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View Full Version : Wow...big thanks to Surrealist and Splinegod..



rqe3bc
04-05-2008, 11:35 AM
After struggling for months trying to get a handle on this 3D Lightwave thing :), I finally had time to read through Surrealist's subpatch tutorials and try it myself (I still get stuck when I have a lone triangle and don't know how to make it a quad, and I'm still a little confused about what is good polyflow but what the heck - I'm still learning.)

I then found Splinegod's "dragon" tutorial, and it was the first time I finished a tutorial that actually looked like it was supposed to! I had a few problems finding the same tools (I guess Super Shift is now Multishift and it took me a while to figure out the right settings to duplicate what was happening in the tutorial) and then of course I didn't know what Action Center was used for some of the Modify tools, but I eventually "got" it.

I have Ablan's wonderful book "Inside Lightwave 8" but unfortunately, the pictures in my copy were way too dark for me to see exactly what was going on so my models fell a little short of the end goal (a lighter grey or white background would have been a lot clearer.)

However, after going through these tutorials I just had to say "thank you" - I now feel as if there is actually hope for me after all.....:)

Jim M
04-05-2008, 04:20 PM
Congrats, you are now one of the infected. :)

COBRASoft
04-05-2008, 04:43 PM
yeah, the tutorials are amazing... now comes lighting, texturing, GI-settings, ... if there were only such tutorials for that... live would be so much easier for us starters :)

Surrealist.
04-06-2008, 04:42 AM
I am glad you got something out of it rqe3bc. Makes all that work worth it for sure. So you are welcome.


After struggling for months trying to get a handle on this 3D Lightwave thing :), I finally had time to read through Surrealist's subpatch tutorials and try it myself (I still get stuck when I have a lone triangle and don't know how to make it a quad, and I'm still a little confused about what is good polyflow but what the heck - I'm still learning.)


There is a rule of thumb about a triangle. It is actually simple. It is just basic math. You either have to 1) Add an edge loop or 2) remove one.

From there it is really kind of like puzzle solving. That is the most of it. The more you do it the faster this becomes and the less time you spend staring at the screen wondering how you are going to connect things and the more time you spend implementing the solutions.

The way it works for me is after a while I start to see patterns that repeat. This is why I presented the tutorial the way I did. To kind of drive home these simple patterns that if you use all the time will always give you predictable results.

So about polyflow. I probably can not give the subject justice in a thread. I don't think I really gave it much justice in my tutorial. But I can say that if you study the work of great modelers you will see these same simple patterns I described.

From there really you just look at a shape you want to create and you can see the poly flow superimposed right over it. Not because of any stroke of genius, but because you only need to know about 3 different patterns. From there it is really just a matter of connecting them smoothly as the shape changes over the contour of the object.

It is where these places connect and making them work as a cohesive mesh that the art of it comes into play. Then it is just doing it over and over and over. Soon you'll find you spend less time figuring out what to put there and more time just putting it there or thinking about the best or fastest way to get there.

So just model a lot. :)

But if you ever have any questions don't forget you can PM me or post here for answers. And also I second the praise for Splinegods tutorials. I have learned quite a bit from him.

IMI
04-06-2008, 12:32 PM
Hey rqe,
Yes, Richard's subpatch stuff is really good information, and he in general always has some really good suggestions for modeling stuff.
I don't know about Splinegod's dragon tutorial - I don't think I ever saw it anywhere, but I'm sure it's great since he too is one of the LW bigwigs.
You also ought to check out Taron's head modeling video tutorial available from Gnomon's website (actually the only LW tutorial there). That's one amazing piece of information there. Not free, but not too pricey and definitely worth it.
And check out the LW Modeler tool SpinQuads (the tool, not the website), which can be your best friend for polygon flow. :)

rqe3bc
04-06-2008, 12:33 PM
Ah yes....but it's a well known fact that those who have mastered the art (any art) always make it look easy, which to me is a sure sign that there is a master at work :).

I don't have quite the "eye" yet to always correctly distinguish a "poor" model from an "elegant" model, although I do try to study what is going on as far as mesh construction goes with some of the images posted if they show the wireframes. And I can often "see" how the polyflow is the way it is - I just don't have all the skills yet to do it myself - how to get from point A to point B as it were - (I've never been good with math and geometry) but as you said, that is just experience and tons of modeling :)

Here's a little pix of my completed dragon from Splinegod's tutorial - I know it's not perfect but I'm just so excited that I got it done and it actually looks close to what it's supposed to look like.

I feel brave enough now to try adding some details to it - maybe some eyes, nostrils, etc. by applying some of the methods in your Subpatch tutorials. I'll be going through them again (I like to repeat stuff until I feel confident with it) and I'll watch for the patterns.

