Tag Archive: 3D modeling

Making Faces (Part Three)

November 20, 2012 5 Comments

Part One – Making the Neck
Part Two – Slicing the Face

The last thing I am going to cover in this guide is adding details, namely text, to the inside of the face.  I like to have text and/or my logo on my parts – it makes it look more finished and I am a real sucker for stuff like that.  I have to resist the urge to plaster my logo all over everything.

Step 3 – Text & Logos

Writing the Text

The process of adding text and logos is very similar, so I am just going to go over text. For a logo, just import a vector image and follow along.

So first I have to write the text.  Not much to that – change your view to the proper perspective, and go to Create -> Shapes -> Text.  I’d recommend using a simple font, ideally with rounded corners.  Just keep in mind that thin areas may not print well.  As you can see, I’ve finally came up with a name for this sculpt – Mara.  Not the best name, but it was hard to come up with one to fit a zombie character.  In many languages its meaning has to do with death and is the name of goddesses/demons on various mythologies.  Anyway, when you have your text/logo how you want to, convert it to an Editable Poly.  If the area you are putting the text on is flat (no curve to it), make sure your text is parallel to the surface and skip to Shelling the Text.

Making a Grid

So this is probably my least favorite part – it is pretty annoying.  What we want to do is conform the text to the head, but since we just have one solid face for each part, it isn’t going to conform well.  We need to break up those faces with a bunch of faces.  There are functions that will do this, but not nicely.  So, I use a trick.  I make a plane full of faces, like a grid, then use the letters of my text to cut into the plane.

First we need to make our plan.  That is simple, just go to Create -> Standard Primitives -> Plane. Create it around your text area, and move it back if you need to so it is behind the text.  Then we want to up the length and width segments until we have a bunch of small faces.  I make the width size a factor of the length so I can have perfect squares, but it doesn’t matter.

Extruding the Text

Before we can cut into out plane, we need to extrude our text. I actually just selected the border, and copied back. You are also going to want to detach each element so they all are a separate object (this means if you have an “i”, you would make the dot and the line two separate objects as well).

Cutting the Plane

Since we are going to be using intersection, we are going to need a separate plane for each object in our text. Luckily for this example I only need 4, but I’ve had to do this for 20+ objects and it is a pain. I cut down some time by setting up the Boolean objects fist. I do this by selecting my plane, creating the ProBoolean compound, then choosing the settings what I need, in this case Intersection and Remove Only Invisible. Don’t pick your objects yet! Now copy this plane how many times you need. You can speed things up by selecting you plane, pressing Ctrl+V, then selecting both planes, going Ctrl+V again (now you have 4), and so on. This way you need say 16 planes, you only need to do this 4 times, and you won’t need to waste time choosing the setting for each one.

Now that we have all of our planes with the ProBoolean ready, just select each plane and pick one of you text objects until you have them all done. If it doesn’t work, check that your text isn’t doing anything weird. Some fonts aren’t perfect and you’ll wind up with duplicated vertex or something. You can see that ProBoolean kept everything behind the plane, but we will just delete that. The important part is that we have out grid on our text. Now just attach them all together so they are one object again.

Conforming the Text

Before I conform the text, I remove all of the vertices that aren’t connected to the grid. This helps prevent weird warping and can be done easily with Vertex Killer.  Then I go back in and manually add a few vertices that are important for defining the shape that would bug me too much if left alone.  For me, this is just the hard corners and around small curves.  For everything else the grid is tight enough not to change the shape.

Now unhide you the part you are conforming to.  Copy the part and hide one of them.  Delete the faces that would be outside the text area to make it easier to work with, like in the picture.  Now just conform your text by going to Create -> Compound -> Conform with your text selected.  Change the Projection and Standoff to 0 and pick the object you are conforming to.  You may also need to select Along Vertex Normals if Use Active Viewport isn’t what you need.

Shelling the Text

Now just delete those extra planes, shell your text, and you are done! I shell 4mm in and out – the Outer is the part that you see outside the face, the Inner goes within the face and will make sure it prints together (you could merge it, but I find that is more trouble than it is worth). It should nicely follow the curve of the part it is attached to.

If you see weird spots, like that dark spot on the top of my second “a”, it probably means you have two vertices really close together. It won’t affect the print, but I’d go in an fix it just to be sure. It is easy, just select the vertices and weld them.

You can also use your text to cut into your model so it is indented instead of raised.

