Starting a Model
We will begin by making some extrusions of this plane, working in the side and front panels to take advantage of the design we have.
Start by selecting the vertices and lining them up with the forehead in the side panel (see Figure 8.10).
FIGURE 8.10. The first polygon is now lined up with the forehead area of our design. Get it close; there’s no such thing as perfect at this stage. Remember to select both vertices when lining this up in the side panel.
Next, select the top edge and extrude it once (in the Polygons menu set, click Edit Mesh, Extrude), working in the side panel to line up the geometry with the design (see Figure 8.11).
FIGURE 8.11. The top loop extruded and lined up with a higher point on the forehead.
Continue extruding the geometry until you have gone around the entire circumference of the character in the side panel. To connect the last two faces, line up the vertices as best you can in the side panel and then switch to the Persp panel. Select two vertices that are supposed to be connected and then select Edit Mesh, Merge. They should “weld” together.
From Hour 4 you learned that edge loops are a series of continuous edges in a polygonal model. Edge loops are much more important in character modeling, because most of the time we are going to subdivide our mesh at render time and the results need to be predictable. Having good control over your edge loops means being able to have the “flow” of the model follow natural lines instead of fighting against them. A good example is the muscles of the arms; you would have a hard time really defining a nice bicep shape without edge loops that follow the curve of that muscle. Another instance when edge loop control is very necessary is when we have circular shapes in our mesh, such as mouths, eye sockets, and nostrils. It is common to draw a few edge loops on your design to give you a guide as to where the detail needs to go. Select the front panel’s image plane, go into the Attribute Editor, and then replace the image with image_Front_Loops.jpg, as seen in Figure 8.12.
FIGURE 8.12. The updated front view image with a few important edge loops drawn over. We will integrate these edge loops as we work.
Let’s create the edge loop that encircles the eye. One way is to create some polygons in the area of the eye and then use the Interactive Split tool and extrude to edit the polygons into shape. Instead, we will purposefully create the edge loops explicitly so that we know where they will be. Extrude the edges down the nose until your polygon is lined up with the edge loops drawn on the front image plane. Select the edge that is closest to the inside of the eye, as shown in Figure 8.13.
FIGURE 8.13. The edge that we are going to start with to create the edge loop that will encircle the eye socket.
Extrude the edge in the front panel two times toward the eye socket (see Figure 8.14).
FIGURE 8.14. The edge extruded twice toward the eye socket.
Move the vertices of the extruded edges to be in line with the eye socket, like I did in Figure 8.15.
FIGURE 8.15. The polygons are lined up nicely with where the eye socket is.
Now extrude the edge all the way around the eye socket and then weld the vertices at the end when you are done (see Figure 8.16). Eight to ten extrusions is enough.
FIGURE 8.16. The edge loop we need to really define that eye socket shape is where we need it to be.
Now we must work simultaneously in the front and the side panels to move the vertices in the Z direction and line them up with the design in the side panel. Move them into place, as shown in Figure 8.17.
FIGURE 8.17. The edge loops look correct in both views now.