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I have tried multiple times to do this but I am having a hard time getting it right. I have a cartoon mummy that I want to model for use in a game using this as a reference: enter image description here

As you can see the model itself is fairly simple. However, I am having trouble figuring out how I would go about modeling the thing without the topology getting out of control.

There are a couple of things about this model that make it difficult to make:

  1. It has a hunchback. This means that the traditional "start with the face, then work your way back to the neck" style of facial modelling doesn't work effectively.
  2. It has minimal facial features, and only one eye. This means that the topology is often "irregular" in that half of the face is topologically different than the other half.
  3. The clothes - how the heck do I add these in? One method is to use the knife tool to "cut" the mummy robes out and extrude them on normals, but this would lead to terrible topology.

Can anyone give me any pointers?

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  • $\begingroup$ What's the expected usage of the model--in a game, as a separate rendered object, or something different? $\endgroup$ – brasshat Jun 29 '15 at 2:45
  • $\begingroup$ In a game. Sorry, that's a pretty important detail ;). So it needs to be properly rigged, UVmapped, etc. $\endgroup$ – Flafla2 Jun 29 '15 at 3:18
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    $\begingroup$ the "Start with the face" approach does work, you just need to make allowances for the neck. $\endgroup$ – Scalia Jun 29 '15 at 14:38
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Unfortunately, this site does not allow for me to give you specific tutorial-like instructions, but I will try my best to give tips and address some of the problems that will pop up.

Okay, for one, you are incorrect when you say

This means that the traditional "start with the face, then work your way back to the neck" style of facial modelling doesn't work effectively.

starting on the head will work effectively, it just needs to be adapted to fit your needs. The mesh primitive you'll need is the cube.

Subdivide it twice in edit mode with "smoothness" turned up to 1.00.

enter image description here

I don't know why my image is skewed, but that's (almost)what it will look like.

You can use "Import images as planes" addon to put in your concept art.

enter image description here

By modelling the head separate from the body, all you will have to worry about is connections. Snap to vertex will be optimal for joining them.

enter image description here

another of your favorite tools, especially on joints and such, will be Ctrl + V > smooth vertex. this gets rid of nasty sharp angles.

Remember that when you model limbs, you will want to extrude the selected faces all the way to the end, and afterwards add loopcuts for detail.

enter image description here enter image description here

The hands will be the hardest, just make sure to turn proportional editing to "Connected", to avoid screwing up the other fingers.

I used a mirror modifier for all of the modelling until the end when I applied the modifier and extruded an eye.

I wasn't trying to do the work for you!! but in questions like this, unless you state specific problems you run into, it's very hard to answer without going through it yourself. Heres the base-mesh I made if you want it.

Honestly, kudos for trying, but modelling your wrappings as part of the mesh is a no-go. You can either use brasshats idea of extruding a plane, or you can sculpt them on using Clay strips, Crease, and Flatten brushes. In order to do these wraps, you have several practical options.

Heres the best way i was able to find while making wraps. Turn on face snapping (Shift+Tab).

enter image description here

Left click on the model to place the cursor there, now add a plane. delete all but one of its edges. you will now need to extrude the remaining edge around the head in the place that you want the wrap to be. Don't worry if it looks like crap and won't stay on the outside of the mesh right now! We're gonna fix it!

The modifier stack you'll be creating today will look like this.

enter image description here

The subdivision mod adds more vertexes for the others to work with. The Shirkwrap mods target is set to the mummy, and causes the wraps to follow it closer, just like ceram-wrap in the microwave. Lastly, the solidify modifier adds thickness to the wraps.

You can now go back into edit mode to fix problems. Any parts where the mummies head is poking through can be fixed by adding a loopcut Ctrl+R.

enter image description here enter image description here

Now you are ready to add more wraps. repeat the process with varying thickness on the solidify in order to swaddle your mummy.

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ Hi! Thanks for your help. I was able to create this basemesh using some of your tips: i.imgur.com/ualdyXp.png. Now I need to add in the robes. Can you elaborate on how exactly you would do that? I tried brasshat's plane extrusion idea but it is really easy to run into overlapping extrusions and I don't think I'm quite doing it right (I have been using Shrink/Fatten to extrude along normals). $\endgroup$ – Flafla2 Jun 30 '15 at 17:44
  • $\begingroup$ sure, lemme put somink togethah real quick $\endgroup$ – Scalia Jun 30 '15 at 18:48
  • $\begingroup$ done, whatcha think? $\endgroup$ – Scalia Jun 30 '15 at 19:22
  • $\begingroup$ Ah! Thank you! I knew there was a simpler way to do this than using hand-modelling (using shrink/fatten, etc). Accepted as answer. $\endgroup$ – Flafla2 Jun 30 '15 at 19:36
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First, it will be helpful to add an additional small editor window to the far right of the default scene, running the full length of the blender window. Set this new window to the outliner, and combine the outliner in the default set up with the properties editor below it.

