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

Modeling the Torso and Upper Body

Open the file you saved from the previous section. Alternatively you can open the following file:

We will use a simple Cube to begin modeling our figure. Make the cube editable and position its points to roughly match the shape of the torso as shown below:

We will now use the Loop/Path Cut tool in Loop mode to add a few subdivisions. We will move the added points accordingly to more precisely match the shape of the torso in the side view.

Next, select the two polygons shown below and use the Extrude Inner tool to create the first stages of the arms:

The base of the arm now consists of 6 points. We will use an n-Side Spline to help us create the arm. Set its number of Sides to 6. Now place the Spline (pink line in the image below) at the base of the arm and rotate it slightly to better align it with the surrounding geometry. Remember to always keep a close eye on edge flow and structure.

Use the mode (hotkey p in Use Point Tool mode) to snap the six points from the base of the arm to the Spline. This will produce a perfect circle when the object is subdivided.

Select both polygons at the base of the arm and set their X scale to 0 in the Coordinates Manager (this will orient them to the YZ plane). Rotate the selected polygons to match the reference image’s shoulder, as shown below:

We can now use the Extrude tool to create the arm. The shape of the arm can be fine-tuned by moving, rotating and scaling points, edges or polygons.

Now that we have completed one half of the upper body we could simply mirror it using a Symmetry object to create the other side. Instead we will use a different method that better supports subsequent subdivisions and overall structure of the model. We will mirror polygons from one side to the other. This will let us maintain better control over our wireframe model.

First we must cut the object along the center of the torso. We could do this using a Knife tool, matching the points and then deleting the points across from the other arm. An easier method, however, is to select the outer points and set their size and position to 0 in the Coordinates Manager. Make sure you use the global coordinate system when doing so!

Before you can mirror the mesh you must first delete the surfaces on the inner side of the wireframe model (do this in Use Polygon Tool mode).

We will use the Mirror command from the Mesh | Transform menu to create the right side of the upper body. Use the default values and make sure all options are enabled. Snap the mirrored mesh to the row of points along the X axis.

Select the Loop Selection too from the Select menu and select the center edge loop. Use the Dissolve command from the Mesh | Commands menu to remove this edge loop without removing the adjacent surfaces.

Select and delete all polygons that lie where the shirt is supposed to be open (neck, sleeves and waist).

We will now add subdivisions in order to make the structure of the mesh more recognizable as a shirt. To do so we will use the Subdivide... command from the Mesh | Commands menu. Use a value of 1 and leave the Subdivision option enabled. This will smooth the model using the Subdivision Surfaces interpolation and make it less angular. This is a quick way to increase a model’s polygon count and add detail while maintaining the shape of the model.

Several parts of the mesh still have to be modified in order to make it match the reference image. As you can see, the opening for the neck is round and not v-shaped like the reference image. Also, we need to add a row of points to better emphasize the character’s spine. Using the Line Cut tool, add a row of points, as shown in the image below. Make sure the Visible Only option is enabled, which will prevent polygons on the opposite side of the model from being cut as well.

Using the Stitch and Sew tool, drag the shirt collar’s center point down to the point below it as shown in the image below. This will stitch both points together.

Use the Dissolve command to remove the edges shown below. This will remove the triangles and give us four-sided polygons in their place.

Next, delete the right side of the mesh and make the remaining mesh a Child object of a Symmetry object and this in turn a Child object of a Subdivision Surfaces object. This must be done in the correct order for the object to be displayed correctly.

Adjust your mesh to match that of the reference image in the front and side views. Take your time in doing so and make sure that the mesh matches the reference image as closely as possible. After you have finished you will notice that the polygons in the mesh no longer flow uniformly and that artefacting and constricting is occuring. We will now modify the flow of polygons slightly and add point rows in order to get better control of the surface properties in certain regions.

Cut your mesh as shown below:

Remove the triangles that were created by the previous cut. Select the edges shown below and use the Dissolve tool to remove them.