Add Anything Else

Now you can add anything else you need to your face. If you have a vector image, you can add it the same way you did the text. If you need make space for magnets, just model the magnet (probably just a cylinder to the proper size – just make sure it is a tiny bit bigger than the actually magnet would be) and use ProBoolean to cut it into the piece. Any latches can simply be made to collide with the piece.

That concludes this guide. If you made anything using this, let me know! I’d love to see it. And please feel free to ask me any questions! Happy creating :D!

Making Faces (Part Two)

November 18, 2012 7 Comments

Here is Part One.  You should read that first.  :-D

Now it is time to separate the face from the head cap.  I chose to make a face-plate, since I want to have lots of faces and face-plates are less volume (which means less expensive) and easier to mold.  I am not going to show how to make the head cap and all of its inner workings, mainly because that is already done and it would take me a lot of time to redo.  So, for right now I am going to keep it simple and just focus on the face.

Step 2 – The Face

Create the Slice Plane

Just like we did before, we are going to make a plane that will define where the face gets cut.  This is another thing I reuse, but luckily I didn’t collapse the turbosmooth so you can see what it looks like.  This plane is a little more complicated that what we used to slice the neck, since this will define what the inside of the face looks like, where as before we just deleted the cutting plane and all we cared around was where the surfaces intersected.  I can’t remember exactly what I did to create it (sorry, it was over a year ago and I don’t think I saved a file for that step) – I know I did some sort of “trick” to make the width consistent, unless I just manually manipulated each vertex until the width looked right ,which isn’t like me but a possibility since I did this so long ago.  If not, than I did something fancy will cutting the face, then shelling it inwards, that conforming a low polygon mesh to that.  Anyway, the goal here is just to make the inside of the mesh, so do that however you’d like.  It should be inside of the face (obviously), and extend outwards outside the head a bit.

Set Up the Eyes

We are almost ready to cut into the face, but fist we want to make sure the eyes have proper holes inside the face-plate.  To do this, we will simply extend the holes out by copying the borders a few times, making sure it extends past our slice plane.  The hole you are creating should be the proper shape to fit an eye – the hole should get larger as it expands out.

Since I already have the headcap made, I just remove a chunk of it to make it easier to work with.  You can still do that if you are making the headcap at the same time, just make sure to copy the head before hand.  Slicing is easy to do by just selecting the head element, going down to Edit Geometry, and clicking Slice Plane.  Make sure to have Split selected.  Then just move the plane to where you want to cut, and remove the back.

I scale out each copied border (just hold shift while scaling with the border selected), then I use the Spherify modifier on the new border to help round out the hole as I go.  I also scale the y-axis down more and more for each border so it gets more uniform.  You may also have to rotate and move the borders to get it right.  Since this face has an open mouth and I am going to use teeth-plates, I am going to do the same with the mouth.

Cut the Face

Now it is time to make the cut!  If you are making the headcap as well, you will want to copy the head and the slice plane first.  I already have that done, so I don’t have to worry about that.  Now, like before, select you head, and crate a ProBoolean compound.  I actually use intersection because for some reason subtraction often makes ProBoolean confused for this (I can’t quite figure out why).  Otherwise you’d want the normals facing the other direction than they are in the image above.  Since we already made the holes for the eyes, the come out nicely when you make the cut.  The mouth looks a little creepy, but I will have to go in and cut out the proper shape for the mouth piece later.
If you are making the headcap too, unhide your copied head and slice plane and cut the head like you did the face.  You will either have to flip the normals or change the operation.  Obviously the head won’t be done with just this one slice (it won’t be hollow), but just create the shapes you need to hollow it out and cut it like the face. It will probably be a bit more complicated than the face, but the idea is the same. Just don’t change the edge that lines up with the face.

Now we have a solid piece that can be printed, but we probably want to add some things to it.  I need to add the latch that keeps the face and head connected, and I also like to add the name of the sculpt and my logo to the inside.

Part 3 – Adding Text

Making Faces (Part One)

November 18, 2012 4 Comments

I am going to start making an effort to document my process.  I’d love to make videos.. but I can’t do that until I get a new computer since I have less than 1GB of free space.  So, for my first process walk-through, I am going to show how I joint my faces, since it is one of the few parts I have done multiple times.  I’m not going to show how I model the face itself right now (since it was done a while ago and tutorials like that are fairly common).  I am going to joint my zombie character face.


