3-D Human Modeling and Animation, 2nd Edition / Edition 2

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All the tools and know-how to create digital characters that can move, express emotions, and talk

3-D Human Modeling and Animation demonstrates how you can use your artistic skills in figure drawing, painting, and sculpture to create animated human figures using the latest computer technology. This easy-to-follow book guides you through all the necessary steps to create and animate digital humans. Students and professional 3-D artists will find this book to be an invaluable resource.

This Second Edition combines detailed, practical information about creating and animating 3-D human models. More than 400 images, interactive files, and exciting animations included on the CD-ROM detail the modeling and animation processes for both male and female figures. Chapter objectives and exercises are tied to the CD-ROM, which also provides color example images, sample models, modeling templates, textures, lesson plans, and relevant animation movies that allow you to start modeling and animating right away!

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Editorial Reviews

Computer Arts Special
With the advent of apps such as Poser, creating 3D human figures has been greatly automated. In this detailed course you're shown how the human form can be constructed from scratch with splines and NURBS, to produce a believable model that will animate with realism.

Profusely illustrated, each element of the figure is covered in detail. Not intended to be program specific, users of LightWave 3D though, will find that many of the techniques, and much of the advice, is relevant to their software.

Beginning with a discussion of the creation of modeling primitives, the supporting tutorials on spline and NURB construction are concise and lead to more detailed information on the use of texture mapping. Concluding with two chapters on preparing your figure for animation, and how the human figure behaves when in motion, this book is thorough, comprehensive, and flexible.

Overall, this is an excellent guide to creating the human form with your favorite 3D modelling package; especially when you need more control over the modeling structure as detailed advice is given on Metaball, polygonal, lattice deformations, as well as seamless spline based modeling.

Library Journal
This how-to art book covers the basics and theory of 3-D modeling and animation. It is not a book about using any particular application. Ratner explains general design approaches for complete figure building, from seamless models and body construction to preparation for animation and creating human motion. Liberal graphics include 40 full-color illustrations of models. This book will have a wide audience and a long shelf life; a first choice along with Callihan.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471215486
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/28/2003
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 7.62 (w) x 9.08 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Meet the Author

PETER RATNER is a professor of 3-D computer animation in the School of Art and Art History at James Madison University. He is the founder of the computer animation program at the university and started the first animation concentration in the state of Virginia. Besides teaching and writing books, he has exhibited his oil paintings, animations, and computer graphics in numerous national and international juried exhibitions.

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Read an Excerpt

3-D Human Modeling and Animation

By Peter Ratner

John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-471-21548-1

Chapter One

Leonardo da Vinci said, "The supreme misfortune is when theory outstrips performance." Although this book strives to be a practical guide, there are certain assumptions about the human anatomy that ought to be discussed in a more analytical manner. Although this chapter examines anatomy, it does not pretend to be a full study of it. Entire books have been written about this subject. These should serve as more appropriate guides for the serious art student desiring an in-depth study of anatomy.

Art students should realize that drawing, sculpting, and 3-D modeling of the human figure require a knowledge of the human anatomy. Lacking this information about the underlying structure, it becomes too easy for someone to create forms that look ambiguous and incorrect. Often one can see this in depictions of humans by novice artists. Arms and legs look like sausages without any definition, proportions are wrong, and the model will look like it was strung together from separate pieces that have no relationship to each other.

Some people wonder why artists so often depict the human body in the nude. The answer is very simple. Clothing hides the solid form of the figure. One needs to start with a clear concept of the basic human frame rather than spend time worrying about folds and details in the clothes. The same holds true with animation. In the beginning it is more useful for students to see how the body moves rather than obscuring the actions of muscles and bones with drapery. Animating clothing in itself presents new problems that should be addressed later.


Throughout history, artists have tried to depict the human figure in ideal proportions. Generally, the average height of a man or a woman can be measured as seven heads tall. When seen on a two-dimensional surface, the seven-heads-tall figure does not satisfy the concept of the ideal. Compare the same female in Figures 3-1 and 3-2. The model in Figure 3-2 that is eight heads tall appears more elegant and statuesque.

If your goal is to create and animate the ideal male and female, then consider modeling them eight heads tall. If you are using 2-D or 3-D templates, stretch their proportions first and then use them as your guides. Then again, if you are planning to create caricatures, try making the heads extra large and the entire body only five or six heads tall. Superheroes are often portrayed as very tall with tiny heads.

Sometimes an artist will deliberately create a model according to the manner in which it will be viewed. Michelangelo's David is a perfect example of this. Since the size of the statue was modeled to be very big and meant to be viewed looking up at it, Michelangelo had the foresight to model the head extralarge, knowing that viewed in perspective it would look normal.

Figure 3-3 illustrates the average shoulder width of the female and the height of the torso. The female appears to have a shoulder width of two and twothirds heads. The male has a shoulder width of three heads (Figure 3-4). Measured from the top of the head to the crotch, both male and female are approximately four heads tall.

Although at first it helps to know the general proportions according to certain measurements, it is better to rely on your own eyes and judgment as to what looks right and what does not. With experience, one learns to gauge proportion according to one's own good sense rather than spending time measuring the figure with a ruler.

