View Full Version : Character - cat

08 August 2003, 08:18 PM

I suppose I'm the intolerable noob that posts a link to his portfolio and wants random feedback without properly introducing himself (see "What should be the content of a good portfolio website")? :shame:

Okay here goes then....

My name's Christiaan Moleman and I'm a student of game art and design at Teesside uni in England. I use mainly trueSpace but I'm also currently learning how to use 3D MAX. This model I'm doing in trueSpace 6.6.

Anyway, I'm working on this model for a short animation and I was wondering if I could get some feedback on it as I go along. I'll be overwriting the images on my server daily...

08 August 2003, 02:07 AM
The problem that I see developing with your current model is the excessive use of triangles as opposed to quads. This is causing your smooth model to have unwanted jagged edges. Other than that it seems to be coming along well, I would like to see it when you have the eyes in place and some shading/fur done.

08 August 2003, 04:44 AM
well that is only half correct, i have used exclusevly truespace for a long time now (since quake2)

and would like to add

truespace only works in triangles, wether the edges are there or not, other programs do to they just adjust the "hidden" edges to achieve the least acute angle possible

its these sharp angles that lead to problems, properly built the result is better with triangles


youll note theyre the same shape in the end,

08 August 2003, 06:40 AM
Originally posted by Ebola0001
truespace only works in triangles...

what version of truespace are you using?? i am using truespace 6.0 and model with quads. there is nothing in truespace that forces me to use only triangles. please elaborate as i may be misunderstanding what you are trying to say...


08 August 2003, 08:14 AM
I use Truespace 5.0

But anyway if it designs stuff in 3d there are 2 ways to define a shape, triangles and splines.

Now, if it is a quad it is 2 triangles with one edge hidden (or on automatic depending on how you look at it.

Now here you see a set of polygons (1-6)

The red dotted line is this hidden or automatic edge

In 1 you can see both sides of the "quad", or both tris making up the quad.

In 2 you can only see one triangle of it notice how the line i drew in "solid"

This is because direct X has to set that edge to render it (remember its not spline based, "nurbs" are solids defined by splines), this is an example of real-time handling of a hidden edge.

3 shows what happened when the defining triangle of the "surface" is hidden by the z buffer, it thinks it is pointing away from us so it doesn't draw it in. However the space that the visible side of the quad should take up is also not there this is because it is still one surface even though it has to be rendered as triangles. Its visibility is determined by the defining triangle or the first one drawn in automatically for quads+.

In 4 it still looks normal because the render can see both sides, however its lightness, being a "face" without smoothing groups, is determined by the defining triangle so it won't always match what is around it.

In 5 you see the defining side of the quad so its lightness matches

Although 6 is a bad example (see 9) it shows the shading not matching its surroundings, it is the same shade as its neighbor even though they are not facing the same

9 is a good example the 2 pointed out faces are facing roughly the same direction but they are obviously different in shading.

Now the renderer can solves this by splitting surfaces up into triangles before it renders them, this allows it to show this side of the "quad" shown in 6

Now I知 sure your asking why isn't that how I知 defining that "face" is with that line drawn in, well no seen in 7 (wire) and 8 (shaded) 4 points not on the same plane define a curved surface which is actually a blending of having the "edge" flipped both ways in theory.

Anyway I think I知 done with my ramblings. Hope this either clears things up or confuses you completely, either way you will leave satisfied.

Bye now :o)

08 August 2003, 07:04 PM
Ebola is right. TrueSpace (and other software with it) always uses triangles whether you're putting them there or not. The difference is that if you model with quads you don't control where the edges go while if you model with triangles you do... Unfortunately in tS, there's no way of turning triangles back into quads once you've adjusted the edges to your satisfaction.

But anyway, to get back on-topic...

I've updated the model images. I've now added eyelids and eyes and I've also adjusted the mouth a bit.

