How to make 3D character models in Blender

how to create 3d character models in blender and how to model a 3d character in blender and how to make a 3d character on blender
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Dr.MohitBansal,Canada,Teacher
Published Date:26-10-2017
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Polygonal Modeling of the Character's Accessories In this chapter, we will cover the following recipes: f Preparing the scene for polygonal modeling f Modeling the eye f Modeling the armor plates f Using the Mesh to Curve technique to add details Introduction In the previous two chapters, we did the following: f Quickly modeled a simple base mesh, as close as possible to the shape of the reference templates f Sculpted this base mesh, refining the shapes and adding details to some extent We have also quickly modeled very simple teeth and talons, and placed bare UV Spheres as placeholders for the eyes. It's now time to start some polygonal modeling to complete the eyes, but especially to build the armor that our character is wearing. 57Polygonal Modeling of the Character's Accessories Preparing the scene for polygonal modeling Coming from a sculpting session, our.blend file must first be prepared for the polygonal modeling, verifying that the required add-ons are enabled and all the character's parts are easily visible and recognizable; for this, even though the topic of Materials is complex and there will be an entire chapter dedicated to it later in this book, we are going to assign basic materials to these parts so that they have different colors in the 3D viewport. Getting ready First, we are going to look for the LoopTools add-on, an incredibly useful script by Bartius Crouch that extends the Blender modeling capabilities (and that also has other functionalities, as we'll see in the next chapter about retopology); this add-on is provided with the official Blender release, but still must be enabled. To do this, follow these steps: 1. Start Blender and call the Blender User Preferences panel (Ctrl + Alt + U); go to the Addons tab. 2. Under the Categories item on the left-hand side of the panel, click on Mesh. 3. Check the empty little checkbox on the right-hand side of the Mesh: LoopTools add- on to enable it. 4. Click on the Save User Settings button at the bottom-left of the panel to save your preferences and close the panel: The Blender User Preferences panel 5. Open theGidiosaurus_Dynatopo_Sculpt.blend file. 58Chapter 3 How to do it… Now, we can start with the scene setup: 1. Click on the 11th scene layer button (the first one in the second row of the first-left layer block of Visible Layers in the toolbar of the 3D window) to make it the only one visible (or else, just put the mouse pointer on the 3D viewport and press the Alt + 11 keys; the Alt button is to allow for double digits). 2. Press Shift + left-click on the 13th button to multiactivate it (or use the Shift + Alt + 13 shortcut). 3. Go to the Outliner and click on the little grayed arrow icons on the side of the Eyes, Fangs and Talons items to make them selectable again. 4. If not already present, show the Properties 3D window sidepanel (N key) and go to the Shading subpanel; uncheck the Matcap item: Disabling the Matcap item 5. Select the Gidiosaurus mesh; go to the Material window under the main Properties panel to the right and click on the New button to assign a material (note that, at least at the moment, we are using the default Blender Internal engine); click on the Diffuse button and change the color to RGB 0.604, 0.800, 0.306 (a greenish hue, but in this case you can obviously choose any color you wish). Double left-click on the material name inside the data block slot to rename it asBody. 59Polygonal Modeling of the Character's Accessories 6. Select the Eyes object and again in the Material window under the main Properties panel to the right, click on the New button to assign a new material; click on the Diffuse button and this time change the color to RGB 0.800, 0.466, 0.000. Rename the material asEyes. 7. Select the Fangs object and repeat the process; change the diffuse color to RGB 0.800, 0.697, 0.415. Rename the material asEnamel. 8. Select the Talons object and go to the Material window under the Properties panel to the right; click on the little arrows on the left-side of the New button and from the pop-up menu, select theEnamel material: Assigning a material and choosing a color 9. Go to the UV/Image_Editor window on the left-hand side of the screen and press Shift + left-click on the X icon on the right-hand side of the data block name to get rid of thegidiosaurus_trequarters.png image. Then, click on the Open button, browse to thetemplates folder, and load thegidiosaurus_armor1.png image. 