design principles and Modelling theory
COOL HARD-SURFACE MODELLING RESOURCES
Over at Polycount there is a very special link to do with modelling that every modeller should be aware of. Legend has it the info was inscribed at the foot of Mt Topo. Here in this sacred ritual we pass it to you, as many other modellers have done through the ages, and which perhaps you will one day also pass on down to the next modelling generation, behold: WIKI.POLYCOUNT.COM/WIKI/ SUBDIVISION_SURFACE_MODELING.
DISTRIBUTION OF SHAPES
Among all other design principles, the distribution of shapes theory popularised by Neil Blevins really stands out. It sounds simple yet it’s crucial for creating appealing 3D models. Let’s summarise it: • There are primary, secondary and tertiary shapes (big, medium, small) • Maintain a certain ratio between them • Distribute medium and small shapes in a somewhat unpredictable way • Balance the areas of detail with the areas of empty space
It’s always worth breaking down what you’re trying to design. To do this for a mech character that might mean first thinking about its internal articulating frame (skeleton) and things like pistons and beams. Next comes the essential muscles/ organs, things like battery packs, ventilation, sensors and so on. This is covered with the skin, in some cases completely shielded, other times only partially protected with panelling. Usually joints are where plating is missing to allow for that easy articulation and are reminiscent of some human joints, elbows, knees and knuckles that make the mechanics of those areas more apparent.
If you’ve ever modelled something and realised that it feels almost impossible to take the geometry that you have, and make the changes you need (to make it look like what you want), then you’ve felt the need for good topology flow. Like if we want to cut a river flowing at the base of some hill, it’d be way easier if the edge-loops of the mesh flowed along the intended riverbank and not just be an even grid of square polygons raised and lowered to fit the general landscape.