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Modeling a Character in Maya
Illustration by John Hersey

Cleaning up problem areas


From:

Modeling a Character in Maya

with Ryan Kittleson

Video: Cleaning up problem areas

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.
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  1. 2m 6s
    1. Welcome
      1m 27s
    2. Using the exercise files
      39s
  2. 31m 38s
    1. Navigation and views
      3m 7s
    2. Using Smooth Preview
      1m 34s
    3. Using the Extrude tool
      5m 58s
    4. Using the power of Soft Select
      3m 54s
    5. Adding new detail to an existing model
      3m 52s
    6. Using the Sculpt Geometry tool
      4m 35s
    7. Working symmetrically
      5m 17s
    8. Setting up the image planes in Maya
      3m 21s
  3. 18m 43s
    1. Proper edge flow
      6m 4s
    2. Attaching separately modeled body parts
      7m 6s
    3. Managing your scene
      5m 33s
  4. 45m 43s
    1. Beginning the basic facial structure
      6m 40s
    2. Making the head and neck
      5m 13s
    3. Refining the mouth
      4m 47s
    4. Forming the eyes
      7m 20s
    5. Building the nose
      3m 1s
    6. Crafting the ears
      6m 18s
    7. Making the teeth and gums
      8m 14s
    8. Modeling the tongue and eyebrow
      4m 10s
  5. 26m 28s
    1. Modeling the upper torso
      5m 33s
    2. Working from the waist down to the feet
      4m 55s
    3. Constructing the palm and thumb
      4m 18s
    4. Making fingers and finishing the hand
      4m 54s
    5. Applying artistic principles to the body
      6m 48s
  6. 13m 28s
    1. Drawing the NURBS curves for hair
      8m 57s
    2. Sculpting the polygonal hair clumps
      4m 31s
  7. 20m 43s
    1. Modeling the pants
      6m 16s
    2. Creating the shirt
      8m 7s
    3. Making the shoes
      6m 20s
  8. 22m 16s
    1. Creases and hard edges
      7m 22s
    2. Cleaning up problem areas
      5m 0s
    3. Putting on the finishing touches
      4m 58s
    4. Adapting one model for many characters
      4m 56s
  9. 2m 19s
    1. Recap and further recommendations
      2m 19s

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Modeling a Character in Maya
3h 3m Intermediate Oct 12, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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

Topics include:
  • Smoothing out rough, polygonal surfaces with Smooth Preview
  • Fashioning limbs and features from an existing model
  • Manipulating polygons to create detail
  • Using the Sculpt Geometry tool to make organic changes
  • Modeling facial structure and the body
  • Creating hair with NURBS curves
  • Modeling pants, shoes, and shirts
  • Forming creases and hard edges
  • Fixing problem areas
  • Applying the finishing touches
Subjects:
3D + Animation Modeling Character Animation
Software:
Maya
Author:
Ryan Kittleson

Cleaning up problem areas

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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