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Master the Art of Character Creation: Sculpt, Shape, and Connect in Autodesk Maya!


🔴Learn how to create a full character in Autodesk Maya using sculpting tools and techniques.

🔴Explore the process of shaping the character's body, adding details, and connecting body parts.

🔴Discover tips for maintaining good topology and preparing the model for animation.






- Workflow

  • For most of the class, we’ll be making this character in the Smooth Preview which can be turned on by clicking 3 on your keyboard.

  • To go back to the standard view press 1.

  • Add a sphere and change the Subdivision to 12x12 since we don’t need the extra topology.

  • Before we start shaping the sphere, delete the top and bottom edges of the sphere and reconnect them so that we have quads instead of triangles.

  • Now that everything is connected properly we can go into the front view and start shaping our sphere to make the body for Jake.

  • Keep in mind we’ll be working in the Smooth preview when we’re making the shapes and switching back to the standard view when we need to fix anything in the topology.

  • To shape the sphere manipulate the edges by using the scale tool and the move tool.

  • Make sure you have an edge below and above the beginning of Jake’s arm so that we can form the arm from there.

  • Switch to the side view to make the body shape from that angle.

  • You can use the vertices to move around only small parts of his body to get the shape.

  • You can also use Soft Select by pressing B.

  • Just like with the arms we want to have an edge loop above and below the beginning of Jake’s ears.

  • Add another sphere in the scene and lower the Subdivision to 8x8 and delete half of the sphere.

  • Select the last edge loop and extrude it inward before Merging all the Edges to the Center.

  • We don’t need to worry about the triangles on the foot because they won’t be seen anyway.

  • Go to the front view and place the foot according to the reference.

  • We can also select the last edge loop and bevel it with 2 segments so that the form is nice and flat on the bottom of his feet when we switch into Smooth Preview.

  • Select the top faces of the foot and delete them.

  • While having the foot selected go into the Deform tab and click on the Lattice option.

  • Change the lattice T Divisions to 3.

  • Go into Lattice Point selection by holding down the right mouse button and start moving the points around as you would with normal vertices to create the shape of the foot from the side and front view.

  • Once you have the overall shape, go to Edit, Delta All by Type, History.

  • Doing this will remove the Lattice from the foot.

  • Fix up the edge loop on top of the foot to fit the foot shape like in the reference.

  • Click the Display tab, Heads Up Display, and tick the Poly Count.

  • Doing this will display the number of edges, vertices, Faces, UVs, and Tris present in your project or when you have them selected.

  • When we select the edge loop on top of the foot we can see it has 8 edges.

  • We need this information so that we can connect the foot with the rest of the body to create the leg.

  • On the side of the body select the 4 faces above the foot and click on the Circulize component option by holding down Shift + Right mouse button.

  • Use the Twist option on the side menu to twist the circle in place and delete it afterward.

  • When we select the edge loop on the hole we can see that it has 8 edges just like the hole on the foot.

  • Select the body and foot and Combine them together.

  • Now that they’re combined, select the top and bottom edge loop of the holes and bridge them together to form the leg.

  • Scale down the edge loop at the beginning of the leg and begin adding in edges where ever needed to form the rest of the shape of the leg.

  • Don’t forget to check and make the shape from the side view.

  • Add an extra edge loop in between the two edges near the arm and delete the 4 faces to create a hole where we can connect the arm after we make it.

  • In Smooth Preview move the vertices from the front view to fit the reference.

  • Add a cylinder with 8 subdivisions.

  • Set the pivot to be on the Object and scale the length of the cylinder to go halfway through the arm.

  • Add a sphere to create the fingers.

  • Change the Subdivisions to 8x8 and delete more than half of the sphere.

  • Place the sphere on the top of the pointing finger on the reference, select the end edge loop, and extract the edge upward to make the finger.

  • Scale the end and add an extra edge loop in the middle to curve the finger.

  • From the side view place the pointing finger in its place, and we can also take this chance to rotate the cylinder for the arm.

  • Make duplicates to make the rest of the finers, scaling the duplicates and moving edges around to fit the reference.

  • For the thumb make it wider but shorter in length, using the edges to rotate them to fit the size and shape of the thumb like in the reference.

  • Now that we have our fingers set up we can connect the gaps in between by selecting the neighboring edges and bringing them together.

  • For the top of the hand select the edge loops on the top of the fingers and extrude it forward, moving it into place above the fingers.

  • Select the edge loop on the top of the hand.

  • Hold down D + V to move and snap the pivot in the middle of the loop.

  • Use the scale tool and drag from the top axis downward to straighten out the edge.

  • Add a new edge loop in the middle on the top of the hand and bridge the thumb with the rest of the hand.

  • Add another edge between the bridge with the thumb and pointing finger then Fill the hole.

  • Select the middle edge and raise it upward.

  • Inside the palm, select the edge loop inside the fingers and extrude it outward.

  • Select the edge loop and as we did before, straighten it.

  • If it is at an angle use the Rotation tool to rotate it in place.

  • While still having the edge loop selected hold D + V to move the pivot at the end of the loop.

  • Then use the Move tool while holding down V to snap the edge loop onto the nearest vertex.

  • Extrude the same edge loop once more and repeat the same process, snapping the edge loop on the closest vertex.

  • Select all the vertices on the hand and merge them to make sure everything is connected.

  • Bridge the two edges on the side of the hand.

  • We can have an extra edge on the top, to fix this we can extrude the palm again and with the same method snap the edge loop to the nearest vertex at the thumb.

  • Move the vertex at the palm to place it near the edge and then bridge the last two edges on the side.

  • Make sure you select all the vertices again and merge them once more to make sure everything is connected.

