Building a Digital Human / Edition 1

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In the universe of 3D animation and graphics, the final frontier isn't the vast unknown depths of outer space but rather the intimately familiar human form. Replicating this body is by far the most challenging journey to undertake as a digital artist. Why? Because everyone knows what a human looks like. Digital humans are in our midst. They are stuntmen and background extras in movies such as Titanic. They are your favorite hero or heroine in video games like Tomb Raider. They are the main characters in Saturday morning children's shows such as Max Steel. And now, they have even taken center stage as full fledged, photorealistic actors in such feature films as Final Fantasy. It is clear that digital humans are here to stay; and that artists need to know how to create them. To help artists learn how to master today's powerful 3D tools and improve their skills, Building a Digital Human explores the entire modeling process from head to toe. Beginning with the fundamentals of assembling reference material (photos, anatomy books, etc.) through the details of texturing and refining the skin and hair, a complete human model is built. Once the model is complete, a female and fantasy troll are created to illustrate how easy it is to transform the basic model. Building A Digital Human teaches modelers and artists the texturing and modeling skills needed to create 3D digital humans. It also provides fundamental skills that can be used for a variety of other 3D projects. The models in the book were built using NewTek's LightWave 3D, however, the techniques can be applied to just about any 3D package on the market. The ideas covered utilize a relatively small toolset, so transferring the steps to your program of choice isn't difficult. To make the transition between programs as easy as possible, a quick list of corresponding tool names from Maya, 3ds max, and LightWave 3D is included.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
The toughest challenge a digital artist can face is creating the human form. Humans know what humans should look like, down to the finest detail. From hair to toenails, this book shows how to get the details right.

Ken Brilliant (credits: Jurassic Park 2, X-Files: The Movie) starts with getting the live photographic human reference material you need. Here’s what you need to know about camera angles, lighting, poses, everything. (There’s a complete set of photos on CD-ROM for practice, along with complete 3D models, and full working versions of the 3D Amapi 5.15 3D modeler for Mac and PC.)

Brilliant briefly reviews the basics of polygonal modeling and smoothing. Then, it’s on to setting up a simple box model to understand the human form you’re constructing -- a remarkably useful exercise.

There’s extensive coverage of modeling the head -- down to the level of changes based on your character’s age. (This chapter has 142 sample images!) Brilliant then works his way down to the arms, hands, fingers, torso, legs, feet, and toes, before returning to the head to add real-life texture, hair, and eyelashes.

Like Dr. Frankenstein, you’re now ready to summon your creature to life. Brilliant walks you through building a human animation skeleton, creating expressions, and more. Finally, he shows how to transform “realistic” models into fantasy characters, building realistic females, and clothing your creations.

Brilliant works in LightWave 3D, but this book is usable with anything from SoftImage XSI and Maya down to free tools like Wings 3D and Metasequoia. It’s just plain superb. Bill Camarda

Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks for Dummies, Second Edition.

Library Journal
Human modeling is one of the useful but more difficult digital graphic arts to master. For artists with some previous experience, Femme begins with an introduction to female digital character development and a description of the advantages of the major 2-D and 3-D software packages. Then, it presents examples and comments from various artists using various packages to demonstrate tools and techniques. Special project and gallery sections illustrate examples, while a reference section discusses hardware needs, output formats, and additional resources. Lavish full-color illustrations add value, but be aware that Femme includes several semi-explicit depictions of (generally improbably proportioned) women; for large libraries. Building also takes a nonsoftware-specific approach: it walks beginning to intermediate users through making a male digital model, then transforming it into both a fantasy character and female model, explaining how a basic model can be employed in various ways. More thorough but less visually appealing than Femme, it addresses details down to constructing eyelashes and simulating facial expressions. Building's CD includes reference images of the live model used, 3-D models, full-color illustrations from the book, and modeling and paint software programs. For larger libraries. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781584502852
  • Publisher: Cengage Learning
  • Publication date: 4/30/2003
  • Series: Charles River Media Graphics Series
  • Edition description: BK&CD-ROM
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 380
  • Product dimensions: 7.33 (w) x 9.33 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Meet the Author

Ken Brilliant (Newbury Park, CA) is an award-winning artist, sculptor, 3D character modeler, animator, and instructor. He works in Hollywood in the film and television industry, and his work can be seen in a variety of movies and television series, including Jurassic Park 2: The Lost World, X-Files: The Movie, Interview with a Vampire, Roughnecks: The Starship Troopers Chronicles, and a variety of other films. He is also the author of Modeling Digital Dinosaurs.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Assembling Reference Material Chapter 2 Polygonal Modeling Terms And Techniques Chapter 3 Building A Digital Human Chapter 4 Modeling The Head Chapter 5 Modeling The Arms, Hands, And Fingers Chapter 6 Modeling The Legs, Feet, And Toes Chapter 7 Modeling The Torso Chapter 8 Texturing The Head Chapter 9 Hair Chapter 10 Signs Of Life Chapter 11 Creating New Characters Chapter 12 The Female Chapter 13 Clothing Appendix About The CD-Rom Index

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2004

    Excellent Book

    This book is absolutely amazing. I had never built a 3d model at all until I bought this book. Now, I have successfully modeled a fully animatable 3d human body. It's excellent. Ken explains everything very well, and it is very easy to understand.

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