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Low-Poly Character Modeling and Texturing

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(Score 4.59 out of 5 after 78 Votes)
Date Added: 9th December 2009
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Onto the hands!

The hand will be much harder to unwrap then the previous objects we've done up to this point. It has a lot more little tweaking. Just use all of the knowledge that you've gained up to this point on the previous parts and do your best. And remember, it never hurts to just start over on the unwrapping. You learn from every mistake you make.

Here's basically what I did...

First I selected the body of the hand (both top and palm) and did a cylindrical map. Rotated, moved, and scaled the gizmo till it fit around the hand like in the image below.

Next I selected all the fingers and did a planar map on them all at once.

I Clicked the Edit button to open the edit window. In the main view port I selected the top of the hand and all the fingers like in the image below. The in the Edit UVs window, I Detached (Ctrl+d) the selected faces from the rest of the hand, flipped them horizontally, and moved them off to the side.

In vertices select mode, I moved and target welded the palm and top of hand so that they were connected along one side (the side opposite the thumb).

Then I did the same with the fingers, scaled the fingers down so they matched up with the palm of the hand and lined them up next to each other.

I moved, and target welded the vertices until I had the whole body of the hand and the fingers combined together in one unit.

For the thumb, I did two planar unwraps. It seems like a cylindrical map would work, but the thumb is just such an odd shape and curves in an odd fashion that it makes the cylindrical map more of a headache to deal with then just combining two planars.

Don't worry if edges don't line up very well, and don't be afraid to move things around a lot. They'll still look okay in the final texture as long as you keep the general size and shape so the faces close to their original unwrap.

Once I had both the hand and thumb unwrapped, I combined them together to reduce the number of seams. It's best if you can get the top of the thumb/hand combined together and leave the seam in the palm since it won't be as visible there.

Once I was finished, I used the freeform tool to scale the hand to fill the entire box. The hand is really stretched by doing this, but my intention is to have the hand be a rectangle rather then a square texture.

To do this, in the Render UVs window, I enter the dimensions 256x128, and when I click the Render UV Texture button, the map it generates is rectangular instead of the stretched square.


Hands are done! All that's left is the head

Once again - same-o-same-o. Select the head, put on an Unwrap UVW modifier, expand the + and choose Face selection mode, select the whole head and click the cylindrical button.

Move, rotate, and scale the cylindrical projection gizmo using the normal move rotate and scale tools, until the checkerboard texture looks best.

Click the Cylindrical button again to deactivate it, and click the edit button. By default it will look something like this:

To conserve texture space, we'll want to mirror the whole head. If you really need to do some asymmetrical texture work for the head (like if the character had a big scar or something) then you may want to leave some areas un-mirrored. But for this, we're just going to mirror everything that can be.

So switch to vertex selection mode, select half the back of the head, Detach (Ctrl+D) Flip it horizontally, and move it over top of the other half of the head.

We also need to avoid any over-lapping areas. The ear has several parts that overlap others, so just grab the vertices and pull them outwards so that nothing is overlapping anything else.


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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
Glenn Campbell on Mon, 15 February 2016 11:28pm
The best 3DS Max tut online. Superbly handled and capable of engaging users at all levels of experience. A great deal of work went into this, a great deal of expertise was shared freely and by far and away the most effective, interesting, absorbing and enriching short course of its kind on the internet. My sincere gratitude for your efforts; I trust your career has since been nothing short of meteoric, as I'm certain mine will be, influenced as it is by you. That was awesome and more fun than you can shake a stick at.
Maru on Sat, 27 December 2014 4:20pm
Thank you for the tutorial! I would like to ask about a little detail, since I've just started using 3d max, it's quite confusing for me. Well, it's about the first step in the second page. I connected the two vertical edges of the foot, but i don't know how you got all the other edges :s Would you please explain it to me?
Again on Thu, 06 February 2014 11:06pm
Best tutorial for unwrapping !!! lots of usefull tips !!!
SEMO on Mon, 01 July 2013 10:14pm
great tutorial , can i make one by max scripts that include all process in order if i want to use this script in making human models ?
Chris on Mon, 03 June 2013 12:59am
Nice tutorial, very informative! I recommended this to some fellow students for a project we are doing. Well done!
Sudhir on Sun, 31 March 2013 3:39am
Very good tutorial for beginers I've made the same thing in 3ds max
Kjuu on Sun, 25 March 2012 4:03pm
Great tutorial. I'm just starting with 3d graphic and that helped me alot. Thanks! PS. XellD, it's much easier to use planes and apply images on them. Then you can easily manage their size.
Sizza on Mon, 27 February 2012 10:03am
A very in depth tutorial, just what I'm looking for, need to download 3DS MAX to try it! Thanks for your time making this.
ErroR on Sat, 25 February 2012 3:27pm
Excellent tutorial. Covers everything in-depth while keeping it pretty simple. Will definitely try this soon. Thanks!
Djcliverson on Thu, 26 January 2012 10:40pm
Great tutorial, these were my first few days of 3d graphics, and you teached me really a lot, easy and funny, thank you so much
Tanbeen Amin on Tue, 17 January 2012 10:26am
Thank you very much for your tutorial... :) i needed this ..!
XellD on Tue, 03 January 2012 12:08am
OK, i don't know if this is still recently read, but I got stuck already on the first page. When I add Backgrounds for front and left viewport (even if I take yours), they end up not being the same height for the feet (also both pictures have the same resolution and so on, as you mentioned). I found many people on forums having the same problem: the background image cannot be aligned inside of 3DS Max. What can I do about that?
Krisu on Wed, 21 December 2011 4:32pm
That is what i was looking for, this kind of tutorials! Thanks you all so much! >_
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