Creating and modeling a character

Hello there, Welcome to my second tutorial. This one I will be sort of a guide how I go about modeling a head, I'm not sure if I will be covering anything new seeing as there's all ready so many great modeling tutorials out there.

But I will just go though how I will be creating a new character, starting from the concept stage then to the modeling.

Right the character I will be making is called Alastor Moody (AKA Mad-Eye Moody, he's a interesting character from the fourth Harry Potter book.

I will paste in some text from the book for people who have not heard of him, to get the idea of the character.

Who is he?

Name: Alastor Moody Nickname: Mad-Eye, because of his magic eye, who can see even through the walls... and the invisible cloaks

Job: he was an Auror (a dark wizard catcher), but he is retired now. In Goblet of Fire he's the new professor of Hogwarts in Defense Against the Dark Arts.


"Mad-Eye Moody?" said George thoughtfully, spreading marmalade on his toast. "Isn't he that nutter -" "Your father thinks very highly of Mad-Eye Moody," said Mrs. Weasley sternly. "Yeah, well, Dad collects plugs, doesn't he?" said Fred quietly as Mrs. Weasley left the room. "Birds of a feather..." "Moody was a great wizard in his time," said Bill. "He's an old friend of Dumbledore's, isn't he?" said Charlie. "Dumbledore's not what you'd call normal, though, is he?" said Fred. "I mean, I know he's a genius and everything..." "Who is Mad-Eye?" asked Harry. "He's retired, used to work at the Ministry," said Charlie. I met him once when Dad took me into work with him. He was an Auror - one of the best... a Dark wizard catcher," he added, seeing Harry's blank look "Half the cells in Azkaban are full because of him. He made himself loads of enemies, though...the families of people he caught, mainly...and I heard he's been getting really paranoid in his old age. Doesn't trust anyone anymore. Sees Dark wizards everywhere."


A man stood in the doorway, leaning upon a long staff, shrouded in a black traveling cloak. Every head in the Great Hall swiveled toward the stranger, suddenly brightly illuminated by a fork of lightning that flashed across the ceiling. He lowered his hood, shook out a long mane of grizzled, dark gray hair, then began to walk up toward the teachers' table. A dull chunk echoed through the Hall on his every other step. He reached the end of the top table, turned right, and limped heavily toward Dumbledore. Another flash of lightning crossed the ceiling. Hermione gasped.

The lightning had thrown the man's face into sharp relief, and it was a face unlike any Harry had ever seen. It looked as though it had been carved out of weathered wood by someone who had only the vaguest idea of what human faces are supposed to look like, and was none too skilled with a chisel. Every inch of skin seemed to be scarred. The mouth looked like a diagonal gash, and a large chunk of the nose was missing. But it was the man's eyes that made him frightening. One of them was small, dark, and beady. The other was large, round as a coin, and a vivid, electric blue. The blue eye was moving ceaselessly, without blinking, and was rolling up, down, and from side to side, quite independently of the normal eye - and then it rolled right over, pointing into the back of the man's head, so that all they could see was whiteness. The stranger reached Dumbledore. He stretched out a hand that was as badly scarred as his face, and Dumbhedore shook it, muttering words Harry couldn't hear. He seemed to be making some inquiry of the stranger, who shook his head unsmilingly and replied in an undertone. Dumbledore nodded and gestured the man to the empty seat on his right-hand side. The stranger sat down, shook his mane of dark gray hair out of his face, pulled a plate of sausages toward him, raised it to what was left of his nose, and sniffed it. He then took a small knife out of his pocket, speared a sausage on the end of it, and began to eat. His normal eye was fixed upon the sausages, but the blue eye was still darting restlessly around in its socket, taking in the Hall and the students. "May I introduce our new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher?" said Dumbledore brightly into the silence. "Professor Moody." It was usual for new staff members to be greeted with applause, but none of the staff or students chapped except Dumbledore and Hagrid, who both put their hands together and applauded, but the sound echoed dismally into the silence, and they stopped fairly quickly. Everyone else seemed too transfixed by Moody's bizarre appearance to do more than stare at him. "Moody?" Harry muttered to Ron. "Mad-Eye Moody? The one your dad went to help this morning?".

I've chosen this character because it should be interesting and a challenge, the main features I have to think about is his face as described in the text his face is very heavily scared, he's quite old retirement age, a chuck of his nose missing and of course a large blue eye

Before starting any concept sketches myself I had a look around the net to see if anyone had tried sketching him to give me an idea.

I found a few sketches that helped these are by Tealin Raintree taken from his site.

Like all my work I will be going for a realistic looking character so I'm going to tone down a few of his features. The diagonal shaped mouth I don't think is going to work and the size and colour of his blue false eye I will probably reduce.

