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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.
So I've done some more work adding a little bit more detail to the body. So I've done things like flesh out the collar here up at the top. At this point I think starting my arms is a good idea. So if we take a look at the reference image, we can see that our character is kind of a big fat goofy bug with small spindly arms, so we'll do some extrusions with a small diameter to give him those insect-like limbs. Now of course your character might not be a bug, so you might want arms that are more muscular, larger, something like that. But we'll kind of go over the basics of forming a limb.
Another thing to notice in the reference image is that he has these sort of little shoulder sockets that are coming off of the wing and the upper arm is actually coming out of the wing itself. This is kind of a cartoony character. The wing is actually sort of almost like a cape too because it has this little collar that comes up. So you could think of this almost as like a sleeve that the arm is coming through, and that's kind of one of the challenges sometimes of working with a cartoony characters, that you can't always rely on sort of the laws of anatomy as you go through your modeling process. So I'm going to switch to Face component mode here.
I'm just holding down the right mouse button, and I want to look at this face to start forming that little shoulder socket. Let's switch to the Side view just so you can see where I'm at. So in the Side view that's kind of the face that's over that shoulder socket. So I'm just going to do a couple extrusions here to start forming the geometry that will make that socket that comes off of the wing between the upper arm and the wing. So I'll click Edit Mesh > Extrude and I'll just do a couple of extrusions here. I'm just scaling this down. And Edit Mesh > Extrude again. Scale down again.
I want to push this back a little bit and that's going to kind of form a little lip as that shoulder socket transitions from the wing. So we'll Edit Mesh > Extrude one more time, and that's going to be our little sort of bump. That's the shoulder socket that comes off of the wing and transitions into the upper arm. So I'm going to Extrude one more time and that's going to form the face that we'll use to extrude and form the upper arm, and like we said before, just going by the reference image his arms are real spindly, so I want to make this a pretty small face.
So I'm going to switch to Front view just by clicking Spacebar and one additional thing to notice is that in this reference image, his arms are bent and we actually want to model his arms just sticking straight out, kind of fully extended, and that's going to make it much, much easier later on down the line when we go to do things like rigging for animation. If we try to model his arms bent like this, it's just going to create lots of headaches as we try to set it up for animation. So I'm going to deviate a little bit from the reference image here and that's okay.
One thing that's going to help make it easier as we extrude straight out, let me switch back to Side view here just by clicking Spacebar. We want to make some adjustments to the vertices that form this face that we'll use to make the upper arm. So I actually want to make sure that these are parallel to the X and Y axes, and that will just make it simpler as we do more extrusions to form the rest of the arm. So I'm going to turn off X-Ray Shading. That will just make it a little bit more easy to work visually. So Shading, uncheck X-Ray, we'll switch to Vertex mode.
I'm just going to hold down my right mouse button, Vertex, and for all these vertices around the edge of the face that we're about to extrude for the arm, we'll just select them in pairs, get the Move tool, and hold down X to snap to grid.
Okay. So I'll switch back to Face Mode. Now, we're ready to do an extrusion that will form the upper arm. So switch to the Front viewport, and I'll just do Edit Mesh > Extrude, and I want to extrude this straight out from the body. And rather than doing this in local coordinates, I want to do this in world coordinates, because I just want to take it straight out. So I'll click this local world coordinate handle and just bring this straight out. Now again, this face that I'm extruding for the arm, I want it to be parallel to the Y-axis.
So I'm going to switch to the Move tool, hold down X to snap to grid, just click-and-drag, and that's going to snap it parallel to the Y-axis. If we notice from the reference image, the arm kind of tapers down into this very, very narrow joint at the elbow. So I also want to scale this face down and I can just do that uniformly. Maybe move it up a little bit with the Move tool. Again, just looking back at the reference image, you can see right after the elbow, he has kind of got this bigger upper arm, kind of miniature Popeye arms.
So to form that geometry, I'll do a couple of more extrusions. So I'll extrude out and I'll scale it up just a little bit. Do Edit Mesh > Extrude again. This time I'm not scaling. I'm just going to bring it out just a little bit and then Edit Mesh > Extrude one more time and that will form the lower arm. So in addition to forming the shape of the upper arm as it transitions into the elbow, this is going to give us some geometry that will make it easier as the arm bends once we go and do some animation and rigging on this character.
So again, that lower arm is going to taper as it transitions into the wrist. So I'll scale that down a little bit. Then for the hand, we'll just do Edit Mesh > Extrude, just come out a little bit, and this will form sort of the base of the palm. And to do the thumb and the forefinger, I'm just going to switch to Perspective Mode just by hitting Spacebar.
So I want to extrude one more time. So Edit Mesh > Extrude, just bring this out, scale it down, and then grab this face for the thumb, extrude up, and just scale it down a little bit. So our character doesn't have very detailed hands. He is a bug, so I think that's okay.
As I go through this modeling process, again, I'll switch back and forth between Smooth Preview by clicking 3. I can get the smooth version, 1, back to normal, and you can see when I click 3, I'm not getting good amount of detail as I go through those transitions of the joints. So I'm going to go ahead and just add a couple of edge loops along the wrist, and at the elbow, and at the shoulder. I'll just do one right now. So do Edit Mesh > Insert Edge Loop, and just click-and-drag. So maybe right there and that's going to kind of reinforce that taper of the upper arm as it meets the elbow.
So as we can see if we turn the Smooth Preview back on, that taper of the upper arm gets a little bit more well-defined. So we can continue to add a few more edge loops at points where we need a little bit more definition, as the geometry transitions between limbs. For time's sake, I'll just skip ahead. Let's just see what this would look like with a few extra edge loops. So you can see I've added a couple on the palm, couple on the thumb, one at the elbow, and one at the shoulder.
If we turn on Smooth Preview, you can see you get a much better definition of the geometry. So the process for creating the rest of the limbs is going to be pretty similar. Just keep in mind that the key to creating interesting limbs is really to realize that there are changes in shape as we go from one joint to the next. It's not just a straight extrusion.
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