Cinema 4D / BodyPaint 3D Program Documentation Tutorials Character Modeling Tutorial
Function available in CINEMA 4D Prime, Visualize, Broadcast, Studio & BodyPaint 3D

Modeling the Head

Load the file from the previous section or click on the link below:


To model the head we will again use a Cube primitive that we will make editable. Its points will be modified to match the shape of the head in the reference image. Switch to the side view and use the Loop/Path Cut tool to add edge loops. Re-position the cube’s points in the side view before doing so in the front view.

Before you subdivide the polygons you can make the cube a Child object of a Subdivision Surfaces object with a Subdivision value of 1 to get a preview of the smoothed object. Shape the head in both the side and front views. Note that the Viewport’s default mode may not be set to the recommended Wireframe mode, which should be used here to be able to work more precisely.

Once the points have been re-positioned, subdivide the object as we have done in previous sections with the Smooth Subdivision option enabled. A Subdivision value of 1 should be enough.

Switch to the front view and select the polygons around the mouth, as shown below, and apply the Extrude Inner command. Enable the Backface Culling option to avoid affecting the points on the opposite side of the model.

We can now delete one half of the head, place the remaining half in a Symmetry object and fine-tune the points around the mouth. Work in both the front and side views and don’t forget to disable the Backface Culling option before getting started.

Delete the lips’ polygons - we will model these differently.

Now that the mouth has been roughly positioned and all other polygons are ready to be edited we should roughly position the nose and the eyes next. Select the polygons shown below and cut them down the center to create more points (enable the Knife tool’s Line Cut tool’s Restrict To Selection option option in order to avoid creating superfluous points. Don’t worry about the resulting n-gons, we will correct this later).

Extrude these polygons inwardly and adjust the points to match the reference image (only adjust the points in the front view for now). When you are finished, delete the polygons that cover the eye.

Create a Sphere to be used for the eyeball and position it using the front and side views.

Since our character has a cartoon look, the eyes will not be perfectly round. The will be stretched slightly using the Create | Deformer menu’s FFD command. Scale and position the FFD object until it fits around the sphere (see image below). Then move the FFD object’s points to stretch the sphere vertically. Since we will only be stretching the sphere vertically a Grid Points value of 2 will be enough. If the FFD object and the sphere are placed on the same hierarchical layer (e.g., as Child objects of a common Null) they can both be rotated independently and thereby maintain the structure of the deformation.

Hide the FFD object in the Viewport and arrange the points around the eye socket to match the shape of the eyeball.

We will now turn our attention to creating the nose. Place a cut as shown below so we can model the bridge and tip of the nose.

Use the additional points to shape the nose so it roughly matches the reference image (using your own judgment in shaping the nose may be easier than trying to match the reference image).

So far we have created a rough shape for the face and we can now begin fine tuning the mesh. First we will add cut lines, as shown below, that we will use to remove any triangles that have been created:

Select the edges shown below and apply the Dissolve command to remove them and to create into quadrangles.

Next we will optimize the arrangement of points and fine-tune the shape of the face a little. Use the FFD object to adjust the shape of the eye. You can also rotate the eye to make sure it fits correctly in the socket. Don’t worrly about the n-gon at the eyebrow - it will be removed later.

Now we need to create an opening for the neck. Select the polygon at the base of the head and use the Extrude command to extrude it slightly to begin creating the neck. When you’re done, delete the bottom polygon and the polygon at the symmetry axis to create the opening. Make sure that the points along the symmetry axis lie at an X position of exactly 0. This will ensure that they can be melted correctly.

When you’re finished, arrange the points to match the reference image.

Now that the neck is in place we can create a cut from the neck to the n-gon. To do so, use the Knife tool in Loop mode to create a cut from the base of the neck to the n-gon above the eye. Then create another cut in Line mode from the center point above the eye to the eye socket.

Arrange the newly created points so the curvature of the mesh is maintained (otherwise the model will appear angular when Subdivision Surfaces are applied as soon as a row of points is added).

In the following steps we will optimize the head’s mesh and create a better flow of polygons around the eyes, mouth and face. Start by adding a row of points around the eye socket followed by a row of points from the tip of the nose, around the eye to the chin, as shown below.

The last cut resulted in a triangle being created, which we will remove by adding a cut that runs from the center of the head to the center of the triangle’s long side.

Again, arrange the newly created points to make sure a smooth surface is maintained. Note how the change of curvature emphasizes the transition to the temple. This is a good example how changing the structure of the mesh can be advantageous for the look of a model. In this case we avoided having a break in the curve.

We still have two n-gons above and below the eye that we can remove by adding the following cuts:

Select the polygons shown below and extrude them to create a base for modeling the nostrils. Here we will also have to position points along the symmetry axis and the polygons along the symmetry axis have to be deleted in order to create a proper mesh.

To soften the nose at the base of the bridge, Stitch & Sew the two points shown below:

After fine-tuning the shape of the nose a little, all triangles should be turned into quadrangles and the arrangement of the edge loop optimized.

The image below shows how edge loops can be added to remove the triangles. This may look complicated but it is actually quite easy to do. The direction of flow of the polygons only needs to be changed at the tip of the nose so the cut does not have to be made around the entire head.

You can now remove the remaining triangles using the Dissolve command and stitch both points at the tip of the nose.

Now it’s time to adjust the position of the newly created points to ensure a smooth surface.

