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Model legs in Maya

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Date Added: 6th September 2013
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Step 6: The knee pit and the bottom

Working back up the leg, we can push in some edges to create the knee pit or popliteal fossa as it's known anatomically. Inserting into the knee region, we would have the hamstring muscles. I've decided not to define them as strongly as we did the quadriceps as I felt I had enough detail there to push the form during deformation. Should you feel you want to, feel free to further accentuate the region. That will bring us to the gluteus maximus, the defining muscle of man according to Aristotle. For this mass of muscle, I again selected a series of faces and performed an extrusion. This allowed me to have enough detail to create a buttock crease, which is especially useful if modeling builders.

Creating the depression of the popliteal fossa, adding volume to the bottom and working on the ankles

Step 7: Bringing it all together

As we've built the leg independently of the torso, we'll need to do some clean-up work to bring the two together. First, select both pieces of geometry and go Mesh > Combine. Next, use the Merge Vertex Tool to drag and drop one vertex onto another to connect the leg to the torso. You'll notice that you'll need some extra edge loops to have the meshes combine cleanly. I had to add extra edge loops through the side of the torso to give me enough points to connect the leg to. Once the two parts are combined and the seams closed, you will still need to go in and push the forms to tidy them up. At this stage, use a combination of the Sculpt Geometry Tool and Soft-Selection (press B to enable and disable) to move the points around. As you go through the clean-up phase, try to keep the face sizes relatively square where possible. Don't worry too much if it's not doable yet as we will be coming back to refine the entire model when all the elements are complete. Next time, we'll add the arms.

The legs combined to the torso and cleaned up

Top tip: Check deformation early

As I model, I like to test out the deformation to see if the geometry will hold up. To do this, I go to the Animation module by hitting F2. Go Skeleton > Joint Tool. In an orthographic view, usually Front or Side, I will create a joint chain. I'll then position the joints into place, checking from every angle that they sit within the model. Then select the root joint, the geometry and go Skin > Bind Skin > Smooth Bind. You can now rotate the joints and the geometry should follow. Spend a few minutes refining the weighting by selecting the model and going Skin > Edit Smooth Skin > Paint Skin Weights Tool and then test out the deformation once more.

Rotating the joints to check deformation

Please note that when creating the joints to be used for an animation rig, I would place the joints with much more care and make sure all rotations are zeroed out in the default pose. As we are just testing, I'm working more loosely.

Click HERE to see the previous tutorial in this series.

Want to start from the beginning? Click HERE to see the first tutorial in this series.

To see more by Jahirul Amin, check out Beginner's Guide to Character Creation in Maya
and 3ds Max Projects

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