3D Modeling a Cartoon Character in Maya

Hey 3D Artists, here a very good tutorial series about 3D modeling cartoon characters in Maya. The tutorial by David Mattock (3D generalist, 2D motion designer) from Animator Artist Life.

How to create a cartoon character in Autodesk Maya?

This is PART 01 of a series of FREE video tutorials on how to 3D model a cartoon character in Maya, but you can also follow along in Bender, 3D Max, or whatever you like as the principles are the same.

Setting up image planes in Maya is essential for any 3D modeling of characters or geometry assets.

In this first video lesson, we will cover how to get your character designs onto front and side image planes and best practices to assure correct 3d poly modeling workflow.

3D Modelling a Cartoon Character in Maya.

0:00​ – Intro to the series
00:45​ – best practices to set up your character design profiles
02:35​ – Set up image planes in Maya

Character Image Planes: I highly recommend you building your own design as you will learn more from it, but if you want to follow along, you can download my cartoon boy image planes Download here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/mhr5b70tmslqfxl/AACZi4f-CeA1VwFIS0CkC6MSa?dl=0

This is PART 02 where we start polygon modeling the body torso, legs, and arms.
Even if you have never created a character before I will guide you through step by step There are some really helpful tips, like setting up a special X-ray material that we can part see-through with different levels of opacity to help with 3d modeling.

3D poly modeling the Body.

0:00​ – Starting with a single cube
05:50​ – Adding more subdivisions
09:13​ – Extrude some legs
15:45​ – Setup a special Xray material for easier modeling
20:53​ – Building the arms
26:33​ – Soft selection
28:37​ – Basic feet

This is PART 03 where we tackle modeling the hands.
There are a few things you need to be careful of when 3d modeling hands, mainly the thumb anatomy and the correct place to extrude the polygons from.

Again we start with simple poly modeling and extruding out the fingers and adding detail with the multi-cut tool in Maya

GREAT TIP: We have so far worked with symmetry, but now I will show you how to create an instanced mirrored half instead, allow us to then use our F key for focusing around smaller areas with the camera.

0:00​ – Clean up mesh – learning the slide edge tool
03:14​ – Setting up instanced mirrored geometry
07:12​ – Extrude the hand base
11:12​ – Fingers – extrude with keep faces together off
14:32​ – Thumb, important info!
37:18​ – Fingernails

PART 04 We continue this FREE tutorial series of creating a 3d character from start to finish and move on to 3d modeling the head with the correct topology for animation later.

Correct topology is important around the eyes and mouth for correct deformation when your character blinks and speaks for lip-syncing.
We use simple poly modeling again, multi-cut tool, slide vertices shortkeys, and extruding the geometry

0:00​ – Starting with a cube
06:28​ – Cutting in eye sockets
10:44​ – Eyeballs
16:26​ – Build the node base
18:38​ – Building the inner mouth
25:45​ – Smooth mesh with sculpting tools
33:06​ – Nostrils
37:18​ – Fingernails
40:16​ – More eye edge loops
46:57​ – Modelling the ears

3D Modelling Cartoon Hair PART 05.

In this next video, we discover a quick and easy way to create stylized cartoon 3D hair.
You can use this method to create a range of hairstyles for any character.

We learn how to create a base scalp with poly modeling then layer in tufts of hair 3d geometry. Also covered is how to attach the head to the body with combined mesh and build a neck.

0:00​ – Combine the head and body geometry
03:13​ – Build the neck
10:32​ – Create a scalp base
16:59​ – Shape the scalp base
26:57​ – Create a single tuft of hair
44:20​ – Sculpt some shape o the back of the hair

3D Teeth modeling and Tongue in a Cartoon Style – PART 06.

We continue this FREE tutorial series of creating a 3d character from start to finish, and move on to 3d modeling the teeth, gums, and tongue create space inside the head building a mouth bag which is needed for rendering and animating your character lip-syncing later

In this video, I introduce you to deformers, in this instance a bend deformer to bend and curve a whole group of geometry into shape
You can follow along in Blender or 3D Max as the principles are the same, just the menu commands will differ.

0:00​ – How to hide polygons to see and work inside the head only
02:09​ – The interior mouth bag
05:12​ – Starting the gums
05:44​ – Introduction to the bend deformer
08:49​ – The first tooth
19:40​ – Building the tongue
26:33​ – Closing the mouth up

How to model cartoon clothing in Maya – PART 07.

