Modeling the Boot

Box modeling is wonderfully unsophisticated for game modeling. I will disagree for the interim with cinematic characters, however, because they involve complex spline modeling. In the world of game development, box modeling represents choppy polygonal modeling, completing a model with fairly high detail but low polygon count. When you model using this technique, take your time. This is supposed to be a fairly complex model because it's the lead character in a game. Although it looks rough at first, later on we'll add some detail and then apply a Smooth modifier to make it look awesome.

1. Create a Box primitive with the length, width, and height segments set to 1. Right-click it and convert it to Editable Poly. Move and scale it to conform to the top and side viewports (see Figure 3.1). Expand the Editable Poly item in the Modifier panel to select things like Edge, Vertex, and Polygon so that you can manipulate and shape the box.

2. In Polygon Edit mode, select the front polygon of the box and use the Extrude tool (located in the Modify panel) to extrude face forward. In Figure 3.2, I've extruded a face, adjusted the corner vertices in Vertex Edit mode to follow the shape of the reference image, and continued extruding. This becomes easy, and you'll end up building almost the entire character this way. If you need to add more detail, enter Edge Edit mode, select two opposing edges by Ctrl+clicking them, and select Connect from the Modifier panel. This adds a new edge between them. Then just select that new edge and move it to conform to the reference images.

Figure 3.1 Create a Box primitive and adjust its shape according to the reference images.
Figure 3.2 Select the front polygon and extrude it. Continue shaping and extruding the boot to conform to the image.

3. Continue extruding polygons from the top. In the Top viewport, while you're in Polygon Edit mode, hold down Ctrl, select several polys, and extrude them. As before, add more edges to polygons and move the new edges and vertices to detail the boot. As you approach the top of the boot, try to make it more circular (see Figure 3.3).

4. At this point, apply a Cap Holes modifier to close up the boot. Then apply a Smooth modifier to preview your work (see Figure 3.4). Not bad, huh? This will look great when you texture it later in the book. You can remove the Smooth modifier when you're done.

Caution

Be sure that every object in your model is completely closed (there are no open faces) by using the Cap Holes modifier after you shape an object. Closing objects helps you avoid runtime errors when a game engine tries to incorporate your model. See Chapter 4 for more on adjusting, fixing, and optimizing your model.

Figure 3.3 Continue extruding polygons on the top of the boot. Try to round out the top so that it can conform to the leg.
Figure 3.4 The completed boot with a Cap Holes and Smooth modifier applied.
Figure 3.5 Rotate the boot to match the sketches, and then add a Cylinder primitive. I prefer to select the top face of the cylinder and extrude it continuously up the leg, moving and scaling it all the while.
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