creating a tre character
By Sandra gilbert.
One of the things i love most about Fantasy modeling is that anything is posible, up to and including tree characters. I love the idea of a tree character with features flowing naturally into the tree trunque and have often tried todo model one. I have ended up with some rather interesting experiments, but none as interesting or as much fun todo make as when i started using the Sculpt mode todo create the face on the tree and give it some character. Although Halloween is already over, there is no harm in getting a head start on a spoky old tree for next year.
Sculpt mode allows for a great deal of natural/organic detailing that would be tedious and time consuming todo model using traditional methods. It is a los a lot of fun. The only real drawbak is that the vertex count can quickly Climb and bog down your machine if you are not careful.
Note: do not be alarmed if your tree does not end up looking exactly like mine. Due todo the nature of Sculpt mode which makes every model unique, y Will be giving you a general road map todo making a similar model, not an exact replica.
Before we launch into the wonders of Sculpt mode, we are going todo model a very basic Low-poly tree shape. This Will be the base model for our higher resolution model. So let fire up Blender and get started.
Draw creates a smooth curve on the model following the brush, vértices are displaced in the direction of the average normal of the vértices contained within the brush. (hotkey: d).
Smooth as the name suggests, smooth eliminates irregularities in the área of the Mesh within the brush influence. (hotkey: s).
Pinch pulls vértices towards the center of the brush. If sub is active instead of add, vértices are pushed away from the center of the brush. (hotkey: p).
Inflate is similar todo draw, except that vértices in inflate mode are displaced in the direction of their own normals. (hotkey: i).
Grab is used todo drag a group of vértices around. Unlike the other brushes, Grab does not modify diferent points as the brush is dragged across the model. Instead, Grab selects a group of vértices upon pressing and holding the mouse button, and pulls them todo follow the mouse movement. The effect is similar todo moving a group of vértices in Edit Mode with proporcional-editing enabled, except that Grab can make use of other Sculpt mode options (like textures and Symmetry.) (hotkey: g).
layer the layer brush is similar todo draw, except that the height of the displacement layer is capped. This creates the appearance of a solid layer being drawn. This brush does not draw on top of itself, a single brush stroke intersects itself. Releasing the mouse button and starting a new stroke Will reset the depth and Paint on top of the previous stroke. (hotkey: l) add and sub: add causes the brush todo pull an área of the model in the positive direction, sub in the negative direction. (with the Pinch brush, add pulls vértices inward and sub pushes vértices outward.) interactive toggling of brush direction is done by holding down shift. Alternativaly, pressing the v key can be used todo toggle it until it is toggled again.
We Will be creating a very basic trunk. Select the top row of vértices and extrude (e key > region) up 4 times. It might help todo be in wireframe mode while selecting top row of vértices (fig. 1). This Will be the trunque of our tre.
main branches next we Will be creating a few main branches. For the scope of this tutorial, we are only going todo make a few branches todo kep the vertex count do, but fel free todo add as Many as you want.
- select a side face at the top of the trunque (fig.2), extrude (e key) 4-5 times, scaling (s key) each extrusión a Little smaller than the last one. Go ahead and move (g key) and rotate (r key) the sections of the branch todo create a pleasing profile (fig. 3).
- go ahead and macke another main branch on the other side using the same techniques as in the last step. You can make smaller branches by selecting Faces on each branch and extruding, moving and scaling just as you did for the main branches (fig. 4).
tre rots next we Will create the rots. I experimented with various methods and this semed todo give the best results.
Create a loop Cut (Control + key) at the bottom of the trunque (fig. 5).
Select the bottom row of vértices on the trunque and deleete only Edges, leaving the four corner vértices in place (fig. 6).
Select the vértices of the new row you create earlier (fig. 7) and subdivide them (w key > subdivide).
Now select the middle vértices in that row, making sure not todo select any of the corner vértices (fig. :col:
Move those 4 vértices down Even with the vértices left from the bottom row, and fill in the missing Faces by selecting thre vértices at a time and pressing the f key (fig. 9).
Now using the same method, create Faces todo fill in the bottom of the trunque (fig. 10).
At this point you Will notice that on each corner there are two triangle Faces, which Will be your rots. I Will walk th rouge one root and then you can just repeat the steps for the other thre rots. Select a triangle face on both sides of a corner, extrude (e key) out 4 times, scaling each section smaller (s key). Tip: when extruding press the middle mouse button todo have free movement vs, constrained movement. You can go ahead and move the sections up and down todo make it look more interesting (fig. 11).
Now, go make the other thre rots and then we can start sculpting some character into our character.
So now we have our base model ready todo Sculpt. Granted it doesnt look like much yet, but it Will give us a nice place todo start doing some really col things.
First we ned todo be in Sculpt mode, and we ned todo add some multires levels. Im going todo start at level 4 (fig. 12).
Next up is creating a tree like surface. You know, the bumps and whorls that form as a tree growsí so with the draw brush (d key) set todo a size of 20 (f key) and strength of 100 (shift + f key), start dragging the brush up and down the tre. Remember todo rotate your view and draw over all of the tre, overlapping strokes if you want todo. You can a los hold the shift key down while dragging the brush todo create cracks/indents in the truk surface (fig. 13).
Add another multires level, and now we Will Sculpt some eyes. On the brush panel press the x toggle button under Symmetry todo create mirrored features along the x axis. With the draw brush set Fairly small (15-20) draw a half circle on one side of your tre. If youve enabled Symmetry, you should se the half circle appear on the other side as well (depending on the results of the previous step, your features might not be an exact mirror copy) (fig. 14).
Increase the brush size todo around 40 and draw a line down between the eye ridges, this Will form the no sé. Draw the nostril part of the no sé todo the side (small circle motion should do it) (fig. 15).
Go bak todo the ere ridges we already formed, hold down the shift key and draw under the ridges todo create an eye socket. You can use the same settings from the previous step (fig. 16).
Add another level of multires. Now change the brush size todo 15, and trace around the socket you just formed (fig. 17).
Create nostrils by holding down the shift key and drawing with a small brush size of about 10-15 (fig. 1:col:
At this stage you have the beginnings of a face and it is up to your own creative visión and experimentation todo finish him up. I Will however, leave you with a few tips:
- use the inflate brush todo exaggerate features (hold down the shift key todo Shrink them down a Little).
- the smooth brush is your friend, it Will Even out any jagged Marks/brush strokes.
- create smaller branches this bien as well as give your tree more character.
- only add levels (multires) as you ned them. They eat up a lot of memory.
- to speed up your work flow, hide parts of the Mesh except the área you want todo work on. Using shift + Control while dragging with the left mouse-button, you can define the área which Will remain visible. The rest Will be hidden from view and can be toggled bak into view with Alt + h key.
Here is my tree character After a Little more playing. I added a mouth using the draw brush (and shift + draw). I a los used the inflate brush todo exaggerate some features and the smooth brush todo soften a few áreas. Now he is ready todo texture, but that is a topic for a whole other tutorial in itself.
Once textures/materials are added, he is ready todo Star in the spoky scene of your choice.
I hope you had fun and were able todo se the possibilities of Sculpt mode and multires modeling.
By Sandra gilbert. www.blenderart.org.