Outside the Box:
By Paul "Villam" Steed
A knee is next and I decide to extrude it adding another segment this time.
Well I spend way too much time on the knee (at least 8 minutes) optimizing and shaping it. This fucker is really starting to rack up some faces and I shouldn't be over worrying the knee. Trouble is, though that objects like knees and separate armor plates really give weight and solidity to the character. I want to stay as close as I can to Adrian's sketch if possible.
The lower leg didn't take that long to get into the shape I wanted it. I lofted the line again but only one segment this time since I knew I'd be using all kinds of divides, welds and mixed cross sections to get it manageable. Over all I like the way it turned out and after looking at decide to go ahead and merge it with the upper leg and deal with the pain of linking vertices manually in Physique later down the road.
I prep the lower and main leg for union by deletions, merges and turns. Tweaking them individually before I attach them together helps for no other reason than clarity from different colored meshes. Seeing the merge of the two objects in my head I guide their individual verts at the point of intersection into an easily recognizable course of action.
The merge goes good and near the knee I weld the lower leg to the main leg and further back I weld the main leg verts to the lower leg. The I slide the crease vertex hidden by the fold of the leg up a bit for better flexing when I animate this thing. I spend too many minutes on the knee again obsessing over this area because I know how important good knee construction plays in this type of physiognomy. Still I shouldn't be spending more than two or three minutes on it and I'm consistently spending 5 or 6.
Didn't like the uniformity of the knee so I scaled some verts and give it a more muscular look. I delete the end face where it will eventually insert into the foot as well.
I unhide the other built geometry and check for the look of the beast and the overall face count thus far. I rotate the legs and don't really find the hip area too appealing. It's still early but the monster doesn't look too scary wearing a diaper now does he? The face count isn't terribly bad at this point. I've used 609 without any extra optimization effort but I'm already marking the spikes on top for buh-bye and will go with a segmented look instead like I got almost accidentally at the top of the hips in the back. The abs can be reduced as well and I'm not sure I can keep the ribbed look at the sternum. Hmmm. We'll see, I reckon.
Okay. Some of the things I did while meandering into some optimization was to reduce the abs, reduce and tweak the hips so they're less diaper-like. Conformed the abs to seem more like the hips are a carapace for the belly to be protected by. Also went ahead and deleted the left side of the abs and hips for mirrorage later. Also played around with the different coordinate systems and surprisingly found myself grooving on 'screen' very hard. All I would do is rotate the view while the x,y,z axis indicator stayed the same and moved the verts rather effortlessly into the desired position. Try it. It's cool!
Well now that I'm comfortable with some optimization of ole Sleeg I do some more! The spikes have to go so I divide the edges on the top of the torso as I delete the separate spike objects.
More body tweaks and general aesthetic work. I made the neck base bigger and scaled the torso up. Lining up the vertices using a multiply selected, edit mesh modifier assignment is the only way to model by halves. Just scale those verts several times centered along the x-axis until they're all lined up.
After copying and mirroring the torso, ab and hip halves and lining up there vertices I attach the respective halves together but I have to collapse a halve's stack for some reason in order to make it let attach to the other piece. Strange. Anyway I attach the halves and then select the verts along the middle line and click 'selected' under the vertex sub-object menu. This doesn't mean like I used to think where all the verts would converge into one point. It simply means any vertices close enough to each other will merge automatically. I notice the torso has an hourglass shape to it so I broaden Sleeg's chest.
Did some more minor tweakage and like the progress thus far. Might have to cap the neck hole since I can see through sometimes from the very front, straight on. We're down to 565 faces too!
For Q3A the upper body animates independent of the lower body so the two pieces have to have a distinct junction point. I think I'll go ahead and cap and round off the lower part of the abs where they go into the hips.
First I cap off the end. Then I select the two triangles in the middle and extrude them outward with the intent of turning the edges at the base of the facial extrusion. This is really just a different way to accomplish the same thing had I divided some edges and pulled verts outward. Something different to try. Then I shape the verts into a rounded profile for when the character bends and twists. More than likely I'll have to go back and tweak the insert area more so it does poke through anywhere.
Alright. Time to introduce you to what I call the 'Hannibal Lector' approach to modeling (AKA cannibalizing old models). When you build models for several years you get quite the inventory of arms, legs, bodies, etc. Instead of re-inventing the wheel I'll often recycle parts of old meshes because, guess what? It's faster and smarter to do it this way! Kind of like how some people in the Quake community take models from Quake and Quake 2 and modify them to suit your needs and apply new skins to them. As a professional you have to take shortcuts like this for the sake of a production schedule. In the case of this model I made most of him up from scratch mainly for the edification of all you meshkateers out there as well as to exercise the creative muscle (so to speak). That in mind I import an arm from the Q2 dude, scale them accordingly and rotate one of them into position for the forearm plating creation. We're going to use a boolean technique this time just to look at another modeling option.
After the arm is in position, go to create line and make a rectangle that encompasses the whole arm and attach it to the arm plating guide line. I had to convert the rectangle to an editable spline to accomplish this. Now extrude the whole thing so it's fully enveloping the arm.
Now [shift] scale the arm so we have a copy to cut up that is larger than the arm the pad will encircle. Move it into position so it forms a 3d outline of the forearm (we don't care about the areas away from the pad (i.e. bicep and hand).
So we're ready to operate. I look over at my hot nurse assistant and begin the procedure. "Nurse Melanie?" "Yes, Doctor." "Off you're knees, please. I know you're the head nurse but we have people to do and things to meet." "Yes, Doctor." as she wiggles and adjusts back into her tight-fitting nurse's uniform. Mmmmmm. Okay. Select the patient. Selecting copied arm. "Geometry menu." Geometry menu. Compound objects. Compound objects. Boolean2. Boolean2. Check for subtraction (A-B). Check. Pick operand B. Selecting big box with hole in it...Thanks. Looks like the operation is a success. Now why don't you go back to what you were doing while I do the clean up. Yes, Doctor. Good nurse.
Let's check out the rack on nurse Melan...er let's check out the arm pad in shaded mode to see how it looks. I move it over a bit to center it on the arm. Looks good but as in every boolean case there's some clean up to perform. A good way to start the clean up process is by using the optimize modifier. So let's do that.
Credits: Thinking Outside the Box logo illustrated and is © 1998 Dan Zalkus. Thinking Outside the Box is © 1998 Paul Steed. All other content is © 1998 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited, so don't even try it. We've got really big guns, and we're ripped, baby.