View Full Version : Modeling a character help?

07 July 2005, 07:29 PM
I know there are many ways to draw a character. Could you please tell which way is the easiest? I've tried the box modeling way, but I can never get it into detail inside the body and the face. And it takes so much time. I also know spline modeling way but then I get lost in the middle.

Are there any better and easy understanding head/body/character modeling turtorials?

07 July 2005, 01:37 AM
Dude im new to this lightwave to,and im still working on my first object i had a few but i threw them away, but i have read some and watch tutorials and i think you might have to just get over the first hump,do you know what most of the tools do?

07 July 2005, 01:57 AM
You may both want to look at "extender" modeling as it is called in LW...using the extender tool that is....I modeled my first character with this technique way back when...and I still use this method quite often. Just run a search in these forums and you will find links to many tut's......have fun and by all means don't give takes a bit of patience this whole modeling gig....



07 July 2005, 02:07 AM
thanks essence. buy the way .i tried extender a couple times and i been using smooth shift mostly ...because i really dont know the difference. is it in the way the polys shift or?Also what are edgeloops i havent found anything in lightwave as to where i i would modify them.. for Video tutorials,some free. go to Lightwave Beginnings

and don't forget (
These are for you frontjibi,they were a posted reply to my plee for help last week when i joined.I still aint gone threw all of it but the lostpencil one in the middle has been real helpful for a real good intro to the tools.and the first one also has good lots of good stuff

07 July 2005, 08:04 AM
I thinks this is one of the best body tuts I have seen:

Itīs not for Lightwave but very understandable.

- U

07 July 2005, 11:36 AM
Here is my take on character modeling,

First and foremost you defintely need to how to draw characters for one. Drawing is essential because you end up with a mental image of what looks right as your modeling. Then there is correct anatomy and porportions that you learn doing 2D sketching, drawing, whatever. The reason why I bring this up is because you can really see the difference in 3D work when the artist knows how to draw.

Now I'm not saying that you cant draw because I dont know if that is true or not but I'm just mentioning it because imho this is your foundation and without it you will wonder why your model looks...."funky" :shrug:.

In regards to 3D modeling for characters, honestly you only need the basics of operations to pull it off it. Extruding, vert pulling, poly cutting and point welding +/- one or two more operations and thats really it. There is nothing overly complex about doing it except for doing it alot and getting faster and better at it :).

If you new to Lightwave then I'd suggest just making some really simple stuff, just weird objects and shapes. It doesnt really have to be anything specific but get a feel for the tools so you can do the "basic" operations I mention aboved. Once you get that down then try some of lightwave's native operations and you should be on your way.

Now for technique, well I've tried them all such as box modeling, splines and point to point modeling (patch modeling whatever). Honestly, spline modeling is the sh!t but you gotta be tight with ya pencil to pull it off because it helps to have several views of your source. Not to mention spline modeling requires a technical apptitude of that particular technique. Celshader has an excellent tutorual in the Lightwave 6 applied book.

But for most of us, box modeling is where it's at. I actually start with a box for everything I do unless it requires a different object.

Ok now, lets go full circle here. Once you have become familar with the lightwave tool set neccessary for just basic operations then you should be ready to follow any tutorial for just about any piece of software regarding (simple) character modeling , actually it's easy to follow along.

Here is one that I highly recommend, I know everyone always post a link to the Joan of Arc tut and it is good but this one to me ranks right up there. SiLO Character Modeling Tutorial (

Good Luck and you will love how fast you can model in LW once you get the hang of it :twisted:

07 July 2005, 11:49 AM
Hi frontjibi, there's no shortcut or easy way to do character modeling, especially the head. But there's the preferred way: start from box, ball, or from a polygon. I suggest you try them all and see which one fits you best :)

As for tutorial links, here's another one to see:

P.S. Knowing the topology and having good reference are a good start. There are many WIP that shows wireframes of good character modelings. You can see how they do it, and then copy their method to learn. The Maya section has one on topology:

If you have friends who happen to have Todd Grimes' Chararacter Modeling and Animation Series, do take a look at it. He starts from a box, but his tutorials are really good. Here's the link if you want to take a look (the only downside is that they're expensive):

Learn from the masters and make it your own :)

07 July 2005, 02:02 PM
First and foremost you defintely need to how to draw characters for one. Drawing is essential because you end up with a mental image of what looks right as your modeling. Then there is correct anatomy and porportions that you learn doing 2D sketching, drawing, whatever. The reason why I bring this up is because you can really see the difference in 3D work when the artist knows how to draw.

I hear that a lot, that one should be able to draw to be a good modeler, but I don't agree. I'd water it down to that It helps because you train your skills to see shapes and forms much faster then with modeling but I don't see why you couldn't develop those same "brainmuscles" by just modeling. You don't need to be able to draw to see a "mental image" of what you want to model I think, some people might be able to do that without having any drawing skills whatsoever.

07 July 2005, 02:12 PM
There generally is no easy way to do something right. What you should do is
1) Look at other artist's work
2) Study how they did what they did
3) If they don't say or don't explain to your satisfaction, write them and ask
4) Try different ways to do what you want to do until you find a way that's the most comfortable
5) Make your model and when your done, do it again.

