Modeling Techniques

You can employ many modeling techniques to create characters, such as spline, subdivision surface, NURBS, and box modeling. We'll be using the box modeling technique to physically shape the character—that is, creating a rough 3D model by tracing perspective character sketches on reference planes, in combination with some subdivision surfacing. The model will initially be boxy in shape, but after applying a smoothing modifier in 3ds Max and increasing the polygon count in critical areas, the character will come into focus nicely. Box modeling is a more precise, less detailed way of modeling that is perfect for game characters. It allows you to rapidly develop a character that is shaped just like the sketch art and has a lower polygon count than other modeling techniques. As of 2006, the average 3D video game's characters have around 5,000-7,000 faces that comprise the 3D mesh. This will be our target count because any higher count would slow down the computer during gameplay. However, as computer speeds increase, this number will also increase. Movie characters can contain upward of 100,000 faces per model, but that is currently not feasible to render in real-time gaming.


A polygon is a 3D structure consisting of three or more points called vertices that are connected in 3D space with lines called edges. The smallest polygon is simply a triangle serving as the basic unit of measurement for a 3D model. Several polygons together complete a mesh object that can be deformed and animated, as you will see in later chapters. A target polygon count refers to the target face count of a model.

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