Modeling the Ear

Modeling the Ear

So now we've finished off the hair. Our next step is to create an ear to place on the left side of Kila's head.


Before you start to model the ear, find a decent picture of an ear on the Internet or in an anatomy book. This will help you create an accurate model (or texture, depending on how the ear will be represented).


Start with a new scene, and create the cube in Figure 4.26 using the following configuration: Width 0.5, Height 1.5, Depth 1, Subdivisions Along Width 1, Subdivisions Along Height 5, and Subdivisions Along Depth 2.

Figure 4.26. Create a basic cube, five divisions high.


Using your reference, shape the cube to achieve the basic shape of an ear. Work on it from the side and then the front, and finally in the perspective view until you are happy with it (Figure 4.27).

Figure 4.27. Manipulate the cube until it resembles an ear.


Before saving this version, remove some of the polygons from behind the ear, as seen in Figure 4.28.

Figure 4.28. Remove the polygons from the back of the ear.


Delete the history and save this as Kila_Ear_01.mb, so you can use this version later if you choose.

We could quite happily use the ear in its present state, allowing the texture to show the detailespecially if we need to keep within our polygon budget. For the purposes of this tutorial, however, we will work on it a little more to show how to develop a more detailed ear in case we need one. Enhancing the ear is a simple case of cutting the details into the mesh using the Split Polygon tool, and then working on the geometry to achieve a satisfactory shape.


Divide the front of the ear, following the lines in Figure 4.29, left. Work on the entire front area until the ear is satisfactory (Figure 4.29, right). There is no need to put in every detail, since most of this can be achieved in the texture.

Figure 4.29. Add detail to the ear by first splitting the polygons.


Delete the history and save this ear as Kila_Ear_02.mb.

Attaching the Ear

Now we have two ear models (one slightly more detailed than the other). For now, we are going to attach the higher-resolution version. When we come to optimize the mesh, we can reduce it if we need the polygons. Make sure you have both ears saved, and then load Kila_Hair.mb again.


Before you begin to attach the ear, you need to make the head whole. At the moment you only have one-half; the second, right side is simply an instance. Delete the instanced mesh and focus in on the head. It's probably best to isolate the mesh, too, so you're only working on the main body.


Select the faces shown in Figure 4.30 (the ones that make up the head and upper neck).

Figure 4.30. Select the head and upper neck, and detach the faces using the Extract tool.


To separate these pieces from the main mesh, go to Edit Polygons > Extract and open up the options. Make sure Separate Extracted Faces is on, then click Extract. The head will now be separated from the rest of the body.

What we need to do now is duplicate this half, mirror it, and merge all the vertices down the center. There is a simple way to do thisuse the Polygons > Mirror Geometry tool.


Open up the options for the Polygons > Mirror Geometry tool and, as seen in Figure 4.31, make sure X is selected, as well as Merge With The Original and Merge Vertices. Click Mirror to apply the tool.

Figure 4.31. The Mirror Geometry tool options

You should now have a full head with all the vertices welded nicely down the center; the last thing to do is smooth out the crease that runs down the middle of her head.


Import the ear we were working on earlier (Kila_Ear_02.mb) and position it as shown in Figure 4.32.

Figure 4.32. Position the ear without the hair visible; then adjust the hair to fit the ear.

Looking at Figure 4.32, we seem to have miscalculated where the hair should be. We can adjust this now so that the hair lies over and behind the ear (Figure 4.32, right). Now that we know how the hair and ear should look, we can more capably work on this area. Hide the head at this stage so we can concentrate on the hair and ear.


As you can see in Figure 4.33 (left), one of the inner strips of hair is popping through the ear. Since this is quite close to the face, we can simply delete the entire strip by selecting its polygons and deleting them (Figure 4.33, right).

Figure 4.33. Remove the strip that is popping through the ear.


As illustrated in Figure 4.34 (left), rotate around so you are looking at the back of the ear from inside the head.

Figure 4.34. Fill in the gaps around the ear by snapping the vertices together.


Press F to focus the camera on the selected object or components.


Snap the two vertices belonging to the hair to the two nearest ones on the top of the ear. Then work your way around, splitting the hair as shown in Figure 4.34 (right) and leaving no gaps around the top and side of the ear.


Bring back the geometry for the head, and hide the hair. Before using the same vertex-snapping technique to fill in the gaps between the head and ear, you must first combine them. As demonstrated in Figure 4.35 (left), look from inside the head at the ear. Use the Append To Polygons tool to fill in the gap, making a seamless join between the head and the ear (Figure 4.35, right).

Figure 4.35. Attach the ear to the head by creating polygons to fill in the gap.


Work on the ear until the shape is satisfactory on all sides. For a start, you can collapse the edges at the front of the ear. These are highlighted in Figure 4.36 (left). Keep working until you achieve the model illustrated in Figure 4.36 (right).

Figure 4.36. Work on the ear until you are happy with the entire shape.

As you can see in Figure 4.37, the outer head is now complete. All we need to do to finish it is test to see how it deforms, and optimize itboth of which we will cover in later chapters.

Figure 4.37. The outer head is complete.