Saturday, 14 January 2012
'Little and Large': Modelling my Lego man
For our brief within this module, we have been given the task of producing a 30-45 second 3D animation that demonstrates some of the fundamentals of animation. I began the process my searching for reference images online. Although I had my own Lego man on hand to look at closer in more detail, to get the basic scale I figured I would be able to find some decent scale references online. This is what I found:
With my image planes set, I now began modelling. My methods heavily involved dropping cubes and manipulating the vertexes. To achieve some of the more complex shapes such as the arms and hands, I worked in segments, extruding the faces and continuing to move the vertexes in place. Hopefully this image should demonstrate what I mean:
To achieve the shape of the legs, I had to get the smooth circular thighs. You can see this in the side on reference image. Here, I placed a cylinder and rotated it onto its side. I then grabbed the relevant vertexes and extended them down, creating the legs. I added the feet on last as separate polygon shapes. This image should highlight the process:
To create the head I also used extruded faces, this time with a cylinder shape. I carefully went around the vertexes and tidied them up to create a smoothed out look. I believe I could have done this much easier and faster by instead of manipulating the individual vertexes on the extruded face, using the scale tool keeping the vertexes synchronised. Here is the head:
It was now time to add colour to my character. I wanted to go for simplistic classic lego man look, as I didn't wan't to overcrowd the model with too much detail. In the Hypershade menu, I created bold 'Blinn' materials for the legs and upper body. I chose the primary colours red and blue to maintain this idea of simplicity, and used the Blinn option to give a shiny plastic look. The hands were given the classic yellow skin colour we see in almost all Lego men, and the head was created using UV mapping. I opted for a simple smiling face, to keep a very purist approach. Here is my Lego man in full colour:
I am quiet satisfied with the results of this character model, although I do believe some of my methods were perhaps amateurish. Ideally, I would have liked the legs to be one solid shape, but the way in which I achieved the circular thighs meant I could not extrude out the feet. Also, the arms were created from extruded cubes, and I was not able to achieve the circular shape where the hands slot in on a Lego man. Instead the arms look quite square near the wrists. I do believe however, that the modelling process of this character was a great learning curve with Maya. I look forward to developing my methods and hopefully overcoming some of the limitations that compromised my character model.