Beginners guide to modeling


What programs are used in 3d modeling?

  • To model people use Maya, Cinema 4d, blender and z brush but depending on the complexity of the model determines what program are used. For animating and texturing the model you will want a low polygon count, which is why we do not use z brush if we will be animating the character because of the high vertex count instead we use Maya’s collection of brushes when sculpting. For modeling props and structures we use Cinema 4d because it is just our preference, you can sculpt and model in both.

Why are polygons used to create 3d models?

  • Polygons are based on geometry that is connected at vertices and points to bind the shape, which is why they are used to create 3d models. The more polygons that are in a model the more detail and realism it will bring though it causes many issues with the vertices, mapping, and render time/

Using quad topology when creating your 3d model

  • Quadrilateral Meshes makes it easier to texture map, subdivide, and animate. We prefer quad meshes opposed to triangular meshes. In most cases every vertex in a quad mesh has a degree of 4. When using quads it will save a lot of time because your model will not be as messy, thus being easy to edit. It will also enable you to predict how the geometry will be affected when you subdivide and smooth out your sculpt. Animating your model will also be easier when using quad topology because you will be able to rig more efficiently.

What brushes are most commonly used when sculpting in Maya?

  • The brushes most often used to sculpt characters are the Push/Pull, Smooth, relax, pinch and erase tools. When modeling objects use sub division surfaces. The tools you can use for subdivision surfaces are the Extrude Tool, Bevel, and Insert Edge Loop, however we prefer to use Cinema 4d when modeling sub division surfaces due to a smoother workflow when animating. When first creating your model you want to get the proper form and topology of it first then build more detail later.
  • Push/ Pull- This tool is very important when creating the basic shape of your model. You are able to move your mesh’s vertices in any direction you want.
  • Smooth brush-. (Mesh>Smooth) This brush allows you to refine your model and correct any bumps or outlines on the surface
  • Relax brush- Similar to the smooth brush the relax brush can paint over bumps and rough surfaces but it only averages the largest surface, keeping the overall shape of your model.
  • Pinch brush- Pulls vertices inwards and enables modelers to make indents and creases more defined.
  • Erase brush- Enables the modeler to erase individual strokes.

When you are modeling an object in Maya

  • For modeling structures and objects you will want to use the Extrude, Bevel, and Insert Edge Loop, and lattices.
  • Extrude- (Edit Mesh > Extrude) With this tool you can extrude the polygons and vertices of your model. You can also add polygons to an existing mesh using this tool.
  • Bevel- (Edit Mesh > Bevel) Allows modeler to expand each vertex and each edge into a new face.
  • Insert edge loop-(Mesh tools > Insert edge loop tool) This tool gives your mesh more edges and will add more points to your geometry and creates edges.
  • Lattices are important when creating your model, which allows the user to enlarge the mesh without obscuring the model.
  • It is key that you create a custom shelf to apply the specific commands you want efficiently.

Cinema 4d modeling and Sub Surface tools

  • In Cinema 4d we use subdivision surface tools that include hyper Nurbs, Extrude Nurbs, , Sweep Nurbs, Loft Nurbs, Lathe Nurbs and the Bezier Nurbs tools. These tools allow us to create basic models and help with producing our animation.

What is a non destructive modeling in Cinema 4d?

  • Is a technique of modeling which allows you to not destroy the original mesh of the object so you can perform deformation animations without destroying the original mesh of the object. Cinema 4d comes with a unique tool set for this purpose. A deformed object’s original state can be restored at any time. Soft deformations such as bends, twists, bulge, melt, etc. are very efficient and the points should be positioned as uniformly as possible across the surface of your model. Deformer object can be used for both animation and modeling. The difference between the spline modeling objects (Lathe, Extrude, Loft, Sweep) and the deformations is that deformations must generally be grouped under the object to be deformed. Each deformer has its own settings and can be modified in the Attribute Manager. The most common deformers used are Bend, Bulge, Twist, Stretch, Shear, and Squash.

The most used deformation objects

  • The bend deformer- This is used to bend objects in any direction and often the object seems to be elongated which is caused by the points being stretched apart and the outside of the bend radius. To limit this effect you simply enable the Keep- Y – Axis Length option.
  • The bulge deformer- This object can used for constrictions or enlargements of your object. The Curvature value can be used to define the constrictions of your preference. Larger values are up to %100 and constricted values are as low as %0. Tbe Fillet option only affects the transition between the deformed and non-deformed parts of the object and if the option is enabled a rounded transition will be created.
  • The twist deformer- This deformer allows you to twist the object around its Y axis. Creating screw threads using a cube is a prime example of how this tool can come in handy.
  • The shear deformer- This moves the ends of the deformed region against each other thus causing a standalone effect and can create new shapes.
  • The squash and stretch deformer- It can also be used to constrict and enlarge your object however it will only be calculated in one axis. The settings are similar to the Bulge object.
Sculpting Modeling with splines c4d

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