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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.
The Extrude tool in 3ds Max is a quick and powerful way to create new shapes and structures in your polygonal meshes. The cool thing about Extrude is that it automatically creates the right edge flow for all kinds of body parts. There are several ways to use it and a few things to be careful of that I'll go over with you. Let's use Extrude and its sister tool called Bevel to create a very quick- and-dirty character. It's not going to be much to look at, but it'll be a fun way to get used to Extrude tools that we'll be using all the time in this course.
Let's make a box to start with. So I'll just go up to the Create panel and click Box. And here in the perspective view, I'll just zoom in a little bit so I can get closer to the center of the grid, and I'll just create a box here, and then right-click to confirm. Now I want the character to have an edge running down the center that splits the model in a left and right half. So first, let's convert this to an editable poly object so that we can make those changes. I'll just right-click on it and go down to Convert to and click Editable Poly.
Now we can select this box's subobjects. So in here we can just click the Polygon, and so now we can start editing individual polygons. Now let's make this box the same width on both sides of the grid. So I'll just move around here to the other side and click on this polygon here. We can extrude this out to increase the width of this box. So let's go down to Extrude and click that. Now we just simply click and drag and pull out the box, so it's about the same width on both sides of the grid. And I'll just right-click to confirm. Something else I also want to do is show the wireframe.
So let's go up and right-click here in the viewport and bring down Edged Faces. This way we can see all of the polygons' edges that we're working with. Now let's take things a bit further. What we have so far is the base of the head. Let's get the neck and body done. I'm going to use Bevel for this. Bevel is like Extrude but with the added ability to size the extrusion in addition to simply pulling it out. So let's look at the underside of this and select the polygons down here. I'm just hitting Ctrl to select multiple polygons.
So I'll just click on Bevel and now we click and drag on the selected polygons, and it starts out just like Extrude. It pulls out a new extrusion. Then when you release the mouse button, we have the option to scale. Just by moving the mouse up and down, you increase or decrease the size of this. And then another left-click locks in the Bevel. Lots of times I like to scale manually afterwards as well. This is because I might want to scale more in one axis than another. In this case, I want the neck to be more square, so I hit R to go into Scale mode.
Now I can scale on just one axis. On to the rest of the body. Let's use another function now. We've got the bottom of the neck already selected, so let's go and click the Bevel options, the Settings button right here next to Bevel. And so it brings up this little palette of extra options that we have. I'm going to move this out of way, because this is kind of on top of what I'm working on right now. So I'm just going to click and drag on the word Bevel up here and move it off to the side a bit. With this palette, we get more control over how Bevel behaves.
And I'm going to go into full screen here so we can see what's going on better. Alt+W. So you can click and drag on these different values to change them, or you can click and drag on these arrows here and it changes the amount of the extrusion, and you can also click and drag on here and it changes the amount of scale. We can also click and type in an exact value. So let's type in 0.2. One advantage of using the Bevel options is that you can repeat the same operation as many times as you want.
If you click on the plus sign, that means you lock in the Bevel that you just made and then repeat it again on either the same polygon that was just extruded or any of the others that you select. So if I just moved the view a little bit, we can see it's just created a second extrusion using the exact same settings that we used to make this one up here. You can still change the values before continuing on. So on this new Bevel, we could go in here and change the amount of extrusion or the amount of bevel. So let's continue beveling on down to the waist of the character.
So let's get some shoulders in. I want to increase the size of this one so that the shoulders are wider than the neck. And let's apply this and continue. And I'll just zoom out a little bit, so we can see more in the character. I'm just going to fiddle with these settings right here just to make a very rough character. Let's make the shoulders a little bit wider. I'll lock that one in. Okay, we don't need to make it any wider now, but we do need to continue bringing it on down. I'm just going to do that a couple more times. All right! That's about down to where the waistline of the character would be.
Let's lock in all these bevels that we've made by clicking on the check mark. Well, that was easy enough. Let's explore one more setting. I'm going to move the view so that we can see these selected polygons at the bottom a little bit better. Let's go back into the Bevel settings. We want to make some legs on the character, but polygons that are next to each other will get extruded together. They're stuck together. By default, Bevel is set to a mode called Group where all polys get extruded as one big chunk. Let's click on this little down arrow to see some more options.
So right now it's set to Group. Let's change it to By Polygon. Now each polygon will extrude out independently. You might have not seen the big change here, but if we go and scroll on any of these settings, now you can see that Bevel is sizing each of these independently. I'll use the Scale tool here to change the size of the legs so that they're a little bit more square. Okay, let's continue extruding down the legs. I'll click Apply and continue once here and adjust some of the settings here. I don't want the legs to get quite so skinny or pointy.
Let's bring out the size a little bit and do that a couple more times. Okay, that's great for some legs. Let's get some feet on. I'm going to lock this in so that we can select these two polygons on the front of the angles. So I'll select one and then Ctrl+Click the other and go back into Bevel, Settings. And I'll just change the view so we can see this a little bit better from the side. Now we've got some feet sticking out. Now to do some very simple eyes. We'll just lock in this change here and go up to the eyes. I'm just going to select these two polys, click one, and Ctrl+Click the second.
Let's go into Bevel with Settings again. I want the eyes to go inwards. So actually I don't want them to extrude outwards at all. So we'll drag this down so that it doesn't extrude out, but I do want it to come in like that. Let's apply this and continue and do that one more time, but actually this time I don't want it to shrink inwards so much as extrude back into the head. So the Extrude Height value I'll set to about -2.8, so that it goes inside the head.
Okay, let's lock that in. Finally, I want to extrude some arms out, so I'll come down here, select one arm, and Ctrl+Select the second shoulder. And we'll just go into Bevel Settings and just do that one more time. Now we want it to extrude outwards, so let's make sure we get a positive number here in the Height and bring out some arms. And just to make it look a little bit nicer--let's make it not so weird-- we'll just scale in size of that, and lock in those changes. Okay, let's get a better view of this character.
And there we have a very, very basic character made in just a few minutes with the Extrude tools. As you can see, Extrude and Bevel are great for quickly creating new limbs off of a simple base. You'll use it all the time to make additional structures to your models.
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