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

Modeling the Tongue and Teeth

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Almost every character needs to have teeth and a tongue. We will first model the teeth and then add the tongue. For a more realistic look you should ideally model the gums as part of the mouth cavity. However, in this tutorial we will model them separately. This can be done as long as the mouth is not opened too wide, i.e., as long as the inside of the mouth cannot be viewed in detail.

Begin by creating a Cube with 7 Segments X for half of the upper gum (a child has 28 teeth; 28 divided by 4 gum halves equals 7). In order to maintain a cube shape for modeling, multiply the Y or Z scale by 7 to get the Size for X (50 units in the Y or Z direction multiplied by 7 segments equals 350 units in the X direction). This gives us 7 cubes, each with a size of 50x50x50.

Call up the Bend command from the Create | Deformer menu. Set its Strength value to 90°, its X and Z values each to 50 to match the size of the mesh and leave the Length value set to 250. Now rotate the Bend deformer so its bent as shown below (P Rotation and B Rotation values each set to 90°) and position the Deformer along the X axis at the beginning of the gum object (this will later be the center of the mouth). Enable the Keep Y-Axis Length option when adjusting the Deformer. Otherwise the mesh will be distorted.

The advantage of using a Deformer is that the original object can still be modified (this makes moving individual points easier). In this case we will use the deformation to help us model the teeth. Before you proceed, convert the Cube object to a polygon object (make it editable).

Create a Symmetry object and delete the polygon at the symmetry axis (you may have to re-position the mesh along the YZ plane accordingly). This will complete the shape of your top gum. Delete the top polygons of your gum mesh. These would be covered by the roof of the mouth and are therefore superfluous. You can now use a Subdivision Surface to round the mesh.

Now that we have created the basic shape of the gums we can begin modeling and positioning the teeth. To begin with, create a Cube, make it editable and start modeling an incisor tooth. You can delete the top polygon since this part of the tooth will be inserted into the gum.

Add a vertical and a horizontal cut line as shown below to round the tooth a little more.

Create a copy of the tooth. We will use this copy as a starting shape for the other teeth. Enable Smooth Subdivision for your original object to Subdivide... the mesh again, which will add a slight curvature to the tooth.

Make the tooth a Child object of a Symmetry object and position and scale it accordingly. Use the subdivisions in the top view to help you position the tooth.

Next, make a copy of the finished tooth to create the second incisor. Scale and position it accordingly.

Create another copy of the original tooth. We will use this copy to model the corner tooth (cuspid). Modify the points to shape the tooth and position the tooth accordingly.

Repeat this process for the remaining molars. Always use a copy of the original tooth as a base. The image below shows the steps that can be used to model a molar:

This is what the top row of teeth should look like when finished:

Now that the teeth have been brought into position we can fill the gaps between the teeth with the gum. Select the edges shown below and apply a Bevel with a of 1:

Use the Loop/Path Cut tool in Loop mode to add a row of points as shown below:

Select the polygons at the bottom of the gum and apply the Normal Scale command to reduce their size. This will also move the points along the symmetry axis. Move them back to their original position to avoid creating gaps in the mesh.

We will use the new points to close the gaps at the roots of the teeth and to create bulges along the gum.

We will use the Line Cut tool to add another cut line that will help us close the gap between the two front teeth. Drag the resulting point at the symmetry axis downward as shown below to fill the gap.

The gum is usually a little more flat above the front and corner teeth. Therefore we will need to add another cut line over the center of each of these teeth so we can push the gum back slightly.

All we need to do now is arrange the points to make the gum look more realistic:

Duplicate and mirror the upper teeth and gum to create the lower teeth and gum. You can duplicate the upper teeth and gum by either using a Symmetry object, simply rotating a copy or by using the Mirror command. Make the lower teeth and gum a little smaller and position them so the upper incisors are slightly in front of the lower incisors and the molars are offset.

Finally, shorten the lower incisors and corner teeth slightly.

Now we can position the teeth and gums within the character’s mouth.

Now that the teeth and gums have been brought into position we can modify the gums of the mouth cavity accordingly and also model the tongue. First, use the Loop Selection tool (Select) to select a polygon loop around the lips as shown below. Then apply the Fill Selection command from the same menu to add the inner side of the mouth to your selection. Return to the Select menu and select the Hide Unselected command, which will leave only the mouth and lips visible.

In this case it is easier to work with one half of the model and mirror it when it’s finished. Therefore, delete one half of the visible polygons. Make sure you work in Polygons mode. Otherwise you will risk also deleting hidden elements.

You can now use the Optimize... command to remove superfluous points left by the deleted polygons. Modify the mouth cavity to match the shape of the gums and use the Mirror tool in Use Polygon Tool mode to create the other half when finished. Since the Mirror tool can only mirror unhidden polygons no polygon selection has to be made. This step should be performed in the front view to ensure a correct result. Make sure that the points on the symmetry axis lie exactly on the axis so no gaps between the two halves result.

Select all visible polygons and select Set Selection from the Select. Unhide all polygons and apply the Optimize command. This has to be done because the existing points were not melted with the new points when the lips were mirrored. Next, select the previously created Polygon Selection Tag and click on the Select and Hide Others button to make only the previously selected surfaces visible.

Next we will model the tongue. Select the four polygons at the rear of the mouth and apply the Extrude Inner command. Then select the polygons of the upper half and hide them so we can better work inside the object (see image below):

Extrude the polygons you just created to begin modeling the tongue. In the Coordinates Manager, set the extruded region’s Z Scale to 0 to align these polygons along the Z axis.

You can now arrange the points to shape the tongue’s profile before extruding the polygons again and completing the tongue.

Arrange the points until you are satisfied with how your tongue looks.

Finally, apply the Unhide All command again in Use Polygon Tool mode so you can continue working on the model as a whole.

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