Base Meshes for Figure Studies

Back when I was starting out with 3D modeling, there wasn’t that much resources to help me in my endeavor. But those that are starting out today are very fortunate to have a lot of resources and aids to help them progress much faster in their studies.

http://vgl.ict.usc.edu/Data/DigitalEmily2/

Digital Emily is a project that is based on an actual person (3d scanned). Notice that the left and right side of the face are not identical (asymmetrical). Very often when we model from scratch, it’s symmetrical (mirrored) to speed up the process, but in real life very few people have symmetrical faces. Do an image search on “photo symmetrical celebrities” and you’ll see how strange and bizarre well known celebrities look when you turn their asymmetrical into symmetrical. This is something to consider when seeking to capture the likeness of a well known person.

https://mblab.dev/

This one is from MB-Lab, and it’s base is not meant to be hyper realistic. However, it’s a good base to start with! This is a plugin for Blender that can create a full figure, with many parameters to change the look of the character. It’s also poseable.

This post will be updated with more links as I come across them.

Beginners and Anatomy

If you have been watching this blog up till now, you might be thinking that I know a lot about anatomy. Truth is, I don’t. I have a lot of good anatomy books, but I rarely look at them. The reason why I have them is so that I can look into it later on when I need it. My advice to you if you’re just starting out is this: Don’t be too obsessed with anatomy books. That’s something you’ll pick up as you go. Most of the time when I’m sketching I just go with what “looks or feels right.”

If you’re fixated on anatomy and having everything correct when you’re starting out, then you won’t be able to experiment and have fun playing around. Experiment and play around with what you currently know. For example, right now I have a bit of knowledge about the Deltoid. The shape of the Deltoid helps me to rough out the shoulder. That’s it. I don’t know much else. Later on when I know more about the leg (for example), then I will start incorporating the knowledge into my sketches. In the meantime, I don’t worry about it, and I work with what I [currently know].

One more thing I want to share: The sketches you see below are broken into three days (Top, Mid, Bottom). In this example, I was exploring shapes. When you’re starting out or explore something new for the first time, you do not have full confidence because you’re in unknown/new territory. Your sketches might look funny but keep pressing on. In day two, I got a hang of it. Day three, I knew what I was doing and aiming for.

Tracing

First layer (15% opacity): random scribbling or oval shapes. Second layer (100% opacity): sketching.

Have you ever sketched the shape of the head lightly, and then went over it more boldly? You were tracing, whether you realized it or not. Tracing in and of itself is neither bad nor good. Here’s an example of how tracing can be put to good use. This kind of tracing is highly recommended, but the kind where you trace to capture everything perfectly, with the intent/desire to improve your skill, then it’s not recommended.

In the examples above, the first two started off with scribbling. I didn’t have an idea for a pose and just wanted to see what randomness would give me. The last two examples, I knew the poses I wanted to draw, and used these ovals as rough guide. There are many ways to approach this. From random scribbling, to gestures, oval shapes, etc… The anatomy and foreshortening might be incorrect, but not bad for a 1-5 mins rough sketch done freehand.

Practicing Cylinders

Taking a break from my goal of 300 pose photos. Only completed 60 so far, 240 more to go. After you do that photo exercise, things will start to click. For me to do these from imagination at this stage means that not everything is accurate (anatomically speaking). Accuracy is not what I’m aiming with these. All that comes later when I look closely at muscles and bones and how they attach together. In the meantime, I just want to be able to pose these cylinders from imagination, to make it look like a figure, good enough, but not necessarily accurate.