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Twisted Designs
05-23-2007, 12:51 AM
In your opinion what is the easiest way to create a character from scratch? I have seen tutorials where people start out with a box or ball and manipulate it until they have their character and I have seen where they start out on one side of the axis and patch here and there until they have half a face....



So from a community that from what I have seen knows their stuff...what are your opinions on the easiest way?


And if you would like to throw in some places I can look to find the best way for a person new to character creation to start creating, I would be greatful.

jameswillmott
05-23-2007, 01:00 AM
Some people like box modeling because they get the basic forms down and add detail later. I've heard that getting polyflow right can be trickier with box modeling. I prefer to model polygon by polygon ( using bevel, extend etc ) If you use ZBrush you just sculpt the thing like you're playing with clay. :)

It's probably best to start with a hand sketch either way.

Surrealist.
05-23-2007, 02:11 AM
One Place you can go is here:

www.splinegod.com

Look for his course ware as well as free tutorials on creating a head.

For a great overview of LW tools and techniques you can go here (http://www.suture.net/tutorials/modeling/index.php)

For some great tutorials on character modeling and techniques try here (http://www.puffandlarkin.com/lightwave/tutorials/character_modelling/index.htm).

I find I like to just create a mesh against a sketch in one dimension. Once I get enough polyflow, then I pull it out to start creating a form then gradually add the rest of the polyflow and tweak it.

The tools I use are the pen tool and add edges primarily. Of course then I do a lot of merging polys and so on. Bandsaw Pro and Multishift come in handy as well.

WilliamVaughan
05-23-2007, 05:04 AM
Box modeling is my favorite method for creating toon characters....it's very relaxing!

Steamthrower
05-23-2007, 06:00 AM
Great replies here. I'm with Twisted Designs in being a very new beginner to any organic modeling at all.

Surrealist, your technique was very helpful. I don't think I've seen it approached like that before. My question is, about how long does it take you to create a character (not including rigging and texturing - just modeling).

Twisted Designs
05-23-2007, 06:28 AM
This is the reason I love the lightwave commuity so much, people share what works for them and more times then not it is different approaches. So in the end us "noobs" are left with many angles to look at.

Twisted Designs
05-23-2007, 06:39 AM
Anyone know of a website or even a book I can purchase that has lessons explaining in detail everything about Lightwaves tools. I think I am taking the hard route in learning and throwing myself deep into the pit of "What does this button do".

Id like to just sit back and go through a well organized tutorial detailing what my interface buttons are capable of.

The cheaper the form of learning tool the better as Lightwave and Photoshop Cs3 have extremely taxed my budget. Preferably I'd like to find an online tutorial that lays it all out step by step!

Steamthrower
05-23-2007, 06:50 AM
Twisted Designs, go to www.suture.net and find the tutorial section. This website has an extremely comprehensive list of all LW tools.

bluerider
05-23-2007, 07:56 AM
I think the best way to start a character is to sketch it out first. Try and get the essence of the character mapped out as quickly as possible.

Then break the drawing up into primative shapes that represent Torso, Pelvis, Head. Decide on what simple shapes make up the connecting parts. then when you go to model in 3D the process will be more effecient.

I like what Surrealist has done showing the whole process from sketch, side profile of head to finished modeled piece.....awesome.

DiedonD
05-23-2007, 08:23 AM
If you just have a feeling of a character, and not the looks. Then you mind aswell start with no scetch behind, and just model plain and simple. Something great oughta come out that way.

But if you do have a figure burning in your mind, then draw it quickly. And 3D it afterwards. In which case I would slap a single mesh on the behind scetch, and arrange points for each poly accordingly so as it looks as best as possible like the sketch behind. And yes, I do the half of the face only at first.

SplineGod
05-23-2007, 09:51 AM
In your opinion what is the easiest way to create a character from scratch? I have seen tutorials where people start out with a box or ball and manipulate it until they have their character and I have seen where they start out on one side of the axis and patch here and there until they have half a face....

And if you would like to throw in some places I can look to find the best way for a person new to character creation to start creating, I would be greatful.

This question falls into 2 categories. You have experienced artists who know and understand anatomy. They can typically use any method to get to where they want to go because they tend to know where theyre going in advance.
They can skip many of the basic traditional steps because of that.

You then have people who may have little to no background in art or anatomy and I find that this is the biggest group by far. Ive been character modeling for years and have taught it for years. Ive found from teaching that students tend to have the most difficult time with point by point or poly by poly modeling the most, box modeling 2nd and so on.

The best methods Ive found are those that mimic more traditional approaches; starting with a primitive, getting the general form and flow first and then working into the details. Ive seen tutorials where you start with a detailed eye and work your way out. This, IMO is a great way to paint yourself into a corner. Ive never seen anyone sketch, paint or sculpt following a detail out approach. Its always a detail in.