Surrealist.
04-06-2008, 11:31 PM
Very good man. That is a big step forward, getting that far.

You are right. It is easy to simplify after you have gone through it all and look back at it.

So what would you like to see explained better? (with examples of course) What would make understanding polyflow easier?

I started a tutorial "Creating Contour" (http://www.lightwiki.com/Creating_Contour). Have you had a look at that? It might give some more information. Let me know what you think would help making this easy to understand.

jameswillmott
04-06-2008, 11:54 PM
I started a tutorial "Creating Contour" (http://www.lightwiki.com/Creating_Contour). Have you had a look at that? It might give some more information. Let me know what you think would help making this easy to understand.

That's a great tute, thanks Surrealist!

Surrealist.
04-07-2008, 03:40 AM
My pleasure. :)

rqe3bc
04-07-2008, 08:06 AM
Very good man.

Thank you...but I'm a woman ;)

Here is a couple of pix of where I am stuck already :)

I believe the part I circled in red is what you called "weak" in your tutorials. So I'm not sure if 1) if I need to do something about this and 2) what I should do.

The second pix is where I wanted to start adding an eye just using smooth shift. This seems to be okay, but that weak part is still there and I don't know if that is considered good polyflow or not.

I have looked at your Creating Contour tutorial but my mesh got a little messed up doing the hole for the wheel, so I have to try it again.

I sure appreciate your time to help me :)

Surrealist.
04-07-2008, 10:57 AM
Thank you...but I'm a woman ;)

Yes, indeed. My apology.

So yes the weak part is a problem. It is not the end of the world, you could probably get away with it for now with this model. But if you want you can try and decipher my little drawing.

The nice thing about this is it gives you more geometry to make something more than a little oval eye. You could give the eye a little more shape.

Of course now you have to find a way to step those loops back down so they don't have you adding loops across the whole body. Or if you make the actual eye balls a separate object, you can terminate the loops there in the socket which could then be a hole. That's how I make all my heads.

rqe3bc
04-08-2008, 01:09 PM
Thank you! I think I'll try to get it as in your drawing - a good exercise for me! I haven't really done any work on the eye at all yet - just did a smooth shift to see what would happen :)

Surrealist.
04-08-2008, 07:15 PM
Cool! Have fun with it.

Tip:

Just as in my tutorial you can turn off subpatches and use the add edges tool and merge polys to rearrange things.

Hope it works out for you.

Hopper
04-08-2008, 08:10 PM
Good work rqe3bc.

One piece of advice I can give to a beginner from a beginner is simply this:

While your still learning the basics, no matter what happens... FINISH IT.

Don't give up if you get stuck. There are plenty of times when I've wanted to just delete the entire NewTek directory and go have a drink (which I highly recommend anyway - the drink part that is). Press on. It will be well worth it in the end. You will learn so much more when you have to fight for it. You will learn 10 times more by doing the "wrong" things while reaching your goal of completion. Even if you finish, zoom out, and say to yourself "wow .. that pretty much sucks", you will almost immediately be thinking of all things you did that you now know how to do better. You will be amazed at how many times you will start a new model and remember "that one situation" you had with one of your previous ones and breeze right past it. It will eventually become second nature.

And don't be afraid to ask or post models for critiques. You'll find many gems of advice and helpful hints. Most folks here will critique based on the skill level of the piece you're working on and not expect you to only post something that should be in a feature film or ArchViz expo. If it weren't for the folks here like Surrealist, William Vaughan, SplineGod and the likes, I would have given up a long time ago. I'm just glad the folks here put up with me.

Work on your models .. don't let them work on you.

GraphXs
04-08-2008, 08:26 PM
Here is another tip for modeling. After I scan my sketch in, or even before, I draw polygon flow over my sketch. I draw loops around eyes, mouth, nose, etc. I plan in the sketch how my polys will flow into each other and add edges to the places that have detail. Similar to what Surrealist added to your dino. It takes the guess work out of building the mesh, and gives you the poly info before you start.

I usually model from starting with the eye, I don't box model, its more like patch modeling with polygons. I use the extend tool alot, and background shapes to help define the volume and flow.

Enjoy LW!

JeffrySG
04-09-2008, 10:37 AM
Not sure if you've found any of the great tutorials on subdivisionmodeling.com yet either...
Like this great one:
http://subdivisionmodeling.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2347


Also, you might find my subpatch videos useful as well. Link in my sig...

rqe3bc
04-12-2008, 11:00 AM
Thanks for all the great advice! I actually have a file folder of my feeble model attempts I named "BadModels" :) I seem to get to a certain point and then mess it up beyond repair (thank goodness for incremental saving!)

I though I would be brave and attempt a model of my dog based on Splinegod's tutorial. I hit the wall when it came to the head - I can't figure out how to get the edge loops around the muzzle for the mouth (I think that would be good polyflow).

