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Master MODO portraits: 'My Kiwi Friend'

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Date Added: 20th November 2014
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3D Artist Bert Heynderickx - aka Alberto Ezzy - reveals the how to perfect the geometry of a female portrait using MODO from scanned models, as well as adding accessories and details

We previously looked at how to master a portrait of The Fisherman, with a 4-part tutorial series plus video overview of the process. We'll now go on to look at a female portrait, which I have titled, 'My Kiwi Friend'. Over the next few weeks, I will reveal key secrets and techniques for an unclamped lighting workflow in MODO, as well as tips and tricks for skin and hair shading. We will also look at how to get convincing-looking eyes on scanned models, and discuss how MARI fits into the 3D workflow. As with the previous set of tutorials, I am using an AMD FirePro? W9000 for the workflow featured here, which I personally find very responsive and a pleasure to work with when dealing with high-res character creation.


In this tutorial, I will use the Sculpt Tools in MODO to clean up the scanned geometry and also to create folds in the cloth. The Retopology Tools will then be used to create the cloth and choker (necklace) geometry. So let's get started!

This week we will take a look at the geometry of a female 3D portrait created in MODO

Step 1: Working with 2 different models

?My Kiwi Friend' is the result of combining two separate scanned models from Ten24. On the left you can see the geometry of the head, which is made up of 4-sided polygons. On the right you can see the geometry of the body, which is made of 3-sided polygons. To connect the head to the body without a visible seam would be quite an undertaking, so I instead opt for a choker (necklace) as a clothing accessory to cover the transition between the two models. Being a big fan of Maori art as well, I also want to give her a few carvings on her earrings and choker.

This project actually started as 'My two Kiwi friends'!

Step 2: Check the geometry

Like most scanned models, the one I am using is wearing a cap to flatten the hair as much as possible. The wonderful people at Ten24 did a great job here, as the cap and remaining hair is barely visible. This means I will only have to apply a few subtle sculpting strokes.

The Sculpting Toolset in MODO has quite a few interesting and useful brushes. For this type of sculpting I will use the Smooth tool. I don't need to worry about the hair in the neck area as this won't be visible in the final shot.

As this is a still image, I prefer not to waste time (or energy) on parts that nobody is going to see anyway...

Step 3: Smooth the skull

Before I start sculpting, I apply a Matcap Shader to the model. This gives you a different appearance of the model that is better suited for sculpting - although you can certainly use it while modelling, too. First of all, choose from the list of Matcap presets in the Preset Browser Palette. Then go to the Shader Tree and Add Layer > Special > Matcap Shader. Make sure it is placed above the Base Shader. You can then choose your preset in the Image dropdown list (please refer to my Pro Tips at end of this tutorial).

Next I sculpt with the Smooth tool in a very efficient 2 viewport setup.

She doesn't have a headache - this is the Smooth tool in action!

Step 4: Make a skullcap for the new hair

Next I decide what part of the head will have hair. From a low-resolution version of the head, I select the part I was to cover, and copy it to a new Mesh Item. I then give it a new material - this will later on become a combination of Fur and Hair Material.

This mesh is only needed by the Fur Material and won't be visible

continued on next page >

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