60Chapter 3 10. Save the file as Gidiosaurus_modeling.blend. The armoured character's image loaded in the UV/Image Editor for reference How it works… We have deselected the Matcap view, assigning also differently colored basic materials to the four parts making up the character's mesh (body, eyes, fangs, and talons) to have a clearer way of differentiating the different pieces of the mesh. Then, we have replaced the template we used as reference for the sculpting of the Gidiosaurus body with a new one showing the armor as well (in thetemplates folder there are actually two slightly different versions of the armor; we chose the first one). We have also activated the 13th scene layer to be ready for the modeling of the armor (in the 11th we have the character's mesh and in the 12th we have the fangs, talons, and eyes). Note that, in this cookbook, I will always specify scene layers to indicate the 20 3D layers accessible from the buttons on the viewport toolbar and distinguish them from other types of layer systems present in Blender, such as for the bones or the Grease Pencil tool and so on. 61Polygonal Modeling of the Character's Accessories Modeling the eye It's now time to start to define the creature's eyes. We already had UV Sphere placeholders, but we're going to refine this mesh to deliver a more convincing eye. By the way, keep in mind that a good portion of the expressiveness of the eye will be due to the use of appropriate textures; for more information, see Chapter 12, Creating the Materials in Cycles, and Chapter 13, Creating the Materials in Blender Internal. Getting ready Following the previous recipe, there is nothing particular to be prepared before starting, except for the following: 1. Go to the Properties 3D view sidepanel (N key if not already present) and uncheck the Background Images item. 2. Press 3 on the numpad to go in Side view and zoom to the UV Sphere location, by pressing Shift + B and drawing a box around the point you want to zoom at; as you release the mouse button, the selected area will be zoomed in; Disabling the background images and zooming to the eyes area 3. Go to the Outliner and click on the eye icon on the right-hand side of the Gidiosaurus item to hide it; or else, select the mesh in the 3D viewport and press the H key. Alternatively, you can also press the slash (/) key in the numpad to go in Local view, a particular view mode where only the selected objects are still visible (press the slash (/) again to go back to the normal view mode). 62Chapter 3 How to do it… Without further ado, let us begin to build the eye: 1. Press Z to go in the Wireframe viewport shading mode. 2. In the Outliner, select the Eyes item (or else, if you wish, in the 3D viewport, select the UV Sphere object) and rename it as Cornea. 3. Press Shift + D and then immediately press the Esc key or right-click to cancel the Grab/Translate function, obtaining a duplicated object that now shows as Cornea.001; in the Outliner, rename the new object as Eyeball. 4. Press Tab to go in Edit Mode; if necessary, press A to select all the vertices and scale them to 0.990 (S .99 Enter). 5. Press A to deselect all the vertices. Then, box-select (B key) the pole vertex and the first row of vertices at the left-side pole (that is, in total 33 vertices); press X to delete them: Box-selecting the vertices at the UV Sphere pole 6. Reselect all the remaining vertices; then, press the period (.) key on the numpad to center the view on the selection. 7. Go to the Outliner and click on the eye icon on the left-hand side of the Cornea item to hide it. 8. Rotate the view to align it with the hole in the UV Sphere and, if necessary, press the 5 key on the numpad to go in Ortho mode. 63Polygonal Modeling of the Character's Accessories 9. Press Z to go in the Solid viewport shading mode and press A to deselect everything. 10. Select the first row of vertices around the hole ( Alt + right-click on the edge-loop). Press E to extrude them and then S to scale them; keep Ctrl + Shift pressed and scale to 0.9500 (or else, press S .95 Enter). 11. Press E and S again to extrude and scale the vertices to 0.500. 12. Press F to fill the selection and Alt + P to poke the created N-gon face (that is, to automatically subdivide the single N-gon face into triangular faces connected to a central vertex). Extruding and closing the eye 64Chapter 3 13. Press 1 on the numpad to go in Front view. Scale the selected vertices to 0.500 on the x axis (S X .5 Enter). 