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Criven Tutorial

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Date Added: 9th December 2009
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My name is Aidan Gibbons, an Irish 1st year Digital Animation student at University of Hertfordshire, England. The following tutorial is an account of how I created a goblin-like creature (criven) for a course project. The head was modelled in Max but this tutorial applies to almost all 3D applications.

It is in no way the 'correct' way of doing it, just my own method. You should end up with something similar to what i have, which is a very high poly head model. In fact, it is so high poly that you will not even have to use Meshsmooth Iterations! The wireframe picture shown here has no Meshsmooth. I have realised that i have made far to many cuts on the side of the head, so please ignore this. My orginal thoughts were to model the ear from the head, but in the end i modelled the ear separately. I will assume you have a good (intermediate +) knowledge of Poly tools in 3Ds Max for this tutorial.

I'm sure it's pretty obvious that Gollum was a huge inspiration for my model. However, I didn't want to just copy him. I used these two pictures (scanned images from the Gollum figure merchandise booklet) to get the general shape of his head. After that, I just went a bit wild. Click here to download the reference setup for the head planes. Use this file as a starting point.

Tip: Always save your files every 5-10minutes! I am creating this tutorial by going back to the start of my files. I have 42 saved files for this project. I will not tell you to save your files during this tutorial!

Note: Most of the following shots will not have the reference planes due to the fact that it is easier to see the model without them.

Ok, click here and open 'Reference.max'. There's a cube with the necessary planes and reference. The cube is 4x3x2. First thing to do is convert to editable poly.

Select the back polygons of the cube. Delete these. We will be soon creating a symmetry modifier to model the other side of the head (below).


Ok, now move the cube points around in all viewports to get a very rough outline of the head. The cuts here allow for lips and a lower eyeline. From here on, we will simply be cutting the head to define more form.


I decided to start defining the eye and areas radiating from the eye. The blue lines indicate where I have cut.

To begin to make the eye more round, cut to the right of the left corner of his eye at radiate upwards. I started to cut more around the back of his head so i could make his head more round.

There are no new cuts here. I just altered the shape of his head to fit into the reference images again. I also pulled out two verteces which later will be the starting point for his nose.

Make some more cuts around the eyes and radiate aout around the head. I also made a cut around the back of the head to define a more sperical shape.


It is around this time that i like to take a look at the head with two sides. It's time set up the head for the Symmetry modifier. Select the higlighted vertices shown below and scale the X axis. This will make sure the points will weld together evenly without seams.

Use the settings I have used to the right to create the other side of his head:

Now i simply looked at the reference planes and reshaped his head, mostly giving him a bigger jaw line. It's quite difficult to get the jaw to look correctworking with only two reference planes.


Here I aligned the head up with the ref planes again, paying particular attention to his jawline, eye sockets and mouth areas.

- Move on to page 2 -

continued on next page >

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