Some things you should know before I start:

I do almost all of the jointing with booleans.  A boolean is an operation using two or more objects.  The main functions I use are subtraction, cutting part of a object where a second object overlaps it, and intersection, taking the overlapping part of two objects.  Booleans can be a pain – if there are holes in your mesh or other weird things going on that you may not even see, it could bug and not work. Sometimes it won’t work and you won’t be able to figure out why.  If it doesn’t work, the best thing to do it first select all open edges to make sure none exist where they shouldn’t.  If that doesn’t help, then it may be more complicated.  Also, it will by default remove redundant edges.  There is a select box at the bottom to only remove invisible edges that I normally choose so I don’t mess of the flow of my meshes.

I work in high polygon – I generally turobosmooth it until I can just make out all the polygons at a reasonably close zoom level.  This can make things much more of a pain, but I find it essential.  If you cut into a lower polygon mesh and smooth it after, the parts might not flow smoothly.  It is also likely that a boolean will result in jagged edges with low polygon models.

A lot of what I am showing you involves things I made a long time ago that I do not have screen-shots of.  Since I am making all the faces fit the same headcap, I reuse parts.  I also have to do some funny things because sometimes my new faces won’t line up perfectly to my old face parts.  I’ve probably changed something at some point without realizing that it changed the way parts of the model line up – it isn’t a big deal but causes me a tiny bit more work.

Since this is all stuff I’ve done with a lot of trial and error, the flow of the guide isn’t exactly the way I originally did this. You will probably need to throw a step or two in to do what you need to do. You may also have to redo some steps a few times if they aren’t working out. Make sure to save a new copy at every major change – it can save you a lot of work (there is a reason my hard-drive is full).

This is assuming you know a bit about 3D modeling, but feel free to ask me questions.  Everything is done in 3ds Max – I am not sure how this would translate to other programs.

As a tip, I recommend using a sky blue background.  For me, it actually makes a huge difference.  It is much more natural than grey and just “feels” better to work with.

Step One – The Neck

So we have our model – I’ve cut off everything below her neck to make it easier to work with.  The first thing we want to do is to transform the bottom of her head to fit the neck.  Now for the face itself, most of this is will just get cut off.  In theory you will be making the back of the head at the same time.  I already have that, so to keep this from getting too long, I am just going to focus on the face.  The back of the head is done with similar techniques.

Slice The Neck

The first thing I do is make a plane that will help me make the proper slice at her neck.  This is something I did a while ago, but I basically just made a plane say, 4 by 4 polygons, and turbosmoothed it few times.  Then I manipulated the plane, which was easy since it was low polygon, until I got something that looked like a good shape for the neck slice.  The picture here is with a new plane that I made using the edge of an already cut head (it keeps things cleaner).  Where it intersects the neck is essentially the same.  I selected the outer edge and pulled it down because I find it helps with the boolean.
Once I have my plane where I want it (in this case I just reuse the same plane for all my faces so I don’t change anything), I use ProBoolean to make the cut.  First select the face, then create the boolean.  ProBoolean is under Create > Geometry > Compound Objects.  In the ProBoolean menu on the side, you will want to check Subtraction (should be default).  I also recommend going under Advanced Options and under Planer Edge Removal, selecting Remove Only Invisible, so you don’t loose any edge loops.  Then click Start Picking (the button on the top), and select your cutting plane. It should cut off everything below the plane.  If all went well, convert back to an Editable Poly (if not, you are going to have to try to figure out what broke it).  You may have the faces that made up the cutting plan attached to the part you just cut.  If so, just delete those new faces.  They should be selected automatically. If not, they probably have a different smoothing group so you can try selecting by that.  You’ll have a bunch of vertices along the border that aren’t part to the edge loops of the head.  I highly recommend using Vertex Killer to remove all the extra vertices. The script works by removing the ones that are only attached to 2 edges – it is extremely usefully when working in high polygons (I used to manually delete all the extra ones, it took forever).

Her face is a bit smaller than Oriana’s whose I based the cutting on originally. It would be better to have the cut closer to the jaw, so that there is just a little space between the jaw line and the cut. I have to keep it consistent for now so this will have to do. I can make it better later once everything is all together.

Create the Inner Joint

Now we want to actually make the inner part that is going to rest on the neck.  Obviously, this should be in the shape of the neck, which is generally a sphere.  This is another thing I have already done and is a bit more complicated – now I just reuse the inner part by attaching it to the head, but I will show how to do it.

