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Game Character Creation in Maya
Illustration by John Hersey

Building the body and a wing


From:

Game Character Creation in Maya

with Chris Reilly

Video: Building the body and a wing

Okay, so I've done a little more work on the head here, just fleshing out the back and adding a few more details like the ears and the antenna. These are just simple extrusions. Your character may be a little bit different, so it's not really worth going into too much detail how I did that. So now let's go ahead and tackle the body. I'm going to hit Spacebar to switch to the Side viewport here. Just take a look at my reference image. So you can see the body is really kind of these two main shapes. So you have the torso here, which is this sort of elliptical sphere shape. It's pretty symmetrical.
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  1. 3m 50s
    1. Welcome
      39s
    2. What you need to know before watching this course
      1m 9s
    3. Understanding game asset creation
      1m 21s
    4. Using the exercise files
      41s
  2. 25m 35s
    1. Setting up scene folders (Maya and Unity)
      3m 58s
    2. Optimizing geometry
      3m 14s
    3. Using symmetry
      4m 8s
    4. Extruding geometry
      4m 19s
    5. Sculpting geometry
      4m 1s
    6. Importing reference sketches
      5m 55s
  3. 37m 14s
    1. Modeling the head and nose
      5m 34s
    2. Creating the mouth
      4m 28s
    3. Crafting the eyes
      5m 11s
    4. Building the body and a wing
      10m 11s
    5. Forming the limbs
      8m 5s
    6. Adding finishing touches
      3m 45s
  4. 36m 11s
    1. UV mapping overview
      2m 43s
    2. UV mapping the body parts
      9m 18s
    3. UV mapping the face
      7m 40s
    4. UV mapping wrap-up
      3m 44s
    5. Mirroring
      4m 57s
    6. Texturing
      2m 46s
    7. Normal mapping
      5m 3s
  5. 46m 21s
    1. Setting up the skeleton
      5m 19s
    2. Building the spine
      3m 39s
    3. Finishing the skeleton
      4m 32s
    4. Rigging the legs and feet
      8m 35s
    5. Rigging the torso
      3m 49s
    6. Rigging the arms and hands
      3m 35s
    7. Rigging the face and head
      5m 9s
    8. Rigging wrap-up
      2m 27s
    9. Skin binding and weight painting
      5m 26s
    10. Animating in Maya
      3m 50s
  6. 29m 9s
    1. Exploring the Unity interface
      3m 3s
    2. Importing character and animations into Unity
      5m 50s
    3. Controlling animations with scripts: Third-person character controller
      7m 14s
    4. Controlling animations with scripts: Third-person camera controller
      4m 4s
    5. Making read/write animations using UnityScript Editor
      4m 8s
    6. Controlling scripts with animation events
      4m 50s
  7. 19s
    1. Additional resources
      19s

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Game Character Creation in Maya
2h 58m Intermediate Sep 15, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Get a thorough overview of techniques for creating characters for video games or real-time rendered applications. Author Chris Reilly covers low-poly modeling, texturing and animation, using 3D model and texture assets created in Maya and Adobe Photoshop. The course also includes an overview of Unity 3, including importing characters and making interactive animations with the Script Editor.

Topics include:
  • Optimizing, extruding, and sculpting geometry
  • Modeling a character's head and body
  • UV-mapping the head and body
  • Mirroring and texturing
  • Setting up the skeleton
  • Rigging the head and body
  • Skin binding & weight painting
  • Controlling animation with scripts in Unity
Subjects:
3D + Animation Modeling Character Animation Game Design
Software:
Maya
Author:
Chris Reilly

Building the body and a wing

Okay, so I've done a little more work on the head here, just fleshing out the back and adding a few more details like the ears and the antenna. These are just simple extrusions. Your character may be a little bit different, so it's not really worth going into too much detail how I did that. So now let's go ahead and tackle the body. I'm going to hit Spacebar to switch to the Side viewport here. Just take a look at my reference image. So you can see the body is really kind of these two main shapes. So you have the torso here, which is this sort of elliptical sphere shape. It's pretty symmetrical.

Then you have this back wing shape that's quite a bit different than the torso. So I think to start fleshing out the body, a good strategy would be to make a sphere for this front part of the torso and then work separately on the shape it's going to make the wings. So I'll hit Spacebar to switch to Top view and I'm just going to draw out a polygon sphere. Go up to Create > Polygon Primitives > Sphere and just click and drag to line up with the reference image.

And back to Side view. I just want to make sure that I'm getting it aligned in all the views, so I'm just going to move using the Move tool. And just like with the head, this sphere that we just drew, this is probably too much geometry for what we need to do. So I'm going to go into the Channel Box. I'm going to click on this polySphere3 INPUT and change the Axis and Height Subdivisions for this sphere, probably something like 8 Axis Subdivisions and 6 Height Subdivisions.

It's going to give us more or less the right amount of geometry that we need for this body. Now just go ahead and make some scale adjustments to get it to line up with the reference image a little bit more closely. And I'll just hit Spacebar to switch to the Front view. Do the same thing. Okay, that looks pretty good. Now just like with the face and the head, we're going to be mirroring just half of this geometry. So we're just going to work on the right half and then mirror it later on. So I can go ahead and delete all these faces on the left side.

So I'll just hold down my right mouse button, switch to Face mode, and I can just click and drag to select all those faces and just go ahead and delete them. And again, since we're going to be mirroring, we want to make sure that that axis of symmetry on the body is lined up along the Y-axis just like we did for the head. So I'm just going to go ahead and right- click and select the whole body and hit W to activate the Move tool. So I want to move this right to the Y- axis and we do that just by holding down X to snap to grid and I'll snap right to that Y-axis gridline.

