Game Character Development with Maya - page 27


Depending on the character you are creating, you may need to add muscle lines to the legs. Figure 3.27 shows a different character I created a while ago; she has muscles mapped on her entire body. This was done by following an appropriate muscle reference and splitting the polygons to outline the muscles.

Figure 3.27. The muscles mapped to the entire body of another model

    Face and Upper Body Detail

    Kila's torso and limbs are sculpted now to a point where we can move on to another area. We will begin by adding more details to the geometry, starting as before from the top and working our way down.

    The Face

    It's about time we gave Kila a face. We will begin working on her from the side, so switch to the side panel now and focus in on her face.

    The image in Figure 3.28 (left) will do for the head, but it is of very low quality. This is where our head model sheet from Chapter 1 comes in handy. Scan in the sheet and divide it up into two sections, as you we did with the body model sheet.

    Figure 3.28. Import the head model sheet

    Import the side image into the side panel (or load in the file 02/Scans/KilaFaceSide.tga from the CD), and position and resize it until it is the same scale as the current head (as seen in Figure 3.28, middle).

    You now have a better image to work with. Take a look: The first thing that stands out is that the head is tilted slightly. So we must select the vertices of the head and rotate it, so that it fits the head in the image plane (Figure 3.28, right).

    In order to add more detail to the head, we must add some more vertices and polygons to the face. We could split the polygons where we need them, but since we need to divide a large area, we can do something quicker.


    Referring to Figure 3.29 (left), select the faces at the front of the head.

    Figure 3.29. Subdivide the face so we can add detail.


    Go to Edit Polygons > Subdivide and open the options.


    Set Subdivision Levels to 1 and Mode to quads.


    Click the Apply button to finish, and close the options.

    As illustrated in Figure 3.29 (right), Kila's face is now divided up into smaller sections, allowing us to begin refining the area.

    Switch to the side view (Figure 3.30, left), and begin to manipulate the vertices to better fit the image in the image plane (Figure 3.30, right). When you're happy with the side view, switch to perspective view and begin to work on the rest of the vertices. At this stage, you're not aiming for any details such as eyes, nose, or mouth. For now, work on achieving a smooth area and getting the overall shape of the head. See the progression in Figure 3.31.

    Figure 3.30. Move the vertices to fit the side outline.

    Figure 3.31. Progression of the face shape


    Depending on the accuracy of the head images, you may find it difficult to get the mesh looking exactly like the front and side images at once. Don't worry; try to find a happy medium. What's important is that it looks like the character when it's finished. The topology is your concern at this stage, especially if the character will have any lip-sync capabilities, as most characters do.


    The basic head shape is in place. Its time to work in some features; let's begin with the nose. As shown in Figure 3.32, switch to the front view and split the polygons as demonstrated. These should follow the line of the nose, then the eyebrow.

    Figure 3.32. Split the polygons around the nose.

    Switch to the side view and move the vertices to match the nose (Figure 3.33). Switch to the perspective panel to see how things are looking, making any needed adjustments to retain the shape.

    Figure 3.33. Add detail to the nose.

    Still in the perspective view, cut the polygons as shown in Figure 3.34 (middle), making an X. Move the new vertex that's in the center of the X, pulling it down slightly to give her nostril more definition (Figure 3.34, right).

    Figure 3.34. Define the nostril.

    Lips and Mouth

    Let's continue and create a rough version of her lips. Move to the front view and split the polygons around the outline of the mouth (Figure 3.35). You will see that the nose needs to be thinned out slightly to match the image, so we may as well implement this while we are here.

    Figure 3.35. Create the basic mouth.

    Switch to the side view and move the vertices to match the lips in the image (Figure 3.36, middle). We could leave the lips as they are, but they look a little flat and we need to give them some volume. To do this, simply divide them down the center. Then, as shown in Figure 3.36 (right), pull the new vertices outward to round off the lips.

    Figure 3.36. Round off the lips in the side view.

    At this stage, we can begin to implement the muscles lines of the face (as seen in Figure 3.37). We are currently working on the mouth area, so let's split more polygons around the mouth to map out the muscles. This will also help us add more definition to the chin and the rest of this facial area.

    Figure 3.37. Facial muscle map

    Following the reference in Figure 3.37, create a ring around the mouth (Figure 3.38). As in Figure 3.39, switch to the side panel and fill out the chin.

