View Full Version : Character Modeling Tutorial - Part 1

11 November 2007, 05:25 AM
ABSTRACT: The character of "Buck" is one that will be used in my upcoming short film "extraOrdinary: Hellborne". As such, his design is a bit more stylized. Rest assured, "Buck"'s "loose" anatomy is absolutely intentional. Realism wasn't my goal with these characters. The techniques presented here can be used on more photorealistic characters though.

I wanted to post this a while back, but I had some PC problems. Anyway, enjoy. I hope somebody finds it helpful. (
It is by no means perfect or ideal, but it should get some people started. Part II is coming.

11 November 2007, 02:54 PM
Thanks a lot for this, gonna see it soon :)

11 November 2007, 07:04 PM
if you still would show how to texturize the guy then you get a big thx :-)

11 November 2007, 07:10 PM
Will definitely do that. Probably another 4 parts coming including clothing, hair, texture/shader, & rig. Might even throw in a walk cycle or some morph tutorials if I get the chance. The actual work is done. It's just a matter of splitting them up into tutorial form and taking screen caps from my incremental saves.

11 November 2007, 09:08 PM
Will definitely do that. Probably another 4 parts coming including clothing, hair, texture/shader, & rig. Might even throw in a walk cycle or some morph tutorials if I get the chance. The actual work is done. It's just a matter of splitting them up into tutorial form and taking screen caps from my incremental saves.

great but one suggestion: pls widen yur black html table , resize the images so the user can read and watch yur images the same time this will save give better workflow following your tuts ;-)

11 November 2007, 10:11 PM
Very nice, thanks a lot! Curious for the rest of the tutorials!

11 November 2007, 10:23 PM
Been having PC troubles. Just waiting on some new ones to arrive before I put them together.

11 November 2007, 02:43 PM
I especially like the emphasizis on the fact, that you don't show THE way but A way to model a character since the goal of most people here is to create something from their imagination and not duplicate a character that allready exists.
I think you do very well on that point and of course your tutorial itself is helpful and has ignited my enthusiasm to try out some new ideas in modelling (working with boxmodelling most of the time till now).

11 November 2007, 04:45 PM
I especially like the emphasizis on the fact, that you don't show THE way but A way
I first started doing CG around 1989. Back then, there were no tutorials for this stuff. Heck, there wasn't even an internet. :) Everything I learned, I learned on my own. As such, I can only tell people how I do it. When I look at other people's work, I realize that there is no one specific path. There are just some sign posts to a destination. As long as one passes those markers then everything should be okay.

I could have done a tutorial that was grounded more in reality, anatomically, but that might not have been as much fun. More over, it might not have been as newbie friendly. Professionally, I've done photo real characters before. In a cartoony character, you can "paint" in broad strokes. Block in the core details and there's a good place to stop. In a photo real character, you take that level of detail and use it as a starting point. You'll cut in more muscle loops & sculpt in fine details. At the core though, there's very little difference in terms of technique. You've still got to pay attention to your silhouette as well as respecting the key areas of deformation. Everything else is gravy.

I was always told that character work is the hardest thing that an artist can do. That's only true if you try to tackle everything at once. In reality, characters are not that hard. You only need a handful of tools and techniques. You just end up repeating them over and over, ad nauseum.

11 November 2007, 04:49 PM
My new PCs won't be here for a couple of weeks. Waiting (not so) patiently right now. Anyway, here are some quick tips to tide you over until I work the new tutorials out for you
(Just a quick, "Hey, who's that I see in the mirror?" doodle. Obviously, she's not wearing clothes or final hair there.)
(Just a dummy costume on her to keep her from being naked. Also testing cloth settings there too. That'll be shown exactly how in one of the upcoming tutorials though.)

NOTE:>> I didn't show her final hair style & render only because I'm not on the network right now. I just pulled these images off of a C4D WIP file that was still sitting on my iPod hard drive.

11 November 2007, 12:36 AM

I like your style. Any chance that you can put all you have on pdf? Actually I can do that, but would like your permission to use the quick step-by-step as a general work flow for character modeling. I teach a course in 3D and have ramped up the expectations, so this would be helpful.

Let me know if you can make a pdf of what you just created or PM me to tell me if I can. I will show you the final product.

Thanks. I like your style.


11 November 2007, 01:38 AM
I'll see what I can do about turning the tutorial and the tips into a PDF for you guys. Just to make offline use easier. I'll try to post it in the morning.

11 November 2007, 06:30 AM


This PDF is actually a v1.1 version of this tutorial. I added in the tips above. I also cleaned up some of the formatting, grammar, and spelling. I also added in a few relevant sections. The file is only 2.9MB big, which is smaller than the 6.26MB HTML version. Please refer to this version instead.

As of this update v1.1, "Part 1" clocks in at a massive 51 pages. Naturally, that's not all text. Its chock full of images.

The actual modeling process only took 8-9 hours. Putting together the tutorial has taken about 3x -4x as long. There's just a lot of copy to write & edit. Plus, compiling the images was no fun. :)

As agonizing as it was to put together, I firmly believe that information should be shared and never horded. Hopefully, this should be of some benefit to newbies everywhere.

Again, I my goal is to get future parts to you guys in a timely and efficient manner. I've been trying to squeeze in the tutorials in my spare time. When my new PCs arrive, I'll do my best to get "Part 2" to you all. Right now, my time is split between work, rendering, and actually crafting "extraOrdinary:Hellborne", the short film from which this tutorial info comes.

Anway, enjoy.


11 November 2007, 10:23 AM
Thanks Rob!


11 November 2007, 02:23 PM
Just a tiny edit to the PDF. I enlarged one set of the images to make the overlayed text more legible. I didn't notice it at 2am last night, but its fixed now.

11 November 2007, 03:14 PM
Thanks again!

This will help our students to really get into learning how to model with detail early on! One thing that I have learned in the past year or two is that spending too much time going over the tools and modeling simple things doesn't leave much room for them to explore the more complext things. I plan to introduce a few new tools each day, but start early with character modeling. I should get much better quality and imaginitive projects...



12 December 2007, 12:09 PM
Good work, cookepuss. Looking forward to the next episode.

01 January 2008, 06:31 PM
Hello there,

Thank you, for this big effort to help a newcomer !


01 January 2008, 02:24 PM
Sorry for my super delayed response, guys.

Working on the actual film to which this character belongs has been consuming my every waking moment. There a literally several dozen characters, a dozen+ sets, and in excess of a 1,000 shots. The script - written by me - is 63 pages, but the projected runtime is closer to 80-85 minutes. Apart from the many people providing the voice work and the music, this film is largely a solo production. I'm working on it all by myself and for about 15 hours a day, 7 days a week. Needless to say, I haven't slept much in months. :)

Once again, I apologize for the delayed reply. I do intend on writing up the other parts to this tutorial series. I haven't forgotten. Priorities being what they are, the movie has to come first though. I'll see what I can do to "sweeten the pot" even more once the film is done.

(OT: I'm not ready to announce the flick's final title, story, cast, or anything else at this moment. In due time. Still playing it close to the vest right now - until I close in on release and can hawk some promo material at the same time.)

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