Last semester, I took a 3D modeling course using Autodesk Maya 2018. For the final project I modeled, textured, and rigged a full 3D "Squirtle".
We began by making a concept board with reference materials, including orthographic drawings, item details, pose, materials and textures, mood, and art style. You can check out my concept board here: https://www.pinterest.com/zoekissel/squirtle/
To model Squirtle, I first built a base mesh from polygons. I started with a cube for the body and smoothed it until it had the topology required to sculpt the arms, legs, and head.
I then textured the character using UV unwrapping. This involves creating "seams" along the body and "flattening" the character out so that textures can be applied without distortion. I textured my UV shells using image maps in Adobe Photoshop CC 2017. PSD nodes within Maya can be linked to Photoshop files, displaying as composite images.
After texturing, I rigged Squirtle. Rigging is the process of adding a skeleton and skin to the character, as well as adding controls for animation. Certain joints require certain types of controls, for example IK (inverse kinematics) handles versus FK (forward kinematics) handles. IK is often used for legs, controlling from the hip, and FK is often used for arms, controlling from the wrist. To prep the character for animation, I had to paint weights on Squirtle's body. Weight painting is essentially designating which part of the body will move with each control. When Squirtle raises his arm, only his arm should move. Part of his waist should not follow.
Finally, I animated Squirtle using keyframes to create a loop that would be seen in a game's "character select" setting. I've included the beauty renders and playblast below.
Until next time,