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Modeling a POLYGON Head
Modeling a POLYGON Head
sdb1987, added 2005-09-13 12:02:21 UTC 706,743 views  Rating:
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Select the second large polygon that outlines the inner part of the head's profile. This is the one formed from the points that you dragged inward. Extrude this polygon about the same distance as the last one.

Select the points along this newly formed profile and drag them in to outline the features that fall along this axis (Figure 7-49). You are now shaping the third profile.

Figure 7-49 The points along the second extrusion are moved to outline the inner contours of the face.

Once you are finished shaping these new contours, select the new large polygon. This is the one formed from the third contour. Extrude this polygon to make the next slice of the face. Move the points along this new contour so that they are placed against the features of the face. At this point, you are most likely forming the side of the nose, middle to end of the lips, chin, and so on.

Continue to select the newly formed large polygon profiles, extrude them and shape their points (Figure 7-50). Once you are past the features of the face such as the eye, nose and lips, you can make larger extrusions since you only need smaller polys for details. Try not to fuss too much with detail. You only need to form the general features. Later, you can come back to work on the minute parts such as eyelids, nostrils, and so on.

Figure 7-50 As each section is extruded, its points are dragged to form the shape of the head.

As the extrusions approach the ends of the face, around the ear, you should notice a compression of the polygons. Since the same number of polys are moved into a more limited area, they become smaller in scale. You can now start to merge some of these little polygons. Once they are unified, you can delete their extra points. Other polygons have a tendency to become stretched during the point dragging process. These will have to be split into smaller ones.

Once you make it to about the same point as Figure 7-51, delete all the large profile polygons. Since you will no longer extrude these, they no longer have any use. Do an automatic merge of all the points. This will weld all the points that occupy the same spaces and insure that the face is one seamless mesh of polygons.

Figure 7-51 The hole at the side of the face (white area) will be subdivided into smaller polygons.

You can now connect all the points that form the perimeter around the empty space near the ear (white area in Figure 7-48). Once the points are connected to make a large polygon, subdivide this into smaller ones and move their points to finish the side of the face (Figure 7-52).

Figure 7-52 Once the hole is subdivided, its points are pulled out for the final overall shape.

The head is completed by adding details around the eyes, nose, lips and so on. The surface can then be named and a smoothing algorithm is then applied to it (Figure 7-53). Later, you will be shown how to model the ear. If you want to see what the final head will look like, then duplicate, mirror and merge the middle of the head points.

Figure 7-53 The final head with details and smoothing applied. The ears will be added later.

The Single Polygon Method

Those who want the ultimate degree of control, when modeling, will find that using single polygons is the preferred choice. This method requires that one polygon at a time should be drawn until the entire face is completed. The approach is similar to creating a mosaic in three-dimensional virtual space. It is also the most time consuming technique.

If you are not familiar with using a single polygon creation tool, then it is probably best to start modeling a broad area such as the forehead. Using a pen tool, you can start clicking to form a rectangle shaped polygon. Make your polygons fairly large (Figure 7-54) and do not worry if the polygons are non-planar. Later, they can be subdivided into smaller triangle shaped ones.

Figure 7-54 Single polys form the forehead. The arrows indicate adjoining points that are welded.

Using two or three dimensional templates as guides, move the newly created polygon, into the right spot next to the previously created one. After you draw each poly, select both of the rectangle's overlapping points and those of its neighbor and weld them (Figure 7-54). The idea is to create one continuous mesh of polygons that share corner points.

Moving across the forehead create the polygons for the top, the skull, sides and back. Since the face will require more detail and thus smaller polygons, you might want to save it for last.

Rather than constantly creating new polys from scratch, you can select three points from adjoining polygons and make a triangle out of them. Figure 7-55 illustrates how one can select points from two polygons. A fourth point is inserted on this three-sided poly.

Figure 7-55 Individual points are selected from neighboring polygons.

This extra point is then moved into the right position (Figure 7-56). This will save you time since you do not have to weld points nor move more than one point into the right spot.

Figure 7-56 Once the triangle is formed, a point is inserted and moved to the right location.

Facial characteristics should be modeled last since they require more attention to detail. Sometimes it is best to copy points or create new ones, position them to follow the muscles of the face, and then connect them to make polygons (Figure 7-57). Working with points allows one to work at the minutest level. Specific forms such as the features require this type of attention.

Figure 7-57 Single points are created for the facial details and then connected to make polygons.

This tutorial is an excerpt from Mastering 3D Animation
Peter Ratner is the author of 3-D Human Modeling and Animation.
He is the founder of the Computer Animation program at James Madison University where he is currently teaching.