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In Modeling a Character in Maya, join author Ryan Kittleson for a thorough demonstration on how to create a professional, realistic 3D character from scratch in Maya 2011. The course illustrates how key concepts and tools such as Soft Select and polygon extrusions apply to character modeling, and provides a simple step-by-step approach to building character anatomy, including the torso, limbs, hands, face, and hair. Also included are tutorials on modeling clothing and shoes, and refining character features to reach the final product. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisites: Maya 2011 Essential Training
In a production setting, the 3D models are some of the first things that are created and everyone later on in the pipeline works on the models. So you create the model and then someone else textures it and someone else rigs it and someone else animates it. Any problems that exists in the model from beginning are going to cause problems for people later on. So, in order to stop people from knocking at your door asking you to fix things all the time, I want to show a few very common problems you can make sure to cleanup before you send the model off to anybody else.
So in this Exercise File, you've a few problems in this model, some that were in the model when we created it and also some that I created just for this video so we can see how to fix them up. The first thing I want to talk about is six-sided stars or six-pointed stars. A six-pointed star is what happens when you have a vertex that's connected by six edges. Let me zoom in on the face, so we can see what that means. So, most of these vertices on the face are simply connected to four other edges.
So one, two, three and four. But every once in while, you'll find six different edges connecting into one vertex. That gives this one vertex weight over a very large area. It has more weight than it should probably have. So we want to clean this up, so we don't have any more six-pointed stars here. I've come up with an approach that helps clean these up that's really straightforward and simple. So what you want to do when you have got a six-point star is you want to find one edge that you want to keep. So there might be this edge required here that you want to keep and you want to get rid of edges on the other side of it.
So let's say that this is the edge I want to keep. So there are two edges on this side of it and there are two edges on the side of it. Let's get rid of these, one, two, three and four. So I'm going to delete these edges and so we're left with this one edge loop down in the middle. That's good! We want to keep that one. The next thing I want to do is go into Edit Mesh menu and grab this Split Polygon tool. What we want to do is cut across this edge that we kept from edges on the other side. So I'm going to start cutting from right here and just cut across this edge in the middle that we kept and cut across to the other side.
And then from this vertex and cut across to the other side and then finally from this one and cut across to the other side. So you can what we're left with is much cleaner geometry. There is no more six-pointed stars and this is what we want. Something else that can cause a problem is just simply messy geometry. I'm going to move the shirt out of the way really quick, so we can see what's happening in the chest. I'm just going to delete it for now. So, on the chest is what you might see if someone did a sloppy job of connecting the head to the body, for example.
And if you have got different things running in all kinds of different directions and they weren't quite sure exactly how to connect different parts. So this might happen in real life and there's a simple way to clean it up. I'm going to go into Edge mode and just select a bunch of these edges that need to be cleaned up. I want to grow the selection by holding down Shift and pressing the Period button. I just want to delete some of these edges that are just messy. I want get them out of the way. So I've deleted everything that was messy.
Now all you have to do is go and select the Split Polygon tool and just re-cut everything. So, we've got one edge loop that is pretty contiguous right here, so we can assume that this one up here should also be continuous. We've just cut across from here to here and just start connecting the dots and filling in the gaps. You just want to keep cutting across until the whole thing is filled in. One last common problem is five-sided faces. Those are faces that have more than four edges.
So right here on the back side, you can see I've got a five-sided polygon right here and this needs to be cleaned up. One way to clean it up is to cut a new Edge Loop that continues all the way across this and turns this five-sided polygon into two four-sided polygons. So I'm going to go in Edit Mesh and Insert Edge Loop tool and just throw in a new edge loop right here. And if I go to Split Polygon tool and just connect across here, you can see now we have all four-sided faces. That's one solution, but it causes you to insert an edge loop and might create more geometry than that you want in other places.
So another solution is to delete this edge on this other side. So I'm just going to go to the Edge mode and select one of these edges and we can delete the entire edge loop at once. If we hold down the Ctrl key and right- click and go to Edge Loop Utilities and Edge Loop and Delete. So that's cleaned up that five-sided polygon. So fixing problem areas might not be the funnest part of modeling, but it's important to check them off your list every time you model. These are some of the most common problems that I run into and so it's best to take care of them before you send the model off to anybody else.
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