So let's make a couple more quick adjustments to some vertices here. So I'm holding down right mouse button to switch to Vertex component mode. Let me just drop that down a little bit and let me just adjust this. Okay, that looks pretty good. So I'll hit Spacebar to switch back to Side view. And like we said earlier, this front torso, this is very close to the spherical shape that we have right now.

The back wing shape is quite a bit different, so I'm actually just going to go ahead and delete all of this part in the back and we can flesh that out separately. So I'll do that with the Split Polygons tool. So I'll go ahead and select the entire sphere. I'm just holding down the right mouse button here. Now I'll go to Edit Mesh > Split Polygon Tool. In working off the reference image, I'm just going to click right along this line, this sort of lip where the wing ends and the torso begins. I'll just click and drag this. Let me click here.

And I'm really only going to look at the faces that are kind of directly facing the Side view camera. So these ones on top, I'm not going to worry about. Same thing with this little sliver down at the bottom. Once I'm done, I'll just hit Enter. Now I can switch back to Face component mode just by holding down right mouse button, and I'll just go ahead and select all these faces, so I'm Shift+Selecting here as I click and drag. I can just delete all of those. So I'll hit Spacebar to switch back to Perspective view and what I want to do here is just grab all these edges that are left after the faces we just deleted.

I'll extrude those out and that will kind of form the little lip of the wing as it leaves the torso. So I'll right mouse-click, switch to Edge component mode, select this top one, and I want to get all the way down here. So I'll just Shift+Double-Click and that will select the entire row of edges. So I'll hit Spacebar to switch to Front view now and let's go ahead and extrude these out a little bit. So I'll hit Edit Mesh > Extrude, and I want to be working in world coordinates here, so I'll click this little local world handle, and I want to move these out away from the body a little bit, maybe make a couple scale adjustments.

This part is really upto you how you want it to look. I'll hit Spacebar to switch back to Perspective view. The important thing is we're just kind of defining this little lip that's formed as the wings come over the torso. So I think that looks pretty good. I'll switch to Side view just by hitting Spacebar. Now to start forming this wing geometry on the back here, I'll do another extrusion. I just bring those edges backwards.

So I'll click Edit Mesh > Extrude and again I want world coordinates, not local. So let's bring those back a little bit. Now we'll switch to the Move tool. So what I want to do here is get all these edges to align vertically and I can do that by snapping to the grid. So I'll just hold down X, click and drag, and I'll just align these just so they're a little bit past this farthest vertex back. So I'll do a couple more extrusions to flesh out the back of the wings there.

For time sake, I'll just skip ahead to a point where I've already done it. So we can see here, I've just done a couple more extrusions, taking that vertical edge backward, scaling it down a little bit to follow the contour of the wings, and I've also brought these vertices down a little bit. Let me just hit Spacebar to switch to Side view. So bring those down to line up with the tips of the wings a little bit better. So a couple more finishing steps on the body.

We want to fill in this hole that forms sort of the little hump on the back of the wings. To do that, I'll switch to Edge mode, so I'm just holding down my right mouse button. I'll select this one and I want to select this whole row, so I'll just Shift+Double-Click, and we'll get that whole row of edges. So I just want to extrude these in towards the center, so I'll click Edit Mesh > Extrude, and it's probably easiest to do this from the Front view, so I'll maximize that by hitting the Spacebar.

And I want to switch to world coordinates, so I'll click this little world local axis handle, and I just want to scale these down. That looks pretty good. I'll move them in towards the center. Now let's switch to the Side view by hitting Spacebar and just push these back and continue the contour of the wing as it rounds out over the back there. Okay, I'll hit Spacebar to switch to Perspective view.

We have one more gap here. And again, since we're going to be mirroring this, we want to make sure that we're paying attention to our axis of symmetry, make sure that everything is butting up nicely to the Y-axis. So I'll just do one more extrusion of these edges. I'm just Shift+Selecting these three edges here. I'll do Edit Mesh > Extrude. And from the Front view, I'll just hit Spacebar to maximize. I want to work in world coordinates, so I'll click the local world handle there.

So I'm going to move these out, then we'll switch to the Move tool, hold down X to snap to grid, and just snap those right to the Y-axis there. So let's switch back to Perspective view just by hitting Spacebar and so you can see that little gap has been filled in. Now one additional thing we want to do, you can see I've these tiny edges down here from that last extrusion that I did to flesh out the back of the wings. I want to grab all those vertices.

So I'm just holding down right mouse button here and switching to Vertex component mode. So let's click and drag to select all those. I'm just going to merge these all together and that's going to get rid of some excess geometry that we would otherwise have there in the back of the wing. So I'll click Edit Mesh > Merge, and I might need to adjust my tolerance on the Merge tool. So let's select Merge with options and let's just increase that Threshold there to maybe 0.05. Okay.

Great! And you can see all those vertices were merged into just one, so that gets of some excess geometry. It helps us keep our poly count low. So I'll continue to do a little bit more kind of fine-tuning here, maybe smoothing out this contour to get it to match a little bit more closely to the wings. For time's sake, I'll just skip ahead. Okay, so I would keep making some little fine-tuning adjustments, maybe smoothing out this back wing here to get it to match more closely with the reference image. One additional thing I did was use the Split Polygon tool to add a couple extra edges here, and that's going to make it a little bit easier as we go in to do the arms.

But that's basically how we flesh out the body and the wing and in the next video, we'll work on the limbs.

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