After seeing a lot of nice girl renders on the internet, I decided to make a Chinese style girl myself. In the process of making this girl, I found that the most important thing to a character is the facial expression and posture. When considering the facial expression, I paid most attention to her eyes and mouth because these two areas are the key to the facial expression.
I believe there are lots of people like me who have learned by themselves and don't have an artistic background. If we want to make an accurate character model, I think the most important thing is not only to read the books about 3D skills, but also to learn human anatomy and study books about artistic theory - it's really helpful! When you read those books, you'll gain a greater understanding of the human structure and when you know what that structure should look like then, of course, you'll know how to make the model.
Ok, I think I've saying too much so now I'm going to share my workflow and my experiences with you.
Concept & Refrences
Before I started the modeling process, I needed a concept. I set her background as the following: she was about fifteen years old, born into a middle class family and living in mainland China in the period of the Republic of China, in mainland China. After the conception work was completed, I start to search references for dress on the internet (Fig.01).
Modeling - Cloth
I made the base mesh in 3ds Max and unwrapped its UV. Then I exported it into ZBrush for sculpting and after finishing the sculpting, I imported it back into 3ds Max for rendering (Fig.02).
Modeling - Head
I used box modeling to create the head (Fig.03).
It is said that "all roads lead to Rome" and the same is true of modeling human heads. There are many different ways to do it and every artist has their own way of going about it. The most important thing is to understand the structure of the things you want to make. You could think about it like this: if you don't know what Rome looks like, or where Rome is, how could you possibly get there? Even if there are millions of ways to reach Rome, you still can't get there right? So here I'd l like to point out some important features of a head.
Beside the "Rule of Thirds" and the "Rule of Five Eyes", there are still some key points that we should pay attention to, which I learned from a book called The Artist's Complete Guide To Facial Expression, by Gary Faigin (Fig.04):
- The upper eyelid, when lit from above, will cast a shadow onto the eyeball. So when we are modeling, we should make sure the lid has enough thickness, or it won't cast the shadow. The upper lid is also more arched than the lower lid.
- The upper lip starts halfway between the nose tip and the back of the nose wing.
- The upper mouth lip has an "M" shape; there's a raised structure in the middle of the lip. The whole upper lip looks like an open book with two wings (Fig.05).
- The lower lip is an extension of a shelf that comes out from the chin. The shelf is hollowed out in the middle and rounded at the ends. In Fig.04, where the red point 4 sits, the change is only a color difference, not a plane change! When we model that part, do not make a hard edge near the corners of the lower lip, just make it smooth (Fig.06).
- The lower eyelid is always located on or near the midline of the head.