View Full Version : 3D Modelling - 8 Tips on How to Make Incredible Character Modelling

10 October 2010, 03:15 PM
Have you ever been so frustrated that you were on the edge of crying? Modelling sometimes feels that way but it can be easy. In this article I talk about 8 tips to improve your character modelling skills and reach a professional level in an easy way.

1. Have a concept. I know that modelling is fun, but starting without a concept is like setting sail's without a map. You need to know what you are modelling in order to actually model something useful. Make a fun project out of it and draw a character. It does not have to be perfect it is just to get an idea of what your goal is.

2. Do your research. The human brain is fantastic but it cannot remember all the details of for example a head. So having reference pictures is crucial. Also if you are modelling a cartoony character.

3. K.I.S.S. "Keep it simple, stupid!" It is very easy when you are working to keep on adding edgeloops. This is a trap and it will ruin your model. So keep it simple, have as few edgeloops as possible. I see a lot of beginners loosing track of their model because they just keep on adding edgeloops.

4. Make a nice flow. A nice flow relates to doing your research. You want to have a nice edge flow in your character, especially the head. The edgeloops should be placed where the muscles in the face are placed. A great way to secure that is by drawing the visible lines in the face before modelling.

5. Looking forward. When you are modelling try to look forward. For example; the arms will in most cases bend, this means around the elbow you want at least 3 edgeloops to make a nice deformation. The same thing goes for the mouth. You want edgeloops around the mouth so it can deform correctly.

6. Check your concept. Check your reference regular while modelling, to see if your 3D model fits the reference. You will be working on same models for a long time. In the mix your 3D model can unfortunately change shape so it does not look like the concept anymore.

7. Naming your stuff. We have all been there. We look in a scene and everything is called final final something. This is not a good solution. A good solution is to call your models what they are. For example I would call the left hand of my character: hand_L_01_GEO. It is pretty simple. GEO is added because it is geometry. If it is a joint I would add JNT.

8. Keeping it in squares. Your model should only consist of square polygons. This means no triangles or faces with more than 4 sides. This is hard to learn because you will be fiddling around with triangles. It feels like an unsolvable puzzle. But you will get better and faster. It is one of the most important parts in 3D modelling. If your model has triangles if will deform badly.

Now that you know this I will recommend that you check out my website. My site provides free tutorials, Articles and news. It is a community based on sharing. You will find it at:

Happy modelling :)


10 October 2010, 03:47 PM
I agree with these guidelines except for #8 i'd like to throw in my 2 cents...the reason you want to keep quads is for:

-Sculpting purposes, since subdivision is more predictable when working on an all quad mesh, it's an ideal solution when building a basemesh. Be aware that poles can cause issues, even if you have an all quad mesh, so try to place them in areas that would make sense (ie bone surface showing thru skin on an organic model).
-Easier to UVW map your model, it's just faster to setup seams with edgeloop selection
-It makes rigging easier, again because of quick edgeloops selection

If you have triangles, you can just hide them in spots that do not deform. If you are modeling for a game engine, all your quads will be triangulated on export anyway.

10 October 2010, 07:42 PM
Hi Psyk0

Thanks for the reply. I agree.

But I don't think it is a good solution to hide triangles. Because in most cases it will create an artifact, even though you dont need the area to deform. And as you said for Sculpting later one it can be a issue.

How would you go about using the edgeloops for rigging? I am just curious because I never heard about it before.

10 October 2010, 12:58 AM
Hiding triangles on a high resolution retopology/subd only mesh is perfectly fine, hiding triangles on a base mesh...not so good idea! unless it's under a character's feet...

If you are manually assigning weights to the mesh, you can easily select an edgeloop (at least in 3ds max) by selecting 2 verts that share that same edgeloop. Then you can shrink or grow your selected area quite easily because the mesh has no triangles to break the selection pattern.

10 October 2010, 04:12 PM
Ah okay. That is pretty cool.

10 October 2010, 07:14 AM
Thanks for this! Was a nice read :thumbsup:

10 October 2010, 11:49 AM
Thank you for commenting :)

10 October 2010, 05:39 AM
thanx for the tips

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