That last one is important. Practise and repitition are what make you better at anything. For instance, it took me 2 days to make this head ( I haven't made a head in quite a while, so that's why it took me so long. If I built heads every day, then I'd probably have been able to knock him out before lunch.

Really take some time to try various techniques and once you find your way, don't be like some around here and poop on the other ways. I stitch like in that Modo tutorial. Many box model and do quite well. I could never get the hang of spline modeling, yet there are plenty of examples of great models online made that way. Just experiment, research and take notes from the artists you like.

07 July 2005, 06:12 PM
Look at all the wonderfull replies I got. I am thankfull for your support. All those links are fantastic. But before I go on let me tell you somethings about myself.

Yes I am a beginner. Well a beginner to 3-d world. I'm not a no way near professional like most of you here are. I'm just a student. Before I came to 3d world, I'd been working on Flash Mx 2004. Believe me when I say this. That program is so easy to learn. I could animate really well on it if I put time into it. Flash was getting boring doing same thing over and over. I wanted something even better than Flash. I wanted something that stands out. Something dramatic. Something with high-tec 3d digital graphics. Looks like I found it. I am begining to love 3d. I can't let go of it. I know I have to be patient to be able to work with it.

For the drawing part. I sure am lucky. I can draw real good. Bad news is that I've given up draw like 1 year ago. Drawing was taking hours and hours of my time but my mood stayed the same. I was never happy while drawing. It wasn't the right feeling. Though I have to admit, it never felt like work for me. But anyway, I gave up drawing but didn't mean I never drew on the computer. Infact, everything I draw now is always on the computer. Flash is all about drawing and animating. You see, I can draw just as good or even better on the computer. It's all in the mind.

Now my next and perheps the big step is the 3d design/animation. This is going to be my career in the future most likely. This is going to be way different than what I've been doing before. I don't know all the tools in lightwave/modler. But I do know some/most. Can't decide which one. Most of my time, I am trying to get the hang of modeling. Than I want to move on to texture/animation and all that.

I'll be needing alot of help, I believe.

07 July 2005, 09:30 PM
that's good that you know how to draw. you probably would do best using spline modelling. just use spline draw and put in your features (for the head), then "patch" them. i could not learn how to do box modelling, to save my life, but, i read a couple of spline modelling tutes, and, they just clicked.

07 July 2005, 10:14 PM
Hi frontjibi ( :)

I have a very strong background in drawing and painting many years ago I then turned my back on Art over time working normal jobs to earn money .10 years later haven't done a single painting and only sketched some doodles for designs for digital art.Then I found 3D :twisted: I tried most of the programs and took the plunge into Lightwave and for a traditional retired Artist I find this program more like doing my Sculpture classes in clay :bounce: Lightwave is very Artistic in it's approach IMO anyway.Doing textures with layers,Gradients etc I feel like I'm painting.
So to me it's just a matter of time to learn the great tools,because in my head I can visualize proportions etc.
I have bought and downloaded as many video tutorials as possible I find these the best as I'm a visual learner.Where before I got stuck following PDF tuts.So keep trying frontjibi ( all the best mate!:buttrock:

Glad you like the links chaostest (

07 July 2005, 02:11 PM
Thanks again.

07 July 2005, 02:23 PM
R-6: You absolutely should buy ZBrush, then. I just did and the first thing I thought of was working with clay (which I haven't had in my hands for almost 15 years). It's quite a treat for anyone with a traditional art background.

With that said, I still can't work with splines. Having a deep drawing/painting background, I should gravitate to them but I don't. That's why it's important to try various techniques to see what works best for you.

I'd also say there are a great deal of tutorials online that you can go through and that will keep you busy long before you need to buy any dvd tutorials.

07 July 2005, 04:40 PM
Looks like I am working on modeling a head with spline tool. It's coming along great but I need to ask you something before I could move on. Do you know how can I connect 2 dots? I don't mean the line. I mean to merge thema as one. I can do it with 2 or more poloygons selected. But I can't figured it out how to connect it using dots.

If you know what I am talking about, please tell me.

I'll show you the result when I'm done.

07 July 2005, 05:00 PM
Never mind, I just found it.

I hate it when this happens. One minute you post something to ask, the next minute you find it yourself.

Tuts can be hard to understand if you're a beginner.

07 July 2005, 06:46 PM
Looks like I have another question.

In spline modeling, I am making an eye. When I switch from wireframe to texture(wire), flat smooth or whatever, I can't select the dots in those modes. Now I have to switch back and forth from wireframe to texture to be able to work. But still I can't get the eye done right If I don't fix this problem.

Do you know what's wrong with it?

07 July 2005, 06:52 PM
It happend again! I was clicking on the perspective box but I wasn't supposed to click there.

07 July 2005, 07:02 PM
i agree with both sides of being an artist aspect.i been drawing and painting for awhile now,and in one way being able to draw will help you to see what it is your trying to accomplish but maybe not help you in the techncal side,in some ways its almost like starting all over again.

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