View Full Version : Human next gen character with realistic anatomy

10 October 2006, 11:24 PM
Hi everybody,

I am currently working on a character inspired by the scientist Jack Stanton from the grafic novel PROPHET by the french artists XavierDorison & Mathieu Lauffray. I do this for practice and for my actual character modeling portfolio and my plan is to go all the way: from high res modeling and sculpting to normal mapping, texturing and posing.

My main modeling tool will be modo as always, doing some parts in Maya as well. The picture below shows my actual WIP. It's a quad mesh only as I'm a great fan of clean topology. The final mesh will be a realtime character with around 8000 triangles. Most of the characters body will be hidden by then as Jack is wearing a shirt, trousers and shoes but I am doing the whole body anyway as it's always useful to have your own templates.

At the moement it's all about anatomy and if you have any comments and/or critique I am very thankfull to hear it.
Subdivision Surface Mesh with 7132 quads in total done with Luxology's modo.

Updates will follow soon. I am at the UV layout right now and switched back to maya for that reason as it is my favourite UV mapping tool.


10 October 2006, 11:30 PM
Always good to see modo being used ;)

Looks like a good start. Quite a detailed model for only 7k quads, too (I know it's subpatched, but even so...). Could I see a wireframe of it?

Anatomy-wise it's looking pretty good to me, if not with some slightly exaggerated definition. But I'm no expert :x

10 October 2006, 10:33 AM
hi ArchangelTalon, you are right of course... what's a mesh without wires? Here we go:

and some details:

c u soon

10 October 2006, 06:32 PM
hi folks, sorry for the problems with viewing the pictures in this thread. my website was temporarily down do to a server crash at my German internet provider (what deleted all the stuff on my site... )... together with the portfolio system broken down on CGTalk (it's
impossible to upload new images right now) I had quite a fun time with the internet during the last days...

anyway, here comes my latest updates:
first test with roughly blocked cloth and hair geometry

i also gave him gums, teeth and a tongue...

now that the images are (hopefuly) visible again - any comments to the overall anatomy? i am trying to develop a "realistic" anatomy that is a belieavable reduction/interpretation of the real world appearance of a character. the reference is out of a comic book and a too realistic appearance especially for the textures (photo-textures) could be distracting. if you know what i mean and if you know some nice examples for a reduced/altered realism (like the characters from final fantasy or from the upcoming unreal) i would be happy if you could post some links here... i am also looking for examples of a good uv layout for a naked human character. any idea were i can find that?

best regards

10 October 2006, 10:49 PM
i came up with this layout but i'm not sure whether this is ideal or not. there is still some space unused on the texture. i will use parts of it for teeth, tongue and eyeballs but maybe there is a better way to arrange things... c&c is welcome as always.

i will continue with his outfit for now and i will wait for comments to the UV layout until i continue to work on it...

c u soon

10 October 2006, 12:09 AM
wow, nice uv unwrap :thumbsup:

10 October 2006, 02:10 AM
If that unwrap is for the high poly you don't need to worry about wasted space, but if it's for the low poly, you really are going to want to mirror the arms, legs, hands, and feet. The torso and face should remain mostly/entirely unmirrored, but unless you want elaborate scarring/tattoos it's best to mirror the arms/legs. Since you never see a mirror seam from arm to arm (as opposed to a seam running down a face or torso) the mirroring is pretty much unnoticable. It gives you 2 extra seams to have to work with, but it will also give you a LOT more texture space to work with.

Also, you may not want to unwrap that at all if it's the high poly. Your low poly control cage is most likely very exaggerated to get the right look for the smoothed version, and therefore the low poly won't follow the high poly as closely as you'd want it to follow when it comes time for normal mapping.

Generally, with the exception of faces, which tend to be very high rez even in the low poly, smoothing the low poly mesh doesn't work as nicely as creating independent high and low poly models.

10 October 2006, 11:15 AM
thank you for your detailed comment Ghostscape. you are absolutely right. when i am heading for a low res version i do not have to do uv mapping on my high res model at all. the thing is: i would love to have both in the end - a mapped and textured high res version and a low res game model. what i hoped was: to do the high res model with uv layout, copy it and reduce it to a low res mesh with re-using most of the mapping data. i already did this for my creature from Espen's Creature Club ( and it worked pretty ok, though not perfect...

the whole idea behind this is that you often need both in a game production: the ingame models and the high res models for cut scenes and marketing. wouldn't it be great to develop a workflow that always gives you both without so much additional work?

As to the mirroring of arms and legs. when i did my creature i made exactly what you mentioned, but had the problem in the end that 3d applications like modo and maya have problems with the handling of mirrored uvs. and i heard that many game engines have this problem too, so that nowadays people tend to do a unified uv layout without any mirroring to avoid this. and the nice side effect could be that the color texture can be different on both sides of the character so that a tattoo/scar for instance could be on one side only.

has anybody an idea about what game engines support mirrored UVs? well, i have to think about that problem for a while... for now i'm not sure about what to do...


