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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.
Sadly, we are the end of the modeling portion of this course. I just want to recap some things that are most important to take away while it's still fresh in your mind. These are the general concepts that won't change unless the technology drastically changes. They also don't change from software to software. 3D polygonal modeling uses the same principles no matter which programs you use. The first important concept is to understand the reference and know what it is that the character is supposed to be able to do when animated. This will inform the level of detail, topology, flow zones, and complexity.
The next thing is to break the character down into flow zones. Decide which parts of the anatomy should have edge flow that all goes in the same direction. This might change once you get into the modeling, but it's a good way to get an idea of how to get started. Next, block out the flow zones with basic proportions as simply as possible. Don't think about detail at this stage. Rather, think about the big shapes and how they will need to move and work together. Keeping the polygon count low will make it a lot easier to make changes or move things around at this stage. Then add edge loops to flesh out the form, while tweaking it to follow the reference.
The Swift Loop tool is great for this since it adds more geometry to work with, while maintaining the same edge flow. Remember to add edge loops with a purpose and then tweak the results as you work. Continue adding geometry by whatever means necessary to create the proper detail level, service quality, and any additional objects. Finally, step back and evaluate the model. Ask other people for their critiques. Rework the model as needed. You may need to take a break from modeling for a few hours to refresh your eyes. I know that I can fatigued after many hours of modeling, and will sometimes need to go look at other things before I can keep working.
This helps my mind to look at the model from a fresh perspective when I come back. As you become more experienced at character modeling, you'll certainly find your own shortcuts and discover your own ways of doing things and get faster and faster. Character modeling is a rewarding and challenging discipline that always leaves me wanting more.
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