When first starting out, scientific knowledge of human proportions and anatomy is helpful but it can become an impediment when adhered to slavishly. Strive to make convincing models by mastering structure, and then eventually develop a personal style. When artists depart from conventional ways of representing the figure, their work often becomes more individual and interesting.

The Skeleton

The skeleton serves as the frame upon which the muscles, tendons, fat, and skin are stretched. The body takes its form from the skeleton. It is the skeleton that gives our bodies proportion. One can compare the skeleton to the framework of a house. It protects and supports what is inside (vital organs) while serving as a foundation for outer parts such as the muscles, fat, and skin.

The underlying skeletal structure also affects the outer contours of the figure. This requires extra attention to detail since the bones are sometimes less pronounced in some areas. Figures 3-5 and 3-6 illustrate some of the parts of the figure in which the bones are noticeable.

It would be difficult to create models with convincing forms without first studying the skeleton. The figure would have little shape without it. Michelangelo shows us an example of this in his painting The Last Judgment, in which he shows his own flayed skin held up by St. Bartholomew (Figure 3-7). It is a wonderful example of the body devoid of a skeleton.

The artistic study of the skeleton is much simpler than a medical one. Students who fail to notice or ignore the skeleton limit themselves to a mere depiction of bulges and depressions when modeling the human form. Without knowing the underlying construction, purpose, proportion, and importance of the skeleton, beginning 3-D modelers will often treat it as just another puzzling factor that appears to change the contours of the figure.

The experienced 3-D modeler recognizes the value of depicting the underlying architecture. There is a realization that the components of the body can be established by the recognition of the large parts of the skeleton. The seasoned animator realizes that all movement originates from the skeleton, which both supports and propels the muscles.

Figure 3-8 depicts various views of the skeleton. Its major sections consist of the skull, spinal column, rib cage, shoulder, pelvis, arm, and leg.

The Skull

Twenty-two bones make up the skull. Figure 3-9 illustrates several views of the skull marked with some of the more prominent bones. The standard method for relative measurements of the body is with skull heights.

The only mobile bone on the skull is the jawbone (mandibula). The rest of the skull bones are rigidly held together by immovable joints. The skull can be divided into two sections: the cranium, which encloses the brain, and the bones of the face.

The frontal bone is located at the anterior of the cranium. It forms the brows as well as the protective curve over the eyes.

Other prominent bones that are visible on the fleshed-out human are the superciliary bone, or the brow ridge; the canine fossa, a concavity below the eye socket; the lower ridge of the nasal bone; the zygomatic bone, or cheekbone; and the mandibula, or jawbone.

Students of 3-D modeling might find it useful to study the skull. Since the layers of muscle and fat are stretched relatively thinly over the skull, its bone structure is more prominent than that of any other part of the body (Figure 3-10).

The Skeleton of the Torso

The upper- and lower-torso skeleton can be split into four sections: spine, rib cage, shoulder girdle, and pelvic girdle (Figure 3-11). All four parts are grouped around the spine. The spine is composed of 33 vertebrae. vertebrae. The lowest 9 are fused together to form the sacrum and the coccyx. The remaining 24 vertebrae are highly flexible (Figures 3-12 and 3-13). They are separated by a fibrous pad of elastic cartilage that cushions and makes movement possible between them. Animators who rig or set up a skeleton should take this into consideration and thus create a series of connected bones with qualities similar to those of a real spine.

It is interesting to note the reasons for the manner in which the spine curves. The coccyx and sacrum arch toward the back, allowing room for the internal organs within the pelvic girdle. Above that the spine curves toward and under the ribs, which it supports. Behind the ribs the spine bends toward the back to support the chest. The neck vertebrae turn toward the front and under the skull. They support the skull almost perfectly at its center of gravity so that there is very little effort required to hold up the head. The shape of the spine regulates the major directions of the trunk.

The barrel-shaped rib cage is smaller at the top. Twelve pairs of ribs and a sternum (breastbone) protect the lungs and heart. Of interest to animators is the fact that the rib cage is supple enough to expand and contract with respiration. Modelers should note that the cartilage in the front, where the seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth ribs join, can often be seen on the surface as an arch underneath the chest muscles (Figure 3-14). This upside-down V-shaped form is called the thoracic arch. The sternum is formed from three firmly joined bones. It is also visible on the surface as a furrow separating the chest muscles (Figure 3-14). The sternum rises and falls with the expansion and contraction of the chest.

The shoulder girdle has the clavicle (collarbone) and scapulae (shoulder blades). Seen from the top, it has a bowlike shape. From the front, the clavicle appears to have an S-curve (Figure 3-15). The clavicle is capable of extensive movement. This adds to the mobility of the arms.

Each scapula is a triangular-shaped plate (Figure 3-15). It is only indirectly joined to the body by its connection to the clavicle. The form of the scapula is in line with the shape of the rib cage against which it slides freely. Besides gliding in any direction, it can be lifted from the rib cage to appear very prominently under the skin. This becomes obvious when the arm is raised above the shoulders. The scapula then moves out to the side of the rib cage.