  • Use the Edit Edge Flow option on selected edges or edge loops to fix up the edge flow and have a nicer curve around the fingers.

  • Now that we have most of our hand we can connect it with the arm.

  • Delete the faces on the cylinder that are facing the body and the arm.

  • Adjust the hand from the front view by selecting the top edge loop and moving it to fit the reference, you can do the same for the rest of the arm, selecting edge loops, scaling, and moving them to fit the reference image.

  • For the arm, extrude the last edge loop to be closer to the hand and scale it up to fit the width and lengths of the hand.

  • Now it’s time to connect them.

  • We can see that the hand has 23 edges while the arm only has 8.

  • We don’t need to add more edges on the arm, instead, we can still merge every edge in the hand with the arm without having to change a thing.

  • First, merge two edges normally, then skip two edges from the hand and merge the third edge with the next one with the arm.

  • Repeat this process all around the wrist.

  • Those holes may seem like triangles but actually, they are quads.

  • When you select the holes and use the Fill Hole option, the polygon will still have 4 sides.

  • If there is one triangle in your topology it isn’t too bad of a thing as long as there isn’t too many of them.

  • It is best to avoid them from ever occurring though.

  • After connecting the wrist, move some vertices around the thumb to fix up the shape.

  • Delete half of the body.

  • Connect the arm and the body by bridging one edge at a time because the bridge will twist the faces abnormally and the Twist option in the bridge menu won’t be able to fix it.

  • Now that the body and arm are connected, go into the front view and activate the Smooth Preview to see how the model is turning out and of course to add any edges to the arm if it’s too wide or misplaced

  • For the ear add a square and move it up to the reference from the side view.

  • Shape it into the basic form of the ear and delete the top faces.

  • Add two edges going horizontally and vertically.

  • Use the geometry to form the ear.

  • From the front view bend the ear to fit the reference.

  • Delete the 4 faces on the side of the head to create a hole to connect it with the ear.

  • Combine the body and the ear, select their outside edge loops, and bridge them

  • Select the body and mirror it.

  • To make the eyes add a cylinder and change their Subdivision to 8.

  • Just like we did with the Headphones, in Smooth Preview shape the eye from the side and front view, using the rotate tool to rotate it slightly just like in the reference.

  • When the first part of the eye is in place, make a duplicate and scale it down to create the white part of Jake’s eye.

  • For the snout add in a sphere and change its Subdivision to 8x8.

  • Place the sphere where the snout is and delete half of it.

  • Place a cylinder at the top of the snout, the cylinder should have 8 Subdivisions.

  • Snap the cylinder in the middle of the grid, place the pivot with D + V to the left side of the cylinder then by golding down X and using the move tool it will snap itself to the grid line.

  • Delete the front and back faces of the cylinder.

  • Combine the cylinder and the sphere then connect the edge loops using bridge.

  • To make the snout round like in the reference, add an edge loop using the multi-cut tool, moving and scaling them to fit the image.

  • Don’t forget to fix the snout from the side view as well.

  • Use the Soft select and the vertices to manipulate the form better.

  • For the nose add a sphere and change the Subdivisions to 8x8.

  • Delete half of it and shape it to fit the image.

  • From the side view grap the vertices or the edge loop and bring the nose a bit inside of the body so it doesn’t float in front of the mesh.

  • The lips are made using a cylinder with 8 Subdivisions.

  • Scale it from the middle to the end of the mouth, adding edge loops in the middle of the cylinder with the multi-cut tool then moving them to make a curve.

  • Delete the front and back faces of the cylinder, scaling the edge loop near the snout to make the end wider and the middle.

  • Duplicate the same cylinder, rotate it, and place it on the top lip.

  • Select the two faces where the mouth gap should be and extrude it inward once before extruding it a second time going inside the body.

  • If the mouth is too wide, use soft select to select any vertices that are making the mouth too wide open on the sides and bring them inward using the scale tool or the move tool.

  • Inside the mouth, we’ll start making the teeth.

  • Add a square and bring it in place of the tooth from the front and side view.

  • Add a multi-cut in the middle and grab the two side vertices and bring them upward to create the shape of the tooth in the Smooth preview.

  • Delete the top two faces of the tooth and bevel the edges around it so the form isn’t so smooth.

  • Duplicate the tooth and scale it down to create the smaller tooth next to it.

  • Add a sphere for the tongue, lowering the Subdivisions to 8x8.

  • Rotate the sphere to 90 degrees and use the scale tool to stretch it out.

  • Delete half of the tongue.

  • On the side delete the edges and reconnect the topology using the multi-cut tool to create quads instead of there being triangles.

  • Select the two top edges and with the move tool move them down slightly to create an interesting curve on the tongue.

  • Select the tongue and mirror it to create the other half.

  • Mirror the rest of the parts on the other side of the face.

  • To relax the topology a bit to make the Jake look smoother go into the Surface tab and click the Sculpt Geometry Tool menu.

  • Select the Smooth brush from the Sculpt Parameters.

  • The Radius(U) is the scale of the brush.

  • Smooth Strength is how much the brush affects the model.

  • Also, make sure you have Reflection turned on in the Stroke options.

  • Start smoothing the topology on the Jake so there aren’t any bumps on the model.

  • The last part left is the tail, select 4 faces from the back and Circularize them.

  • While the faces are still selected extrude them forward and from the side view scale down the extrusion to fit the reference.

  • Keep extruding and scaling to create the rest of the tail.

  • Rotate the tip to make the tail pointy at the end.

  • If there isn’t enough topology to curve the tail you can use the multi-cut tool to add more edges.

  • End Result.







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