Now because I'm going for realism I'm going to actually base him on a actors face, now after thinking who would be good for the part.

Some one with mad stareing eyes, and who can look quite menacing plus also show kindness, plus also quite old, in the same age range. I came up with Tom Baker, those who have never heard of him he's an old English actor.

I had a look on the net for photos of him and as many different facial expressions as possible.

Cliick to Enlarge

Cliick to Enlarge

Now I'm tempted just to start modeling right away, but its best to do some sketches first, there's a few things to think
about: Just how badly scarred do I want his face? (most of the scarring will be done when texturing). plus a part of his nose is missing, it does not say what part. So I need to think a little, I want the face to look quite disturbing when first viewed by someone.

Here's one sketch I've done, I'm still not sure how I going to do his nose I'm going to start modeling and try different ideas ones I've modeled the nose.

I guess I should load up Maya and see what a happens.

Right now for the actual modeling, I will be modeling him in polygons as I've said before there's already many good modeling lessons out their and all are slightly different. I can't explain things as well a properly trained 3d artist would, I can only just show you how I would go about my a making a head.

One of the best polygon modeling tutorials is by Dave komorowski any one learning should read it, he's a expert on his edge loops and can explain about them far better then I can. LINK

Right just before I start, below I've attached a picture, look at the lines i've drawn we want our polygons to follow the contours of the lines, this will make it easy to create skin wrinkles in the right places and the face expressions will deform well.

For making a head you want good references as many different facial expressions and and a front and side view if you can get them. unfortunately I have not been able to find a perfect front and side view of tom baker.

Below I've attached the reference picture I will be using, I put all the useful poses and expressions on to one picture for easy viewing, if any one reading this plan's to try making the head as well.

I will also be uploading the base mesh in stages up to a certain point, this is because I will be modeling unaided with no front or side pictures and will be difficult for a beginner to get the basic shape of the head.

One last thing I need to think about is, I'm trying to model a man of about 65 to 70 here and most of the pictures I am using are younger. So at the beginning I will be working off some of the older pictures and using the younger ones to make facial expression later on. It should not be to difficult I just need to capture his mad stareing eyes and smile.

For starting a head their's of course many different ways, I always start mine with a single polygon using the create polygon tool or just a simple polygon plane like below. I always start in the area around the eyes.

Here's how I start, with just a single polygon i will be working pretty quick but i will try and take a sreen shot for all the improtant actions.

Open the extrude edges menu so its aways on the screen and when extrudeing it's best to check that keep faces together is on in the menu.

I've selected both edges of the polygon then extruded both sides at the same time and scaled them out a little.

I've selected the end of both sides again and extruded them, I've started to move the points to form the shape of a eye.

Extrude both edges again.

And extrude again.

Now i use the merge edge tool to merge the two edges.

And here's our basic eye shape, the eye shape can be downloaded Here. BasePart 1 i've put them up in OBJ format if users of other 3d programs want to try.

Now select all the outer edges of the basepart and extrude all the edges at the same time.

The edges extruded.

Now I've moved the points to form the shape of the eye socket. mesh update here BasePart 2.

Now where the red spot is I have deleted the face, and where the green line is I have extruded a edge. This is because I want the polygons to follow the contours of the face and I want that line of polygons to run down the nose. Look at the picture of the man at the top of the page and your see the area I just made.

Now i've selected all the edges I have hightlighted here and then extruded them.

The edges extruded.

The points have been moved into position. Mesh update here BasePart 3

Now look at the edges I've highlighted here, I want them to follow up the fore head, this edge is important because were use it for making wrinkles on the forehead. look at the picture of the man at the top of the page again and you should see the line.

I've seclected the two edges highlighted.

The edges have been extruded.

I selected the edge highlighted with the green spot then extruded the edge.

Here's the mesh so far, another mesh update in just a sec.

I've selected the edges shown here for the next extrude.

Edges have been extruded and moved in to shape.

Merge these two edge's.

And merge these ones.

Here's a base update, don't worry about that hole in the mesh for now, but fill it in if you want. BasePart 4

Select the edge's shown here for the next extrude

Edges moved into place.

I have extruded the edges shown here.

The next edges i'll extrude are highlighted.


Now I've extruded a face from the selected edge this will form a part of the nose and here's another Mesh update BaseMesh 5

I've extruded the edges shown here.

Next I've extruded the four highlighted edges.

Next extruded the five edges at the bottom.

Using the split polygon tool I've cut the faces here. And here's a mesh update BaseMesh 6.

I've selected these edges then extruded.

Just merge the edge here. Mesh update BaseMesh 7.