Lacking the mobility of the shoulder girdle, the pelvic girdle has strength and hardness. Its construction is meant to transfer the weight of the body to the load-bearing legs.

The pelvis is the part of the body from which most of the important actions originate. A great amount of energy is transmitted from this region to the upper parts of the body. This is an important consideration when animating the human figure. Actions will look more convincing if one can show movement originating from the activity of the hips. When setting up a skeleton for animation, the parent bone should start at the pelvis.

Two symmetrical hipbones surround the sacrum. An irregularly curved edge named the iliac crest (Figures 3-11 and 3-16) is often seen distinctly on the skin surface. The hipbones appear as winglike structures, especially on thin figures.

The proportions of the male and the female pelvis vary somewhat. The female pelvis is wider and shorter, while the male pelvis is more massive, taller, and more angular (Figure 3-17). In the side view the female pelvis also tilts forward to a greater degree.

The Bones of the Arm

The most maneuverable bones of the body are found in the arm. Their range of gesture and instrumentality are further enhanced by the fluid maneuverability of the shoulder girdle and the dexterity of the fingers and thumb. Since the arm bones do not have to support the body like those in the legs, their forms are more slender.

Figure 3-18 illustrates the bones of the arm. The upper arm bone, called the humerus, has a ball-like form at the top that fits into the shallow cavity of the scapula. Since this socket lacks depth and the joining ligaments are loose, the arm has the greatest mobility compared to all the other limbs.

The two bones in the lower arm are the radius and the ulna. A hinge joint connects the ulna with the humerus. The radius rotates around the ulna (Figure 3-19). This is accomplished by the bending and stretching of the lower arm muscles. The action of the two bones is evident when rotating the lower arm from a palm-up to a palm-down position. The position in which the radius and ulna are parallel is called supination. Pronation occurs when the radius crosses the ulna (Figure 3-20).

Surface characteristics of the arm bones can be seen at the shoulder, where the head of the humerus makes an inner bulge in the deltoid muscle. At the elbow, three bumps can be seen when the arm is bent. This blocky group of bones is located at the end of the humerus and the beginning of the ulna. The rounded head of the ulna can be seen at the wrist.

Three groups divide the bones of the hand. They are the carpals, the metacarpals, and the phalanges. The eight carpal bones are arranged at the wrist in two crosswise rows. Their placement makes it easy to bend the hand up and down. Side-to-side movement is more limited.

The five metacarpals of the hand are joined to the four lower carpal bones. The four metacarpals leading to the fingers are quite rigid. In contrast, the metacarpal of the thumb has a joint that allows a great range of movement. When animating the hand, one can take advantage of this maneuverability to position the thumb in practically any direction. The heads of the metacarpals are quite visible when the hand forms a fist. Extending the fingers and thumb makes them disappear.

The phalanges are the 14 bones within the thumb and fingers. They gradually become smaller and taper to flat forms, to which the nails are joined.

When modeling the hand it is important to know its bone structure. Without this knowledge one cannot model an accurate hand. A common error is to model the hand too small. Extended, the hand covers four-fifths of the face. One can usually judge an amateur representation of the human figure by the manner in which the hands are depicted.

The Bones of the Leg

The leg bones are somewhat similar to the ones in the arm. There is one upper leg bone called the femur and two lower leg bones called the tibia and the fibula (Figure 3-21). Just as in the shoulder, there is a balland- socket joint at the hip and, similar to the elbow area, there is a hinge joint at the knee. The hinge joint at the ankle corresponds to the one at the wrist.

However, the bones in the leg are heavier and stronger and have less freedom of movement than those in the arm. This is because the leg bones were developed for mobility and weight bearing.

The femur, or thighbone, fits into the pelvis with a ball-and-socket joint that allows restricted motion in every direction. The prominent bulge at the femur, called the greater trochanter (Figure 3-21), marks the widest area of the male hips. In the female, the widest part is lower due to a deposit of fat.

The hinge joint at the knee is similar to the elbow except it allows only backward movement, while the elbow joint allows only forward motion. Viewed from the front and side, the knee is in line with the hip socket.


Excerpted from 3-D Human Modeling and Animation by Peter Ratner Copyright © 2003 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

About the CD-ROM
Ch. 1 Beginning Modeling Techniques 1
Ch. 2 Intermediate Modeling Techniques 25
Ch. 3 Anatomy of the Human Figure 55
Ch. 4 Advanced Modeling Techniques, Part 1 81
Ch. 5 Advanced Modeling Techniques, Part 2 97
Ch. 6 Advanced Modeling Techniques, Part 3 111
Ch. 7 Advanced Modeling Techniques, Part 4 131
Ch. 8 Advanced Modeling Techniques, Part 5 151
Ch. 9 Setting Up the Human Model for Animation 183
Ch. 10 Surfacing and Lighting Details 215
Ch. 11 Fundamentals of Human Animation 243
Ch. 12 Human Animation Principles 271
Bibliography 311
Index 313
About the Author 317
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