Modelling J-N3-R

Hi kids. many people ask me how do i work on my models(modeling, texturing,etc...), so i decided to do a short demonstrative project to show that it isn't hard to model, well not how i do it. This is not a step by step tutorial, this is made mostly for newbies in 3d that are lost in the vast worl of 3d without knowing how other people do their stuff. If you are not a newbie and you are still interested in the content of this document, be my guest to tell me any suggestions, any kind. Itll be good to know your opinion. Ok enough yadda yadda.(i'll try to stay as general as possible because nobody has the same software but the basics of 3d are almost the same).-The day I decided to do this my mind was blank, then I saw a sketch by a guy named Jenner and he offered it for everyone to model, so I did, but I made lots of modifications to the original design.

1. The Helmet

I started the head with a cube with 2 hight segments. I reduced the top and applyed smooth. as you can see the minimum smoooth possible gave me a bit more polys to model and also the almost rounded shape. Before this I erased the bottom face of the cube, because if i hadn't erased it, the cube would be a ball by now.

I made more divisions along the horizontal edges for more control (mantaining the edge loop). At this point a copy of this mesh is going to be convenient. Then i decided to make it like a helmet so I needed a hole in the face area. I erased the faces that conformed that area and moved the vertices so the shape would look rounder. I selected the edges that comform that hole and extrude them inside the helmet several times to get a smooth curvature when smoothing, that is kind of a rule in edge loop modeling and polygon deforming. To have a smooth curve there must be at least 3 control edges.(about edge loops HERE).

Every thing else you see in the helmet is an extrusion., If your software doesn't extrude edges then don't erase the faces, a good trick to manage this is to merge all the faces of the extrude selection, so there aren't lots of vertices to move around.

2. The Body

As you can see the body is basicaly a chubby cylinder so I grabbed a primitive cylinder with 5 hight segments and 12 sections. (fairly low poly).

Once I had this placed, I beveled the faces were the arm holes will be, I beveled several times so I could get a smooth result after smoothing. That is kind of a rule in edge loop modeling and polygon deforming. To have a smooth curve there must be at least 3 control edges. So I made the arms holes and two other for the wire plug.

Then I selected the top and the bottom caps and made the same procedure of beveling not it looks like it has mass, like a thick layer. Then proceeded to detach the half to make an abdomen for it. A single mesh body wouldnt be very posable.

3. The Pelvis

Here is when the copy of the head is going to be useful and im going to clone one more time for later.

The pelvis area is pretty much like the head in its early state, so I made a copy earlyer to save some time. I turned it 180 degrees upside down. I placed it below the body and isolated the object to work better. Then erased the half so I dont have to repeat the steps again.

As in the helmet it was a good thing to merge all the faces that are going to be extruded (easier to hadle in this way), Tweaked the vertices a lil bit, and the rest is extrude history. Of course after I was happy with the shape I mirrored the other half and welded the vertices. I left enough space there for a rotational joint.

...proceed to page two to learn more...

4. Accessories, Arms, Fingers...

For the arm I used another cylinder, scaled some vertices in the middle to give it a fatty look. The same extrusion I made in the body I used here. Then I cloned the arm for later.

The clone of the head is going to be used to make the fingers (below).

Grabbed another sphere, deleted half and pulled vertices in the middle to the inside. This is the wire plug head (below).

5. The Palm of the Hand

The palm of the hand came out of a cube. Beveled the edges between the fingers. there are holes so the fingers can fit. Images self explanatory.

The image above shows the whole for the wrist.

6. The Legs and Feet and Torso Joint

Also the clone of the arm is going to come to scene. just extruded some faces to add detail.

The feet and the torso joint are more complicated mesh, but now you know that I dont use fancy tools, extrude is my best friend. Also "tweak" is an important word in my 3d vocabulary. One of the toes is right, the complete foot above.

And the torso:

The wires are thick splines, but if your software doesnt allow renderable splines, you could just bend a cylinder:

...proceed to page three to learn more...

7. The Joints

Cylinders are an important part of my modeling, and the rotational joints won't escape to this primitive. The ring was made from a cylinder and the ball from a subdivided cube.

8. The Head

Since inside the helmet it will be very dark, I didnt put too much detail on the face.

9. The completed Model

Ok thats all for modeling. Now time to put things in place. organize well the parts in one side and then all will be mirrored later. (I was lazy, so all the rotational joints are the same object).

10. UVW-Mapping

UVW Mapping is a tricky business, but I use a tool that makes it a bit bearable. (get it HERE) I selected and exported the parts I wanted to map as .obj and loaded them in UV Mapper. I gave diferent types of mapping according to the shapes of the object. I used mostly cylindrical mapping. UV Mapper unwraps the back of the models very well.

Then reimported the mapped parts and replaced the older ones.

I used a checker texture to see if the map worked ok.Now that i know that the map looks fine, I went to photoshop and opened the template I got from UV Mapper.

Painted the base colors and used a chipped metal image as mask on the color layer. Underneath it I had a rusty metal texture. I made bump and reflection map from this images. 

11. Finalizing the Model

Now thats all the parts are almost ready, it is a good choice to name all the parts.

Believe me it is. Even better if you named them while you modelled. I attached little parts that are not rotational joints - like the plug heads of the wires, to the torso, so they dont get out of place by mistake when animating.

Feel free to attach together parts that should be a single mesh. If your software doesn't maintain the material fo the object and adapts to the one is going to hold it, then dont attach it, there is another way. I put on materials before I attach.

12. Photo Finish

Animation is the final product, but here is where the real hard work begins. So, if we want our charachter to move correctly we need to make an animatable system for it.

There are different ways of animating a character: Bones, Hierarchy (what i'll use here), morphs, etc.. since this is a mech made of solid metal it wont have to deform so skinning is out of the picture for now. When I attached the parts together, I kinda made each group of parts a bone, they can rotate independently from the rest. What I mean is that I only have to adjust the objects axis to the rotational point and make objects follow the rotation of the one they depend. This is called hierarchy: the parent/child method. The child always follows the parent. so for example I set the torso as parent and the arms as children of the torso, whenever the torso moves the arms will follow it in its same place. So thats how we make parents and children of the objects to make a moving character.

ie.: head follows chest, chest follows abdomen, abdomen follows pelvis... and so on.

There is the bone choice, but it works with the same concept of hierarchy. The difference is that the parts have to be assigned to a bone and this bone will lead the object, so you move the bones not the objects.
Well kids if you are no sleepy yet, enjoy the final product. Thanx for watching.
Jorge E. Baldeon

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