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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
So we have some polygon extrusions here. They look a little bit blocky and there are still lots of things that we need to do to it, but it's a solid start for moving on. Let's zoom in and see what we are working with. So each one of these polygon extrusions, it's very simple at this point, but that's what we want to work with. They also have this open end to them. We need to close that off. The first thing I want to do is just get rid of these NURBS curves. They are getting in the way. We don't need them anymore. So we will just go up into Show menu in the Viewport menu and just go up to NURBS Curves. We just want to hide all those NURBS Curves. So it just hid all those curves.
First let's close off these holes. It will be easier to do if these hair extrusions are all just one object, so I'm going to select all of these and go to Mesh > Combine. So now that they're all one object we can just close off all those holes at once and go into Mesh > Fill Hole. I am going to turn off Soft Select to make it easier to see. Okay so all of these holes have been capped. Maya just went and looks for any open areas and capped it off with a polygon. Let me go into Smooth Preview mode so we can see what this hair is going to look like when it's actually smoothed out.
So it's pretty simple at this point. It looks like something it might come out of a Play-Doh extruder. All of these hair clumps are the same thickness all the way along. So what would make this hair more appealing is if that changes in thickness, so maybe it gets a little thicker in the middle and then as it gets towards the tip, it's get a little bit thinner. We can do that really easily with this Sculpt Geometry tool. Let me just go up and pick this Sculpt Geometry tool and turn on tool settings and let me use Pull to make some parts of this hair thicker.
What Pull is going to do is basically just going to thicken up parts of this and push different vertices away from each other. Now to make the tips thinner I want to use the Smooth. Now you might not think that Smooth would make these thinner, but the geometry is so simple at this point that Smooth is basically just working as a shrink ray. It just shrinks everything up. Something else that you can do style this hair is to use Soft Select, so I just want to select some of these vertices and hit B to turn on Soft Select. So if you want to change the shape of one of these clumps overall, just change its position a little bit, it's really easy to do with Soft Select.
We can also change the Falloff mode to Global, so now you can affect all the other clumps as well if you want to make more sweeping changes to the style overall. All right, let's evaluate what we have so far. I'm going to go into Objects mode and we have got Hank on the Template layer. Let's just change that to Reference so we can see the body in relation to the hair. So some of these clumps are looking pretty good. There are a few bald spots and when are filling those bald spots is to go and create some more hair curves and you could extrude them again. Something that might work out faster, however, is if you duplicate some of these hair clumps into more hair clumps.
I just want to separate these clumps again into separate objects and everything turned into Unsmooth mode. So let me just re-smooth it. So you can take one of these separate hair clumps. I am going to turn off Soft Select. And do Ctrl+D on a PC or Command+D on a Mac, and it will just duplicate that clump. Then we go into Move mode and we wonder where our pivot point is. When you duplicate an object it creates a new pivot point for the object down at the origin. So let's just move that pivot point up and make it easier to work with. I am going to zoom in on it again.
So now we have got two clumps here. We can just move one and position it somewhere else to help fill in some bald spots. So let's select all of our hair curves, and I want to turn off the Smooth Preview. You can see it's really chunky. So I just want to smooth everything, just make it a little bit more dense and also make its unsmooth version a little bit more of a close approximation to what the smooth version is going to look like in the end. So you can see it's a little bit more dense and it's nice to make it denser after you have tweaked the shape so that you have fewer points to work with while you are trying to edit it, and then if you want to make finer adjustments, then you smooth it and you have more detail to work with.
So although it's impossible for me to demonstrate every possible way to make hair, the skills learned by doing it this way can help you make not only hair, but tentacles, anything that has a tubular shape to it.
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