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Dave Ks Poly Head Modeling Tutorial
Dave Ks Poly Head Modeling Tutorial
Theremina, added 2006-12-05 21:06:07 UTC 226,474 views  Rating:
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Dave K's Poly Head Modeling Tutorial
By Dave Komorowski

Ok� I've put this off for a long time, so I've finally decided to sit down and write a tutorial on modeling. After going through tutorial after tutorial on modeling in poly's/sub-d's, I've come up with a workflow that works very well for me and hopefully you too. My co-workers jokingly call it "the Dave Way" .

First off you should have a side and front view of the object (sometimes top too, but I don't need one in this case because most of my detail can be defined in the front and side). When creating these pictures it's a good idea to use graphpaper so that you can make sure your detail is lined up horizontally.

Once your pictures are drawn, scan them in and save them as jpegs (it's a good Idea to make them no larger than 400 pixels wide. The larger your images are, the more memory they will take up and it will slow your progress). Then create a project directory in maya and save your images in your source images folder.

The next thing you're going to want to do is create 2 planes. One facing the front view and one facing the side view. Create a material for each of your drawings and assign them to the appropriate plane. Turn the transparency of the materials down to about .5, then assign the 2 planes to a layer. Assigning them to a layer will allow you to do 2 things...

1.) it will allow you to reference the planes so that you don't accidentally select them while you are modeling.

2.) it will allow you to make them visible and invisible at the click of a button.

Once you have all that out of the way, you are ready to start modeling.

Using your create polygon tool (located under polygons>create polygon tool), draw a silhouette outline of your picture in the side view. If you misplace a point while placing them down you can always hit the backspace key to undo the point or press the insert key to edit its placement.

After you've created your polygon silhouette, the next thing you're going to want to do is subdivide it using your split polygon tool (located under edit polygons>split polygon tool). The trick to keep in mind here is to follow the contours of your drawing while keeping the amount of subdivisions down to a minimum. The more subdivisions you put in on this step, the more points you will have to move in the future. Keeping your subdivisions low while placing them in points of detail will make your modeling go much smoother.

1.) Start out by creating the contour that defines your eye and cheek bone. You should end it off at the bottom of the chin.

2.) Then create a split in the opposite direction that begins on the ridge of the nose, goes through the center of the eye, and ends in the back of the head.

3.) Now is probably a good time to define the jaw line. Take this split up through the top of the head. When placing your splits, try and stay half-way between the two outer edges (this will create a cleaner mesh in the end).

4.) Next, define the line where the mouth will be. Then bring it to the back of the head (notice how I'm placing my edges half-way between the outer edges).

5.) Then split up the top of the head a little by drawing an edge from front to back.

6.) Define the lower edge of the brow by running an edge from front to back.

7.) Next define the snout by running an edge from the nose to the bottom of the jaw.

8.) Break up the neck a little by running an edge half-way between your two outer edges.

9.) Next, define the outer radial of your mouth by creating an edge that meets with the corner of the mouth.

10.) Finally... split up your mesh a little more so that you have even spacing between your edges.

Once you have subdivided your mesh you will need to clean it up a little. You might have created more points than necessary and we want to keep our points to a minimum so that it will be easier to edit further up the road.

To do this you must first select all the verticies within your silhouette. Leave the border edges alone for now they are still needed to define the shape of your object. Also slelect the inside verts of the neck border leaving the outer 2 alone.

Then press the delete key on your keyboard. This will clean up any hanging verts leaving only the ones that exist at intersections.

Once your mesh has been cleaned up, again select all the inside verts (including the ones on the inside of the neck).

Next thing we want to do is bring this model into the third dimension. We do this by simply going to the front viewport and pulling the selected points toward the the outer edge of your drawing.

To give you more of a sense of form while modeling, it is a good idea to create an instance of your object. An instance is an object that shares the same shape node but has a different transform node. Making it an exact duplicate of your original geometry just at a different point in space. Therefore, any changes you make on one side will take place on the other instantaniously.

To create your instance, go to edit>duplicate and open your options dialog box. Check -1 on the scale X direction, then under geometry type check instance.

Now you have the beginnings of your head... not much to look at now but it soon will be.

When modeling, I find it easier to see my wireframe while I'm working. To view your wireframe in your viewport go to shading>shade options>wireframe on shaded.

To start shaping your object, start grabbing verts and begin moving them only in the X direction. Use your front view as a guide. For example...go to your side viewport and grab the point that defines the corner of your mouth and then move it in the X direction to where the corner of the mouth is in the front viewport. Don't worry if your mesh looks really rough at this stage, that's the way it's supposed to be, we're just roughing out the form of the head at this point. Think of this process as if you were carving from stone. First you start out really rough to get the form of your object, then you go in and define the forms a little better... and then (but no sooner) you go in and create details.

Next look at the point where your eye is in your side viewport, make sure that it is directly in the center of your eye in the front viewport. Then create a diamond shape with your split polygon tool . This will begin the radial of your eye socket.

Then subdivide the diamond one step further so that you may better define the socket of the eye. As you split your edged try and split as close to the center as possible.

To visualize the eye better, create a nurbs sphere and place it in world space according to your front and side viewports. This doesn't have to be your final eye... just a place holder so that we can form the eyelids around it correctly.

In your front viewport move the points of the eye radial so that they fit to your drawing. Then in your shaded perspective view pull those points one at a time in the Z direction until they ride the surface of the nurbs sphere.

These points will define the eye lids of your head. The next thing your going to want to do is create another radial around the lid to help define that shape a little more.

Grab the verts of this radial and push and pull them in space until you get a good looking eyelid.

Our guy is still a little rough but he's shaping up quickly. It's good to work as light as possible to define your shapes quickly. Don't go overboard trying to add in detail... that will come later. Right now just concentrate on creating the form of the head.

Next thing we will work on is the nose. To start out, draw an edge starting at the upper lip going straight up passing through where the center of the nostril will be and continuing up into the forehead.

As you add in new edges, you should push and pull the points to define your shape better and make it rounder.

Next, we will have to create an intersecting edge to create a point that will define the center of the nostril. Start the edge at the beginning of the upper lip and carry it through to the bottom of the nose. When you run an edge to define a point of detail, always try and run it so that it conforms to the natural flow of the face. Think of the way the muscles and folds of skin flow and try to run the edges that way, this will help you define your edge loops. Notice how I run mine so it follows the natural curve of the face.

Also keep in mind that when you draw these edges you are trying to stay directly between your two outer edges.

The next step is to start to draw in the radial of the nostril. Draw a diamond around the nostril center.

Sub-divide the nostril just as you did with the eye so that you can make it rounder and give more detail to that area.

Then push and pull these points to define the nostril a little better. Notice I'm not adding too much detail to these areas before I move on to the next area.I'm just defining the shape a little, then moving to the next area that needs a little more definition. The reason for this is that if I need to rearrange the direction in which my edges go later... it will be much easier to do with less detail.

Next, we'll go in and define the shape of the lips a little better by adding another radial inside the existing one. This will give us the information needed to define the roundness of the lips.

Next, add some information to the lower lip, going in the opposite direction, all the while splitting the edges evenly.

Push and pull the points you just created to give more roundness to the lip. Our guy is really starting to shape up. With very little effort we've begun to define the shape of his head quite nicely. The main thing to keep in mind (and I can't stress it enough) is to work rough and loose. Try not to get caught up in adding too much detail... that will come in time. It makes it a lot easier to define your shapes when you only have to move a few points as opposed to moving a bunch of them.