Modelling a character in Maya continued

*For anyone who ends up here looking for a tutorial, this probably isn’t what you want. Buuuut I’ve taken a bunch of screenshots of the process, so that’s something. 

Anyway Maya crashed and i lost the head and stuff that i had modelled last time, and i didn’t have an auto-save set-up remind me to always set up the auto-save! I found my most recent version, i still had the body modelled, so it wasn’t so bad really – just more practice using Maya!



To make the head you use a cube not a sphere, and then you turn that cube into a sphere.


So i made a little alien guy, and my idea for the animation has adapted somewhat. Instead of being a relatively vague ‘did you do the thing’ its going to be one alien asking the other (known to be lazy and negligent) alien if they put the humans back after abduction and probing, or if he forgot again. To which the alien will be really sarky and reply like ‘yeah, i forgot AGAIN because i’m an idiot who can’t remember anything!’ And the other alien will be like, ‘ok but last time you forgot and this hilarious thing i cant think of right now happened that made you look foolish, remember?’ and then the other replies ‘What time? i don’t remember any time? humph!’ (still all sarcastic and whatever). And then lights flash and an alarm sounds, and a look of ‘oh dang’ comes over the aliens face as he realises he actually did forgot. He looks at the other alien (off-screen so he will look at camera or wherever he’s already been addressing when talking) with a sheepish smile, ‘Sooo, I think i might have forgot something…’ or probably something funnier and/or cooler than that.


That’t the vague idea now anyway -and I’ve got an alien modelled and ready to be rigged for animating.


I had a little bit of trouble with the UV. As i had managed to overlap a couple vertex’s on the feet and hands. After going over the model a little bit i was able to fix everything (i think) and it all turned out ok.


See, it pretty much turned out ok. And now he’s a totally awesome little green alien man!


Now comes the expressions! This part of the process was actually pretty fun – just pulling his face around to make different expressions, keeping the face looking natural with the movements and experimenting a little with how far you could pull the face around.


I started with blinks – each eye is blinked separately, each eyebrow, etc – so they can be moved independently later when animating. I used the soft-selection to pull his face around as well because it meant that curves and stuff would follow a little bit and although its hard to describe what i mean it was really useful.


I did a number of passes over each expression from various angles to make sure it looked right as i was pulling it around.


Combining a few different expressions to see how they look together – its really cool seeing the character start to come alive!


Mouth open (above) – Mouth closed (below).


Mouth open (above) and closed (below) again from another angle.


Aww he looks so sad!! I have been thinking if it would be possible to animate this guy in 3D and then render out the shots – then batch them into Photoshop taking out all the backgrounds – then adding in a 2D background that I’ve drawn (possibly in TV paint – a few looped backgrounds or something) and having the 3D alien character appear to be in a 2D world or whatever. This is supposed to be a sort of hybrid animation according to the brief so it would be good if i adhered to that with my final animation.

What is still most important to me is that i am able to model, rig and animate a full 3D character in Maya. Also now the audio lip-syncing is going to be key to making the animation look good – and would be great practice anyway. Then adding the 2D background stuff is next on the list depending on time and stuff. I’m thinking of a simple spaceship interior with a window that has some stars going by very slowly. That’s pretty much it.


I am really pleased with how this little guy is shaping up – just need to rig the model and then begin animating!! I followed the tutorial for the most part – giving him different ears and adding a belly button, also making him a little bit chunkier in the arms and the feet and neck are done slightly differently but look pretty much the same, so I’ve added my own style to this guy a little bit. I’m definitely much more confident in Maya now, and I feel like i understand what I’ve done wrong when i go wrong (mostly) and how to fix things as well – which is great – and hopefully there will be more cool 3D stuff is to come!


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