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WPTV
09-30-2004, 09:56 PM
So I'm coming from the world of lightwave. I just purchased modo, and like most of you I'm still waiting for that shipment confirmation. Most of the 3d work I have done is for broadcast. Mostly simple shapes or text imported from illustrator. Basically texturing is the most important aspect of this.

My frustrations are with getting the concept of modeling more complex objects. Objects more useful in the 3d world as opposed to broadcast. I've looked through every tutorial out there but they don't seem to help much. It seems like every one of them leave out a key piece of information that is critical to the fluid creation of a great model.

So I guess what I'm looking for is some advice or tips. I'm sure like most things after working at it enough, the understanding will hit you like a bag of bricks and off you go. What was that modeling epiphany that hit you?

I realize modeling isn't an instant gratification proceedure. What can i do to break down this wall in my head?? :banghead:

nuclearfessel
09-30-2004, 10:35 PM
So I'm coming from the world of lightwave. I just purchased modo, and like most of you I'm still waiting for that shipment confirmation. Most of the 3d work I have done is for broadcast. Mostly simple shapes or text imported from illustrator. Basically texturing is the most important aspect of this.

My frustrations are with getting the concept of modeling more complex objects. Objects more useful in the 3d world as opposed to broadcast. I've looked through every tutorial out there but they don't seem to help much. It seems like every one of them leave out a key piece of information that is critical to the fluid creation of a great model.

So I guess what I'm looking for is some advice or tips. I'm sure like most things after working at it enough, the understanding will hit you like a bag of bricks and off you go. What was that modeling epiphany that hit you?

I realize modeling isn't an instant gratification proceedure. What can i do to break down this wall in my head?? :banghead:

to model complex geometry, the best way to approach it is to start breaking the object down in to smaller parts.
start but first laying creating the general form of the object. tweak the form and then start adding details.

game modelers do this the best, using very little geometry sometimes. they use to approximate the form and let the textures give the details.

laying down the form also allows for defining the flow on polygons, for example, like modeling human anatomy.... the muscles on the body have definite flow... and most of us now how the anatomy is shaped even if we have never looked in a medical book.
modeling that flow correctly leads to better times when animation has to take place and nothing looks wrong. modeling the flow incorrectly shows as what we perceive to be deform in a human :)

Dion Burgoyne
09-30-2004, 11:30 PM
As everyone is different as to how they visualize the spatial presence of their model it's really hard to get a general enough example as to the basics of 3D form modeling. So let me flounder a few techniques...



1. Image based...

A good learning tool is to take an image of something simple, something that you know in real life and drop it into one of modo's backgrounds. IE: If you're into motorcycles, find a photo of a motorcycle headlight and drop it into the background. If you can find a front view and a side view of the same object taken from nearly the same height and distance you can drop them into the front and side views and work from there.



a. Start Simple

- If you try to make a complicated model without understanding the interactions between surfaces, the flow of the polygons, you will only become frustrated...

- A simple object is far easier to understand in 3D space than a complicated one, it's a bit like trying to see a guy wearing camouflage in the forest. The more simple it is the more obvious it is.

- A simple object is only as detailed as you want it to be, instead of having a huge amount of required detail, a simple object will have a very straight forward basic outline, after that has been created you can look for the tiny details that will bring out the reality of it.



b. The flow of the polygons dictates how the mesh will deform...

- This is especially important for organic and subdivision shapes, when you start to build an object, you have to consider what details are on it, where a crack is on a door, the shape of the cheekbone of your character, how the clip on the pocket protector comes out of the backing. At each of these places you need to point the polygons into the direction that they need to go to, it's not enough to just have the polygons there, they need to find an orientation that allows them to sweep along the surface, think about a model as a river, it never moves sideways, it always has a reason to turn, and because so has a pattern that will always tell you what it is.



