Making Of 'Sebulba'

Hello there and welcome to my first kind of lesson in sub d modelling. This is not a step by step tutorial like you usually find, it's just a kind of insight into how i do things. Im taking it for granted that you know max 4 an the basic rules
that apply in sub d modelling. For a insight into the benefits of sub d modelling read THIS.

Ok firstly lets sort out the tools we will need. Going Back to max as you probably know the guy that was supposed to code all the new poly object tools in max 4 never got the job done in time for its release ,so they were left out. Anyway the great scripter Laszlo Sebo wrote MESHTOOLS 2.5 for a mate of his and you can read all the documentation for meshtools HERE, the main tools i use for sculpting in max 4. I also use CSPOLYTOOLS tools wrote by Chris subagio and a few others by Herman Saksono a very talented web friend of mine.. With these tools installed into your quad menus modelling in max is so fast. I started sebulba at teatime Sunday night an im writing this at seven pm Monday night..pritty fast. What's that!! you don't got a copie of max 4 ..Well your in luck as discreet have been very kind in making a modelling program that is almost max 4. Its called GMAX and its a cut down version of max 4 but it has all the modelling tools i use ,and meshtools work in gmax. I heard of gmax a while ago but only downloaded it the other day and i was very surprised to see the depth of gmax. Its the best free modelling!! program you can get. So go and GRAB A COPIE

OK LETS GET STARTED!!!
 

PART 1

Right first things first, when you are modelling the best thing you can do is get some plans of your intended model to act as a guide to work from. I found these pics of Sebulba in my book the art of starwars ..These are great as we have all the views we need, the side the front and the top click on the pic to grab a bigger copie of the guides.

OK now you have the guides we need to set up our view ports to show are pics .

BTW. This image is not the same as the final model that they used in the film.

So what i do is make 3 planes with the same aspect ratio as the pics.or as close as you can get it then planar map the pics to each plane and then position them in the viewports how you like them.

These pics are for a guide to draw around. You are probably thinking why don't i just use the pics. Well you see its better to draw around your pics with splines getting as much detail in as you can. you can use a great script called spline pencil giving you Maya like curve drawing pencil.now when you have drawn all your curves you will be able to see your guide lines all the time while modelling..as imaged planes get obscured by your model.

Click to get spline pencil scripted by Herman saksono

So now we have our guide lines all drawn we can start with the modelling process. All my models always start life as a box, a virtual ball of clay. So what we need to do is firstly ruff out the basic shape that our guides depict. so start selecting faces and extruding until you have the basic form.

Here we have our most basic form made with extruding faces. So iv got as close as i can with just extrude and bevel next we need to start pulling a few verts to get our outer edges inline with the guides. You can see the benefit now of drawing the spline guides. It can take a while to draw them but its worth it in the long run.

When you are satisfied with your forms the next stage i do is to cut in some details, So i select a few edges and access my meshtools and press connect1 until i have some detail i can work with. The first cuts i made are were his ears are and were his eyes are. When you have cut in the edge loops you can start pulling out polys and verts, slowly building up the shapes.

 
Im just going to show you the basic concept of edgeloop select and edgering select. for those of you who have been living in a cave for the past year :). The new polyobject is a big step forward over editmesh that was used in max 3. Its a lot better to work with and you can do a lot more with it just look at all the meshtools.. Theirs also a script called ERASE EDGELOOP that just dissolve's a whole edgeloop and removes all the leftover verts aswell very neat tool. So look at the pic, you see the edges coloured red, there all selected with one click of the meshtools. All you do is select one edge hit the edgering tools and all the edges that run in a line will be selected. same idea for edge loop except edges that run end to end are selected see the green line in the pic.

The second pic shows all the edges connected after me firstly hitting edgering select then connect 1. a hell of a lot faster than divide or cut.

Ok now when iv got more detail to work with after cutting in my loops and pulling verts and polys i look at the pics not the guides.. I use the asset browser to bring in my pics im working from to get a clearer look an see the form better. So looking at his ears they stick out. So a good way to get some geometry to work with is to select a vert and then using one of the polymesh tools called extrude vert i do just that. Going around the model looking for places that can benefit from this method.his ears looked a prime target

Here you can see the effect of extruding verts. A good rule to work by is to always try to keep your polys 4 sided as meshsmooth works best on quads. So when ever you do extrudes and bevels and cuts its best to look at your polys and start to weld verts an connect edges to keep your faces 4 sided. Of course you will have some polys that you missed. And i always miss quite a few as im a pretty sloppy worker..Here is another script that works great, it highlights all yournon quad polys. Showing you the culprits so you can then set to work fixing them. well that's how i built up the geometry of the ear next i started work on the eye.

