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High polygon realistic character creation


This is an overview of creating high polygon realistic 3D characters  ( with a particular leaning toward the creation of the above model ). My inspiration for writing it, was that as a long time videogame artist used to working with real-time constraints, I wanted to learn high resolution modeling techniques, and I couldn't really find all the info needed on the subject in one handy place.  It's a pretty barebones overview, since there is an entire books worth of material if everything were to be covered in serious detail. So I'm really talking about high level principles.  It's also geared toward capturing a likeness, since that makes up the vast majority of the work I do, but I wont talk about rigging or lighting or rendering, since they're really not my areas of expertise, and entire tutorials in themselves. I'm attempting to keep it as non software specific as possible, but forgive me If I lapse into occasional Maya terminologies.

There are different surface types available to us achieve a high resolution model. Most of the time, I use smoothed polygons as opposed to true hierarchical subdivision surfaces. With true SubD's you wont see any faceting associated with traditional polygonal geometry, since a subdivision surface is the result of an infinite mathematical refinement process to ‘smooth' a model at render time. However, I wont go into why I prefer working with smoothed polygons here, but If your model is smoothed to a high enough degree, you wont see the aforementioned edge faceting under most circumstances.  The basic concept of working with both surfaces is still one of 'subdivision', and the workflows are very similar.

Some of these are interchangeable, but generally speaking, this is the basic workflow:

1) Model

2) UV map and texture

3) Rig

4) Pose/Animate

5) Apply polygon smooth node

6) Render

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