14. Press Ctrl + R and add an edge-loop outside of the iris; keep Ctrl pressed and move the mouse to edge-slide it to -0.900. Making the pupil 15. In the toolbar of the 3D window, enable the PET (the Proportional Editing tool); set it to Connected and the Proportional Editing Falloff option to Sphere. 65Polygonal Modeling of the Character's Accessories 16. Enable the widget, set it to Translate (the second icon from the left, the one with the arrow), set Transform Orientation to Global, and select the central vertex of the pole. By using the widget, move it on the y (green) axis to 0.0030 (click on the green arrow and hold Shift for a finer control as you move the mouse on the y axis), while with the middle mouse wheel, set the Proportional size value of the PET to a quite small radius, or 0.01 to be precise: Creating the iris concave shape 17. Press Ctrl and the + key on the numpad 3 times, in order to grow the selection starting from the single selected vertex at the center of the iris. 18. Go to the Material window, create a new material, and rename it asIris; change its diffuse color to something like RGB 0.061, 0.025, 0.028 and then click on the Assign button: 66Chapter 3 Assigning a material to the iris 19. Press Ctrl and the - key on the numpad just 1 time, in order to reduce the selection to the pupil. Go to the Material window, create a new material, and rename it asPupil; change its diffuse color to plain black and then click on the Assign button. 20. Press Tab to go out of Edit Mode. The almost completed eye 67Polygonal Modeling of the Character's Accessories 21. Go to the Object Modifiers window under the main Properties panel on the right- hand side of the UI and assign a Subdivision Surface modifier; check the Optimal Display item. 22. In the Outliner, unhide the Cornea object and assign a Subdivision Surface modifier as well; check the Optimal Display item and then hide it again (you can also use the H and Alt + H keys to do this). 23. Select the Eyeball object and go to the Material window; select thePupil material and go to the Specular subpanel to set the Intensity value to 0.000. Set the Specular Shader Model option of both theEyes andIris materials to WardIso and the Slope value to 0.070. Set theIris material's Emit value (under the Shading subpanel) to 0.050. 24. In the Outliner, select the Cornea object and in the Material window, click on the little icon reporting 2 on the right-hand side of the material name (it's the display of the number of users for that material). The nameEyes automatically changes to Eyes.001: rename itCornea; then, go to the Transparency subpanel and enable it. Set the Fresnel value to 1.400 and the Blend factor to 2.000. Go to the Options subpanel further down and uncheck the Traceable item. 25. Unhide the Gidiosaurus mesh (Alt + H) and enable the 6th scene layer (the one with the Camera and the Lamp). Select the Lamp and in the Object Data window, change the type to Sun and then rotate it to: X = 55.788948°, Y = 16.162031°, and Z = 19.84318°; you can press N and then type these values in the slots of the Rotation panel at the top of the Properties 3D window sidepanel. 26. Press N to hide again the Properties 3D window sidepanel and in the toolbar of the 3D window, go to the Viewport Shading button and select Rendered (or directly press the Shift + Z shortcut) to have a nice preview of the effect: The Rendered preview of our character so far 27. Save the file. 68Chapter 3 How it works… Actually, the eyes of the character are composed of two distinct objects: the Eyeball and the Cornea object. The Cornea object is the transparent layer covering the Eyeball object, and by clicking on the eye icon in the Outliner, it has been made invisible in the 3D viewport but still renderable. With the Cornea object visible in the 3D views, irises and pupils would have been hidden behind, making the work of animating the eyes quite hard; animators always need to know what the character is looking at. Both the Cornea and Eyeball objects, at the moment, are mirrored to the right by the Mirror modier; t fi his will be changed when we skin the mesh to the Armature. If you can't find the Rendered view in the Viewport Shading mode button on the 3D viewport's toolbar, you may want to make sure you have the latest version of Blender; only versions after 2.6 have this feature for the Blender Render engine. Modeling the armor plates In the previous recipe, we modeled the character's eye and we had already modeled the teeth in Chapter 2, Sculpting the Character's Base Mesh, because we needed them, at that moment, to go on with the sculpting; they had been made with simple Cube primitives quickly scaled and tweaked in Edit Mode. It is now time to model the armor for our warrior. Let's begin by creating the hard metal plates. We are going to use an approach similar to the modeling of the fangs, which is by starting with a Cube primitive and subdividing it to have more geometry to be edited in the proper shape, and we'll also use the LoopTools add-on to simplify some processes. Getting ready We will carry on with theGidiosaurus_modeling.blend file: 1. Press 3 on the numpad to go in Side view. 2. By scrolling the middle mouse wheel, zoom back to frame the Gidiosaurus mesh in the 3D window. 