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Making Of 'L'homme dans la foret'

By Stefan Stinga
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Date Added: 9th December 2009
Software used:
3ds Max
827_tid_01.jpg
Hello! My name is Stefan Stinga and I am from Romania. Since I discovered the 3d world and the possibilities that someone has in the 3d virtual space and I mean the possibilities of creating virtual life and building virtual emotions, this became my passion and I know that it will remain a passion for a long time. I learned 3d graphics from tutorials on the Internet, from forums and discussions with other people most talented than me and especially from those many hours of practicing and practicing the modeling until I was satisfied with the result. From my experience, I can tell you that work and exercise are the ingredients of making a good model. In this domain of 3d graphics experience is very, very
important (and when I say experience I mean the time spent in front of the computer, moving those vertices and making the proportions right, sometimes deleting the old model and rebuilding it. Do not be afraid to rebuild it, because the second time it is always better). But for that, you need to have a lot of patience. I shall not say that is easy, but if you really desire to do it, then in time your work will give results and those many hours of practicing will produce something that will satisfy you. The result you are attempting, will come for certain. In this tutorial I shall present you some ideas which led me in creating this character, called "L'homme dans la foret - The man on the wood". The tutorial will be organized in parts,
each part giving you an idea about the modelling, the lighting and the texturing process.
I must say that this is the first tutorial that I make, and in fact I don't consider it to be a tutorial, but mostly a "discussion" between me and you in which I explain to you the steps that I followed in creating the character. This is not the only way to do a character, there
are also many other methods to do it, (even better than what I did here) but this is the method I prefer and I am very glad to share with you the experience that I have gain in doing this model. I hope very much that this will help
you.So, let's start ...
 

The Modeling

As I said before, this will not be a step-by-step tutorial; I will assume you are familiar with 3ds max. The method I used here is "polygonal modeling", in which we build the character polygon by polygon and we create a so-called mesh. After that, we apply a smooth modifier. First of all, when modeling a human head, it is very important to have human references, photos of real humans. If you have a digital camera you may pick someone and photograph him from face and profile. This will be your reference. Why it is so important to have references? Well, because in this way, you will respect the right proportions of the human head, and the proportions are very, very important to a good model. I didn't had a digital camera so I took a human model (a male) from Poser, imported it in max, and rendered him from face, left, right and top view. This was my reference. Of course, you may draw by hand the sketches of your model. In the picture below, I put the references that I used...

827_tid_02.jpg
As you can see, the model was not very good-looking guy (maybe a generic male), so I made my model using this references, in fact, I realized with those references the major aspect of the character and after that I renounced to the pictures and I continued modeling from my imagination and tweaking until I was satisfied with the result. Those two pictures were about 512 x 512 pixels in resolution. After creating the two pictures, I created in a new scene two planes and the width and height of the two planes were just as the width and height of the pictures (512 x 512). I mapped the two planes with the pictures. Here is how my perspective viewport looks in this moment:

827_tid_03.jpg
You may ask yourself what is the green line in the viewport. Well, that's a reference I draw with splines from the top viewport ... this is the profile of the head viewed from the top side. See below...

827_tid_04.jpg
This top-reference I made, helped me a lot when positioning the polygons of the head. In this way, the head viewed from the top side had a correct shape. Ok, so the references are ready. Let's continue...
I began creating the polygons, and I started with the shape of the eye and mouth. For now, I followed the shape of the references, and I didn't make the model very detailed, I only build the major form. The details, I will add them later.

827_tid_05.jpg

I must warn you about few things you must know or study before doing a human head. First of all, you have to know very well the human head anatomy, so search an anatomy book or internet pictures with the anatomy of the head (in making this model, I studied a lot of time the anatomy of the human eye). Also, the anatomy knowledge is important, because you have to know the muscular structure of the human face and how the muscles "flow". This is important because of the notion of "edge-loops" which must respect the flow of the muscles.

827_tid_06.jpg
Back to modeling now. I only modeled one half of the head, the other half will result when I will apply the symmetry modifier. I build the polygons to match the reference on the left side and the front side and then watch the result in the perspective viewport. In the pictures below, here is another stage of the modeling process ... I have finished the front side of the face, and I have added two spheres for the eyes, just for making me an impression of how he looks.
 
827_tid_07.jpg
The nose made me work a lot, but I made a general shape of it. Later, I will tweak it and rework the shape, until I will be satisfied. The techniques I used in modeling this character were very simple: I extruded edges, cut polygons and weld vertices. When I began modeling the character I didn't worry about making him very detailed ... because many details means many polygons and a lot of polygons are hard to manage. After I was satisfied with the general shape of the head, I added the details.
From this moment, I renounced to those references from poser and I continued adjusting the vertices free, from my imagination. Also, I added details to the neck and correct the area where the ear is attaching to the head (I noticed that this area is posing a lot of problems too many people who model human heads, so I was very attentive with that).
In this stage the character looks pretty good, but there are still many problems to correct. But I put the character away from a couple of days, to free my mind. One trick that I have learned is that we need to make some pauses from time to time, and when we'll get back we will see more clearly the areas that have problems and need to be corrected. Another trick is to render the model in this stage and to import it in a 2d packet like photoshop and rotate it, turn it upside down, because making those actions, the mistakes will reveal themselves.
Like I said before, I have renounced to the references from poser, because they looked to me very artificial, and not realistic. I searched on the Internet pictures with real humans and I spend a lot of time in studying them and observing the proportions (e.g. the proportions of the eyes compared to the head, the proportions of the mouth, etc). In my opinion, what makes a head to be beautiful or perfect is this sense of proportions. You should study the human anatomy or pictures withhuman heads and try to still that secret of the correct proportion and you will see that the model will be good-looking. Another thing to do: you should observe the emotions, and the facial expressions and their particularities and then apply them to your model.
Here's another picture of the head and the ear. The ear was modeled separately and then added to the head by welding the vertices. Also, in this stage, the nose shape was finished.

827_tid_08.jpg


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