Realistic Ear Modelling

Translation thanks to Mihai Pocorschi III -

This tutorial is mainly aimed at those users with experience in polygon modeling.
Poly-by-poly is a modeling technique that involves constructing the polygons one by one, aiming at drawing the "edge-loops" of the object, similar to spline modeling. The objective of this tutorial is to demonstrate how easy it is to use this technique, where loops are "staged" from the beginning, instead of cutting the mesh many times as it happens with box modeling.
This technique applies to all software that have polygon modeling tools (Max, Lightwave, XSI, Cinema, Wngs etc). For the purpose of this tutorial I am using the Maya along with the CPS script that has the same functions as NURMS in Max. The ear was constructed keeping in mind the correct positioning of loops. This model is 100% QUAD. Therefore, if in any image you might see some triangles, you can be certain that it's just the intersection of faces or the angle of the camera.

Number of faces of the final low-poly model: 225

1. Using Polygons tools > Create Polygon Tool and making sure Append to Polygon is on will get you a similar mesh to the one below, keeping in mind that all polygons must always have 4 sides:

2. And you continue to build the mesh in this way:

3. Select the highlighted faces and...

4. extrude (or bevel) so that the mesh looks like the one shown below:

5. Here we'll make the first "cut" in the mesh, following the orange line in the figure:

6. Here we'll make a new cut, to the side of the previous one, creating another Loop:

7. Select the edges you just created and move them to get the "inside" of the ear, as indicated below:

8. Here, we'll change a little the direction of the loops. Repair the missplaced vertices from the previous figure. Select the highlighted faces...

9. ... and do another extrude to make the ear cannal:

10. To add detail, always use the method shown below. This is the correct way to add detail of this type and keep the mesh all quad


11. Edit this region, mobing the polygons:

12. To give some volume to the ear, extrude the external edges 2 times, as highlighted:

13. First test of subdivision. The ear should look like this:

14. Moving some vertices, edit the mesh until you have all the anatomical details, as you can see from the low-poly version:

15. ... and the smoothed version:

16. The back part of the ear should look like this:

17. ... and like this smoothed:

18. The ear viewed from the back, the ear should have a shape similar to this:

19. After moving some vertices and adding some details, this is final result in low-poly...

20. ...and smoothed:

21. Here you can see the render. All the anatomical names are mentioned (in portuguese):

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