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Stylizing Toons: Chapter 1 - Concept and Modeling

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Date Added: 3rd February 2012
Software used:

Creating the Box (Fig.01)

1475_tid_Fig01_Creating the Box.jpg
Fig. 01

-Open 3DSMax
-Set you scene units to Meters by going to the Customize menu, choosing Units Setup and picking "Metric" in the Display Unit Scale.
-Go to the Command Panel and from the Standard Primitives click on the Box button.
-In the Top view click and drag to create a box.
-With the box selected go to the Command Panel and change the box's dimensions to: length 0.65m, width 0.65m, height 2.0m. Use 1 segment for the length, 2 for the width and 8 for the height.

I am using meters as units, but you can use any units you feel familiar with. It is important to be aware of the correct scale of the scene. This way when you have to build props you can think of the dimensions they have in real life. If you use an arbitrary scale you will have to rely on the comparison between different objects to check if they are correct in size. In this case we will be modeling a kangaroo so I have decided to start with a height of 2 meters.

Symmetry Modifier (Fig.02)

1475_tid_Fig02_Symmetry Modifier.jpg
Fig. 02

-Under Modify in the Command Panel pick the Symmetry Modifier.
-Make sure it mirror is along the X Axis.

With the Symmetry Modifier we will only have to model half of the kangaroo, as everything we do in one half will be replicated to the other. I prefer to have the Symmetry modifier applied from the start as it allows us to check the volume of the full character as we model.

Edit Poly (Fig.03)

1475_tid_Fig03_Edit Poly.jpg
Fig. 03

-From the Modifiers list pick Edit Poly.
-Drag "Edit Poly" down so that it is placed between the Box and Symmetry modifiers.
-Make sure the "Show end result toggle" is ON. This allows us to change a modifier in the middle of the stack but to see the result of the full stack. If it was OFF we wouldn't be able to see the result of the symmetry modifier.

Shaping 1 (Fig.04)

Fig. 04

-Choose the Front view (press F).
-In the Edit Poly modifier pick the Vertex sub-object mode.
-Using a selection window, choose the vertexes on the right side of the box and move them in order to create a rough silhouette of a trunk and a head.

By using a selection window you make sure that you are selecting the vertexes on the front and the ones on the back simultaneously.

Shaping 2 (Fig.05)

Fig. 05

-Choose an Orthographic View (press U)
-By dragging the Mouse with the middle button and pressing Alt you can orbit around your model. By dragging with the middle mouse button you can pan.
-Make sure you have the Orbit mode changed to Orbit Sub Object, this way you will always orbit around the area you are working on.
-Pick a comfortable point of view and keep shaping the vertexes as in the figure, in order to create a rounder head and body.
-Use the "World" Reference Coordinate System to move the vertexes. It will be easier to understand how you are moving them in space. If it gets confusing move the vertexes along one axis at a time, by dragging over the X, Y or Z axis on the coordinate system.
-Keep orbiting the model while shifting the vertexes to have a clear understanding of the overall form.

Shaping 3 (Fig.06)

Fig. 06

-From the Edit Poly modifier choose the Edge sub object.
-Pick one of the horizontal edges near the center line (check figure)
-Choose the Ring option for the edge selection
-Click the Connect tool

This will create an edge loop which will give us a better base to start extruding the arms and legs from.

Shaping 4 (Fig.07)
Fig. 07

-From the Edit Poly modifier choose the Vertex sub object mode.
-Shift the vertexes in order to give more volume to the belly, flatten the chest and make the neck rounder.

Try to place the vertexes in a position similar to the figure, but don't worry too much about precision, later we will have the ability to reposition everything in ZBrush.

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