If you enable Subdivision Surfaces you will see that the mesh is no longer as smooth as it was. This is a result of the point rows that were added, which pulled the surface a little more taut so the edges could better match the curved shape of the mesh. In this case you can use the Mesh | Transform Tools menu’s Slide tool in conjunction with the Move command to modify the mesh until you are satisfied with the result.

Now we will turn our attention to the back side of the mesh. All we really need to do here is move the existing points accordingly and use the tools from the previous step to shape the back and spine area.

The shirt’s v-neck shape also needs to be brought out a little more. Right now the shape is being rounded via Subdivision Surfaces, which means that points need to be added in order to better define the shape. Add an additional row of points as shown below:

We will now remove the triangles that resulted via the Melt command. Select the edges shown above and apply the Mesh | Commands menu’s Melt command. If we would have used the Dissolve command the points along the collar’s inner edge would have been deleted and triangles would have been created again.

Select the points shown below and apply the Structure menu’s Weld command to weld the points together.

There are still regions of the mesh that need to be modified, in particular at the elbows and shoulders, so they can be deformed correctly after the Joints have been added. Select the edge loop at the elbow (see image below) and apply the Bevel command. Set its Type to Linear with a Subdivision value of 1, which will create two additional loops, one to the left and one to the right of the selected loop. Earlier in this tutorial we mentioned the importance of proper placement of edge loops around such regions as the elbow. Adding loops also lets us achieve a more accurate bend.

With these added points we can adjust the shape of the elbow to match the reference image ad add a slight bend. This will let subsequently added IK joints give the arm a more realistic bend movement. Also, in reality a person’s arms are never perfectly straight - their natural rest position always has a slight bend to it.

Now add a row of points near the shoulder and match the shape of the shoulder to the reference image, as you did with the elbow.

Next we will give the shirt its "thickness". This can be done in one of two ways:

  1. You can use the Cloth Surface command with a single Thickness (requires Cinema 4D Studio).
  2. You can extrude edges along the openings.

Convert the Symmetry object to a polygon object. In Edges mode, select the openings at the ends of the sleeves. First, extrude the edges with a Edge Angle value of 90°, then extrude them again with a lesser value but with a slightly greater Offset value.

Add edge loops near the ends of the sleeves to they are not rounded too much by the Subdivision Surfaces.

Repeat these steps at the bottom of the shirt. Apply the values that give the best result and don’t forget to add edge loops to avoid too much rounding.

Don’t forget that these modifications only have to be made on one side of the mesh and can be mirrored to the other side once you are satisfied with the result. Make your modifications on one side, delete the opposite side and mirror the modified mesh to replace it. You may wonder why we’re not working with a Symmetry object from the start. This is because you sometimes have to modify parts of the mesh that affect both halves (e.g., the bottom of the shirt) and if you only worked with half the mesh while making modifications you would have to re-position the points along the symmetry axis after each modification in order to maintain the integrity of the mesh.

We will use the aforementioned methods to create the collar. A simple extrusion should be enough since we will later connect the collar to the character’s neck or have it lie very close to the neck. Don’t forget to create an additional row of points to make the collar’s edge a little sharper.

When using the Cloth Surface method all you have to do is make the mesh a Child object of the Generator object, set its Subdivision to 0 (the subdivision will be defined by the Subdivision Surfaces object) and define a corresponding Thickness. In this case a negative Thickness value should be defined so the surfaces are generated inwardly. You can also add edge loops here to sharpen the cuffs, if desired.

You may have noticed that there are two n-gons (polygons with more than 4 sides) in the upper chest area. You can modify them by adding a new row of points or you can leave them as they are since they do not cause any artefacting and this region of the character will be deformed only slightly if at all. In the image below you can see which edges need to be modified in order to create 4-sided polygons (quadrangles).

It’s a good idea to add a row of points as shown below to increase detail and keep the surrounding polygons from being stretched too much when being deformed.

Here is the finished shirt model, smoothed, with thickness added:

Continue …