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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.
A good head structure will set the stage for the ear, as well as create good anatomy for the neck. Sure, this section doesn't deal with parts of the body that are as exciting as the eyes and mouths, but it's an important step. It's also good practice with extruding and tweaking. We can build off of the model as we already have it to create the head and neck. First let's continue extending the face out towards the rest of the head. I want to zoom in here in Perspective view and select a lot of these edges around the face, and let's make sure we go down into Editable Poly, and also make sure that we can see the end result.
I'm going to go into Edge mode here and just zoom in. I'm going to hit Alt+W to go full screen. I'm just going to hold down Ctrl as I go around and select all these edges, and let's just extrude them back. Go into Move mode and hold down Shift as you move backwards. All right, let's see what this looks like in the other views. Okay, so it's not quite lining up. And we could tweak by hand. We can also use the Scale tool here to scale up these edges so that they line up better with the face, so we don't have to tweak each vertex individually--at least not quite so much.
Okay, let's go into Vertex mode and just make sure these edges and vertices line up better with the reference. Try to get this one a little closer to the jaw line. I'll try to get this one back towards the corner of the jaw. I'll bring this one over up towards the temple and kind of bring these up to the hairline. Now the way I want to make the rest of the head is by taking some edges here along the top and the side of the face and extrude them around the back of the head, but right now there's no break right here.
I would need to insert a new edge loop right here so that I could have an edge right here to extrude over the ear. So let's do that really quick. We'll go up to Edit and pick Swift Loop, and now we can just insert an edge loop right here. I just want it to go just above the ear and then into the eye. Great! Now with that in place, we can go into Edge mode. I'll hit W to get out of Swift Loop mode, and now I can just select these edges right around here. It might be easier if I go into Perspective view.
Okay, now I can extrude these so that they go around the back of the head. So I'm just going to hold down Shift as I move them back. And the shape isn't quite perfect, so I'm actually going to use Scale and kind of flatten these out a little bit. I'll just move them back a little bit more. I might go into Rotate--just anything to tweak it so it fits the shape of the head a little bit better. Let's try rotating a little bit more. And let's do that one more time. I'm going to go into Move mode and hold down Shift and just extrude that down once more.
And same thing here again. I can just tweak this into place using Move, Rotate, and Scale. We'll just get this fitting the back of the head. Let's see what this looks like in Perspective view. I just like to check this out, make sure there is not any big problems. Okay, it looks like we could space these out a little bit better. I'm just going to go into Move mode and pick some of these individual vertices and get them spaced out a little bit nicer. And let's just tweak this.
Okay, now to continue this extrusion down the back of the head. Let's go into Edge mode and it looks like they're already selected from the last time we had them, so we'll just go and hold down Shift and extrude down once more. One thing I need to do is close up this gap right here, and so we've got one edge that's right here, but we wouldn't want to connect this edge to this one right here, because it would kind of create this diagonal right here. So let's insert another edge loop right along here so that we have something to bridge this gap with.
I'm just going to up into Edit, get Swift Loop again, and just throw in another edge loop right here, just below the ear. So there is a really cool way to close off this gap. I'm just going to select both of these edges on either side of the gap, and then up in the Edges there is an option called Bridge, and that's just simply going to place a new polygon in between any two selected edges. This is nice because it also creates this little space right here for the ear to exist later on. Let's see if we need to fix anything in the front view.
Okay, we could tweak a few things right here. It looks like we could bring this out a little bit wider. All right, not too bad. Now we need to extrude down for the neck. Same as we've been doing, let's just select these different edges that go around the bottom of the head. I'm going to hit Q so this move gizmo gets out of the way. Now we're just going to Select mode rather than a Move or Rotate or any other kind of mode. Okay, we've got all those edges. Now we'll just go into Move mode by hitting W, hold down Shift, and we'll just bring it down for the neck.
And as always, tweak things to get them into place. All right! That's good. Let's go back into Edge mode and just Extrude it down one more time.
So that's the basic block-out for the rest of the head. It's really blocky and low detail right now. We could go in and use Swift Loop to add a whole bunch more edges and then spend some time tweaking it to smooth everything out, but I've got a shortcut. Let's put a TurboSmooth modifier on the stack. This is going to subdivide the whole model. It adds a new edge in between every existing edge, and it rounds out any hard edges. It also tends to shrink the model a little bit, so we might have to fix that. All right! Let's get out of Vertex mode. Let's click on Symmetry so that we add a TurboSmooth above that level.
Okay, so you see that TurboSmooth, it actually shrunk things quite a bit, especially in the chin; it lost a lot of volume. You see if we turn that off, the difference is pretty striking. What we can do is actually turn on Isoline Display and then go back into the Editable Poly and tweak this so that it fits the reference better again.
I want to look at this from a different view. When you're done tweaking you can convert the whole head to Editable poly and it will lock in all the modifiers. So let's go back up to TurboSmooth. We'll turn off Isoline Display because if you convert to Editable Poly with Isoline Display on, it can cause some problems. It's a little bug in Max, so I like to make sure I turn that off. And let's just right-click on the model now and go to Convert to Editable Poly.
So that just locked in the symmetry, it locked in the TurboSmooth, and it locked in all those extra edges that we created with TurboSmooth. So if I go in here and turn on Edged Faces, now you can see you got a lot more detail than we had before without having to go and put it all in manually. TurboSmooth did a lot of that work for us. So the head and neck might not be the most exciting parts of the body of the model, but when done well they really support good modeling in the parts that they connect to, namely the ears, chest, and face.
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