Modeling strategies: modeling hands, feet, etc...

I've noticed a few questions asking how to model complex shapes such as hands, feet, talons etc. I use a variation of the rotoscoping technique to model some very complex objects.

The way it is done is to first digitise or draw a 2D version of the object You want to model (to model a humanoid I've used a digitised version of Leonardo DaVinci's drawing so I'll use that as an example). The picture must be a two colour iff (for Amiga users) with the shape filled completely. Use the detail editor's Object/Convert Iff/Ilbm menu selection, and click on Don't Add Faces (You can let Imagine add faces if the object is not too complex, but it's risky).

Extrude the resulting shape to the default values, then create a primative plane with as many points as you think You will need for the object (for DaVinci's human I used the default 10x10 plane). Scale the plane until it's at least twice as big as the object (no need for precision), and move it so that the bottom quarter cuts through the middle of the extruded object (to minimise problems with Slice). Then shift-pick both objects and select Object/Slice from the menu.

Once slice has done its stuff You'll be left with all the objects grouped together. Switch to Pick Object mode and pick and delete all the objects except the cutout shape. Extrude the cutout to the default values, except with 3-6 rows depending on how complicated Your object need be (I used 4 for DaVinci's human). Go to Pick Points and Drag Box mode and shift-pick the top layer of points, scale them to make a rounded profile, and do the same for the back.

Shift-Move the axis to the neck and use Pinch, Shift-Move the axis to just below the chest and use Taper.

Switch to Pick Faces mode and go the bottom of the legs. Shift-Pick the lowest faces at the front of the legs (use Fracture if You need more points), extrude to form feet, and voila - a (very rough) bones-ready human.

I already have a few heads, hand and feet (made the same way) ready to splice onto any human I make, and I find it handy to keep this rough shape in my objects collection. With a bit of detailing it can be made into a variety of different people.

Last Update: Aug 26, 1995
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