Extrude edges at the top.

Now at the bottom.

Extrude from the selected edges.

Select the 3 edges at the back here and extrude again.

Extrude the same edges.

Select the single edge selected and extrude and merge the two edges marked red.

Now extrude the 3 edges marked green and merge the one marked red.

So here's the mesh for far, and its time for another mesh update Base Mesh 8.

Select and extrude the two selected edges scale them in like in the picture, this is going to be where the mouth is.

Select the 3 marked edges and extrude.

Extrude the marked edges.

Marked green, extrude the edge's again and marked red, merge the edges.

Marked green: extrude. Marked red: merged the edge. Mesh update Base Mesh 9.

Where its marked green extrude the edge and I've deleted a point to make a triangle, then where its marked red select the edges ready for the next extrude.


Marked green the edges extruded again, and time for another mesh update Base Head 10.

The next edges to be extruded.

Merge the marked edge.

Extrude the marked edges.

Extrude marked edges again forming the bottom of the mouth.

I've extruded a single edge marked above.

Extrude where marked.

I'm getting bored of typing it but extrude again.

And again. And time for a mesh update I think Base Part 11.

Extruding 3 edges here to form the upper part of the top lip.

Extrude the marked edge and deleted a point from a triangle.

Marked in green extrude edges, marked in red merged edge's to form the corner of the mouth, if you don't want the triangles you can just delete that edge, but I'll just leave it for now.

Extrude the edges to form the lips.

Extrude the same edge to form the inside of the lips.

Now on to the nose, extrude marked edges.

Extrudes these two edges deleted one point to make a nice triangle, then merge the edges.

Merged these two points, also notice I've excluded a single edge at the bottom of the nose. Now time for a mesh update

Base Mesh12.

Extrude the marked edges, and where its marked red i've deleted a point to make a triangle.

Extrude the marked edges.

Extrude the edges marked here.

Extrude a few more times then merge together.

Select these edges.

Edges extruded.

Merge the edges.

Extrude edges.

Extrude from marked edge and merge other edges.

Time for another mesh update, BaseMesh 13.

Now looking from the side extrude all the the edges marked.

Now here i've imported a old base ear of mine its always usefull to use parts of other models, it saves time, the ear will be in another base mesh in just a sec.

In the picture i've attached the ear, and selected al the edges at the top of the head and extruded another line, and here's another Mesh update, with the ear attached. Base Mesh 14.

Extruded another line of edges at the top.

Extruding more edges to form the shape of the back of the head.

Now extrude a line down the neck.

Now extruding from the back of the back.

Extruded down the back of the neck.

Here's the mesh so far I will be using the Maya script Connect Poly Shape soon if you've never use it I suggest you check out the site by the guy who made it, you can download it from their and theirs also a good cps modeling lesson on their Link, I will be using csp to mirror copy the other half of the head so I make sure my points are at the middle of the gird using the snap tools, mesh update Base Mesh 15.

Now I've selected all the vertices like in the picture above and will be using a lattice to get the shape of the head.

Now I've started tweaking the nose using my reference pictures, there's enough points their already to achieve a good nose but I will add detail to it later once I'm happy with the shape.

Getting there.

I've used the split polygon tool here, I'm going to shape the eye a bit more now.

I have extruded the eye socket a few times to start making the eye lids.

I've started tweaking the lip and extruded them inward some more.

Well here's where we are so far, its time another another base update, Base Mesh 16.

Once you have a good base head like this one its easy to use it for making other heads saving time.

Added a little more detail round the eye.

Inserted more detail around the eye.

Added more detail around the eye.

I've started to shape the eye.

Shaping the eye.

Here as you can see on the right, I've extruded some edges from the inside part of the eye.

Extruded the edge's a few more times and shaped the corner part of the eye using a good reference picture as a guide.

Extruded the marked edges to form the shiny wet part that you can see in the photo. Here's another mesh update Base Mesh 17.

I've added more detail around the eye, where its marked yellow notice I've added 3 edges this is for when the eye shuts you have extra edges to playing with, where its marked green notice the top eyelid over laps the bottom one slightly.

Another view of the eye showing the edges a bit more clearly.

I've remodeled the head to fit the pose in the picture then I've added detail around the mouth. Sorry but its time for the last mesh update Base Mesh 18, I've done the hard bits which are the shape of the eye and the nose and mouth.

I'm going to be adding more detail like wrinkles around the eye. Feel free to practice adding more detail, its always worth remembering you have to make sure your happy with the shape of your head before you start adding detail, because with polygons the more detail you add the harder and more time it will that to deform and shape. this is probably going to be the last high detail polygon head that I make, I will be focusing on subdivision surfaces in the future.

