How to become a better character modeler

Hello guys…

I am currently using Blender with BGE to make game. I have down understanding of all things, lighting, logic, texture, physics, most models, but I am having one huge problem. I cannot make a high quality realistic human model very well…

I am trying to make it off real life reference photos of myself, which are taken to be almost precise with each other from having side, front, back, picture. I also have use of close up face picture.

However, my best efforts have fail. I try edge by edge modeling with the references and come up with results that look off, and end up not looking to well. I try with sculpting and also seem to have a hard time with small features, like accurate mouths. Can somebody give advice on how to become better? I know most just say practice, but I have practiced many times on myself, and other pictures and always not a satisfying result.

I grow upset, as not having a good character model is holding up my rigging, which hold up animation, which hold up physics and logic, which is as you can see, holding up my production flow.


Watch tutorials
Watch other people modelling characters

I know most just say practice, but I have practiced many times on myself, and other pictures and always not a satisfying result.
That just means you haven’t watched other people modelling characters or practised enough

Yes, there’s no secret, along with tutorials and looking at other people’s own work, modelling is all about practice, then more practice and practice even more.

Yes I have the basics, I can get a blend of head that looks like like this: Charmodelattempt.blend (559 KB)

but you can see, it looks off in a way. Any pointers on what I can be doing to make it look more natural? I have tried tweeking some things, but I never can get it to a look when I see it, it seems realistic.

Plus I have hard time now expanding neck downwards into the body by trying to broaden it. I have watch lots of tutorials multiple times on making bodies and heads from youtube, blend cookie, so now I come here to help me understand more to improve.

Just always put the .blend in a starting post if you have one that you can share. Actually seeing what you have means people can get a grip of something and start talking about the problem and not point out the obvious “practice”, since that is all they can answer. Having the reference(s) you were using would be one better (to see what you were going for) but it’s ok if you can’t share that; seeing what you’re talking about is already a lot.

  • Objects have unapplied rotation and scale. Those affect how tools and modifiers behave. For example mirror modifier axis seems to be wrong and merge distance doesn’t work at that scale. Object mode, ctrl+A -> rotation & scale. Then put mirror modifier to mirror along X, which then matches head orientation in the viewport.

  • Polygon sizes are all over the place. If you want to define smooth areas, face size should change gradually

  • You have most of the main loops in place (green) but those are mostly single loops

  • There are n-gons (red)

  • Head is too long

  • Main muscle from the back of the neck/behind the ear to the front is not indicated in the model. It’s called sternocleidomastoid muscle if you’re into medical jargon. I’m not

  • Jaw line is not defined

  • Cheeks are flat and flow to define the shapes is not yet modeled in. Cheek bone would give it more shape and muscles would radiate away from the lips

  • Brows are not defined, eyes come out too far. Eyes are too small too, and too far apart. Basically eyes in, brows and cheeks out

  • Lips have no volume

  • Ear is too small compared to head and it’s connected badly. Ear shape itself could use some work too. When you put two edge loops next to each other, it’s going to define a hard edge with subsurf.

For organic models I’d suggest learning to sculpt it first, this is very important, modeling after you’v sculpted a character is a piece-of-cake.

Yes, I meant to put .blend in original post, but being new user my post must be approved by moderator first, by the time that was done I had gone, and when I come back already it has postings from others, so I included it as second post.

Thank you for your criticisms! Very helpful, some things yes I can see the problem, the Ngons for example were accident, and the ear I had problems with good references, but others such as the brow and main neck muscle I had not thought of.

Sculpting a human is something I have tried and had many hard times with, but as some suggested already I will try again, as it seems to yield better results.

I have recently found the series on youtube on creating an animation ready Tim Burton character (David Wards series) from start to finish that is seeming to be similar to what I need. Any other good help sources would be appreciated guys.

Thank you all already for the helps provided so far…