Well this is actually the first work I’ve been pleased enough with to show. I started this about a year and a half ago modelling from a plane. I don’t like box modelling much, although as I near the end, my modelling uses that technique more.
I mainly started this as an exercise in getting proportions right but also figuring out how the human muscles flow so I could understand why certain topologies are better rather than just copy them from another model like makehuman (which I wasn’t aware of when I started). Actually, the first 6 months of modelling, I was using Maya and I originally intended her to be a cartoon character.
After getting frustrated with Maya’s modelling setup, especially the subdivision surfaces, I got a copy of Blender and haven’t looked back. The more and more photoreal images I came across, the more I wanted my character to be realistic too so gradually I tried to turn her into Cameron Diaz. Things didn’t quite work out as planned and I switched from one hot girl to another modifying the topology as I went.
Over time I settled into the way of modelling using subdivs and I’ve seen so much por… er, artistic references, I have seen what each muscle looks like in pretty much any position imaginable.
My main intention was actually to make a model that was low poly enough for a game but with subdivs can look photoreal. So low poly was my aim from the outset and that made things so much more difficult. There are about the same number of polys in one makehuman hand as there are in this girl’s entire body (~1500 give or take).
I actually used the makehuman ear though. I had my ear finished and the topology was fine but there were too many sharp edges that I realised I needed more detail. So I had the choice to either increase the polys on mine or decrease the polys on makehuman’s and I chose the latter. Mine was 75 polys originally and makehumans was about 200. I eventually got a compromise at 107.
Overall the mesh detail has spread out pretty well into roughly 3 sectors: the head with 500 polys, the middle+ arms 500 and the waist + legs 500.
Now for a game, that will translate to 3000 tris since I’m using quads so it might be a bit much but the ears, hands and feet could easily be modified to get it lower. The main reason I like low poly models is the control and that it’s easy to fix the surface when it messes up.
The lack of detail and even some oddness in the surface from the low poly nature of the model I hope to make up with textures. Maybe bump maps but I like the idea of normal maps more. Displacement maps if I’m lucky.
I have some proportions to iron out here and there, then finish the UVmapping/texturing and finish the rigging. Silly Blender flushed all the bindings when I joined it to the makehuman ear mesh so I have to start again now :(.
You will notice some of the bones sticking out where you wouldn’t expect e.g. the spine (yeah, yeah and the breasts - I might use softbodies though :P). I see a lot of models that construct the spine like a real one but the bones are quite hard to grab so I do it this way. Of course I might change my mind if I decide to make it an IK chain.
The other thing that’s been bugging me is getting hair and clothing done. I’ve still to look into that and in that case, I won’t likely be finishing this soon. I want to use RiCurves with 3delight and more advanced shaders and lights than Blender has as well as better AA but we’ll see.
Another thing you might notice is the planes in the background. That’s how I do my references. I find it easier than background images because you can adjust position, scale, rotation very easily. I find it most useful for getting the profile image the same size as the front image.
The easiest way is as follows:
- check reference image size e.g. 640x480
- make a plane facing the right way and go to object mode
- hit n and enter the size but scale down the resolution so e.g. use 6.4 for sizex and 4.8 for sizey or 0.64 and 0.48 depending on what size your model is. It doesn’t really matter as long as you get the aspect ratio right.
- Go to UVfaceselect mode and select the plane. Then go to the UVeditor and open the image. If you go to textured mode, you should see it in the 3d window. If it’s the wrong way, press r and select rotate uv co-ordinates.
- align the camera to the image and scale or rotate it to fit your model or if you are just starting from scratch, match your references to each other.
If your image is the wrong way round, you can just flip the plane normal or rotate 180 degrees round the vertical axis.
Anyway, here’s what she looks like so far on subdiv level 1:
And I should add, I’m pretty lazy so updates here won’t likely be all that often ;).
update: wow that was quick eh? I’ve fixed the crease on the inner breast. Again I wasn’t using enough polys.