The hardest part so far is getting my dog to sit still long enough for a picture :)

Anyway, here is what I have so far - I think the body and legs are coming along okay (I have to make some adjustments yet to conform more to a skeletal structure but since this is just "practice" I'm not too worried about it being perfectly accurate).

There are lots of great tutorials on modeling a human head but because the dog's muzzle and jaw are so much more extended I don't know how to get those loops.

rqe3bc
04-12-2008, 11:08 AM
Thank you JeffrySG - I hadn't found those yet!

Surrealist.
04-12-2008, 09:00 PM
Take a look at this. Maybe it will give you some ideas. It took me a while to make. But I started out buy looking at about 3 different panther photos from different angles and I just drew out the outline and began filling it in.

Then once I get to a certain point I pull out the mass of the head and begin adding polyflow to that.

The zipped object preserves some of these steps in separate layers used to create this panther head.

There is somewhat of a plan because I know where I want the polyflow to go around places like the eye and so on. But it mostly is a process of just moving things around until I get it the way I want it.

Primarily I use Add Edges and merge polys - deleting the stray points of course.

Also I use Terry Ford's Mirror tools to and I work on only one half of the model at a time. You can Google him and find those tools.

Surrealist.
04-12-2008, 09:07 PM
Also: a nice thing about this file is you can see how pathetic the very first two stages are. You have to be willing to push through that and know you will eventually get there. When I first started SubD modeling I would often give up at this stage. But this is the time to take a break, eat, get sleep, whatever, then come back. The main thing is keep your vision. Also know that you can move things around in a wholesale fashion with the DragNet tool. Very handy to take geometry and reshape it. Look at the difference between the last two stages.

And finally good use of the smooth tool on polygons you have edited to the point that they are just too bumpy. Shift M with a setting of 1 (strength) and 4 (iterations) is my favorite.

Edit: I forgot to explain. The Polygons in the BG were used to map the images I used for reference.

JeffrySG
04-12-2008, 09:19 PM
That panther head looks pretty damn nice Richard! :)

I just started using some of the great symmetry tools by Albee, and have found them to be a great resource for subd work as well. They are worth a look too.

http://loupguru.com/store/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=1_11

Kuzey
04-13-2008, 04:40 AM
Hi rqe3bc, looks like you're having fun...keep it up :thumbsup:

Here's a tutorial I found on the web that might be helpful:

http://www.wizcg.com/dog_tutorial_1.html

All the best,

Kuzey

Surrealist.
04-13-2008, 06:58 AM
Thanks Jeff.

And thanks for the link to those TA tools - free too. :)

And there you go. A dog tutorial from Kuzey - nice one.

That by the way is the point to point method I believe it is called. Some people are not in favor of that method.

I for one tried literally every method of organic modeling. And my position is that I think when you start learning to model that you do try many different ways of doing things. After a while you can start to see the larger picture. And the more skills you have at your disposal the better.

You've heard the story before "my first few heads were crap". Well so where mine. But in the process of doing those bad attempts I learned a bundle.

Model model model. :)

SplineGod
04-13-2008, 11:20 PM
rqe3bc.
Thanks, Im glad the tutorial was helpful. Ive been teaching this stuff for years and have found that methods that follow a traditional approach seem to be the easiest to follow and apply I guess thats why drawing and sculpting have been taught that way for centuries. I use masses to form the basic shapes and proportions and then bridge them. Its dead simple and an easy way to get those proportions going. it also uses a very minimal set of tools.

I also have a method that I teach on modeling a head starting with a single polygon...much like drawing books teach to start with a single primitive shape like a circle or oval. I also have the first parts of my character modeling tutorials up on my site as well that show the beginnings of that method.

I also sometimes mix a couple of simple methods.
Heres I rough out the body of this dragon using splines and then do the legs with spheres:
http://www.3dtrainingonline.com/examples/drak.jpg

In this one I used splines to rough out the basic shape of the head but I get a nice clean flow that I can use to then derive wrinkles and other details:
http://www.3dtrainingonline.com/personal/ogre.jpg
http://www.3dtrainingonline.com/personal/ogre.jpg

This one started off as a single polygon that I use on the first parts of the face modeling tutorials on my site. It ends up like this:
http://www.3dtrainingonline.com/personal/gollum.jpg
but starts of like this:
http://www.3dtrainingonline.com/examples/gollum_process.jpg

Im not a big fan of the point by point method as a way to learn to model organic characters if youre starting out. The reason being is that it tends to ignore tried and true traditional methods which start with a primitive shape and works into the details in favor of a detail out approach. When youre an experienced artist any method works because you already know where youre going. When youre learning you need a method that gives you an easy repeatable roadmap thats reproduceable and doesnt require a knowledge of a ton of LW modeling tools.

