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Modeling the Human Figure

By Peter Ratner
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Date Added: 6th February 2007
Software used:
3ds Max

Modeling the Legs

Three basic parts make up the leg. These are the thigh (upper leg), lower leg, and foot. Even though the bones of the pelvic girdle are considered part of the torso, the muscles of the hip are usually described along with those of the leg.

The Bones of the Leg

782_tid_fig25.jpg
Fig. 6-25 The bones of the leg and feet.

Artists should be aware of the key areas where the bones of the leg are visible (Figure 6-25). These are the kneecap, shinbone, the upper part of the calf bone (next to the knee), the lower part of the calf bone (outer ankle), and the lower part of the shin bone (inner ankle).

The leg bones are somewhat alike to the arm bones in that both have one on top and two at the bottom as well as similar joints. By contrast the leg bones are heavier and stronger. This is due to their weight bearing function and design for mobility. The leg joints are not as versatile as those of the arm.

The Muscles of the Leg

782_tid_fig26.jpg
Fig. 6-26 The muscles of the leg.

Unlike the arms, the leg muscles are not as well defined but they give the leg its total shape (Figure 6-26). The longest muscle in the body starts at the side of the hip and runs in a sweeping arc to the inner knee. One can see this curve in the developed legs of athletes.

In the side view, the thigh is rounded in front and back. The calf of the lower leg is also round but the front shinbone which is mostly exposed makes the lower front part of the leg somewhat flat.

Modeling the Leg Steps

782_tid_fig27.jpg
Fig. 6-27 Leg Steps 1 to 3. 1). Beveling down the leg poly- gon. 2). Slicing across the leg and shaping it. 3). Dividing the polygons and moving points at and behind the knee.

Step 1 (Figure 6-27). Similarly to the arm there is no need to model both legs at the same time. If you have not done so already, split the polygon at the base of the groin in half. Select one of these two polygons and bevel it all the way down to the bottom of the foot.

Step 2 (Figure 6-27). Cut across the polygons of the leg in a horizontal direction. It is important to slice through the middle of the knee as well as above and below it. Give the leg its overall shape by pushing and pulling points.

Step 3 (Figure 6-27). Model the knee and the back of that joint. Spend some more time refining the shape of the leg.

Step 4 (Figure 6-28). Mirror duplicate the leg and weld or merge points to attach it to the other side of the body.

782_tid_fig28.jpg
Fig. 6-28 Step 4. The legs after mirror duplicating.

Modeling the Foot Steps

782_tid_fig29.jpg
Fig. 6-29 The foot bones.

When you model the foot it is important to pay attention to its skeletal structure (Figure 6-29). Most of the muscles in the foot are either between or underneath the bones. Therefore, their influence on the shape of the foot is not as great as that of the bones.

Step 1 (Figure 6-30). Select the polygons at the front of the foot and merge them into one.

Step 2 (Figure 6-30). Bevel the front foot polygon forward to where the toes will begin. Give it a rough shape.

Step 3 (Figure 6-30). Split the front foot polygon into 5 sections for the toes.

782_tid_fig30.jpg
Fig. 6-30 Foot Steps 1 to 9. 1). Merging the front foot polygon so it can be beveled out. 2). Beveling the front foot polygon for- ward. 3). Dividing the front polygon into 5 sections for the toes. 4). Beveling out the toes. 5). Slicing across the toes to make more points that can be moved. Shaping the toes. 6). Starting the toenail by selecting the top polygon at the toe tip. 7). Beveling the toe polygon down and scaling it smaller. 8). Beveling the toe polygon up and enlarging it. 9). Slicing across the middle of the toenail and toe tip. Dividing the toes across the top to make them more rounded.

Step 4 (Figure 6-30). Bevel out the toes.

Step 5 (Figure 6-30). Slice across the toes to split them into sections at the joints and the beginning of the toenail. Pull and push points to refine the shape of the toes.

Step 6 (Figure 6-30). Begin the toenail by selecting the top front polygon of the large toe.

Step 7 (Figure 6-30). Bevel the toenail polygon down and make it somewhat smaller.

Step 8 (Figure 6-30). Bevel the toenail polygon up and scale it larger.

Step 9 (Figure 6-30). Slice across the middle of the toenail and through the toe itself. Move points to finish the toe. Follow the same steps to make toenails for the other 4 toes. It is important to also slice across the top of the toes the same way as the fingers and thumb. The extra lines are then used to pull points up in order to make the toes more round.

782_tid_fig31.jpg
Fig. 6-31 Step 10. Finalizing the foot and toes in the various view windows.

Step 10 (Figure 6-31). Finish the work on the foot by improving its shape. You will most likely have to split some of the larger polygons.

Step 11 (Figure 6-32). Mirror duplicate the completed foot and attach it to the other leg. Bend the arms and legs so they will deform better during animation.


782_tid_fig32.jpg
Fig. 6-32 Step 11. Mirror duplicating the foot and bending the arms and legs for improved animation flexibility.

Except for some details this completes the nude figure. In the future, rather than starting from a box again, you may decide to just use this model as a base. You should find it easier to reshape a completed model into other ones with different proportions. Be sure to make the facial morph targets (chapter 11) before you do this. It will save a lot of time because you will not have to model new ones for the next figure. Of course, if the face has a radical makeover, you will have to adjust some of the morphs.

"Completing the Human Figure, chapter 7"




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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
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(ID: 175148, pid: 0) Sameer on Mon, 07 January 2013 7:35am
Very very informative... thanks a lot!
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(ID: 74051, pid: 0) PETER HOFTYZER on Tue, 27 December 2011 7:06pm
FINALLY A STRAIGHT FORWARD TUTORIAL ON THE BODY. THANK YOU
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