Outside the Box:
By Paul "Villam" Steed
Anything I say comes from me and represents my personal opinions, views and subtle plans for influencing society. Read, ruminate over and remember at your own risk. If I teach you something and it helps, teach someone else.
he following is a tutorial featured in the June issue of Game Developer magazine. The model built was going to be a monster in Quake 3 had we gone the non-Arena route. I used 3D Studio 4 to make it but all the principles still apply in 3DS Max. Go through the tutorial and let me know what you think. Next tutorial I'll start a multi-parter where we make Shauna - our lovely model featured several TOTB's ago.
As in most artistic endeavors we start with a sketch. Nothing too fancy is required; usually just some action pose and/or some close-ups of trickier areas. Sometimes a full-blown orthographic breakdown is necessary, though. In this case we have a cool monster design from fellow artist, founder and company co-owner, Adrian Carmack. It's plenty to go on.
Checking with Kevin Cloud, fellow artist, project director and also co-owner of the company we determine that this particular guy (called an 'Exterminator') and is halfway between a boss and a basic monster. So we set a number of 800 as the limit for this guy (not a little number for a monster) since he'll be seen rather infrequently. Of course anything less than that is better, but I know we have at least 800 faces with which to work (and generally if I'm given 800 faces, I'll USE 800 faces).
We're taking a 'low to lower' approach to build this guy but we don't have to think too frugally at first. Generally it's best to use whatever's necessary to get the shape going (within reason) and optimize as you go.
Part One: The Arms
So having all the pre-modeling info we need, let's start with the arms. The reason why we start with them is because it's easier to begin a model with the most distinguishing feature of it. Thus, we pick the arms. Since the shape is rather unique, primitives won't work very well so let's create an outline of it and loft it along a path.
Since it's bulky and organic and needs to appear somewhat beefy, the loft of the first arm needs two segments (normally one is best with a low-poly object). Lofting the shapes results in an initial 200-face arm assembly which we need to scale and position to match the sketch and see if it's looking right. Doing some quick math, 200 faces isn't good since there's two of them, we still have some articulate tentacles to make and a rounded head and body structure to create. 400 faces for just the arms just won't work. So let's first chop off any faces that won't be seen. Remove the ends of the 'tendon' at the top, the top faces of the lower arm and the base of the arm where it will connect to the body. We also need to rotate the tendon so the edge is up and exercising the 'diamonds over squares' rule.
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.