2. Squash, stretch pull and poke

By taking parts of your model, and beveling, extending, extruding etc... you can stretch out new geometry and form your model from a simple primitive and pull it out to be a fully detailed form.



a. Start Simple

I can't stress this enough, especially for this type of modeling as most forms start off as a cube anyways. Only create the geometry that you need to at the time you're building. So if you're creating a characters arm, don't worry about the small wrinkle that resides 3/4" from the inside of the elbow, simply bevel out the rough shape of the arm, make the bevel smaller where the arm narrows make as few new sections as needed only, then start cutting deeper and deeper into your model. Michelangelo once said "I saw the angel in the marble and I just chiseled until I set him free." It's the same for this style of modeling, you slice and bevel, cut and extrude until the object reveals itself to you, the more you know about the subject you're trying to reveal the better it will look.



b. Don't try to add too much detail at one time, each pass will get closer and closer to your goal, look at the outline that you've created find a place that it doesn't look right and cut it down, find another spot and cut that one down, find the contours in the model create edges, or polygon rows at those points, bevel the edges to define the outlines.



c. Remove edges around areas that don't work, when you run across an area that doesn't quite flow right, select the edges and hit "backspace" or "delete" on a MAC then manually rebuild the edges in a way that outlines what you're trying to create, then transect those areas perpendicular to your contour to retain the flow, the flow of the polygon is the quickest way to make a clean model.



3. Detail Out...

I personally use this method 99% of the time, start with the smallest non-accent detail on an object, IE: the outline of the eyelid on a character, the headlight glass of a car, the keyhole of a door handle... and grow the geometry out of that. This method allows you to start at the highest level detail that you intend to make into your model as opposed to continually grinding your model down till someone pulls you off of it :)



a. Start with an area of the object that will give you the most clarity as to the object you are creating

- The eye is the best example of this, the eye gives you the heart and soul of your character and is a great way of determining the scale and proportions of the rest of them. How big, small, does it slink around does it raise in the middle, what kind of character are you creating.



b. Use something as a reference, if you can create a 14' tall troll with a giant club that has 3" long razor sharp teeth flared nostrils and a low brow, out of memory, excellent... Draw him... for most people their imagination tends to change over the course of a model, as you are creating a model it is very easy to get lost in the details, you can have an excellent concept but while you switch brain modes and start working with the physical characteristics of it you may lose touch with the overall design that you wanted in the first place. This happens often when 2am rolls around and you start thinking that the cheekbones need to come out a little more, then wake up the next morning and it suddenly looks like betty boop. Ok an extreme case but it is a mode of frustration simply because you didn't have a sample of reference to go back to. Trust me on this one, I've walked through many high end professional studios and you would be amazed at what people use as reference for characters :D



c. You don't have to use too much detail right off the bat, especially with modo. I think I've said somewhere that you need to start simple, this is the same for detail out modeling, getting the overall shape of each part first, and then going back to add the wrinkles or ridges etc... will allow you to visualize how the model works before you have to worry about making it look perfect.



3. Post W.I.P.'s While you're creating a model you can get the best feedback in your entire modeling career, it's amazing what other people catch you doing without you even knowing it "hey isn't there supposed to be a smile line there?" Generally speaking people are very courteous to other especially if they get to use their specific knowledge to help others. It's not going to ruin your career to post a model that you don't think looks right and get others to critique it, it's only going to help you grow... It's also the only way that other people can see where you are making mistakes in workflow and/or model flow, and help you out.



We're going to start posting a lot more tutorials and work methods on the Luxology website in the future, and I hope to post more specifics on the categories that I mentioned above. In the mean time, if anyone wants to chime in with specifics as to modeling techniques this may be a good forum topic to do that in.



Good Luck!

-Dion

WPTV
09-30-2004, 11:45 PM
Man! That was definatly more of a response than I expected. Well I doubt I'm the only one in this boat and hopefully this helps out some others. Thanks for the advice Dion! You too nuclearfessel :applause:

joo
10-01-2004, 06:25 AM
:thumbsup:
Thanks! Great info!

Sbowling
10-01-2004, 06:43 AM
Try several different methods of modeling. What works for one person may not work for you. I've always modeled in the "detail out" method and even though I've bought some very good DVDs on "Box modeling" I can't work this way. Box modeling seems to rely on doing things in a specific way to get the edges in the right places to finish the model. While I watch the DVD and copy the steps I can get a very similar looking model, but when I I try to do it on my own I always find I'm missing the details to get the mouth right, or some other detail that usually ends up being a big pain to put in at a later step. When I work suing the Detail out method, I never have these problems. I have found that once you get the basic shapes down, the modling tend to be fairly similar in the ways to add the small details. Also, be aware that not all tutorials are good tutorials. I've seen several on the newtek site that I think would do more harm than good to beginner modelers.

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