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3ds Max Character Creation - Chapter 1

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Date Added: 16th May 2014

My name is Andrew Hickinbottom and I am an experienced character modeler, with a preference for stylized pin-up characters.


I will be using 3ds Max, V-Ray and Photoshop for this series, though the steps can be adapted to suit your preferred software. Basic knowledge of modeling tools and general program functionality are required.

Concept and Reference

During a comic convention I was exhibiting at, a girl called Olivia was my table neighbor. She is an illustrator, and she also does some modeling/photography work. I decided to base a personal piece on her.

Fig.01 shows the main reference photos I took myself. I had a rough idea of the theme and scene ? a cheeky life-drawing session, using a nude model in the foreground, a large canvas, and a bright window as compositional elements to frame Olivia.


Fig.02 shows my early attempts to block out some rough pose ideas using ?Suzie', a character I made in 2006. I get frustrated trying to sketch my ideas on paper, so it made more sense for me to quickly pose a previously rigged character and take screenshots.


Blocking out the Head

As with most organic things I model, I begin with a box primitive. A TurboSmooth modifier is applied and collapsed, so I am left with a low poly ball made of four-sided polys. I cut it in half, and apply a Symmetry modifier so I only have to work on one side. I select the edge rings around the sphere and use the Connect tool to create extra edges, which smooths it out.

Next, I begin the eyes by chamfering a point to create an eye hole. I use the Cut tool to create a hole for the mouth. The Cut tool is also used to create the basic form of the brow and nose. I cut extra radiating edges around the eye hole to make it rounder and extrude the nose/brow polys. I add an extra edge loop circling the face to smooth it out and to begin a jaw line, and define the mouth hole further (Fig.03).


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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
Johnny Fraser on Sat, 17 May 2014 10:16am
I love Andrew Hickinbottom's work, its amazing. However im a little confused by this tutorial (yes im a noob), i hope someone can help. refer to fig 03 Take a box primative, turbosmooth and collapse, which gives you pretty much 4 quads per face, but then when AH describes using "edge rings" to connect, it being a sphere im not sure where the edge rings are, in anycase, I use the connect tool to make the extra geometry as Mr H does, but look again at Fig03, where did the centre horizontal edge go? Am i meant to delete this? Prior to AH chamfering the eye vertices he has a shpere(oid) with the front plane sporting a 4x3 config........ im lost.
Jemmoh on Fri, 16 May 2014 5:55pm
i like your technique i'd like to exchange modelling ideas with you
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