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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 clothing can be tricky because the way it comes into such close contact with the skin. By creating the clothing directly from the body, not only does it become easier to manage, but it's faster since you already have the geometry created for it. So, the pants are pretty much the same shape as the legs. You can just steal what we've already made from the legs and repurpose it for the pants. I'm going to zoom in and see how we can do that. So, the pants are probably going to come up to on the waist to about this point. So we already have an edge loop here that can be the top of the pants.
We also have an edge loop down here at the bottom of the pants that can define the cuff. Everything in between is also the correct topology, so this is going to be really easy. Now, I don't want to cut up the body. I want to make a duplicate of this so that we can extract the pants from a duplicate. I'm just going to hit Ctrl+D and make a duplicate of the body. So I want to get the body out of the way for now. So, I'm just going to go up into the Display menu and go to Hide > Hide Selection. So the body is hidden for now. We can do whatever we want to this object that's going to become the pants.
So, one way to start cutting this up is if we go into Face mode, we can establish which faces we want to be the top of the pants. I'm going to delete this ring of faces right here in order to separate the pants from the upper body that we don't need anymore. So we click one of these polygons, I'm going to turn off Soft Select, go to the polygon next to it, hold down Shift and double-click. It's going to select the entire ring of polygons and I just want to delete it. I can do the same thing down here too to separate the pants from the feet, and the same thing on the other side.
Let me go into Object mode and zoom out so we can see what we have. So, that's pretty much just the body with the pants cut out. If we go into the Mesh menu and hit Separate, it's going to break all of these separate parts into separate objects. So I can just get rid of these parts that I don't want anymore and just zoom in on the pants. Okay, let's bring back the body that we hid before, so we can see how it relates to the pants. Go up to Display > Show > All.
So, you can see the pants are sitting directly on the body. we need to move those out a little bit so that they're not overlapping so exactly. One quick way to do that is with the Sculpt Geometry tool. I turn that on and turn on the tool settings. Now, I could use the Pull and just go and sculpt on here and pull the pants away from the body a little bit, but one way that I can do it very evenly is with this Flood function. What Flood is going to do is it's going to go and affect all the polygons equally at once.
Let's see what happens when I click this and I'll click it a few more times. As you can see it's pulling the pants out away from the body. So, I'm going to close these tool Settings for now and zoom in on the pants and see what this looks like. It's pretty close. One issue we have is that the edge flow for the body was kind of going in this little wavy pattern, which is fine for the body but the pants, I want to have at a little bit straighter line. So let's figure out how we can get this top of the pants to be straighter. I'm going to go into the Edge mode and double-click on an edge so we can get this entire edge ring. So I just want to flatten this part out.
One way you can do that is with the Scale tool. So, we got Scale and if I just grab on this handle up here and scale down, everything flattens out to a really flat line. Let me turn on Wireframe mode. So you can see that this ring has now been flattened, but it's intersecting with the body here and it's going down inside the pants here. Not to worry. It's really easy to deal with this. So, I'm going to turn Shaded mode back on by hitting 5 and let's go ahead and rotate. I do want the pants line to be rotated forward a little bit. Let's move it up just a little bit too and I can just use Scale and Move to position this ring a little bit better in relation to the body.
Zoom in here and look at it all the way around. All right, that's pretty close. Maybe I want to pull these in a little bit closer so I just want to go into Vertex mode and hit Soft Select. Now, you notice we've already got Reflection turned on. To remind you if you want to turn on Reflection, it's up in the tool settings for any of your translation tools. So Reflection, we've got that turned on. So, I'm just going to zoom in here and we can just move these vertices so that they're a little bit closer to the body.
Okay that looks good. The one issue that we're having now is that a lot of these edges now are kind of unevenly spaced out. It's actually going to be really easy to address that with the Sculpt Geometry tool. If we go to the Relax, what this is going to do is it's going to help space out a lot of these vertices so that they're more even, and we can just start brushing on it and you can see it's just doing exactly that, spacing everything out. We are almost done with these pants.
There is just one thing we need to do. I'm going to zoom in on the top of the pants so we can see what I'm talking about. The pants don't have any thickness. It's just one single polygon plane thin. Let's give it thickness by going to Extrude and Extrude can work on the entire object at once, rather than just individual polygons. I'll zoom out and see... Okay, so we want to grab on this blue handle. What this is going to do is, just going to expand this new extrusion out away from the pants. You can extrude it out this way. You can also extrude it in towards the body.
So, that looks pretty good. Let's see what happens if we turn on the smooth preview with that and we get out of the Extrude mode. So we've got a nice round top to these pants. Also same thing down here the bottom. So, anytime that you need clothing or accessories that closely relate to the topology of the body, you can use this technique to make it very quickly and easily. It works for anything like belts, wristbands, masks, anything that's close to the body.
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