Inspired 3D: Constructing the Inspired Character — Part 2
Continuing our excerpts from the Inspired 3D series, Tom Capizzi presents an in-depth character construction tutorial.
By Tom Capizzi
All images from Inspired 3D Modeling and Texture Mapping by Tom Capizzi, series edited by Kyle Clark and Michael Ford. Reprinted with permission.

This excerpt is the next in a number of adaptations from the new Inspired 3D series published by Premier Press. Comprised of four titles and edited by Kyle Clark and Michael Ford, these books are designed to provide animators and curious moviegoers with tips and tricks from Hollywood veterans. The following is excerpted from Modeling & Texture Mapping.

Subdivision Modeling Techniques
Subdivision modeling techniques are used to take a low-resolution polygonal object and increase the resolution using a smoothing algorithm to create a high-resolution model. Several methods work quite well to accomplish this task.

Polygon smoothing is conceptually the simplest type of subdivision modeling. The original polygonal model (Figure 17) is defined as the low-resolution cage, and the higher-resolution geometry is created directly from it (Figure 18). You can use subdivision steps to determine the final resolution of the resultant model. As a rule, the resolution should begin with one single subdivision and increase from there based on the need of the model. The entire model can be subdivided, or selected faces can be subdivided.

[Figures 17 &18] Polygon smoothing is a predictable and easy way to create a high-resolution model from a low-resolution model.

The advantages of using this technique are as follows:

Some disadvantages include the following:

Subdivision surfaces use an internal interpretation of the polygonal mesh into another entity type. This entity type behaves similarly to NURBS surfaces. The easiest way to understand this process is to look at Pixar’s RenderMan, which creates subdivision surfaces.

Within a low-resolution cage are quadrangles and triangles. In RenderMan, these entity types are treated differently. A quadrangle is assigned a NURBS surface. Every quadrangle in a polygonal mesh has an infinitely smooth surface that is tangent to the adjacent surfaces. At render time, these surfaces are tessellated adaptively at a pixel level. This unique tessellation method allows for unbelievable detail when rendering displacement maps on relatively simple surfaces.

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