extruding edges and faces
      7m 42s
    2. Using Paint Deform
      8m 58s
    3. Working symmetrically
      5m 32s
    4. Using TurboSmooth
      4m 39s
    5. Setting up the image planes
      8m 28s
    6. Exploring edge flow
      4m 48s
  3. 1h 15m
    1. Creating the basic facial structure
      5m 26s
    2. Creating the basic facial features
      8m 51s
    3. Making the head and neck
      7m 55s
    4. Refining the mouth
      11m 24s
    5. Shaping the eyes
      10m 53s
    6. Building the nose
      6m 45s
    7. Crafting the ears
      6m 9s
    8. Making the teeth and gums
      10m 4s
    9. Modeling the tongue and eyebrows
      7m 43s
  4. 44m 38s
    1. Modeling the upper body
      9m 45s
    2. Building the hips, legs, and feet
      5m 8s
    3. Constructing the palm and thumb
      7m 14s
    4. Making fingers and finishing the hand
      7m 53s
    5. Fleshing out the body
      9m 22s
    6. Attaching body parts with different numbers of edges
      5m 16s
  5. 13m 39s
    1. Drawing the NURBS curves for hair
      4m 11s
    2. Sweeping the NURBS curves into polygon objects
      3m 32s
    3. Sculpting the polygon hair clumps
      5m 56s
  6. 49m 54s
    1. Modeling the pants
      7m 16s
    2. Making wrinkles in the pants
      9m 0s
    3. Modeling the belt
      5m 30s
    4. Making the belt loops
      6m 35s
    5. Creating the shirt
      9m 33s
    6. Making the shoes
      12m 0s
  7. 12m 7s
    1. Putting on the finishing touches
      6m 7s
    2. Thinking about artistic appeal
      3m 59s
    3. Recapping the most important concepts
      2m 1s
  8. 27m 24s
    1. Understanding UVW maps and seams
      6m 28s
    2. Using Peel to flatten the UVW maps
      3m 50s
    3. Dealing with UVW maps across multiple objects
      10m 5s
    4. Refining the UVW layout
      7m 1s
  9. 51s
    1. What's next
      51s

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Modeling a Character in 3ds Max
4h 31m Intermediate Aug 30, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Extruding edges and faces
  • Working symmetrically
  • Setting up the image planes
  • Creating the basic facial structure and features
  • Modeling and fleshing out the body
  • Creating the hair with extruded NURBS curves
  • Modeling clothes
  • Putting on finishing touches
  • Understanding UVW maps and seams
  • Dealing with UVW maps across multiple objects
Subjects:
3D + Animation Modeling Character Animation
Software:
3ds Max
Author:
Ryan Kittleson

Creating the basic facial structure

The face is one of the most detailed and recognizable parts of a character. Whether the model will be used in a game, a movie, or anything else, the face is one of the most important parts to get right. It can also be difficult because there's so much going on. That's why there should be a solid plan of attack when modeling a face. In this movie, I'll show you a great technique that focuses on establishing the most important flow zones first, like the mouth and eyes, which makes it easier to refine details later.

The main concept to remember here is to keep it simple. Create the basic flow zones that the face needs with few polygons. It will look blocky and ugly at first, but it's easy to add in more detail later if the foundation is set up right. We have got the exercise file open here with the image plane set up and ready to go. Let's start our modeling with a polygon plane over the face. So let's go into the front view and zoom in on the face, so we can see that better. I'm going to go into full screen with Alt+W. Okay, go up to Create panel and we're just going to click Plane.

Now I want this to be centered on the grid so that the center line is right in the middle, so let's go up to Snaps so that we can snap it right there to the center, and right-click to lock that in. I want to model with the edges visible, so let's go up and right-click on that and click Edged Faces. Now let's look at the Modifier panel for this object. Its Length Segments are set to one and Width to one, so that's exactly what we want. If it's not to that, go ahead and change those numbers to one. Now we can convert this to an editable poly object so that we can make modifications to it. Right-click on it and go down to Convert To and click Convert to Editable Poly.

You can see now that the Object Type has changed to Editable Poly, and now instead of seeing the Plane settings, we see all the editing features available to Editable Poly objects. I want to work symmetrically on this, but before I put on a symmetry modifier, I need to move the pivot point to the center of the grid. This is because the symmetry modifier will mirror the model across the pivot point. So to do that let's go up to the Hierarchy panel, and we want to affect the Pivot Only so click on that. Now I'll hit W to go into Move mode, and let's just move this till it snaps on the center point of the grid.

Make sure that Snaps is on when you do that. We don't need snaps anymore, so now that we moved the pivot point, I'm just going to turn this off. And we don't need to affect pivot only anymore, so we'll go back to the regular mode. Now it's time to put on the symmetry modifier. Now as we make changes to one side of the model, it will automatically be copied over to the other side. In the Modifier stack, let's go down to Editable Poly, and we also need to turn on Show end result, so that we can see the result of the symmetry while we're working in Editable Poly.

One issue that we're having before we can start working is that the model is now covering up the image plane and we can't see the reference. Let's make the model see-through. Go ahead and right-click on it and go to Object Properties, and we'll just turn on See-Through and click OK. Now let's start making this look more like a face. Let's go into Vertex mode and tweak the positions of some of these vertices. I also want to see this in more than one view at a time, so I'm going to hit Alt+W so that I can see it in the front and side and perspective views.

I just want to zoom in here in all my views, so I see what I'm working on up and close. Okay, first thing I want to do is move these vertices so that they kind of form a mask over the face and they're lined up with the anatomical features of the face more closely. So you can just go into these various views here and move some of these vertices around a little bit. I'm just going to tweak some of these so that it's covering the face more closely.

And also here in the side view I want to make sure that these are all lined up with the front of the face. So I'm just selecting them and moving them into place so that it lines up with the reference more closely. It looks like I just need to do a little bit more tweaking here. Okay, that's pretty close. We might need to tweak it a little bit more later, but at least it's in the ballpark.

Now I want to split this polygon in two so that we have a flow zone for the mouth and then one above it for the eyes. I'm going to use the Quick Slice tool to split this polygon. So let's go up to the Graphite Modeling Tools and go into the Edit submenu and then click Quick Slice. And the way this tool works is you just click on one part of an edge and then you click on another edge and it cuts a new edge in between where you clicked. All right, now let's tweak the position of these vertices so that it lines up better with the reference.

For example, this one needs to go above the nose a little bit more. See what that looks like in the side view. I need to move that back a little bit, maybe up a little bit more, and then this one here on the cheek. Let's move this one out a little bit. Let's bring it out in the Side view some more too. What we have now is a foundation for the flow zones of the face that we will build upon in the next movie.

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