Paths

Maya: Character Modeling

Authors: Joshua Brock, Paul Conner, Eric Kunzendorf, Justin Marshall

Modeling tasks are often separated into character-based objects and environment-based objects. In this learning path, you will learn to use Maya to create 3D character models from... Read more

Beginner

In the first section, you’ll learn the basics of modeling and begin to put together some basic characters.

Introduction to Modeling in Maya

by Justin Marshall

May 27, 2013 / 4h 31m

4h 31m

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Description

In this tutorial we'll go through the modeling process in Maya 2014. We'll use a project-based approach as we cover the basics of modeling, look at commonly used tools, and talk about some time-saving tips and production techniques. We'll begin by looking at the various types of geometry available to you. You'll learn how to organize your model into hierarchies and keep your scene clean and efficient. We'll also take a look at several modeling tools, including polygonal tools like extrude and the insert edge loop tool for adding resolution, NURBS tools like loft and extrude to create smooth surfaces, and a few of the new tools in Maya 2014 as well. We'll take a look at using a smoothing workflow and use deformers to help shape our models. We're going to take a slightly different approach to this introduction tutorial, in that we're not going to talk about all of Maya's modeling tools, but rather focus on the tools that you're going to find most useful as you begin the modeling process.

Table of contents
  1. Introduction and Project Overview1m
  2. Introduction to Modeling in Maya4h 29m

Creating Your First Character in Maya

by Justin Marshall

Mar 16, 2016 / 1h 10m

1h 10m

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Description

In this Maya tutorial, you'll get a peek into this powerful full featured 3D creation program. If you don't have Maya, you can get a free 30-day trial, or if you're a student, you can get a free 3-year license. It's a complicated program, but we're going to pace ourselves and start with something manageable. For our character project, we're going to build a cartoon astronaut. We'll learn to use polygons to build up different shapes and then learn to connect different pieces together. We'll learn to create smooth surfaces when we want them, but we'll also learn when and how to add edge loops to give our objects more definition. By the end of this Maya training, you'll have the tools you need to begin modeling your own character designs. Software required: Maya 2016

Table of contents
  1. Introduction and Project Overview1m
  2. Creating Your First Character in Maya1h 9m

Character Modeling Concepts in Maya

by Justin Marshall

Feb 4, 2013 / 4h 55m

4h 55m

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Description

When building computer generated models for games, film, or broadcast, characters provide a unique set of challenges. Character models must not only look like a particular character, but they must also be built in such a way that they are able to be readily animated. This means the topology, or edge flow, can be much more important on a character model than a prop or section of environment. In this Maya modeling tutorial, we will talk about some of the specific challenges facing artists as they build characters, using a simple character as a guide. You'll learn concepts like facial topology, working from reference, and keeping a clean scene. We'll also cover common modeling techniques from polygon box modeling, to edge modeling, to working with NURBS. In the end you'll have the knowledge and experience you need to begin creating your own custom CG characters. Software required: Maya 2013.

Table of contents
  1. Introduction and Project Overview1m
  2. Character Modeling Concepts in Maya4h 54m

Intermediate

Once you have a strong grasp of the fundamentals, you can now begin modeling more complex characters. You’ll learn to build higher resolution characters and think about UVs and textures as well. You’ll also learn to use Maya’s sculpting tools.

Skill-Builder: Mastering Topology in Maya

by Justin Marshall

Mar 25, 2013 / 3h 34m

3h 34m

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Description

Going through tutorial projects step-by-step is a really powerful way to learn the different modeling tools and techniques. You can see how those tools work as you follow along and create a particular model with your tutor. The real power, however, comes from being able to take the techniques you've learned and apply them in a different way to a different project. This knowledge and adaptability only comes from practice and the experience of dealing with different situations as they arise. To simulate this, you'll be presented with a series of topological exercises. Each exercise will consist of three lessons covering topics from N-Gons to facial topology. In the first lesson, we will review the skill or technique using a particular asset. We'll talk about specific tools and go through their application step-by-step. In the second lesson, you'll receive a new asset and instructions for the exercise. This will be your opportunity to apply what you've just learned to a completely different model. In the final lesson, we will go through your exercise step-by-step and you can compare your results. There will be small hints provided for each exercise but we encourage you not to look at those if possible. Each Skill-Builder Tutorial ends with a final project where you'll get to take all of the new skills and techniques you've learned and apply them to your own mini-project. These exercises are really your opportunity to practice what you've learned and gain the confidence that only comes through repetition and being able to address any issue that might come up. Get started today or learn more about Skill-Builder tutorials.

