Tutorials Images for Characters Modeling

Modeling is where everything begins. Without a model, we have no object to rig, animate, texture, light or render. Because of this, it is important that the model is suitable for the needs of the project. Before starting a model we need to know its purpose, and thus its criteria. Is it for game or film? Does it need to be animated or is it for illustration only? How close do we get to the model? The list goes on.

For this set of tutorials, I am going to create an asset that will be suitable for film. In this first part, we are going to bring some references into Maya and begin blocking out the model, making sure the proportions are roughly correct with big, broad moves.
Step 1: Bringing in the Reference
For this tutorial, I have been given permission by the awesome folks at 3dscanstore to use a couple of images from their Male reference library. If you haven't, I suggest you check out what they have on offer, as they have some fantastic resources. For this tutorial, we'll be using two reference images, one for the front view and one for the side. You can download the references and Maya scene files here.

Open up a clean scene in Maya and navigate to the front view. Go to View > Default View to reset the camera. Next go to View > Image Plane > Import Image and select 'maleRef_front.jpg'.

In the Attribute Editor, scroll to the Image Plane tab and reduce the Alpha Gain to 0.8. Repeat the same steps for the side view, only this time, bringing in 'maleRef_side.jpg'. 

Once both images are in, line them up using the Center attributes under the Placement Extras tab and push them back along their corresponding axes so we have some space in the center to work in.

Step 2: One Half Only
Start by going to Create > Polygon primitives > Cube, making sure Interactive Creation is unchecked so we get a cube that is centered in World space.

With the cube selected, go to the Channel Box and click on polyCube1 found under Inputs. When it opens up, increase the Subdivisions width to 2. 
Go into the Front view, hold the RMB over the cube, go into Faces mode and select the entire screen left-hand side of the cube and delete it. Hold the RMB over the cube once more, go into Object mode and then go to Edit > Duplicate Special (Options). Change the Geometry Type to Instance and pop a -1 into the first Scale box and hit Apply. 

We should now have our complete cube back, only now if we edit one half of the cube in sub-component mode, we will affect the other. Please note that editing the cube in Object mode will have no affect on the duplicated half.

Step 3: Blocking the torso
Go into vertex mode and start pushing the points to roughly match the form of the torso from the naval to the line of the clavicles. 

Next, use the Insert Edge Loop tool and add a loop just below the nipple line and then using the front, side and perspective views, move the vertices to sit nicely against the reference. 

Select the face on the underside of the cube, use the Extrude tool to pull out the lower abdominal region and then extrude again for the pelvis region. 

If you view the geometry from the inside, or hit F3 to smooth the model (I find this a great way to help reveal issues), you will notice some internal faces. This is not good so make sure to delete it. 

Next, take the bottom outside edge and push it in to form the crotch region. Again, make sure to check all your pushing and pulling of points against the reference in every view.
Step 4: Hips and Legs
To pull out the leg, select the bottom outside face as illustrated in the image and use the Extrude tool. Pull it downwards to the top of the patella and use the Scale tool to flatten off the face in the Y axis. 

With that face still selected, perform another extrusion to the bottom of the patella followed by another to the ankle region and one more to the sole of the foot. Go in and rearrange all the points to better match the reference. 

Next select the front face at the bottom of the leg and extrude outwards in the Z axis. Pull out to the ball of the foot and then perform another extrusion to the tip of the toes.

Step 5: Shoulders and Arms
Select the face as illustrated in the image and once again use the Extrude tool to pull it out. This section will form the deltoid region.
Next select the underside face from that region and extrude downwards to the top of the elbow. Perform another extrusion and pull the resulting face down to the middle of the forearm.
To mimic the twisting of the muscles of the forearm, select the end face of the arm and rotate it around 45 degrees. Re-shape the geometry and then perform another extrusion to the base of the wrist. Rotate that face a further 45 degrees and again re-shape the area to better match your reference. A final extrude for the palm and we will leave the hand here for now.

Step 6: Neck and Head
Select the face at the top of the mesh and use the Extrude tool to pull out the neck, followed by another extrude to form the mass of the head. Then select the front face from the head and do one last extrude for the face.
Check for any internal faces and delete them if they exist and then make sure to use the front, side and perspective views to line up the model to the reference. Next time, we will break up the model, ready to work on each section individually.

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