Above I've started making the teeth. I've started with just a single polygon.

Extruded and shaped some more.

Shaped a single tooth.

Then I've copied the tooth and moved them along.

There's usually 16 teeth top and bottom making 32 in all.

You need lot of reference photos to really get the shape of each tooth because every one is slightly different you can get away with using the same ones at the back of the jaw but its well worth taking time getting the front ones looking right because you can always use them on other heads.

The teeth are finished.

Now I'm going to start shaping the head a little more.

I've extrudeed some edges at the bottom making more of a neck.

Started adding a few details around the eye.

Making some wrinkles around the eyes.

Yet even more wrinkles...

Now looking from the side. Marked green I decided to change the flow of the lines down the cheek and chin area, marked in yellow are where the old lines use use to follow. 

Added more detail around the eyes.

Here's how my wrinkles are looking so far.

Now I'm trying to get the shape of his older face and trying to get some skin hanging under his chin.

I've moved the ear forward slightly I felt it was back to far.

Started adding more detail to the forehead.

Still adding...

Another angle.

A closer shot, showing the details on the forehead.

Another close-up...

...And another one.

When a poly mesh starts getting high it gets harder to tweak and shape, I use deformers like a lattice or clusters to make it easier to deform areas.

The head so far.

View from another angle.

I've added more detail at the top of the nose, these will be used for some facial poses.

Here's a close up of the nose, a nice flow of edges.

The nose so far.

I've extruded the marked edges and formed the inside of the nose.

The nose after smoothing.

As you can see I'm still playing around with the area under the chin.

Some more changes.

If you're having problems with a area... Sometimes it can be quicker to just select all the edges and delete them and start again, rather then keep playing around with the points.

Creating and deleting the edges until it looks good.

Now cleaning up the bottom part of the neck.

Now the ear is a bit plain and looks to clean, not what I'm going for on this model so I need to mess it up a little.

Using a lattice to deform and add a bit of character to it.

Inserted a few more edges here and there.

Playing about with shape of the head and position of the ear.

Getting there.

Added more detail and cleaned up some areas.

Another angle.

Now the character is meant to have a a piece of his nose missing.

I've tried a few different ideas.

I decided to go with the first one.

Now for the eye, one is meant to be much larger then the other.

Shaping the eye some more.

I changed the eye over to the other side, I could not decide whether to have the missing piece of nose and large eye on same side, in the end I've gone for the nose on the left and eye on the right.

I used the sculpt polygon tool a little on eye above, but does not look very good.

For closing eyes and deforming areas clusters are a very useful tool.

Once I was happy with my head I duplicated it keeping the original pose and I've made a blank pose deforming the areas like the cheek and fore head I uses clusters. Areas could be smoothed some more using the sculpt polygon tool. I will be using this blank pose for the UV mapping the areas that are nicely stretched out. Anyone looking for a good uvmapping tut in Maya I suggest this one , its probably the best one I have seen.

First I will be doing a cylindrical projection on the head.

Here's the result you could probably get away with using just that, but there will be stretching of the textures in quite a few areas.

Selected the areas below the chin for another cylindrical projection.

Now I've copied the head again and I've modeled the eyes half shut and tweaked the forehead then did another cylindrical projection on just the top part of the head.

Here's my map so far.

Now the ear is always a bit tricky. Select the awkward areas inside the ear, then use the average vertices tool.

Area smoothed.

I'll be doing a planar projection on the ears and checked mapping direction camera.

I've selected the areas inside the nose, to clear then out of the way mostly so I can see the areas around the nose better on the UV map.

I've merged 2 parts of the map together.

Now I use a large texture which is just loads of spots I use this to see where their are problems with stretching on the map. You can see that most of the map is OK I've picked out a few areas that need tweaking.

You can download my spot texture here, 642k

Now looking at the model I go round tweaking and moving uvs, its well worth spending a few hours checking and tweaking the map, because the textures and the final head will look better.

I've connected a few blend shapes to see if I can spot any major stretching in different poses.

Tweaking the nose area.

Area much cleaner now.

Now for the ears. Again you can probably get away with how it is now but I like a good UV map, so I spend some time tweaking and moving the uvs.

Here it is after tweaking.

Isolating an area can be useful. Just select parts of the model you want then choose view selected from the menu above.

Here's the map so far, I've put the ears back in place.

Here's the final map finished. I managed to find a few areas where I could squeeze the back part of the lips and back of the nose. now you can use the polygon transfer tool to transfer the UV map back on to your base head.

Wrinkle Test.

A few facial poses. still could do with a little tweaking.

Well that's it, I'm afraid. I hope you didn't find it too boring and you found the base meshes useful.

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