Building up a collection of body parts is an efficient way of speeding up the modeling process as you create more and more characters. After you have completed a character, make sure the geometry is clean, optimized (more on this in Chapter 5), and ready to pass into a game engine. Once it reaches this stage, you can divide it up into specific body partshands, arms, feet, legs, torso, and head. Then store the parts in a special folder on your hard drivewhat I like to call The Morgueready to be used on other characters.
This storage method isn't just for the high-end versions of your characters; it is just as helpful for holding other levels of detail. In the end, you will have, for example, a complete set of hands at various resolutions. You can then import these into your scenes, adjust them as needed, and attach them to your characters, potentially saving days, if not weeks of work.
Figure 2.91 displays many different resolutions I have generated for the same hand. This file lies in my Morgue, ready for me to use on a new character. The models range from a fully deformable hand with working fingers, to a standard mitten-type hand typically used for lower-resolution models. Hands can take a lot of time to createnot only in their construction but in the way they deform. So once you have a good hand model, keep it safe. Even if you don't use it as-is on another character, you can refer back to its topology.
Figure 2.91. An example of various hand resolutions
On the CD you'll find a directory called Morgue. In it I've placed a number of files from my own library. Feel free to use them either as you progress through the book or on your own personal projects.