10 October 2006, 12:04 PM
Looks great so far...

Just one thing that seems to stand out for me is the position of the collar bone. It seems really sunk at the moment. I think it should be quite a bit higher and horizontal. Just google some collar bone images to see what I mean.

Keep it up though :thumbsup:


10 October 2006, 12:46 PM
hey Pete! thank you so much! you are damn right about the collar bone. i simply did not see it - i'm ashamed... this sometimes happens if you work on things too long without feedback. you get blind about your own work. i am working on it right now. great stuff on your portfolio by the way. thanx again and greetings from Germany.


10 October 2006, 12:51 PM
Hehe no probs -Im just starting delving into a realistic anatomy myself. Was just working on the upper body last night which is why it jumped out at me. Good luck :thumbsup:


10 October 2006, 01:51 PM
Looks great so far, excellent poly flow. I do think the pecs look a little saggy in comparison to the rest of his physique.

10 October 2006, 09:24 PM
If that unwrap is for the high poly you don't need to worry about wasted space, but if it's for the low poly, you really are going to want to mirror the arms, legs, hands, and feet.

becareful with mirroring uv coordinates if you're using normal maps. there's programatic ways to flip the normals, but the solutions aren't flawless and you still run the risk of getting flipped normals. It's not necisarily that they support or don't support it, it's just that the calculation to flip normals is not somthing that can easily be generalized for all situations (at least not yet), so to keep on the safe side avoid mirroring, unless the engine programmers tell you you can :) so yeah, the problems you ran into with your previous model are normal, no pun intended.

as for the model, it's looking pretty nice, i'd say maybe shrink the hands a little, but i might be seeing things. are you using photo images planes to model over? if not, you should, there's less guess work in wondering if the proportions are off.

for making low and high poly models, i think you can kinda aprroach both with a base mesh, though there is a point where both deviate, so you can't just slap a smooth tesselation and move a few verts to go between the two. texture layout is good if you plan on keeping him nude, but you're going to want to only have the visible parts modelled and textured for the low poly version so you can get the biggest bang for the buck in texture space :)

10 October 2006, 09:01 PM
didn't do much today but here comes my little update anyways. now you can see better what type of character Mr. Jack Stanton is. tomorrow i will give him some shoes and the bow tie he is wearing and some details to the shirt - buttons and stuff...

Thanx to all of you who gave c&c:

Pete2003: did some corrections to the collar bones - mostly hidden under the shirt now..
JuddWack: don't know what "pecs" are. some muscles?
nuclearbum: no, I modeled without background images but a lot of reference. problem with backgrounds imo is that you stick to the images to much... I've got thousands of human images on my hard disk and everyone is different and in this case the reference is a comic book illustration and looks different in almost every drawing. but i scaled the hands a bit down. when it comes to proportions it is allowed to interpret reality to a certain amount i think. i mean there are people with large hands and there are people with incredibly small hands... very hard to tell what is wrong and what is corect. as to the uv layout i perfecly agree with you. i will leave it the way it is without mirroring. after i will have finished the high poly version i will work on a reduced one. hope you can give me some feedback on this version as well when it's done.

c u soon

10 October 2006, 02:09 AM
haha, i didn't realized you changed the hands a little and i was thinking that i was seeing things the other day when i saw this. I think they're looking good, he's feeling pretty balanced. For using referenced images, i always draw mine to get that little bit of non generic characteristic, basically it's there so that when i'm zoomed in modelling the hands or some other part, i have a reference point so that i don't have to worry about zooming back out and having things be too large or small (sometimes things can't simply be scaled to match size and then i get headaches and cry a lot... hehe).

looking at what you have for the clothes, i'd sharpen up the corners a bit. i'm not sure of the material, but i think it looks a little droopy in the front, like it's made out of rubber. maybe try making it fairly straight cut on the edges and then have it wave in and out to show it's flexibility.

other than that, you're doing a pretty dang good job here, nice details, and pretty strong model. Keep it up!

10 October 2006, 06:30 PM
hi guys. sorry for letting you wait. i was out of town for some job interviews, so things had to wait. when i started to work on my model again i got somehow lost in modeling his inner mouth area in every detail asking me afterwards why in hell i did that.... no one will ever see that! except of you my friends.

ah right, and i gave him shoes and a bowtie and played around with area lights in modo. i never really used area lights in any other 3d app before because it always killed my system by means of rendering time... but what can i say... area lights in modo: it's a love story!

well, so here we go:
looks a bit like one of my creatures... :)

see you soon

and you know: c&c is always welcome!

nuclearbum: about sharpening edges i think this will be one of the things i will take care of in zbrush when i do all the wrinkles in the cloth and other details. i think i can start with that part soon. as to the proportions i think i will leave him the way he is for now. meabe i see some minor things after a couple of days but for now i'm pretty happy with what i have so far... stay tuned...

10 October 2006, 09:46 AM
Hi Espen,
I know that it never has an end, when one does "realistic" human modeling. However, i like that the character doesnt have this "poser appeareance" which i find most disturbing.
Do you plan do use edge creasing on your model? People consider this an advanced feature of a 3d app, but do people actually use it?

CGTalk Moderation
10 October 2006, 09:46 AM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.