Table of contents
  1. Introduction and Project Overview1m
  2. Skill-Builder: Mastering Topology in Maya3h 32m

Indie Game Development Pipeline Volume 4: Hero Character Modeling and Texturing

by Justin Marshall

Mar 18, 2014 / 3h 48m

3h 48m

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Description

In this series of tutorials, we'll go through the process of modeling and texturing the hero character for our indie game project. If you started the Indie Game Development Pipeline with Volume 1, you've had a chance to work on your game concept art and begin creating the actual game functionality. In this volume, we'll build the 3D geometry for our hero character, a ghostly knight, using Maya LT. We'll begin by looking at the concept art and then jump into modeling the character's helmet. We'll look at a variety of polygon modeling tools as well as how we can integrate NURBS into our game modeling workflow. Once our geometry is built, we'll spend some time creating a UV layout in preparation for texturing. Then we'll use Photoshop and Mudbox to create a texture for the Ghost Knight. Once you've completed this volume, you can move on to Volume 5, where we'll go through the process of building up the rock monster boss for our game using Maya LT and ZBrush. Then you can continue on with subsequent volumes on rigging, animation, and final game assembly. These tutorials move step-by-step and use our particular concepts, but we really encourage you to have some fun and make it your own. Software required: Maya LT 2015, Photoshop CS5, Mudbox 2014.

Table of contents
  1. Introduction and Project Overview1m
  2. Indie Game Development Pipeline Volume 4: Hero Character Modeling and Texturing3h 46m

Sculpting Workflows in Maya

by Justin Marshall

Sep 21, 2015 / 51m

51m

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Description

In this Maya tutorial, we'll go through some of the model preparation steps and talk about some of the current limitations of the Maya sculpting tools. Historically, sculpting tools have been lacking in Maya with things like soft selection and the Artisan tools being our only options. Now with Maya, we have the ability to use all of the great sculpting tools we're used to from Mudbox, right inside the application. We'll learn to set up our sculpt tools and take a look at what the different tools can do. We'll explore the Grab tool for quickly shaping a model. We'll learn about the Wax and Scrape tools for adding and cutting away material. We'll learn to make cuts using the Knife tool and bring out existing details with the Amplify tool. We'll finish up by talking about using Freeze to protect geometry from unwanted strokes and using the sculpt tools to create blendshapes. By the end of this Maya training, you'll be able to start using the powerful sculpting tools on your own projects. Software required: Maya 2016.

Table of contents
  1. Introduction and Project Overview1m
  2. Sculpting Workflows in Maya50m

Advanced

In the advanced tutorials, you’ll focus more on character heads as you look at a couple of different workflows for modeling. You’ll also get a chance to create a more detailed, full character.

Modeling an Organized Head Mesh in Maya

by Paul Conner

Sep 3, 2015 / 5h 41m

5h 41m

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Description

In this Maya tutorial, we'll be modeling a generic male base mesh head. We'll focus on advanced techniques for successfully modeling polygon forms by stressing anatomy and edge flow to get the correct geometry for deformations in polygon models. Utilizing the tools we have available, we'll learn the thought processes of modeling the forms and modeling for the production pipeline. By the end of this Maya training, you'll have a better understanding of the processes and modeling tools you need to use to build models that look and deform correctly while giving predictable results come render time. Software required: Maya 2016.

Table of contents
  1. Introduction and Project Overview1m
  2. Modeling an Organized Head Mesh in Maya5h 39m

Character Head Modeling: A Different Approach

by Eric Kunzendorf

May 12, 2016 / 5h 5m

5h 5m

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Description

Modeling requires the artist to think in 3D, but how can you do this when your computer screen and pencil and paper operate in 2D? In this course, Character Head Modeling: A Different Approach, you will unlock the connection between 2D and 3D thinking through a different approach to 3D modeling (as opposed to more traditional methods such as box modeling). First, you will learn about schematics and how to use contour lines extracted from drawings and photographs of the face. Next, you'll discover how to generate a 3D linear NURBS cage, and with it, you will create your head model polygon by polygon, from all parts of the face to the ears and back of the head. By the end of this course, you'll have a new approach to head modeling that will help you create better character models than ever. Software required: Maya 2016, Photoshop cc 2015.

Table of contents
  1. Course Overview1m
  2. Drawings and Photos and Schematics, Oh My!47m
  3. Cage Match: Producing the NURBS Cage55m
  4. Polygonal Throw Down: Creating the Face1h 45m
  5. Finishing Strong: The Ear and Back of the Head1h 36m

Advanced Character Modeling in Maya

by Joshua Brock

Feb 23, 2016 / 3h 54m

3h 54m

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Description

In this tutorial, we will learn advanced techniques for modeling a feature-quality character in Maya. Throughout these lessons, we will explore techniques for creating organic and hard surface objects. We will look at ways for creating strong edge flow that will help with deforming our character. We'll also use Maya to create and lay out our UV's. By the end of this course, you will have a solid understanding of the techniques needed to speed up your modeling workflow for creating feature quality models. Software required: Maya 2012.

Table of contents
  1. Introduction and Project Overview0m
  2. Advanced Character Modeling in Maya3h 53m

What you will learn

  • Reference and Design
  • Modeling Tools and Workflows
  • Set Dressing
  • UVs
  • Model Cleanup

Pre-requisites

To get the most out of this path it is recommended that you have an understanding of 3D concepts and techniques. It's also recommended that you have basic knowledge and navigation of Maya.

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