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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
Modeling fingers is a good way to learn some timesaving techniques by modeling just one finger and then copying it for the others. Let's look at our Exercise Files that we've got the hand base already constructed. Let me zoom-in on the Perspective view and let's see what we are working with here. So we've got to make some fingers that come out of this open area in the palm. Let's make a cube from the Polygon shelf. We'll just drag it out over the Front view. Well, let's make something that roughly looks like a finger. I am just going to move it into place.
So in the Perspective View let's see if we can move this little bit closer into place. Okay, that looks good. So we're going to attach this eventually to the hand. So I am going to go into Face mode and just delete this face right here. We don't need it. We also want to make room on the palm for receiving these fingers. So there should be three faces. We're going to make three fingers, so there should be three edges along this and three edges along the palm side. So let's just go to Insert Edge Loop tool and make those. And on the palm side, we'll go right here. I am going to scoot these vertices over so that it's spaced out more evenly later.
All right! This adds a little bit more detail to the finger. I am going to insert some edge loops and just refine the shape of this a little bit more. I want to put one right here and shrink it down. If you look at your own finger you might notice how just past the knuckle the fingers actually get kind of thin. So I am going to put in an edge loop there, and shrink it down a little bit, and then fingers kind of get a little bit thicker again towards the middle of the finger. So if I insert an Edge Loop there, I am just going to leave it that size, and then we'll shrink down this polygon at the end.
Make it a little bit smaller. Now I just want to insert a few more edge loops just to make things a little bit more squarer, and evenly spaced, and maybe I'll shrink that just a little bit. Hit G to redo the Insert Edge Loop tool. So if we hit the Smooth Preview, you can see we've got the start of the finger going on here. Just as a stylistic choice, I want to make the tips of the fingers just a little bit flatter and squarer since it is a cartoony character. So I am going to put in just another edge loop right there towards the end of the finger.
So you can see that extra edge loop towards the end just gives the finger just a little flat look towards the tip. All right! Let me move this finger just a little bit closer to the palm. So now we can duplicate this finger into the other two. I am going to hit Ctrl+D or Command+D on a Mac, and it just creates a duplicate of the finger. I am going to slide that over a little bit and we can just repeat that same thing. Ctrl+D on a PC or Command+D on a Mac.
So now we've got three fingers going. I might want to rotate the index finger out just a little bit, and also rotate the pinky out just a little bit, and maybe the middle finger I want to be a little bit longer than the other, so I'll just scale that, and move it into place. Now all we need to do is make this one continuous mesh. So I am going to select everything and just go up to Mesh and Combine it. So we've got one single mesh here.
Now, I want to snap the vertices together with Merge. So if I zoom-in on this vertex, we can go up to Edit Mesh and Merge. I am just creating one continuous surface, and I am hitting G to repeat the Merge function. Let's zoom out and see what we've got. So if we hit the Smooth Preview we can see we've got some fingers going. Lets add some detail to the thumb to make it look more like what we've got going to the fingers. I am just going to insert an edge loop and shrink this one up a little bit.
Maybe I want to insert another Edge Loop closer towards the tip of the thumb, so it also has the kind of flattened appearance that the fingers do, and maybe I want to give the thumb a little bit of a knuckle as well. So I'll insert an edge loop and increase the size of it for little bit of a knuckle on the thumb. Now, at this point, you can just use your artistic judgment and tweak the shape of the fingers and the thumb. You can insert more edge loops and you can detail them out to make them look the way you want.
It's really up to you. So this technique of duplicating objects can really save time. If you create one of them, then you can duplicate it and make little adjustments to each of the duplicates, so you don't have to model each of them independently.
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