    Figure 3.38. Create a ring around the mouth.

    Figure 3.39. Fill out the chin from the side view.

    Now open up the perspective view and work on the area until the shape looks correct. Figure 3.40 shows the mouth area completed with the first set of muscle maps.

    Figure 3.40. Kila's head with the mouth muscles completed

    Eye Area

    Let's now work on the eyes. Go to the front view and, as illustrated in Figure 3.41 (right), split the polygons, creating the outline for her eye. The polygons in the center of the eye won't be needed, so select the faces inside the eye's outline and delete them.

    Figure 3.41. Build in the outline for the eye.

    With the outline for the eye in place, move the vertices of this outline to fit the shape of the eyeball. You'll need an eyeball first in order to do this, so create a basic sphere and position it where the eyeball would be (Figure 3.42).

    Figure 3.42. Create a sphere for a placeholder eyeball.

    Using this placeholder eyeball as a guide, move the vertices of the eye so that they follow the curve of the eyeball (Figure 3.43). Make sure to leave a small gap between each vertex and the eyeball.

    Figure 3.43. Adjust the outline of the eye to make it curve around the eyeball.

    With our basic facial features in place, we can start to refine them by adding more detail. Staying with the eye, carve in a ring around it (Figure 3.44, left). This subdivides the polygons, allowing you to smooth out the area; it also act as a muscle line. Shape these new vertices to fill out the area around the eye. Then you can build in the eyelids (Figure 3.44, middle). These will be quite important to the face's animation; the eyes must be able to open and close.

    Figure 3.44. Refine the basic eye area, adding the eyelids.

    To fill in the gap between the eyelids and the eyeball, simply select the edges shown in Figure 3.45a and extrude them inward (Figure 3.45b).

    Figure 3.45. Extrude the edges to create the inner eye and the eyelashes.

    Kila has very long eyelashes. To achieve this look, all you need to do is repeat the extrusion task you just did for the eyelids. Select the edges on the rim of the eye, but this time extrude them outward, as seen in Figure 3.45c. Manipulate the vertices to match the shape in the front guide image, splitting the outer edges highlighted in Figure 3.45d, to separate the upper and lower lashes. Figure 3.45e shows that Kila's eyes are essentially complete.

    With the basic features in place, let's continue to refine the face. Before you continue, delete the history on the geometry and save the file.

    Face Refinement

    We will begin by working on the nose. Looking in from the side, as in Figure 3.46 (left), you can see that the nose is quite sharp and angular. Split some of the polygons, and move the vertices to smooth out the nose (Figure 3.46, right).

    Figure 3.46. Start in the side view to smooth out the nose.

    Moving to the front view, edit the vertices to smooth out the nose even more, adding cuts to the underside of the nose (Figure 3.47, right).

    Figure 3.47. Continue to smooth out the nose using the front view.

    Now switch to perspective view to see how you're doing. It's coming along wellbut if you look upward from the bottom, her nose is still quite sharp and pointed. In Figure 3.48, I have split the polygons vertically across the nostril, allowing the nose to be rounded off.

    Figure 3.48. Subdivide the nostril to round off the nose.

    To complete the nose, insert a hole underneath to create the nostril. Split the polygons underneath, creating an X (Figure 3.49, middle). Move the new vertex up into the nose to create the nostril cavity.

    Figure 3.49. Create the nasal cavity to finish the nose.

    As you've done with everything else up to now, have a final look around the nose, manipulating the vertices to fill out the shape. You should end up with the nostril as illustrated in Figure 3.49 (right).

    Nose and eyes are done; moving on brings us to the mouth. Switch to the side view and start working the vertices to refine the shape of the lips. Split the polygons to round off the lower lip. Look at the model in the perspective view now, and divide the lips as illustrated in Figure 3.50 (middle). Next, it is merely a case of sculpting the area until the lips better fit your reference imagery (Figure 3.50, right).

    Figure 3.50. Refine the lips.

    Before we can leave the head and move on, we must fill out the chin. In Figure 3.51 (left), the area under the chin is very flat and the chin itself is quite angular. To rectify this, start by splitting more polygons, following the ones on the side of the head down to the bottom (Figure 3.51, middle). Then adjust the vertices to fit the outline in the image plane (Figure 3.51, right).

    Figure 3.51. Fill out the chin.

    The final stage for the head is to spend time making sure the shape is perfect. We have all the features in, and now we must make sure they resemble the character we are building.

