Creating a character can be an incredibly daunting task for any new 3D character artist. While creating a character is something that anyone can learn, it takes a lot of practice to get to the point that your work looks halfway decent.
In order to help beginners and intermediates who may be struggling with modeling and texturing a convincing character for personal projects, or for the future when finding work in the field of CG, I am sharing a bit of the process I went through to create Mr. G in Blender–from modeling to texturing, and I might even get into a bit of rigging as well.
The use of references to create a good character is something that beginners and experts all do, for references help us hone in our creative eye to produce a result with proper proportions, and one that just works visually.
A reference does not necessarily have to be in the form of a drawing. A lot of 3D artists (myself included) mostly go off of photos when modeling characters/environments. However, when creating truly cartoon style visions, it definitely is good to be able to try things out with sketches, and concept art.
To create Mr. G, I simply used photos of myself, as well as a mirror.
My signature character type is one with a large head, and large eyes, paired with the distinguishing characteristics that exist in real life. So while Mr. G is basically myself, he still has his own features.
Modeling The Character – Basics
Once you have your reference (either concept drawing or photo), the next step is to get to modeling. When modeling a character, having a working knowledge of good topology is needed to produce a result that can potentially be animated later, by keeping certain attributes of deformation in mind during the modeling process.
If sections of a mesh do not enough vertices, though it may get the job done visually while the mesh is just sitting there,
Having enough geometry that the bones can work with is essential when moving on the animating the character.
This information comes in handy when, say, modeling arms and legs for example, where the elbows and knees respectively, need to be able to bend properly.
Naturally, the more vertices, the greater amount of bend there is when deforming the mesh:
Modeling the Character – Starting The Head
The majority of character models start with creating the head. Once again keep in mind that in order for there to later be good deformation, there first needs to be good topology.
I tend to start my character heads with a cube, but some people choose to start from a single vertex, and expand from the eyes or the mouth out. I will be covering starting from a cube here.
To start with, I first subdivide the cube, then smooth the vertices about 2 or 3 times (“w” smooth, and not smooth shading), delete one half, and add a mirror modifier. From there, I begin to roughly shape the head, not trying to get too detailed at this stage.
I then select the two faces on the bottom front of the mesh, extrude and scale in multiple times to achieve the beginnings of facial lines used to create smile lines around the mouth. From there, it is a matter of shaping until something that resembles a mouth emerges.
Also note that, the nose emerges from the top few smile line edge loops. Again, this stage is not about detail, but achieving a rough form.
In part 2, I will continue with modeling the head. Follow this blog to get updates, and be sure to support Mr. G projects on Patreon: