Modelling a Character with D Rod version 4: May 17

After scrubbing model version 3, I went looking for a better tutorial and better reference images to use for modelling. By better I mean easier to follow along with, where the tutor explains everything as he goes without assuming the viewer knows everything they need to know before they start. For the tutorial I went back to my old friend from Animation Methods, and for the reference images I went onto Google to find a female character in a T pose front and side. (I noticed in the last 2 different modelling tutorials no one bothered with the Top View).

Nicole, A. (2019, July 24). Low poly female character — Amber Nicole artwork. Amber Nicole Artwork

I found an image of a female model on a Blog created by Amber Nicole using Z Brush. I took screenshots of the front and side views and took them into Photoshop to set them up as image planes. That done into Maya and open up mr Animation Methods Modelling a Character in Maya – Part 3 tutorial and off I went.

Arnold, S.J (2020, May 17). Model after Duplicate Special action. Screenshot by author

Right from the get go things went way better. Even though this guy can be a bit long winded and off track at times he just explains stuff so well. I found with the other tutorials I watched I had to keep stopping and going back to get what they were saying, or copy their settings or spend ages trying to find where they had located this tool or that setting and man that eats up your time. First off we set up the image planes: we selected each one in the Outliner and set all the Translate / Scale / Rotate values to 0 and made sure that the Width and Height were set to the same value in both i.e 20 and 20. As with the Modelling a Character in Maya – Part 1, we started off with a cylinder and in the Inputs – polyCylinder1 menu we dropped the Subdivisions Axis count to 12 to make a low polygon model and have less vertices to worry about. Now we had the basic torso shape to scale etc in Vertex mode to match the reference images. We inserted Edge Loops to help create the shape. Once we had the cylinder shaped in Front and Side views we went into Face mode, selected all the faces in the top ring, deselected the side faces and deleted the top ones. Same with the bottom face sof the cylinder. Next step select the top ring of edges and extrude the neck.

An interesting tip here was to rotate the edge loops in the side view at this stage to follow the natural lines of the torso. He said this makes it easier when you are adding detail later. I did that and it gives you a much better model even at this early stage. Once the torso was looking good we went into face mode in the side view and deleted four faces where the arm is going to come out later, using the side view reference for the positioning. Then into vertex mode to manipulate the vertices around those deleted faces to make a roughly circular shape.

At this point we cut the model in half, very simply. We made sure the model was lined up exactly in the centre of the grid, went into face mode, selected all the faces on the screen left and hit delete. Up to Edit – Duplicate Special – Options and reset the tool, select Instance to mirror what we do on the right screen side and changed scale to negative 1. This automatically flips the object and then you have a complete model again. But the model is actually 2 halves, you can move them apart which was a relief. The first time I tried this and mucked up the alignment I though I had broken something. That’s the difference I keep talking about with tutorials explaining stuff well, instead of assuming you would just know that stuff.

Animation Methods. (2012, May 13). Modeling a Character in Maya – part 4 of 10 [Video]. YouTube.  Screenshot by author

Onto the next tutorial : Modeling a Character in Maya – part 4 of 10. In this one we extruded the legs. This was really cool. To begin with we shapes the groin area where the legs will come from. To create a thigh gap we used the split edges or ‘cut edges’ tool. It makes a new trianglular segment which is reflected in the other half of the model. Change to vertex mode and move the new vertex where you want it to create the gap.

Animation Methods. (2012, May 13). Modeling a Character in Maya – part 4 of 10 [Video]. YouTube.  Screenshot by author

Then select the outside bottom vertex and move it up to the hip area to start shaping the groin. We moved stuff around until we had a good shape and then we closed the model up at the bottom by using the ‘append to polygon’ tool to create a new face. We used the cut edge tool again here to help form a natural shape for the crutch, moving and scaling the vertices. I got so caught up in this I forgot to take screen shots of my work so had to take them from the video instead at this point. But it went really well.

Animation Methods. (2012, May 13). Modeling a Character in Maya – part 4 of 10 [Video]. YouTube.  Screenshot by author
Arnold, S.J (2020, May 17). Torso complete. Screenshot by author
Arnold, S.J (2020, May 17). Torso complete 2. Screenshot by author

Once we had a nice circular edge for the legs we hit extrude and pulled the legs out to mid thigh. Of course they extruded in the same shape as the groins so we selected the bottom edge ring and scaled it down and down on the Y axis to make everything level. Then continue pulling the legs down to the centre of the knee.

Arnold, S.J (2020, May 17). Extruding legs to knees first. Screenshot by author

We shaped the thighs, then selected the bottom edges again and extrude the lower leg out from the knee to the ankle line. More edge loops for shaping, then we scaled, rotated and moved all the edge loops on the leg to form a natural shape.

Arnold, S.J (2020, May 17). Torso with legs complete. Screenshot by author

All the shaping done we went back to the groin area to remove the extra triangles we had formed a few steps back when shaping the groin. We did this by using the ‘cut edge’ tool agian, forming a line across the groin. Now we had 4 shapes instead of 2. Next step was to select the edges we no longer need ansd delete them.

Animation Methods. (2012, May 13). Modeling a Character in Maya – part 4 of 10 [Video]. YouTube.  Screenshot by author
Animation Methods. (2012, May 13). Modeling a Character in Maya – part 4 of 10 [Video]. YouTube.  Screenshot by author

When that was done we turned the model around and started maipiulating the vertices to create a curved butt for the model.

Arnold, S.J (2020, May 17). Groin shaping . Screenshot by author

We worked on shaping the front of the groin next, shaping by moving and scaling vertices around. We also selected specific edges and pushed and pulled them to give the legs more shape.

Arnold, S.J (2020, May 17). Groin shaping complete. Screenshot by author

Once I had got to this point I had been working on this model for a few hours. I cleared my history and decided to save the file and come back to it fresh another time. As I have said before I learned to do this the hard way. But what a positive note to finish on and I feel way more confident in my ability to create a model in time for the due date deadline.