    Getting the face right is crucial, so load in the original color image that was created in Chapter 1 (Figure 3.52). This is how the character should look and will be our reference for this part of the model.

    Figure 3.52. The main head reference

    Put as much time as possible into refining the face and head. Get it just right (Figure 3.53) before you go forward. Then delete the history and save your work as Kila_Face.mb.

    Figure 3.53. Finished face and head geometry

    The Neck

    Progressing down from the face, we come to the neck. There's not much you can really do here except perhaps to make the muscle you defined earlier, the sternocleidomastoid, a little more pronounced (Figure 3.54).

    Figure 3.54. Defining the neck

    You can achieve this simply by creating a split all the way down the center of the muscle (Figure 3.54, middle). Then manipulate the vertices until you have the required shape (Figure 3.54, right), giving the muscle slightly more definition.

    Continuing on, the shoulder area seems fine for now. We may need to add some more subdivisions to get a nice round shoulder when she lowers her arm, but we can test this out when we come to the deformation tests (Chapter 6, "Deformation Testing").

    The Armpit

    Next comes the armpit. It is important for this part of the anatomy to be correct in order to achieve good deformation. It's wise to refer to a real armpit, so look around for a good photo to use as a guide (or use a mirror). Visit one of the links suggested in Appendix B; they will have many reference images.

    To start, split up some of the larger areas as seen in Figure 3.55 (middle), giving you more pieces to work with. Using your reference as an example, move the vertices around until you have a better shape (Figure 3.55, right).

    Figure 3.55. Work to refine the armpit area.

    I like to keep my models clean and tidy, so I prefer to work in quads. (A quad is simply two triangular polygons combined to make a square.) This method has a second advantage: If you are creating a subdivision surface model, using mostly quads will result in a smoother model when it's converted (see "Subdivision Surfaces" in Chapter 2).

    To create a quad, select two adjoining triangular faces (Figure 3.56) and go to Polygons > Quadrangulate to convert them to a single quad. This technique is particularly useful if applied to a number of faces at once. Another way to create a single quad is to select the dividing edge and delete it.

    Figure 3.56. Convert unneeded triangles to quads.

    Continue checking the model for areas to improve. Notice the polygon just under her chest (Figure 3.57, left), which is at a sharp angle to the polygon below, making this area look angular when you rotate around the model. It is best that we remove this polygon, rebuilding the area to smooth it out.

    Figure 3.57. Rebuild any areas that don't look smooth or natural.

    The quickest way to accomplish this is to split the faces as shown in Figure 3.57, middle. Select the new vertices and snap each one to the topmost vertex of the cut. Finally, weld them together, resulting in the simplified but smoother area seen in Figure 3.57, right.

    The Navel

    We've accomplished a lotexcept for the hands and feet, there really aren't many more details we can add to Kila's main body. (In Chapter 4, "Modeling Details," we'll get to add clothing and other areas like ears and hair.) So let's just finish this section by giving her a navel.

    For a general game model, the navel could be achieved with the texture, causing no major problems. But for demonstration purposes, I will go ahead and create it using the cutting and shaping method used throughout this chapter.


    Switch to the front view, making sure the image planes are visible. Zoom in, as in Figure 3.58 (left), to where the navel would be.

    Figure 3.58. Finish the basic details by building a navel.


    Make two small cuts, resulting in a diamond shape (Figure 3.58, right). The cuts need not follow the image perfectly; they just need to be in the correct place.


    Select the faces just created (Figure 3.59, left). Then select Edit Polygons > Extrude Face, and move them inward slightly.

    Figure 3.59. Extrude the faces inward, making the depression of the navel.


    As you can see in Figure 3.59 (middle), some faces have been created down the center of the navel. Delete these before moving on to manipulate the inside of the navel, shaping it correctly (Figure 3.59, right).

    Kila's navel is fairly basic for now; this is because we are not sure how it will look in the game, or even if it will ever be seen up close. After the model is complete, we can come back to the navel and add details or remove it if necessary.

    Figure 3 60. Kila so far

    At this point, Kila's essentials have been modeled. She now has a face, and the primary areas of her body have been shaped and adjusted to give her an explicit form. If we require it, more-precise muscle definition can be achieved with the texture, as can many of the smaller details. For now, her shape looks good and will deform well.

    Delete the history on your geometry and save your work as Kila_Details.mb.