13. I add an edge here to define the wrist and topside of the hand. I remove a few edges on the hand by right-clicking, holding down Ctrl and clicking Remove. By holding Ctrl and clicking Remove, it removes edges and vertices at once - a clean remove. In general, you should always be removing this way to keep the whole model clean, as we did with our snap cutting (Fig.13).
14. I'm working on the underside of the hand, re-flowing the topology to form the two major padded sections of the palm. It's important to note here the flow of the edges around the thumb, as this will later be very efficient in pivoting the thumb around. All of this is done in the same manner as before, adding and removing edges to optimize the flow (Fig.14a & Fig.14b).
15. The top of the hand topology should flow out of the fingers and into the wrist, just as the bones and sinews do anatomically. I reduce the edge loops around the fingers to adjust the joints and a connector loop near the knuckle. I'm also making an attempt to clean up the hand by removing and adding edges. The aim of this is to end up with all quads. Of course, as this is for real-time, quads are not as essential as for film or other models. The main issue is that triangles and 5+ sided polygons do not smooth well. As real-time models are not smoothed with turbo or meshsmooth we do not have that consideration. In fact, for real-time models, triangles are a tool that we can use to reduce the overall poly count or create points like the elbow or ankle bones without using too many polygons (Fig.15).
16. To further work on the hand I need to hide a large portion of the mesh. Sometimes it can be difficult to see the area you're working on when the rest of the mesh is in the way. Select everything but the hand up to the elbow and in the modifier stack, scroll down, and press the Hide Selected button (Fig.16a & Fig.16b).
17. I create points on each knuckle to reduce the poly count and allow the hand to flow into the wrist without adding additional polygons (Fig.17a - Fig.17b). Hands are notoriously difficult to model as they can bend and move into a number of awkward positions. As people are so aware subconsciously of the anatomy of hands, as we are of faces, it becomes easy for observers to spot mistakes automatically. Unfortunately, without repeated study we don't have enough information in our heads to fix those mistakes by eye. For that reason I advocate dedicating a portion of your time to studying the anatomy of the hand, the muscles and bones that drive it, and how they interact with each other. After a number of drawings and sculptures the information is burned into your brain for use in the future. The more information we store, the more we can recall at a later date, allowing us to work more creatively, efficiently and with more confidence.
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