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I am trying to make simple easy 3D "cartoon" body shapes with noodle arms and legs similar to the style of Adventure Time or old Popeye cartoons:

enter image description here

enter image description here

The idea is to have simple elemental forms for the body/torso/head and then even thickness noodle arms/legs that connect smoothly to the body.

The way I would like to do this, especially when prototyping proportions etc, is to use very basic elemental types like cubes and smoothly connect them.

For example, I can take a cube for a body, a mirrored cube for an arm, and with a boolean to join them and then a subsurface modifier, I can get arms and a torso:

enter image description here

enter image description here

This captures the aesthetic I'm trying to create very quickly and it's very easy to adjust and prototype designs and shapes (vs. creating something entirely top to bottom via extrusion and manual mesh editing).

The problem with this approach is it is pinching inwards at the joints rather than smoothly blending and expanding from the limbs into the body. From top view:

enter image description here

This is obviously not favorable and ruining what would otherwise be a very easy way to design and build.

I have spent hours experimenting to find some way to make this work. I can't find a way to not make it pinch. You can see I even flared out the arm cubes towards the body in the hopes it would help but it does not.

Is there any way in a procedural fashion to get a smooth connection like I'm seeking without the pinching effect?

Alternatively is there some other method you would do this by?

I also tried building the 3D cartoon prototypes using the Skin modifier and Mirror with Subsurface but it really misbehaves any time you try to create a sharp change between something very thick/round (like a cartoon body) and something much narrower (like a noodle arm/leg). It only works well if everything is close in diameter.

I also tried using a cylinder for the arms/legs, beveling/subsurfing the body first, and then attaching the cylinder edge via a cylinder vertex group and shrinkwrap to the body but this then creates a sharp joint rather than a smooth one.

I presume there must be some way to this. I just can't figure it out. Any thoughts or ideas?

Thanks for any help.

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1 Answer 1

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Boolean operations almost always produce topology that is not suitable for subdivision smoothing. If you want to model using booleans and get smooth transitions between parts, you can subdivide each object before the boolean, then use a remesh modifier after any booleans in order to smooth the intersections.

enter image description here

Otherwise, you will need to use another method such as sculpting or traditional poly modeling with extrusions.

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