08 August 2003, 08:01 PM
As far as turning them back into quads, you just kill one of the edges

Right click on an object pulls up the umm "component" mode

Then select the edge you wanna kill

Then press erase vertices

Also kindof related you can use add edges to umm add edges to the object, just pick 2 vertices or any point along an edge (it will add a vertex automatically)

08 August 2003, 09:36 PM
I know all that. Point is if you remove the edge you also lose your adjustments, which defeats the purpose of putting it there in the first place.

08 August 2003, 06:15 PM
Another update...

I've made a few more adjustments to the head one of which being that I lowered the subdivision level a bit because it was looking a bit too smooth. It has more character this way I think.

I also created the body. Yes, he looks like a rug this way but I figure it's the only way to rig it properly later...

08 August 2003, 06:15 PM
I've done the surfacing of the eyes now, still working on the projections of the actual head. I think I'll probably smooth the eyebrows and ears a bit first though. I like the edgyness around the mouth and cheeks but around the eyes and ears it just looks stupid...

08 August 2003, 07:08 PM
... worked on the smoothness around the eyes and ears a bit.

08 August 2003, 11:10 PM
You shouldn't really worry about the triangles/quads thing yet; first get rid of all the ngons (polys with more than 4 sides). They really riddel your model with artifacts ie on the cheek where all of the edges lead into a star. This is do to the fact that indeed polys are all converted into tris before render realtime or not. Good line flow also helps with face shapes later in the dev cycle. Lines should flow around the mouth and eyes on characters that are humanish. You could apply the same principles here with some changes. Try to limit your star edge formations to 5 edges if possible preferably 4. Just my 2 cents

08 August 2003, 11:19 PM
the attached file has the areas I am talking about why have you choosen to go with this line flow?
sorry for the exstreamly small size and jpeg compression but I really need to find somewhere to host my images

08 August 2003, 12:14 AM
I see what you mean.

Thing is, I didn't actually choose this line flow as such. It just turned out that way after I applied subdivision surfaces. This is the actual mesh that I modeled:

Looking at it now it's obvious why this produces that star shape in the smoothed version and I could easily turn a few edges here and there to get rid of it but I'm not sure I really want to change the way those edges go. I think it'll change the shape in a way I don't like...

I suppose I could give it a try and see how it looks. Actually, I think I see one edge that would improve the line flow if turned but wouldn't alter the shape... hold on.

08 August 2003, 12:41 AM
I've updated the large scene overview image. Here's what I changed:

I was going to get rid of or turn an edge on either side of the cheeks, but it ended up altering the appearance too much and in the end, final look has priority over mesh flow for me. However, I did get rid of an unecessary edge on the cheeks, slightly improving the flow of edges there without hurting the shape of the model...

08 August 2003, 01:43 AM
Use quads. it is that simple.

There are plenty of reasons why one should start from the very beginning to have discipline in using quads especiallyu if using some kind of subdividing (meshsmooth, nurms, smooth whatever your software calls it). The only exception being realtime models that will not be subdivided. There it is important to have control on how the "hidden" crossedge goes.

On reason for quads is usability issues when modeling. It is far more easy to look and follow the forms of a model with quads. Also most software give you efficient selection tools for edge loops and rings (several edges in line either "parallel" to each others or in que).

The other is that the smoothing looks really crappy 90% of times with triangles. The fact that a triangle sphere with smoothing ends up being sphere too is irrelevant. If you want to have any kind of transformation or animation on the sphere in question you'll see the difference.

texturing is the third major reason. Try unwrapping complex model's uvws with triangles. it is so messy that you'll get a headache + if you use smoothing method (dividing) the map cordinates on triangles is gonna give you some extra pain - big time actually.

It isn't a coinsidence that all cool models nowadays try to use as little as possible triangles or none at all.