Next we will add details to the regions between the eye, nose and mouth. Add the cuts shown below and remove any resulting triangles using the previously described method:

Add a cut on the nose as shown below to remove the last triangle (don’t forget to adjust the newly created point).

The chin and cheeks can also be fine-tuned by adding a few cut lines and applying the Dissolve command to remove the resulting triangles.

Try to arrange the points on the face as uniformly as possible.

Next we will fine-tune the forehead and temple regions a little so we can clean up the curves and add more detail to the eyes. Adding cut lines over the eyebrow and subsequently removing the resulting triangles will create a new direction of flow - and also finally remove the n-gon at the temple.

Arrange the points uniformly so the mesh is smooth across the forehead.

We will now add points to the temple and eye regions. Add the cut line as shown below, remove the triangles and arrange the points accordingly.

Next we will add detail to the neck. At the same time we will simplify the horizontal row of points a little. Start by placing a cut line from the bottom edge of the neck to the top of the head, as shown below:

Use the Stitch & Sew or Melt command to connect the following points:

Now that we’ve connected the horizontal row of points we can do this with the vertical row of points as well.

Arrange the points on the neck and the rows of points that were just melted accordingly.

Now add more detail beneath the eye and fine-tune the mesh.

The sides of the nose can be fine-tuned by re-positioning the newly created points accordingly.

Select the surfaces at the bottom of the nose and use the Extrude Inner command in conjunction with the newly created points to shape the outline of the nostrils. Extrude this polygon group to create the holes.

Your model should now look similar to this:

As you can see, the lips still need to be modeled out. Add a cut line with the Loop/Path Cut tool in Loop mode for the outer edge of the lip and arrange the new points accordingly.

We will now use the Bridge tool to connect the upper and lower lips. Since the upper and lower lips do not have the same number of points we will end up with a triangle at the end after connecting all points. This will however not pose a problem since it will be turned into a quadrangle once the Symmetry object is applied.

To model the opening of the mouth, extrude the polygons shown below and move them inward (delete the polygon at the symmetry axis). Modeling the cavity of the mouth will require a few more cut lines inside the mouth (disable the Symmetry object when working inside the mesh). An additional cut behind the lips will optimize the Subdivision Surfaces subdivision.

We will add a cut line to the lips, which will help round them a little:

Adding a cut around both lips as shown below will also improve their overall shape.

Finally, add a cut line to sharpen the edge of the lips:

We will now turn out attention to the eyelids. Start by moving the points shown below inward slightly.

Add an edge loop around the eye and arrange the points so the eyelid appears to close very slightly. This will be the resting position for the eyelid and will let us better differentiate its points from the other points.

We will add another cut line to add volume to the eyelid.

A further cut line will help sharpen the eyelid’s edge.

Adding yet another cut line will create a wrinkle around the eye. The wrinkle will be very pronounced since the two cut lines lie so closely together. Arrange the points as you want to vary the strength with which the wrinkle appears and smooth any irregular regions on the mesh.

The face is now finished and we can start modeling the character’s ears. Ears can be quite difficult to model due to their very complex structure. Fortunately we do not have to model all details for our cartoon character but the basic shape of the ear should still be recognizable as an ear. Modeling the ear will be much easier because we can leave any n-gons or triangles since this part of the body will deformed very slightly if at all. A reference image can be very useful when creating parts of the body like the ear.

Select the four polygons shown below, apply the Extrude Inner command and arrange the points so they match the ear in the reference image.

Extrude these surfaces twice and shape the ear as follows:

Apply the Extrude Inner command to the selected caps and arrange the points accordingly.

Continue shaping the ear by extruding, scaling and moving the polygons shown below:

We will add several more cut lines so we can model more detail into the ear. Use the Line Cut tool and arrange the newly created points to shape the ear.

Fine-tune the arrangement of the points inside the ear.

Add the cut line shown below and arrange the newly created points to create the front of the ear.

Select the polygons shown below and extrude them:

Delete both polygons between the last extrusion and the outer edge of the ear. Then Stitch & Sew these elements together:

Shape the newly created mesh to create the curved element that encloses the ear’s interior (using a reference image for this is recommended).

Select the polygon shown below and extrude it to create the overlapping element at the front of the ear:

Complete the inner structure of the ear by adding the cut lines shown below and dissolve the edges of the resulting triangles. This will create numerous small quadrangles without stretching the surfaces too much.

Adjust the points of the ear until you are satisfied with the result. The image below shows the entire head in its current state:

Next, we will fine-tune certain regions of the ear. We will add several cut lines using the Line Cut tool. We will start with a cut line within the ear that we will use to accentuate the outer edge of the ear. Since this part of the character will not be deformed the cut line does not have to be placed that correctly and don’t worry about any resulting triangles.

Add the cut line shown below to add volume to the ear:

Finally, we will make a cut that will be used to accentuate the outer region of the ear a little better. You can leave any resulting triangles as they are.

Fine-tune the mesh wherever necessary. An example of how the finished head should look is shown below:

Now that the head has been modeled it has to be fit to the rest of the character. Unhide the entire character and extrude the bottom edges of the neck. Match the newly created points to the opening of the shirt.

Add a cut line to the neck as shown below. We will use this new cut line to create a smoother transition to the base of the neck.

Add a cut line near the shirt collar. This line will accentuate the transition from the neck to the shoulder. You can also use it to indicate the neck musculature at the back of the neck.

The image below shows the character after the Symmetry object has been converted to a polygon object:

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