The first thing i did while building up the eye is to select the edges were the eye should be and connect them up then extrude the faces out. Then its a matter of cutting in edge loops to give you the detail to sculpt. The way i always build loops to give me that detail is like this. I make one loop first then "chamfer edge" a max tool btw. So now i have 2 loops

Then select one edge of both of the 2 loops and then hit the edgeloop tool, so now we have both loops selected like it shows in the pic .

Then i hit chamfer edge again so we now have 4 loops. That gives us the finer polys in-between the edges. chats basically how i make the details for areas that need that finer work. This is all pretty basic stuff to a more advanced maxer. but im hoping that some newbs to max and polymodelling will gain some benefit from this.

Now we got the loops, select the polys in the middle of the edges and pull them out a little and also select verts and pull them to give you a better shape to your eye. As i said this aint suppose to be a step by step tut and i think im starting to do step by step hmmm. Anyway

The next bit i do is to select the middle polys and bevel them in a few times this will give you the eye socket and eye lid geometry. Now make a sphere an scale it down so it fits into your socket then you can sculpt around the sphere acting as the eyeball.

The nose and mouth was built using the same methods as iv just described the mouth was a little tricky. I found that selecting polys and hiding the ones that were obscuring my view really helped, when i needed to work the inside of the mouth. Ill explain how i modelled the dangly bits in a while.

Here you can see the eye area after incorporating all the methods iv explained, after iv sculpted the eye i applied a meshsmooth to see what it looks like. One more thing you can do to the part you are working on is assign smoothing groups an crease edges, creasing an edge will sharpen the angle giving you a better definition.

I never used smoothing groups on this model, ill be showing you how to use them in my next tut.

To crease an edge. Click the minus sign of the meshsmooth modifier to drop the options for meshsmooth, looking at the pic you can see theirs 2 options vert and edge , click on edge option and then back to the viewport, select the edges of the yellow control cage on your model..Now you can play with the crease options "crease and weight" and watch as it updates real time. You can get a lot better definition now.

You can see were iv creased the areas under the eye.

When ever im making a symmetrical model i always delete half of it and then use the mirror tool and click instance so i only have to work on one side of the model and the instanced half follows my every move. giving you a better idea of what the whole looks like.

Right im now going to go through the method I use to build the dangly parts. I firstly select the 4 edges that make up the poly from were i want my dangly

The next stage is to hit the connect 1 tool from my quad menu giving me a poly within a poly now what Im aiming for is a round dangly part not a square one. so i need to do another few steps

I need to do another connect 1 giving me another poly. So now what i do is delete the edges iv just created leaving me the second poly intact but having extra verts. This is the master plan getting those extra verts.

Now what we do is access our quad menu an find our cspoly tools, theirs a tool called cs untangle which is another cool tool. all these tools hey :). No other program has so many tools to aid you in polymodelling. So when we hit untangle that's just what it does. If you use it on 4 sided poly that has had its verts moved making it non planar it will untangle and give you a fresh planar quad poly.but if you use it on a poly like ours that has extra verts it will average out the untangle command giving us whalla......

What is close enough for us to a circle all we need to do now is find that bevel tool and start extruding an bevelling down. When we use the meshsmooth it will smooth that realy nice for us.

As you can see its done the perfect job for what we wanted.

With all that iv covered and a little skill, that will come with practice you should be able to model most forms with boxmodelling. And this is what i ended up with just before i put on the meshsmooth. I should say that it takes time to learn and perfect these methods. Its took me 3 years and iv got so much more to learn..I just wish i was working in a company full of talented maxers who could learn me animation :)

One last thing before we smooth, we need to weld the 2 half's together. This is how i do it. As we stand we have one half of the model that is a polyobject and one that is an instance mirror..So we select the instanced half and convert it to an poly object ,and attach it the other half, Then go into boarder sub object mode and select the boarders of both half's then go into your meshtools and select convert to verts. Then convert the mesh to an edit mesh and go into vert sub object mode of the edit mesh, Now turn up your weld threshold but not to high and then hit weld.

And here is what he looks like with the meshsmooth slapped on him. I think he turned out quite nice for such a quick model. I should say that when you are modelling organic forms like a head of something its always best to try and get your edgeloop running in the directions were the muscles would flow this way you get a more natural look to the smooth and it helps when animating your models. I think ill model his goggles now :)