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Constructing the palm and thumb

From: Modeling a Character in Maya

Video: Constructing the palm and thumb

Hands are widely regarded as one of the most complex anatomical structures for the artist. The steps that I'm going to show you are going to break down and simplify the hand into the most important shapes first. Many people struggle for days to make good hands, because they haven't established a good base structure for them first. So I wish that you have to do it right and start with a good foundation. So in your scene file, we can see we've got the body and the head. I've put them on a template layer, so that they won't get in the way. We can still see them, but I just don't want them to be in the way.

Constructing the palm and thumb

Hands are widely regarded as one of the most complex anatomical structures for the artist. The steps that I'm going to show you are going to break down and simplify the hand into the most important shapes first. Many people struggle for days to make good hands, because they haven't established a good base structure for them first. So I wish that you have to do it right and start with a good foundation. So in your scene file, we can see we've got the body and the head. I've put them on a template layer, so that they won't get in the way. We can still see them, but I just don't want them to be in the way.

I want to start out by creating a box over the palm. So let me zoom out in the Top view and the Front view, so we can see where this box is going to go. I'm just going to drag it out roughly over the shape of the palm and I'll just move that into place. So I'm going to zoom in to this box in the Perspective view and see how we can work with this. So we know we're going to have to connect this hand to the wrist at some point. So I'm just going to delete this polygon here towards the wrist. We don't need to deal with that.

Also, we're going to be putting some fingers on here later. So I'm going to just delete that, so we have that opened up too. Now, if we look at where the thumb is going to go, we could make a face right here and extrude the thumb out of this side. But if you look at your own hand, you can see that the thumb isn't actually coming out of the side of the palm, but actually a good one-third of the palm of your hand is made up of the thumb. So let's build the thumb, so it actually comes out of a good chunk of the palm as well as the side of the hand. I want to insert an edge loop, so that we can create faces for extruding the thumb out.

I am going to split it horizontally, and then I'm also going to split it right here. So now you can see if the thumb were to be extruded out of these two polygons. That is pretty good place for the thumb to go. So now I'm going to go up to some Extrude. We'll just pull these faces out. I'm going to go into Move mode in the Side View, so I can see it a little more easily. In a natural resting position, the thumb kind of sticks down at a 45-degree angle and it also moves forward at kind of a 45-degree angle as well.

So I'm just going to shape this and move it into position. See what this looks like. Okay. So we've got the angle established. The tip of this is still kind of weird. So let's work with the shape a little bit and maybe let's say we'll move these vertices up, so we get little bit more of a flat spot and let's round this out a little bit. I am going to go into Face mode and shrink these down a little bit. These are too big. I'm going to tweak this vertex right back here, so we get a little bit more of a natural shape.

So what we have right here is the basic flow zone for the thumb and for the palm. Very, very, bare bones simple. But you see if we hit the Smooth Preview, it looks like a little soft mitten shape. But everything is here that we need. If we want to add more detail, it's very easy to do at this point, because we've established the basic flow zone structure. One more adjustment I want to make to the tip of the thumb here is to angle it so that the tip of the thumb is in line with the angle of the direction of the thumb.

So let's see if I move to a view like this, and just rotate that tip. Okay, so that's now more in line with the overall direction of the thumb. So now if I insert some more edge loops, we can start to shape out this thumb here. So I inserted an Edge Loop and I'm just going to shrink that down a little bit, and see what that looks like. Okay, so that's going good. Now with Smooth Preview turned on, we can see that the thumb with just these very simple edge loops is really starting to take shape.

So the hand is a good example of learning how to break objects down into the shapes that they're made up of. The thumb and the hand are very complex when you first look at them in the real world. But if you break it down into a box that has an extrusion coming out of it at an angle, it's really easy to think about it that way, and if you just model it barebones basic like that, and then just continue to add detail to it. It comes out much better in the end.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Modeling a Character in Maya
Modeling a Character in Maya

36 video lessons · 13879 viewers

Ryan Kittleson
Author

 
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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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