I try and keep my video tutorials to simply, quick production methods (fast). I also have a free video about controlling flow on site as well.

SplineGod
04-13-2008, 11:27 PM
Hey rqe,
Yes, Richard's subpatch stuff is really good information, and he in general always has some really good suggestions for modeling stuff.
I don't know about Splinegod's dragon tutorial - I don't think I ever saw it anywhere, but I'm sure it's great since he too is one of the LW bigwigs.
You also ought to check out Taron's head modeling video tutorial available from Gnomon's website (actually the only LW tutorial there). That's one amazing piece of information there. Not free, but not too pricey and definitely worth it.
And check out the LW Modeler tool SpinQuads (the tool, not the website), which can be your best friend for polygon flow. :)

The links to my tutorials and such are in my Signature :)

Kuzey
04-14-2008, 05:42 AM
Yeah...I tried the "point by point method" with the Joan of arc tutorial just recently. It was a bit tough going...but when I became stuck I found the answers in other tutorials. So basically, use anything as a guide and run with it, having fun along the way :D

Kuzey

rqe3bc
04-14-2008, 09:13 AM
The panther head is great - thank you! Seeing the progression is extremely helpful! Maybe someday my mesh will look as elegant...

I come from a 2D background (oh why oh why didn't I major in sculpture??) so at least I understand how to draw using primitives and blocking out shapes before adding detail - this was "standard" in painting/drawing classes. The dog tutorial is definately worth trying out although it works a little backwards from what I'm used to (details to mass instead of mass to details).

One thing I've noticed (and also with the panther head) is that when tabbing subpatch is that the geometry retains the shape. One big problem I've been running into is stretching in subpatch too much, and then when I tab the geometry is really messed up (big holes, overlapping, etc.)

I'm guessing that is not a good thing.

I'm going to give my dog head another try...this will be about #52....:)

rqe3bc
04-14-2008, 09:36 AM
Thanks for the sample sketches splinegod! I think I might have to step backwards and bit and work more on the sketches - I know exactly what you mean about experience. I used to sketch out everything before painting....now I just "paint" because all the preliminary work is second nature. I wouldn't dream of trying to paint a figure by just starting with the details - I would block out everything first otherwise I would probably just wind up with a big mess - no perspective, proportion, etc.

I'm going to have to do a lot more in planning stages for 3D modeling :)

JeffrySG
04-14-2008, 09:44 AM
This thread also has a few interesting workflows for the poly/point method...

http://www.subdivisionmodeling.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2806

Surrealist.
04-15-2008, 04:55 AM
The panther head is great - thank you! Seeing the progression is extremely helpful! Maybe someday my mesh will look as elegant...

I come from a 2D background (oh why oh why didn't I major in sculpture??) so at least I understand how to draw using primitives and blocking out shapes before adding detail - this was "standard" in painting/drawing classes. The dog tutorial is definately worth trying out although it works a little backwards from what I'm used to (details to mass instead of mass to details).

One thing I've noticed (and also with the panther head) is that when tabbing subpatch is that the geometry retains the shape. One big problem I've been running into is stretching in subpatch too much, and then when I tab the geometry is really messed up (big holes, overlapping, etc.)

I'm guessing that is not a good thing.

I'm going to give my dog head another try...this will be about #52....:)

One think I have been thinking about a lot lately is the fact that as a work flow, you can pretty much pan on 1) creating the shape and 2) creating the polyflow to keep it that way with just enough smooth rounding for the parts that you need.

Take the cube example in my tutorial. What do you have? A box with the most economical polyflow placed in such a way as to keep it as a box.

Same with the cylinder. Only now you know that you want to create a perfect circle out of 8 sides. But here there is still very little movement overall.

But when you get to more complex shapes the concept remains the same. This is maybe a little oversimplified but in many situations this is simply all there is to it.

If you look over that S example in my tutorial. That thing is a mess really. But all of that is only geared toward keeping the edgeloops in place around that shape so you can pull it out of the plane and it will remain a clean S.

So when creating characters I always work in polygon mode and toggle so see my results. But I am always pretty close the final shape with the idea of making polyflow that will booth keep it that way and also predict the curvatures that will happen as a result.

You can do much better than I did on that Panther, I think. It could be much simpler, but it is a good over all idea of polyflow. I am still learning new ways to simplify. For me it is a constant battle of making high quality models with detail and keeping things simple. I really love looking at the stuff some people do with cartoony characters that have real simple polyflow. I am hoping to do work like that one day too. :)

JeffrySG
04-15-2008, 07:54 AM
here is another poly/point video tutorial from cgarena...

http://www.cgarena.com/freestuff/tutorials/max/femaleface/facemodel.html