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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.
Modeling the shoes is a good exercise in creating hard-surface objects. Those are objects that require a certain precision, or edge hardness, and can be tricky because you have to be a lot more careful with their construction. Organic objects like characters and clothing can get away with varying levels of imperfection; however, many manufactured objects need to be made with a close attention to surface and the edge quality, so that they don't appear soft or mushy. As before, we can build a shoe with polygons borrowed from the body, but first let's shape the foot a little bit so that it fits better in the shoe.
For one, the bottom of the shoe is flat, and the foot has weight on it, so it should be flat as well. I am going to select the body, and let's make sure we can see all the edged faces. And I also want to put a Symmetry Modifier on it so that the changes we make to one side of the body will happen to the other. And every time I put a Symmetry on I want to make sure that it didn't unintentionally weld any verts. You can see that there are some vertices close to each other in the face and they're getting merged together.
So I am just going to bring this threshold down till that problem goes away. If you don't check for things like this and then you collapse the object to an editable poly, it will lock in all of those welds, and it's going to be a lot of work to undo that and go and re-cut that to make it all better. So I always find it beneficial to check that before I move on. Okay, let's go down to Editable Poly and check out the feet. I am going to hit Alt+W and go into the side view.
I want to drag a selection across a lot of these polygons on the bottom of the foot, so I am just going to drag and then unselect with Alt. And let's go back to Perspective view and see if we missed any. Okay, it looks like there is some polygons right here to clean up. I am just going to Alt+Click+Drag. All right! That's looking good. I also want to turn on end result to make sure that we are seeing the same thing on both sides.
Now that we have got the selection made, I am going to hit R to go into Scale mode and just scale this vertically so it flattens out. In the concept art Hank is wearing a work boot with a heel, so we need to make the toes drop a little lower than the heel. I am going to go into the Vertex mode here and select some of the verts along the toe. Maybe I will grow that just a little bit more. Okay, now I am going to turn on soft selection, and let's drop this value down so it's not selecting quite so much.
I just want the soft selection to go pretty much just in between the toe part of the shoe and the heel. And now I can just go into Move mode and let's see what happens. Okay, great! Now we have got space for a heel here. Before moving on, let's hide everything but the body so that the pants don't get in the way while we model the boot. I am going to turn off Soft Select here, and I am going to get out of Vertex mode, and let's select the pants. I'm going to right-click and Hide Selection. I am going to go into Editable Poly now on our Hank body, and let's select all the polygons where the boot should be.
So I am going to go into Polygon mode here. And it looks like we have already got some selected, so I am just going to grow that selection. Now let's extract these polygons off the body. So I am going to go down to Edit Geometry and make sure that we have got it set to Normal, because we want to pull these away from the body. Now I am going to hold down Shift while I move and pull the boots up off the body. And let's clone this to a separate object. We will call it boot.
Let me just take a look around this boot to make sure there is no problems with it. Okay, that looks pretty good. I also want to take a look underneath just to make sure everything is okay on this. I am going to get out of Polygon mode, and I am going to hit Z to zoom in on the boot. Okay, everything looks ready to go. Next, we are going to extrude the sole from the bottom of what we already have.
So go ahead and select the flat polygons under the shoe. I am going to go into Edit Poly mode and select Polygon, and let's look at this from underneath. I want to select all of these polygons here on the bottom. I could get select them all one at a time, but I am going to do something to speed it up a little bit. I am just going to select, holding down Ctrl, and just select some of these along here, and then I will grow the selection and see how this works.
And it looks like I am still going to have to select some by hand. All right! Now we are ready to extrude the sole. Let's actually use Bevel. And I want to use the options here so I can control it more easily. Now, that was a little bit out of control. Let's bring that way down. I am going to change the height so it's much less pronounced. Actually what I want to do is let's bring all of these to 0 actually so we are starting fresh. What I want to have the sole do is expand outwards a little bit before it drops down.
So let's change this to a reasonable number. Actually let's set it to 0 and then just click once here so we get a really precise amount. Let's see, maybe about 0.04 is good. All right! Let's Apply and Continue so that we can make another bevel. This time I want it to drop down without expanding out at all, so I am going to drop this to 0 and start bringing up this value.
That looks about good. Okay, let's lock in those changes. Now to bring down the heel. I am going to deselect everything except the heel. So I want to hold down Alt while I drag a selection over this. Maybe I deselected a bit too much, make it this. All right! That should make for a good heel. I am going to go back into Bevel with the options here. And it remembered the same settings that I extruded down before, so that actually brings up down to about the same level so that's good.
I will just leave it there. All right! Let's lock that in. Now I have got something that's recognizable as a boot. Let's put a TurboSmooth on here and see what that does. I am going to get out of Polygon mode and go get our TurboSmooth. As you can see, the sole which should be hard and sharply defined now look soft and doughy. Let's use some holding edges to control that edge quality. We've been using Swift Loop until now for this kind of job, but let's do something different. Let me go back to Editable Poly mode, and let's go into Edge mode.
What I want to do is select all of the edges that should be hard. So I want to pick this one and Shift+Click the one next to it and then Ctrl+Click this one and then Shift+ Click the one next to it and just keep doing this until I have selected all of these edges that should be hard. Let me look around, see if I missed anything. Need this one here. Oh, actually I don't need to do this one around here.
I am going to hold down Alt while I click around here. Okay, Good! In our Edge Selection mode there should be a button called Chamfer. Let's go find that. All right! Here it is Chamfer. I'm going to do it with options so we can see what happens. Now that's a little bit crazy. Let's set everything to 0, just so we can start from a fresh perspective. And then let's slowly bring this up.
Actually, that's still way too much. I can actually type in a number that's even smaller than that. I am going to type in 0.004 and see what that does. Okay, let's zoom in. That's actually pretty nice and tight. I kind of like that. What Chamfer is doing is it's simply takes the edges that you have selected and splits them into two. The smaller the number the closer together the two split edges will be, and the closer together they are the sharper the edge when it's smoothed. Okay, let's lock that in.
Okay, let's turn on the end result and see what that looks like with TurboSmooth. I'm also going to turn off Edged Faces because those are just getting in the way right now. And let's get out of Edge mode. All right! Great! That's looking pretty nice. We are almost done. I'm not worried about editing the top of the boot because it's going to be covered by the pants, but let's get the boot mirrored over. And actually we extracted two boots, but it wasn't doing symmetry so I will just go into Element mode and select this boot and delete it.
Now we will just use Symmetry to get it mirrored over. Let's get out of Editable Poly Element mode and then put on a Symmetry Modifier. All right! Great! And the pivot point was already in the center, so we don't even have to worry about that. Let's show Edged Faces because I want to collapse this to an editable poly. Let's turn off that so we don't lock in the TurboSmooth when we do this, and I'll just go to Convert To > Editable Poly.
And let's break off the two boots into separate objects. So I am going to go into Element mode and select one of the boots. And let's see. Let's go find Detach, and let's call this bootRight. Let's get out of Element mode here on this one, and we will call the other one bootLeft. One last thing. The boots might be sticking through the pants a little bit, so let's unhide the pants and fix any problems that we have.
I am just going to right-click anywhere and Unhide All. Okay, so there are a few problems with that. Let's just go to the pants and use Soft Select to push and pull these pants away from the boot a little bit. I will go into Editable Poly and picking Vertex, and let's go to Soft Select.
And we will just move this a little bit so it's not intersecting the boot. Great! Just go ahead and do the same thing on the other side. Lots of situations require hard edges with a precise corner.
The skills you learned while making this boot, such as beveling, holding edges, and flattening surfaces, will come in handy in all kinds of situations like this.
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