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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 that we've got some of the heavy lifting out of the way, let's have a nice relaxing section where we can casually make some of the simplest parts of the character: the tongue and eyebrows. They are pretty much just tweaked-out boxes, so it's not much work to make them. This will also be a good review of some of the simple modeling techniques that come in handy when doing all kinds of other modeling work. Let's do the tongue first. I want to move the view back a little bit so I can see the grid. Let's start with making a box. I'll go to the Create palette and click Box.
Let's turn on Snaps, so that we can get this snapped more precisely to the grid. I'll hit S. And I'll just drag out a box, so that it's equally spaced over the grid. And right-click to lock it in. I'll just hit S again to turn off Snaps, and let's turn on Edged Faces. I'm going to change some of the creation parameters on this box. I want a few more segments down the Width and the Length. Let's see, about three Length Segments. Let's get 4 Width.
I'll just leave at 1 Height. Let's go ahead and convert this to an editable poly so we can make some changes to it. I want there to be kind of a groove or a crease down the middle of the tongue, so let's go into Vertex mode and just edit some of these vertices. I'll push some of these vertices down in the middle, and also let's bring in some vertices, and let's go into a different view. I want to go into the front view. And I want to bring some of these vertices that are here on either side of the center groove and bring them in a little bit, so I want to go in Scale mode and just scale on one axis.
Okay, let's see what this looks like really quick with a TurboSmooth turned on. Okay, that's looking not too bad. Let's make the front of the tongue come to a little bit more about point. I'll go back to Editable Poly mode and let's make sure we turn on End Result, back to Vertex mode, and let's tweak some of this. I just want to move some of these vertices forward. All right, that's looking great! Let's lock in all of these changes by converting it back to an editable poly.
Now I can just position this tongue inside the head. It's a little bit big right now, so let's just scale it down. As a reminder, scale is the R key. And back to Move, W key. And I'll zoom in with Z. All right, not too bad. And let's just change its color to something a little bit more tongue-like.
All right, let's move on to the eyebrows. Let's go into the front view for that. Alt+W to expand that, and I want to be able to see the reference through the head model, so let's make the head see-through: Object Properties and See-Through. And let's go and create a box, and we'll drag it out pretty much to this roughly over the reference, where the eyebrow is. And I can't really see how much height it's dragging up in the box, so I'll just drag it up a little bit--I can always edit it later--and then right-click to lock it in.
See what that looked like in some other view. Okay, yeah, it's a little bit back towards the back of the head. We'll just scoot that forward. Z to zoom in. Okay, let's change some of the creation parameters of that box. I want to change the number of segments that it gave us. So let's see, Length Segments, let's drop that to 1; Width, 3 is good; and Height, I like 3--that works too. Okay, let's convert this to an editable poly so we can make some more changes to it.
And I'm going to go into the front view so I can see this better. I'll turn on Edged Faces, so I can see my polygons a little bit more easy, and we'll go into Vertex mode and just adjust some of these vertices around. Let's see what this looks like what TurboSmooth turned on. It's going to shrink a little bit; that's why I made it a little bit bigger.
Okay, let's go back to Editable Poly and just make a few more changes. I'll turn on Show end result here. Okay, I could probably keep tweaking a little bit, but let's move on. I want to make sure that the eyebrow is properly positioned over the forehead. Here in the Perspective view I'm actually going to turn off See-Through on the head. The see-through is making a little bit hard to tell what's going on. Okay, so it looks like I might need to rotate this eyebrow to fit a little bit better to the forehead.
Let's see that from above. So it looks like we need to rotate the eyebrow to fit it to the head a little bit better, but if we rotate the object it will throw off the pivot point and the symmetry won't work correctly. So what we need to do is rotate the polygons of the object without actually rotating the object itself. All right, let me explain. Let's go back to Editable Poly, and we'll go into Element mode. And now we're selecting all of the polygons of the object but not the object itself, so the pivot point is not going to move.
Now we can go into Rotate mode and move all of the polygons, but the pivot points stays in the same place. Let's make sure I've got this positioned nicely. Okay, that looks pretty good. Now if I go out of Element mode, you can see that the rotation hasn't changed at all down here. If I go in and rotate now in Object mode, now you see that the rotation changes. So I'll just undo that. Now to put on the Symmetry modifier. And we need to move the mirror axis over a little bit, so let's go inhere and pick Mirror. I'll go into Move mode with W and just scoot this over.
I'm going to go into top view and make sure that axis is locked to the center. Turn on Snaps, and I'll just move this till it snaps to the center. All right, turning off Snaps, and let's go back and see what this looks like. Hitting Z to zoom in. Okay, that looks pretty good. The last thing we want to do is collapse to an editable poly to lock in all of these changes and then we will detach the two eyebrows to make them separate objects.
I'll go back into Element mode and select just one of these eyebrows. And let's go down to Detach. And let's just call this browRight. And then the other brow is selected by default. Let's change its name to browLeft. And we'll just get out of Element mode here and go back to the regular Object mode.
It looks like there's just one little thing we need to change. The pivot point of this brow is still over here where the other brow is, so let's go up to Hierarchy and affect the pivot only and Center to Object and turn off Affect Pivot Only. There you have it: toony eyebrows. Even though this part was relatively simple, keep in mind that sometimes simple is better, especially for toony characters. We also practice some ways to work quickly with symmetry and swift loops and TurboSmooth.
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