So if you want to do things right you model the cat with quads. Aligning the hidden edge is useless anyway if you are subdividing it.


syomka's anna model (

08 August 2003, 02:30 AM
First of all I am sorry I brought up the triangle arguement in the first place, it has gotten us away from your model. Since you are adiment about keeping the model in triangel form to keep the design, I think you need to work on the way it is structured and get rid of the hard shapes in the smoothed versions, since they are what is holding you up right now. I understand that you want astetics over proper modeling, but that will bite you when you decide to animate. It is a common rookie mistake to rush to the production of a piece without learning the craft of modeling first, but I guess that is why boards like this are so helpful. Good luck with the model, I hope I am wrong.

08 August 2003, 09:50 AM

I've gone over the model again, checking to see if I could get rid of some edges, and I did in fact find several that could be deleted without affecting the shape. One edge which I deleted on both sides of the head at the ears actually greatly improved the way the model looked! I also removed several edges at the back of the head and some on the top and on the cheeks.

However, there are a number of triangles that I simply cannot part with. I have tried to see what the result would be and it just completely destroys the shape. So I am not getting rid of those. I have gone over the model with a toothcomb and I don't think there are any more edges that are expendable, so I will now proceed to texturing.

Also, in case anyone is wondering... the seemingly unecessary amount of polygons between the eyebrows is so the character will be able to frown, if need be.

08 August 2003, 09:59 PM
This is an example of better line flow that you could easily use. Obviously the verex positions are subject to movement if you want as i just did it in photoshop so the placment won't be perfect you'll have to adjust in 3d. But the line flow will remove your artifacts. also You may wish to consider using seperate geometry for the eyeball this will remove the star at its center. Or you could run the star causing ege up over teh forehead using it it to add detail. The Nostril I havn't touched yet because the whatever I happened to paint in there would have dissapeared as well as the mouth I wasn't sure what exactly you were trying to acheive there if you post another angle of the mouth I can try to help you out with it also notice the one triangle i have on the cheek you could possibly run this into the eye as well. Now you have said that Line flow dosn't matter to you and that only the final look does but I have to say that a great line flow always results in a better looking image. I know sometimes it can be frustrating ( I have tweaked line flow on heads so many times ) and this is by no means the perfect line flow for your model but its a start

08 August 2003, 10:14 PM
I see what you mean and I will keep it in mind for future models but with this particular model that line flow would just not result in the shape I'm after. There may be a way to create the same shape with better flow but I don't have the time to find out what it is right now. I'd have to pretty much start over.

The eyeballs aren't part of the mesh actually. They're just the same colour because in the screenshot both they and the head mesh weren't selected. They are in fact simple unedited sphere primitives and the star in their mesh is the top. I applied mapping in a way that made this the front because it makes it easy to see which way the eye is facing even in wireframe...

08 August 2003, 06:29 AM
so why are you posting in focused critiques?

08 August 2003, 09:16 AM
You definately should not post here. Drop the ego and take these critiques and tips to heart. You CAN make the shape you want with quads and proper edgeloops and you SHOULD. Stop being so goddarn stubborn. There is something wrong with saying your a noob and then disregarding pretty much every tip and advice you get. People wouldnt write it down if they didnt think it would be important. :annoyed:

08 August 2003, 01:28 PM
But I am taking your tips to heart. I've already gotten rid of several edges and so turned lots of triangles into quads. This has definitely improved the model so that has made it worth posting here I would think. I am not disregarding tips, I have followed them as much as possible. If I removed any more triangles the shape of the model wouldn't look as nice... the mesh might be better but it would lose its character.

To my knowledge, the point of taking criticism isn't sheepishly doing everything you're told, but instead to listen and consider what other's think and then decide what to do with that insight...

08 August 2003, 07:37 PM
And I知 sorry I started the whole triangles/ quads thing... but i stand by my word i prefer triangles because of the control... now I don't model hi poly sub-d stuff so i cant say how to do any of that stuff I do mostly low poly in game stuff in which quads are just a waste of a precious resource, triangles, the most challenging thing is keeping shape with the fewest polygons possible.