In this lesson, we create clothes for our character. We 3D model a Tshirt, jeans/trousers/pants, and shoes with laces
We learn how to extract mesh faces from the body to give us our base shape before adding thickness to our clothes around sleeves, neck, etc.

0:00​ – Intro and duplicate faces – starting with the T-shirt
03:01​ – Adding thickness
09:02​ – Trousers / Pants
13:17​ – Shoes
25:57​ – Shoe laces – Tube mesh
42:32​ – Duplicate and Mirror a second show

UV Mapping a Character in Maya Tutorial for beginners – PART 08.

Unwrapping and UV layout is a must-have skill for any artist looking to get into a studio. It allows for painting textures in exact places, like painting skin detail, designs on clothes, etc.

It can be confusing but in this next video I will break down step by step how to map your 3d character and make it easy to understand by cutting UV seams incorrect places.
You will get to know Mayas UV editor and its basic tools.

0:00​ – Intro to UV mapping, what is UV layout?
01:49​ – The UV Editor window
03:51​ – UV mapping the head
06:16​ – The first unfold
11:01​ – Cutting the arm and legs UV’s
15:22​ – UV mapping the hands
18:39​ – UV layout in UV space

Character Clothes UV Mapping Maya – PART 09 of 3D Modelling a cartoon character in Maya.

This is the second part of UV mapping our 3d character, Unwrapping and UV layout is a must-have skill for any artists looking to get into a studio. It allows for painting textures in exact places, like painting skin detail, designs on clothes, etc.

In this FREE tutorial series, we are learning to create a 3d character from the beginning through to texturing.

0:00​ – Quick recap
00:29​ – UV mapping the Tshirt
03:21​ – UV unwrapping the trousers/pants
05:18​ – UV layout of the shoes

Face Texturing Tutorial for Beginners and How to texture your characters with photoshop – PART 10

In the previous videos we learned how to UV Map our character, now we are going to learn how to paint your own textures and skin details to add to your material.

I am using Photoshop but you can use and follow along in any painting app.

We will add darker skin areas, rosy cheeks, and even freckles. We then create a Maya material using Arnold, you can use any renderer, I am trying to keep all tools for beginners and not have to purchase different rendering software.

0:00​ – Export the UV layout image for painting
02:40​ – Start in Photoshop (or alternative painting app)
05:10​ – Painting the eye areas
08:10​ – Rosey cheeks
13:16​ – Intro to Arnold IPR rendering – Add texture to the character model.
17:33​ – Inner ears
21:27​ – Freckles
23:04​ – Lips
30:29​ – More details
31:57​ – Fingernails

Texturing your characters clothes with photoshop – PART 11

In this video part 11, we are taking this further and creating Maya Arnold materials and painting textures in Photoshop for all our clothes. The third, Trousers/pants and shoes.

We will add fabric textures to the t-shirt and learn how to create bump mapping. We then create a Maya material using Arnold, you can use any renderer, I am trying to keep all tools for beginners and not have to purchase different rendering software.

0:00​​ – Texturing the T-shirt intro – export the UVs
02:33​​ – Create or paint textures in Photoshop (or alternative painting app)
15:00​​ – Adjust the secularity
16:50​​ – Intro to bump mapping
25:35​​ – Texturing the trousers / pants – Learning tileable textures
31:05​​ – Texturing the shoes

Creating cartoon eye materials – PART 12

In this next lesson, I will demonstrate two different methods for creating nice eyeball materials in Maya. first showing how to use ramp nodes and adding extra iris texture.

Secondly using image textures, and adjusting the UV’s.

0:00​​​ – Eye material Method 01 – Using ramp nodes
07:10​ – Adding texture to the iris with noise
12:12​​​ – Method 02 – using image textures
21:42​​​ – Re-shape the eye sockets

Part 13. 🔥 WELL DONE! 🔥
Here the final part of Modelling a cartoon character in Maya from start to finish!!!

In this last lesson we will UN Map the hair and add some interesting materials and textures, then move onto 3d modeling the eyelashes and eyebrows.

We will finish up with a section on how you can take this or your character further and better, so stick around to the end!

0:00​​​​ – UV mapping and texturing the hair
19:46​​​​ – Model the eyelashes
27:00​​​​ – Model the eyebrows
32:33​​​​ – Taking the character further

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