An Introduction To 3D with Lyndon Daniels

Part 2: Setup and Preperation


Now that we understand the main technical specifications and requirements of our character, we can start to sketch out perspective and orthographic projections of our character's head. If you have come this far in the process you should already have established an idea of the character's general appearance. When sketching views of the character, remember that they don't need to be perfect, but rather convey an atmosphere or presence about the character.

When you are satisfied that you have communicated the mood of the character in your innitial sketches, it's then time to proceed with sketching orthographic projections of your character.
iOften a front and profile view will suffice but if the character has specific details on his crown you might need to sketch a top view as well.

Try to ensure that your character's projections are proportionately aligned. If this is not possible you'll have to align the projections in a 2D photo-manipulation package such as the GIMP or Photoshop.
Scanning the images at a low resolution no more than 100dpi or taking a photo is all that's needed to digitize your sketches. The images will only be used as a reference for modeling and not be evident in the final output.
iCrop the digitized images in your photo-manipulation software so that their dimensions are equal and preferably base 2 integers. You’re almost ready to start modeling!

Project Setup

Before you begin modelling you need to set up a project. A project is simply a folder on your computer's hard drive with several subfolders that contain your scene files, bitmap textures, particle disk cache, fur files, depth map files and other media relating to your task at hand.
!For the purpose of our project we'll only be dealing with 3D scene files, and bitmap texture files.

When you create a bitmap texture for your character and apply that texture to your character within a 3D application that texture is generally not embeded by default into your 3D scene. Your scene file is literally a description of how to recreate the file's contents, readable by your 3D application. Subsequntly, media such as bitmaps, movies and sounds are generally referenced externally.

It is therefore not advisable to move your texture files around after you've assigned them to your model. However, maintaining a project folder will enable you to move your entire project directory from one location to another without having to reconfigure externally referenced media, particularly in 3D applications that use relative paths for referencing external media.