Start with the body, creating this from a UV sphere in object mode, stretched along the z (vertical) axis. In the same layer, also in object mode, add similarly stretched UV spheres sized appropriately for the upper and lower arms, upper and lower legs, feet, and head. Place these spheres in the proper position relative to one another. Add an unstretched UV sphere oriented so one of the poles (the point where all of the longitude lines come together) is facing out of the head, and scale it down to form the eye, and place it into the head, adjusting the geometry of the head shpere as necessary. Rename each object as you add it, so the names of the various body parts are easily identifiable. The hands appear to call for a different modeling approach, more akin to the traditional cube based modeling technique; leave these for later.

Next, duplicate each of the stretched UV spheres individually in object mode, keeping each as a separate object, moving each to a different layer than the body spheres created above. When done, you'll have two copies of your of your body, one in each of two layers. Scaling the spheres in one copy up a little, perhaps 1.005, or 1.01; these larger spheres in the new layer will provide a form for creating the mummy's wrappings. Hide all of the larger spheres except the one you are working with.

Using retopology principles, start with one of the wrapping form spheres, add a plane, keeping the plane and the extrusions from it as a separate mesh. Create a vertex group for this plane mesh, naming it appropriately. Size the plane to appropriate dimensions for the wrapping, rotate the plane so that it is close to, and aligned with the wrapping form mesh, activate snapping of vertices to the closest face, and extrude the plane to form the wrapping around each element of the model. Since it's a cartoon-like figure, it's probably not necessary to worry about making the wrapping continuous across the boundaries between spheres in the same way it might be if it were a more realistic figure, for example, between the upper and lower legs.

When the wrappings are done, separate the meshes from the wrapping forms, make a copy of the original body parts, and move the wrappings and the copy of the body parts to the same layer (or to a new file). Now the wrappings will fit around the body elements. Make your animation rig for the character, linking the sphere elements of the body and the wraps to the rig. Create and animate the hands, and attach them to the rig. Assign materials and textures as necessary. For animation purposes it might be desirable to split the body into an upper and lower part by dividing the body sphere.

While using a mirror modifier might save a bit of time with some of the creation of the wrapping, especially on the legs and arms, I deliberately did not use it because it limits options in creating the wraps for the arms and legs.

Edit: I've uploaded a ~.blend file demonstrating my suggested wrapping technique to my dropbox account. The stretched sphere in this case is the wrapping form, and while it is part off the same object as the wrap, the two submeshes are separate, and each is assigned to a separate vertex group so one of the other can easily be selected. The trick here is to extrude an edge from the right side edge of the wrap, choose each vertex of the edge extruded from, and hover over the desired face in the wrapping form with snapping turned on and the target set to "closest". The wrap snaps to the location on the plane below closest to the vertex. Notice that the wrapping is at an angle from the horizontal. If you want a tightly wrapped mummy, keep the angle at which the extrusions are made low, so that when a complete circuit of the form is made, you can overlap the extrusions over the previous circuit of the wrap. If you want the wrapping not so tightly wrapped, so that parts of the underlying character mesh show through, do not overlap the extrusions.

While the character can be created as a connected mesh, modeling the various parts of the character as separate stretched spheres allows for the special effect that when surprised (for example), the parts of the mesh can be separated and then reassemble in game. This wrapping technique works with the construction technique used in the other answer to the question. In that case, it might be useful to use vertex groups to hide bits of the combined mesh to make wrapping easier.

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  • $\begingroup$ I think this will be difficult to follow without images. $\endgroup$ – Ray Mairlot Jun 29 '15 at 11:58
  • $\begingroup$ Hi! Thanks for your help. I was able to create this basemesh: i.imgur.com/ualdyXp.png . Now I need to add in the robes. Can you elaborate on how exactly you would do that? I tried your plane extrusion idea but it is really easy to run into overlapping extrusions and I don't think I'm quite doing it right (I have been using Shrink/Fatten to extrude along normals). $\endgroup$ – Flafla2 Jun 30 '15 at 17:45

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