So I have a sphere that I also used to make the top of the neck.  I want to somehow connect this to the head as we have it.  Now, I could have just used this to cut, but then the faces of the head would not flow nicely with the faces of the sphere, which would make it hard to smooth.  So, I want to select the open edge of the neck, and copy the edges by holding down shift, and scaling down.

I am going to detach these new faces to make things easier to work with.  Just select the open edge loop, right click and click “convert to face” and detach.  Now we want to keep copying edges of this to surround the sphere.  Just keep selecting each new edge, and scaling/moving it (don’t move it side to side, just up and back/forward) to surround the sphere – it doesn’t have to be perfect, just make sure everything is outside the sphere.  Don’t change the edge that matches the edge on the neck – we will be reattaching it so it needs to stay exactly the same.  The pictures are kind of misleading – the bottom border in the picture on the left is the border we took from the face.  I took the first copied border from the picture above and re-scaled it out, so the highlighted border in that picture is the second edge loop from the bottom on the left picture.  The more layers, the smoother it will be.  I am not going to bother with many for this example.  I cap the top, and flip the normals.
Now we want to conform this thing we made to our sphere.  Select the top face, and select down to everything except the last two faces.  Then, convert the selection to vertices, so that everything but the bottom two loops is selected.  Now we can conform it.  Conform is in the same menu as ProBoolean.  With the piece selected, click Conform, and gown down the options and choose “Towards Wrapper Center,” make the Projection and Standoff 0, and choose Use Selected Vertices (so the bottom doesn’t change).  Now, click Pick Wrap-To Object and choose your sphere.  If it looks funny, mess with Vertex Project options.  My model is not that great – I should have copied more edges so we had more of the top of the sphere, but I didn’t bother for this example.  You are probably going to have to mess with it and try a few time to get it better.  The sphere probably does not need to be complete up top since you are most likely going to be making a hole for the elastic to fit, so a flat plane will do until it is later cut.  Just make sure it small enough so that the hole you eventually cut will cut off the part that doesn’t cover the sphere.
Delete the spheres so you are left with just that piece we conformed (you probably want to keep the main sphere and hide it for future reference – it is useful if you want to know the exact pivot point).  We want to fix it so the part that connects to the neck flows smoothly into sphere part.  Luckily, there is a function called Relax that won’t mess up the  border.  So, select the Border, and go to Smooth Selection.  We want our Smooth Selection to cover the part that juts out, plus a bit more.  For me that is an Edge Distance of 2 and a Falloff of 10mm.  With that selected, go to your modifier list and choose Relax. Make your Relax Value 1, and keep upping the Iterations until it is smooth – for me it is at around 80.  Make sure Keep Boundary Pts Fixed is selected!  You might have to mess with the Smooth Selection parameters.  Once you have it how you like it, collapse the modifier.
Now we can reattach this to the head!  Just select the object and flip back the normals.  Unhide your head, and select it.  Attach the neck piece to the head, and select the open vertices (or all of them, but I prefer just the open ones).  This is under the Selection menu up top, or you could select the borders and convert it to vertices.  Then, in the Edit Vertices menu, click the button right next to the Weld button.  I change the value to .005 or something small to make sure nothing gets welded that shouldn’t be.  Weld it, and then select open vertices to make sure everything was welded (it should be – we didn’t change that border).  Now we have a head that will fit on a neck joint!

Smoothing the Neck Edge

Since we made the inner neck part by copying the border, it will smooth pretty nicely.  I changed the inner neck part to the part that is consistent with my other heads, which is why it is different than the pictures above.  I also have a bunch of numbers written down with pictures of edges to select so I remember what to do to make sure everything is consistent. What we want to do here is round out that hard edge.  Select the hard edge for the neck – this is pretty easy by choosing Select Hard Edge on the menu at top, while you have edges selected, and removing all of the edges that aren’t part of what you want.  I make sure I don’t have anything extra selected by just dragging the vertices out seeing if something moves that I wasn’t planning.  Choose soft selection and adjust it how you see fit.  Then relax it as before, and keep adjusting the relax values and soft selection until it is how you want it.  When it is good, collapse the modifier.You might be done after one relax, but you’ll probably have to do a few more to get it looking right.  I had to relax the front of her neck a few times to smooth out that lip, and then fix a couple bumps that created.  It is okay if it isn’t absolutely perfect.  You have going to have to do some post-printing-work anyway, but obviously the less you have to do the better. Sometimes it is more worth it just to plan on sanding down some areas, but you should try to get it as close as possible.

Next we will separate the face from the head.  Here is Part 2.