If it is going into a game you NEED to model it with triangles, and get used to how they deform, but also how they make shapes.

There is ALWAYS more than one way to do things, I am tired of people preaching their way of doing things

You CAN make the shape you want with quads and proper edge loops and you SHOULD.

let people do things however they want to... does his work on this cat directly affect your job or livelihood... NO so don't try to force him to do things your way, give advice and let his choose his own path...

I guess what all this is leading up to is that I知 tired of the whole debate over quads or triangles, IF IT IS 3d IT IS TRIANGLES, or didn't you read my previous post, it can be splines but they don't enter into the quads/tri's conversation..

Stop arguing, drink some coffee and just relax.

08 August 2003, 08:28 PM
Indeed everything is converted to triangles when it is rendered (even Mayas nurbs are done this way) But we are not so much against the use of triangles but againt the use of them when it leads to artifacts because of edge stars (ie 50 edges runing to one point). And the blatent disregard of our critiques. I guess thats why most people choose to just browse the images cause the Newbs won't follow the good advice they receive. If you look at any high level model you will se it is composed of quads.

08 August 2003, 09:14 PM
Well I think this is what i did from your images and it took gasp 1/2 an hour to make

08 August 2003, 10:50 PM
Your cat looks nice but it just doesn't look at all like what I'm going for.

And the blatent disregard of our critiques. Again, I'd like to point out that though I have not followed your instructions to the letter I have made a lot of changes and they were all in response to your and other's critiques.

About my saying I don't have any more time... I am creating this for an animation. I am not modeling it for the sake of modeling. I have set a deadline for myself with this animation and I intend to keep it. So, I posted my model here for critique for a few days and now that I have made improvements to it I have declared it finished so that I can move on to texturing, which of course I'll also be asking for critique on when I get some of that done... and so on and so forth.

(I should have a first pass at texturing done sometime tomorrow)

Also the reason I started out using so many triangles in the first place probably has to do with me being stuck in the mindset of low poly game modeling, which I've been doing the past few months...

Anyway, my next SDS model I will start with quads.

08 August 2003, 12:49 AM
I updated the images to show the projections I'm using for mapping. I've also decided to not use that extra level of subdivision on the top after all, to simplify texturing and animation a bit. I'll probably apply smooth shading later.

... no actual texturing just yet unfortunately. I ran into some trouble with the mapping. Turns out the plugin I was going to use doesn't support Subdivison Surfaces and since SDS is highly preferable for animation I don't want to collapse it to plain polygons... so I've had to redo all the mapping work in tS' native system. Pretty much done now, that.

08 August 2003, 08:52 PM
Finally did some real texturing (again, see start of thread for updated images)...

This is the very earliest of passes... it still needs a lot of work. I'm using some custom brushes I created in Photoshop to paint hair onto the map... some tests I did with that:

For the time being the colour map is doubling as a bump map, but I will create a separate map for that later. At the moment the plan is to put in several layers of fur to create a look similar to the above test and then I'll probably add in some patterns as well because I think a fully white cat would be a bit boring.

Anyway, I'm going to be away for the weekend so my next update should be on monday.

08 August 2003, 12:02 AM
Updated the images again...

I've got the the surfacing just about finished now. I still need to clean up some seams between projections here and there and I am also going to make some adjustments to the bump map.... but beyond that I'd say this is pretty much done.

I need to remember to do whiskers as well, though...

Any comments or suggestions?

by the way... something I've been wondering since I created this model. How do people generally go about modeling the inside of the mouth? Are there any clever tricks to it or is it just a matter of careful selection and adjustment... preparation maybe? Or maybe just modeling the head with the mouth wide open?

08 August 2003, 12:11 AM
... added whiskers.

08 August 2003, 11:44 PM
(image update)

I've rigged the body now and put the cat in a slightly more comfortable pose. I might subdivide the mesh a bit because some bits could do with a bit more smoothness...

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