So when I teach I try and teach methods that follow a more traditional approach. One way starts with a single polygon and then you add the centerline, eyeline, noseline, mouthline etc just as you would when sketching a head. Another method uses spheres (not the standard LW ball but a metaformed cube) to layout the large forms or masses just like you would when drawing or sculpting. I also am partial to using splines and a quick way to layout a basic form and flow for a primitive to model from.

Heres a link to the single poly method:
http://www.3dtrainingonline.com/support/
You want the videos under the character modeling exerpts from my course.

Heres an example of modeling with spheres:
http://www.3dtrainingonline.com/support/hoof.mov

I also have a spline modeling tutorial on my site as well.

This example started off as a single polygon:
http://www.3dtrainingonline.com/personal/gollum.jpg

This started off as splines:
http://www.3dtrainingonline.com/personal/ogre_head3.jpg

This was done with spheres:
http://www.3dtrainingonline.com/examples/rig_demo.mov

bluerider
05-23-2007, 10:16 AM
SplineGod,
Lol....your spot on, detail in not detail out.

Creative non linear thinking works best with the whole view of all the parts and then refinement of those parts.

Starting with the detail of the eye and working out.....wow, thats quite a beginning.

SplineGod
05-23-2007, 11:51 AM
Im surprised by how many tutorials go that way. The detail needed in the eye isnt the same as needed for the rest of the face yet gets propagated that way and make the head harder to tweak which in the end can end in frustration. :)

Twisted Designs
05-23-2007, 01:01 PM
WOW...that example of modeling with spheres just blew me away. I cant believe how easy and fast you made it look. Already dying to get off work so i can return to my little 3D world..lol....thanks!

Surrealist.
05-23-2007, 01:04 PM
Great replies here. I'm with Twisted Designs in being a very new beginner to any organic modeling at all.

Surrealist, your technique was very helpful. I don't think I've seen it approached like that before. My question is, about how long does it take you to create a character (not including rigging and texturing - just modeling).

Well it used to take longer. My first few of heads using the box modeling technique used to take days. Then I tried Lary's and a few others method of just sketching out the face from the front. Actually I have tried many methods including spline patching.

But recently I started to work from the profile because to me the profile defines the character so much more than the front view. My first couple of attempts and this took about a full day ore more to create the head. Now it takes only a matter of hours.

I can't comment on the body yet because I have only done a few. I have continued my anatomy drawing (www.richardculver.com) to hopefully improve my sketching techniques on the rest of the body and then do some better body modeling. But I plan to take a similar approach of sketching in the polyflow by hand.

But in the end it is going to depend on the level of detail you are trying to achieve.

CMT
05-23-2007, 01:14 PM
I can't do anything without sketching it first. Either on paper, or nowadays, a quick ZBrush sketch of the character using a premade mesh. Once the essense is captured, then I either refine the sketch model in ZB or create a new one, thinking more about technique.

Surrealist.
05-23-2007, 01:37 PM
Here's another profile sketch and result. I find it easier to interpolate the rest of the head once I have the profile. You could use two sketches but I just use the one angle and then use basics of anatomy to finish the other angles. This part is just as creative as the initial sketch and keeps it interesting yet with plenty of prediction. His head could have been wider but I was kind of liking it that way.

SplineGod
05-23-2007, 10:17 PM
WOW...that example of modeling with spheres just blew me away. I cant believe how easy and fast you made it look. Already dying to get off work so i can return to my little 3D world..lol....thanks!

Thanks! :)
Many drawing books show masses like head, torso, joints etc as round shapes that you then flesh out. With spheres I can rough out shapes and then quickly bridge them together. It goes very quickly. Again, heres is a traditional method adapted to 3d.
On the LW8 3rd party CD I also have a tutorial showing how to rough out a dragon using spheres in this way.

Twisted Designs
05-23-2007, 11:10 PM
Thanks! :)
Many drawing books show masses like head, torso, joints etc as round shapes that you then flesh out. With spheres I can rough out shapes and then quickly bridge them together. It goes very quickly. Again, heres is a traditional method adapted to 3d.
On the LW8 3rd party CD I also have a tutorial showing how to rough out a dragon using spheres in this way.


Seeing as how my boss is willing to spend ANYTHING on a 3d modeler that I can pick up on quickly (2-3 months is quick) I am beginning to think I may ask him to pick up some of the training videos I am finding all over the net.

I wish Lightwave had as big of a community as Maya so there would be as much free source information out there!

SplineGod
05-23-2007, 11:22 PM
I think LW does have a large base of information. Sometimes you have to dig a little to find it. Theres also plenty of training videos on these very topics. :)