3. In the Outliner, click on the arrow icon on the right-hand side of the Gidiosaurus item to make it unselectable. 69Polygonal Modeling of the Character's Accessories How to do it… Now, we can start to build the armor; let's go with the chest piece: 1. Note that the 3D Cursor is in the middle of the scene, at the character's pivot location (Shift + S Cursor to Selected or also Cursor to Active, just in case). 2. Press O to disable the Proportional Editing tool; go to the 3D viewport toolbar to verify that the tool button is grayed. 3. Press Shift + A and add a Cube primitive to the scene. 4. Press Tab to go in Edit Mode and scale all the vertices to 0.500 (or press S .5 Enter). Adding the Cube primitive to the scene 5. Press Ctrl + R to add a loop along the y axis and then left-click twice to confirm it at the middle of the object: 70Chapter 3 Adding a central vertical edge-loop to the Cube 6. Select the right-side vertices of the Cube and delete them; then, assign a Mirror modier and chec fi k the Clipping item: The Cube with the Mirror modifier 71Polygonal Modeling of the Character's Accessories 7. Go again in Side view and press Z to go in the Wireframe viewport shading mode; select all the vertices and move them upward. 8. Rotate the vertices to reflect the angle of the character's chest. 9. Select the upper vertices and scale and rotate them to fit the creature's neck area. 10. Select the bottom vertices and scale and rotate them to fit the base of the chest: Starting to model the armor from the Cube primitive 11. Press Ctrl + R to add a new horizontal edge-loop at the middle of the Cube; scale it bigger to fit the shape of the creature's chest. 12. While still in Side view, grab and move the vertices to conform them to the chest shape. 13. Press 1 to go in Front view and again move the vertices to adjust them consistently to the character's chest shape: 72Chapter 3 Adding more geometry and shape to the Cube 14. Select the 2 middle outer vertices and move them down, in order to place the edge connecting them just below the character's armpit. 15. Press Ctrl + R to add a loop along the x axis; click twice to confirm it at the middle of the lateral side: Adding more geometry again 73Polygonal Modeling of the Character's Accessories 16. Press the slash key (/) on the numpad to go in Local view with the selected object (in this case, even if still in Edit Mode, it is the Cube) and select the upper outer edge-loop. 17. Go to the Tool Shelf panel and scroll down the Tools tab to find the LoopTools subpanel (the LoopTools items are available also in the Specials menu that we can call by pressing the W key in Edit Mode); click on the Circle button to make the selection on a circular path: Using the LoopTools add-on 18. Do the same also with the middle and the bottom edge-loop; then, select the central upper and bottom pole's vertices and delete them: 74Chapter 3 Going on with the modeling 19. Press the slash key (/) on the numpad to go out of Local view. 20. Press Tab to go out of Edit Mode and go to the Object Modifiers window under the main Properties panel; click on the Apply button to apply the Mirror modifier. 21. Go back in Edit Mode and press Ctrl + R to add a horizontal edge-loop to the upper half of the mesh. 22. Scale the new edge-loop to 1.100: Adapting the shape of the armor to the chest by adding more geometry as edge-loops 75Polygonal Modeling of the Character's Accessories 23. Add a new horizontal edge-loop also to the lower half of the mesh. 24. Select the middle edge-loop and scale it smaller on the x axis, to 0.900. 25. Select the bottom edge-loop and scale it smaller on the x axis as well. 26. Select the last edge-loop and repeat the operation. Going on with the modeling by adding edge-loops 27. Press 3 on the numpad to go in Side view and Z to go in the Wireframe viewport shading mode. 28. If not already, enable the widget in the toolbar of the 3D window; set the Transformation manipulators to scaling (the last icon to the right) and the Transform Orientation option to Normal. 29. Select all the vertices and by moving the green scaling manipulator of the widget, scale smaller all the edge-loops on the normal y axis; small enough to almost reach the character's back and chest surfaces. 76