Basics of Designing
Low Polygon Models
Basic Modeling Principles
The following examples illustrate a basic method for making models.
The main tools you need to be familiar with are the vertex, edge,
and face tools. A good understanding of those and their accompanying
options will help you to easily maneuver through your next project.
This and the modeling aspects are illustrated in greater detail
in our book, showing you each step involved in modeling the head,
body, hands, and just about everything else you'd want to know about.
So, to have an idea of what goes on, we'll demonstrate it here.
The first and foremost important view you'll ever need is the side
view. Many people attempt to model characters and creatures using
a front view technique, but to no avail. The importance of a side
view is to capture the stance, the true outlining form, which you
cannot get from a front view. Don't forget, when you are modeling
a character, be sure and use a side view so that the likeness, posture,
and everything else is placed correctly on to the character.
When modeling the character, you will need to place the side view
sketch on the background of the view port and trace around it. So,
with the 2D Line Tool (drawing tool), divide each shape as shown
in below. While you are outlining the picture, make sure that you
are placing the vertices around the same location as I have done.
If you want a character that has a higher polygon count you will
need to add more vertices around his outlining shape so that it
will be smoother.
Once the outline of the character has been established, we need
to give it some life in the 3D world. Us the Extrude Tool and extrude
the character's body and head to half the width of the actual character.
Then extrude the leg and arm the full width of their actual shapes.
You can get the proper widths by using the front view sketch that
we did earlier. Next, divide the character two more times down the
center. This will give us about all the vertices we will need to
finish modeling the character.
Now that the model is properly extruded, you can start to refine
each of the shapes. As you see above, the character is very rough
and has extremely hard angles. The side view is really good but
we need to start working over the front and perspective views. First,
let's hide the arm so that we have a clear view of the body and
leg. Next, select the Vertices Tool and select the outside vertices
of the leg. Then with the Scale Tool, bring all the vertices inward
as shown below. Notice that you don't have to use the Scale Tool.
Most of time I'll just use the vertices tool and pull each vertex
inward until it looks good. Once, you've moved the outside vertices,
it's time to work the front view of the leg over. Be sure that while
you're moving the knee cap vertices in, that you have the front
view sketch either as the background image or at least next to you
Now that the leg is refined, let's move on to the arm. (If you've
hidden it, you can bring it back now.) Select the arm and use the
rotate tool to raise the arm up so that it's perpendicular to the
body. Once the arm is up, go ahead and start refining the shape
from the front view with the vertices tool. As you can see, we've
pulled the vertices around the elbow inward, given some slight definition
to the shoulder, and tapered off the forearm and hand.
In the image below, we have completed smoothing the body. With each
set of vertices, we've slowly pulled them inward so that they will
start sculpting and refining the body. Then in the front view, notice
how we've managed to create a smooth looking waist and jacket bottom.
Don't forget to use the front view sketch for the basic outline
refinement of the character.
Now that the character is refined, you will need to attach the arm
to the body. (Note: the leg and the head will not be attached, but
if you want to attach them, then go for it!) The image below shows
the arm before being attached. Before you begin attaching the arm,
move it as close to the body as possible.
the arm next to the body, all we have to do is build a handful of
faces with the Face Tool ('build' new polygons). Be sure that once
the faces are built, that you delete any polygons that are hidden
or no longer needed.
character is ready for it's twin. Select the whole character and
make a copy. Now that was easy! We now have a perfect match.
Select the copy of the character and Mirror it, so that it'll be
the exact opposite of the original half. Then move the model right
next to the original character. Be sure that they are as close together
as they can get and then weld all the vertices in the center together.
On occasion, you may have to build a few faces if there are any
open areas so make sure to give it a good look over before continuing.
After the character is welded, take one more look at it and you
might notice that the chest line could be pulled inward as well
as the spine, to give it some more depth. If you find something
that looks in need of refinement, then select a tool and go to town.
After the character is done, you can start working over all the
accessories. We have already made all the weapons and placed them
on the character. If you'd like some good practice with easy shapes,
take a moment to model out each shape like we've done. (Note: Most
of the shapes are very easy because they are basically boxes and
character is now complete! Great job!! Now let's touch on one more
thing that you need to keep in mind while you're modeling
have often heard this expression used and felt that it would apply
nicely here. Since we are in the business of creating low polygon
models and are required to make them look fascinating, then keep
this in mind when you're modeling
Keep It Simple, Stupid. If
things start looking complicated and high, then they probably are,
so whenever you get a chance to remove unnecessary polygons or collapse
several vertices together, then do it! Remember to try and keep
the angles soft, but don't 'waste' a ton of polygons doing it.