My latest and greatest (also newest) character body modeling Maya techniques- now updated for Maya 2015.
First, topology for animation
Topology, or the structure and layout of polygons during 3d modeling, is the key aspect for character body modeling. A character model must animate well – and in order to animate, the body topology must be specifically constructed to do so!
This vid starts with a cylinder-based character creation process, similar to my previous body modeling Maya tutorial:
- This time I changed the creation parameters at the beginning to create better topology for the final mesh.
- And I simplified the entire process at the same time.
- In addition, I modeled the shoulder in a different fashion – since the shoulder is a key area for animation, this is an important change!
Topology comes first, because more than anything, the character model must animate well. But topology creation is a technical task, which is directly at odds with the creative side of things.
Then, anatomy for aesthetics
So anatomy is handled separately, after the topology is largely in place.
This time, I match my character model much more closely to the character reference, which means understanding muscle shapes and general body forms to create a proper model. The reference images I used are available here.
3D modeling to capture more finalized anatomy is certainly more difficult and time consuming – but it is also a big time saver during the sculpting process, where less work will be needed.
And I personally prefer the precision of body modeling versus body sculpting – at least when it comes to very broad, silhouette-level detail!
Body Modeling Maya 2015 tutorial video:
What else has changed?
My previous character body modeling Maya tutorial was published almost a year ago. For those that followed the previous Maya tutorial, you may be curious about what else has changed.
There are three big improvements – first, to the topology of the resulting mesh. Second, improvements to the anatomy and aesthetics. And last, the video itself presents the info better.
Improved body topology means better animation performance
The resulting topology is both cleaner from an animation perspective, and it’s also better suited to creating nice looking anatomy.
The workflow is still based on cylinders, but I’ve changed the creation parameters. And the shoulder area, the body area where topology is probably most critical, is constructed in a new way (it’s extruded from the shoulder) that creates a better polygon flow.
Complete body anatomy, ready for high-res sculpting
In the previous vid, I focused on just creating the base shape. Any additional shape and detail would have to be created later, using the sculpt.
This model is much more complete from an anatomy perspective. The model matches the reference imagery much more closely – so when I start sculpting, I won’t have to create the base body, I’ll just have to start adding detail like muscles and bone.
Better video production means it’s easier to follow along!
For example, the creation parameters for my initial cylinders pop up on the screen, to facilitate those following along; I show examples of the completed topology on the model to illustrate the modeling we’ll be doing in the next section, making our goals clear; and in general, the audio and video production are just better.
Check out the EXTENDED CUT video here: longer, more detailed, more everything!