We have the model sheet and, in Figure 7.1, the color render of the character Grae, which you should scan into the computer. To start off, we must bring these into Maya as image planes before moving on to create the base shapes that will form his torso and limbs.
Split the model sheet up and get the images imported into Maya as image planes, then positioned and scaled correctly as in Figure 7.2. Save the file as Grae_Start.mb.
Figure 7.2. Bring the front and side views into Maya.
Create the three base cylinders that will be his left arm, leg, and his torso.
Position the three cylinders so they are in the correct place and orientation, using the image planes as reference.
Set the first two cylinders to have a Radius of 0.4, Height of 4, and enter 10 for both Subdivisions Around Axis and Subdivisions Along Height. Leave all the other settings for now.
Set the third cylinder to have the same dimensions, except Subdivisions Around Axis, which you'll set at 8. This will be his torso.
Starting with the arm, adjust the vertices to more closely match the curves of the arm in the image plane. First work in the front view (Figure 7.3), before moving on to the side view (Figure 7.4). Remember to rotate each row of vertices to match the orientation of the arm.
Figure 7.3. Adjust the vertices on the arm in the front and side views.
Figure 7.4. Work on the shape of the torso.
Next work on the torso, first adjusting the vertices in the front view. When you're happy with it, delete the left side of the mesh, leaving you with one-half as seen in Figure 7.4c.
Continue working on the torso from the side view (Figure 7.4d).
We now come to the leg. Because Grae's leg is such a unique shape, you'll find it easier to begin working on it in the side view as seen in Figure 7.5.Try your best to match the way the leg bends, but don't worry if you get angular areas or long polygons; we can fix these later on. As you can see in Figure 7.5 (middle), we just want the general shape mapped out. When you are satisfied with the side, switch to the front view and continue shaping (Figure 7.5, right).
Figure 7.5. Map out the shape for the leg from the side and front views.
Figure 7.1. Grae's render
The main body is now blocked out; your geometry should now match that in Figure 7.6.
Figure 7.6. The main body blocked out prior to stitching
Before you continue to the next section, where we combine all three pieces (arm, leg, and torso), remove the caps from each cylinder. This opens them up so we can stitch them together.
Time now to use the modeling tools you were introduced to in the first few chapters. We will combine the separate pieces of the model, making it a whole element.
Arm and Torso
Begin by stitching the arm to the torso.
In order to stitch the shoulder to the torso, you first need to combine them, making them a single object.
Extrude the edges at the upper arm until they intersect with the torso. You can see this in Figure 7.7 (middle).
Figure 7.7. Extrude the upper arm so that you can stitch it to the torso.
Snap and weld the vertices that lie closest to each other. Don't worry if you have a few spare vertices; you can split the existing polygons on the torso to create new vertices for welding, as seen in Figure 7.7 (bottom).
Adjust the vertices to smooth out the area, remembering to remove any internal faces.
Now let's attach the leg to the lower torso.
Lower Torso and Leg
Before attaching the leg, it would be helpful to subdivide the large polygons at the bottom of the torso. This split is shown in Figure 7.8.
Combine the leg to the rest of the body, and then snap and weld the vertices that lie closest together (or that make the most sense to weld).
You will undoubtedly have a few vertices remaining, so split the polygons on the torso to accommodate these (Figure 7.9).
Figure 7.9. Join the leg using the same method used to attach the arm.
Work on the area of the join, smoothing it out and removing any internal polygons.
Figure 7.8. Subdivide the large polygons at the bottom of the torso.
The basic shape of half the character is now in place, but before proceeding we will alter Grae's pose.
Arm Position Adjustment
When we began modeling Kila, we raised her arm prior to attaching it, making it easier to work on later. We didn't do this for Grae; instead, we'll raise his arm now. Recall that a single object has a pivot, which we can manipulate. With Kila's arm, we moved it to the shoulder so that we could rotate the arm correctly. We can't do that here because Grae's arm is already attached to the torso; if we were to rotate his arm, the rest of the body would follow.
Luckily, not only objects have pivots; a selection of components has one, too.
Select the vertices that make up the arm, making sure the Rotate manipulator is active.
Press Insert to enable the selection's pivot, and move it up to the shoulder (Figure 7.10, middle).
Figure 7.10. Edit the selection's pivot so you can rotate the arm.
Press Insert again to return to the previous manipulator, and rotate the arm upward along the Z axis (Figure 7.10, right).
You now have a single mesh that makes up the left side of Grae; all he needs is a head. Now would be a good time to save; call this file Grae_Combined.mb.