Any help for character modelling?

Hi everyone,
I’m not sure if this is the right place for this, so I apologies if its not.

I known about blender for a long time now but I’ve only really stated to get into it a little over a year ago, but I still feel like I haven’t made much progress :frowning: . I can spend over a month on a single character and It still ends up pretty clunky.

I’m wondering if anyone knows any good tutorials on character modelling that can show me how to make something decent in a relatively short amount of time? I know 3d modelling takes a lot of time and skill but most people seem to move way faster then me. Is it reasonable to want to have a character completed in one week? I’ve looked around but I haven’t seen anything too great. How are other people learning to do this so well?

Thanks in advanced!

EDIT: You can check some of the stuff I’ve made on on my Deviant Art page:

I think you need to separate out 2 independent problems. Lack of skills with the package v lack of artistic skills. Are you 1) an artist who is looking to learn how to design characters in 3d or 2) are you look to both learn art and 3d? If it is 1) would advise trying to replicate identically a few character building tutorials - just go to Udemy there is a nice one with a girl in a space suit for 2.8. You just have to get familiar with the workflow. If 2) it is a much bigger problem. Learning a 3d package is (relatively) easy learning to be an artist is very hard. I would stop trying to do characters in 3d and either buy a book on drawing skills, or start modelling in 3d really simple shapes, and build up from that.

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This is something I had to realize after a long time. The art skill is very powerful, if you can do that you can apply it in many different ways. What I have found is that without those basics, it is very cumbersome to do 3d art. Also the need to continually be inspired and to build on that seems to be necessary.

just my 2 cents

Seems you are quite on point.

How to use the editor is quickly learned. How to do topology is confusing at first, but soon is less of a problem.

But then I’m struggling, too. I find that one first has to learn the anatomy of living beings and then the correct proportions. The former is just factual knowledge, but that latter I find also difficult. It seems one has to look at things in a certain way that doesn’t come easily, for to actually see whether something is right or wrong.

As you mention books on drawing, can you recommend one? Would actually be worth I try, I guess.

BTW, that site has helped me quite a bit:

Sadly I think my problem may be #2 :confused: I actually feel I have a pretty good grasp of Blender itself, but yeah I guess the “art” part is whats tripping me up.

I guess I’ll try drawing and see how that goes. The site @omgold posted looks really good, thanks a lot for sharing that! I’m guessing I’m going to have use pencil and paper for this, or is there some sorta software out there that’s commonly used?

Can someone also explain the practicable benefits of leaning to draw? For example, does knowing how to draw lips really help when working on facial topology? Don’t get me wrong, its not that I don’t believe you guys, I’m sure you’re right. I’m just trying to understand how to translate this into 3D. Maybe @omgold could elaborate on your experience a bit more if you don’t mind?

Anyways thanks for all your help everyone, I really appreciate it!

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It may help to show us some of your models. I assume you are interested in modeling humans? I am not gifted in drawing but I managed to learn sculpting humans just fine. You just have to learn to simplify complex shapes into planes. Google ‘planes of the head’ and try to sculpt using the result images as reference. If you could sculpt a believable human head, the rest of the figure will become easier to learn. This is how I practiced modeling humans in Blender.

Oh right, yeah I guess that would be useful lol. Heres my Deviant Art page:

I’m mostly going for cartoony characters (obviously), as opposed to realism. Not sure if that make a difference. My main goal is to make stuff quicker and less creepy looking. And with better topology I guess. I’ll give the planes idea a try, thanks for the tip!

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Your pony models look great!

As for cartoony or stylized humans, I consider my models stylized as well. Semi-realistic is how I see it. It doesn’t matter how cartoony your aim is, studying actual human anatomy will only enhance your cartoon models.

Do try a realistic or semi realistic head. Once you can master this, stylizing or making it cartoony is simply playing around with its proportions.

Thank you! lt literally took me months to make that thing :sweat_smile:

Yeah that’s probably why people generally learn to draw first. I guess as long as you figure out anatomy, maybe is doesn’t really matter?

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I can speak from my own experience. I suck at drawing humans. However I studied a lot from artistic anatomy books (artistic or surface anatomy, not medical). I apply knowledge of anatomy into sculpting. Skip drawing anatomy, go straight to sculpting anatomy. It worked for me, maybe it will work for you.

Well I guess Its worth a shot. Wish me luck!

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Best of luck to you! I will be around if you need any advice. :+1:

First, don’t take me too seriously on the matter, as I’m probably not better than you, but still I can share what I learned.

Drawing probably doesn’t help much with topology. You still have to learn how to create the right topology. But if you can draw something, you would know how the flow lines are running, which allows you the plan the topology very early, so you don’t have to change it later. The same is true for proportions. I find that I can judge way easier whether proportions are right, when more details are added. But then it is more work to fix it, as you have to shove more vertices around. I experienced artist seems to be able to do it the other way round (and then wonder why noobs always start detailing too soon).

For me the first relevation was, that I actually knew nothing about anatomy. Had to learn how the important facial bones lie, how iris patterns look, that there is a sternocleidomastoid muscle which only becomes visible during certain head orientations and so forth. But this is all just factual knowledge which can be learned and looked up.

More difficult is proportions. It helps a lot to put reference images behind your model when learning. Unfortunately one runs into a 3D issue with that. Easy to work with is having a front view and a side view image, but that is not the whole truth. It doesn’t tell you how oblique surfaces run.

Also human perception is very sensitive to noticing that proportions are wrong, but without training not in which way exactly (so aligning meshes to reference images requires pinpoint precision). There seems to be a certain kind of way to look at things, which artists have, but I have not, to easily understand how proportions need to be changed. I assume drawing makes one learn that just as well as modeling. That is probably to main reason why people who did that before starting with 3D make way faster progress.

I guess the next step for me is to learn how to create the desired appearance. A certain kind of face with a certain facial expression (without just doing an exact copy of an image).

I find toplogy less of an issue after a while (despite despairing over it at first). It certainly tends to twist one’s brain (often at the beginning, but later still occasionally). What helped me is to first figure out how it should be (where undisturbed edge loops/flows need to be), then draw these with grease pencil. Then it becomes easy to see where poles need to be placed.

In any case, I would also encourage you to continue. Don’t forget that on the long term practice beats talent :slight_smile:

I’m fairly terrible at freehand drawing, but do use photographs (with a Projecta-Scope or in Gimp or Photoshop) to develop drawings to use with modeling, stylized or not. You need a set of drawings around your subject - front, back, sides, top. Then bring the drawings into Blender to use as templates for modeling. What everyone says about learning anatomy is true. I mostly do costuming, cloth over a body, but on a team that can mean working on the body too.

Yeah anatomy/proportions are a big hurdle. Does anyone know of a good resource for learning that? Most tutorials just show you a head and the tools they’re using but don’t explain how they know what a head (of the rest of the body for that mater) actually looks like.

There are probably a lot of books on the library, a quick search turned this ( up but it looks like its 97$ and may require a fair amount of rigor. Whereas you can get a similar book from the library and see if it helps.

Anatomy is less of a problem to find, Google Images works well enough most of the time (but memorizing one still has to do, of course).

Proportions, yeah, well, I’m quite a bit at a loss there, too. It seems there are 2 kinds of people, the ones who can’t do it, and don’t know how to learn it, and the ones who can do it, but don’t know how they are doing it :smiley:

There’s nothing much to explain how they know, they just observe a lot of actual human models. This is how it has always been in classical western art since the renaissance. Observe the people around you. Ask your friend to pose for you. Take lots of pictures. For starters google Drawing the Head and Hands by Andrew Loomis.