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Modelling, Mapping and Texturing a Creatures Head

By Richard Tilbury
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Software used:
3ds Max

This overview of 3DTotal's Training DVD Modelling a Creatures Head is a broken down version of the DVD. It wont give away the key elements of the modelling and texturing process but it will give you a insite to how indepth the DVD is. Part 1 of this overview will be going over a few steps of the modelling, mapping and unwrapping stages with part 2 going over the texturing process. All of the things covered in this overview are taken from the DVD.

## Modelling

The DVD contains 13 movies, 57 stills and 33 pages of printable text on this section

We begin this tutorial by creating a box with an equal width to height ratio. After converting the cube to an editable mesh and flipping the normals we can then face map our front and profile drawings onto the corresponding sides as seen in the below image. By cropping the drawings beforehand so they are square we can guarantee there is no distortion when they are mapped onto the faces.

The next step is to create a box with 4 segments along each of the three dimensions and scale the width and height to match the proportions of our template as seen the image to the right

If we look at the image below we can see how on the far left we had a version of our model a with some extra divisions across the jaw line as well as vertically through the head either side of the central line. In stage 2 we see a additional development of cross sections done using the Ring and Connect tools together with some extra detail running up the front of the head that further enhance the mouth and chin areas. In stage 3 we can see that the resultant extra verts have been moved in order to create a neck and sculpt the jaw line, eyebrow shape and lips. What you will also notice is that the vertices at the corner of the mouth have been temporarily Welded to form three triangles. This is an issue that will be corrected later as it may cause a visible crease when the model is smoothed. This is also a problem especially around the mouth area because if we were to animate our character there needs to be a sufficient number of verts at the corner of the mouth in order that it may open and stretch convincingly as this is a particularly flexible part of the face and if the Polygons ended in a single vert there would be some pinching and certainly creasing. The other noticeable change is the nose which has been extended outwards. This is done by Extruding a number of Polygons in the next stage.

Although we are gradually adding more detail as we go along it is our intention to eventually add some smoothing to our model and dramatically increase the number of Polygons as a result. This enables us to have a more detailed and organic model and so what we are actually seeing at the moment is not in fact a true representation of what we will end up with, rather a cruder more angular version. You may ask whether the notion of refining our model at a stage that does not show the finished version is a practical or indeed useful method. Well it is a good point but what this technique allows is a lower and more manageable number of Poly's to work with but with a more highly polished result. However it is good practice to apply our smoothing mid-process in order that we can check our progress. We do this by first being in Modify mode as seen ringed in red in the below image.

In Sub-Object Poly mode click on the Cut tool and add some edges in positions marked in red in the below image. You can see that at either end there are two triangles and so in order to get rid of these we need to make another cut just above as seen by the green line. As you will notice there is now a Quad at each end as opposed to a triangle but we have not had to add edges all around the head. This essentially wraps up the various Modelling techniques covered in this overview and all that is left to do now is tweak the head ready for Texturing using the methods outlined so far.

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