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

Modeling the Trousers/Pants

Those new to character modeling often ask themselves if a character’s individual parts should be connected or not. In the end, this is up to the modeler but also depends on the purpose for which the character is being built. For example, if a character is to be used in a game engine it would be better to model it as a single mesh due to the fact that many game engines can deform a single mesh faster than multiple wireframe elements. It is also easier to edit UV maps on a single mesh. Even though you can create a character with separate polygon groups for use in a game engine it is nevertheless recommended that you combine these elements to a single object (i.e. individual polygon groups can exist but these should be combined into a single polygon object).

Creating a model from several separate objects also offers other advantages. First of all, each individual object can have its own structure and subdivision - some with more subdivision for increased detail and less detailed objects with less subdivision. You also do not have to worry about how these objects will be connected. Another advantage is that such a model can be worked with more flexibly. For example, if you want to replace a normal hand with a pirate’s hook all you have to do is create the hand and hook models separately and switch between them as you wish.

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

We will start modeling the legs by creating a simple Cube and making it editable. Switch to Use Point Tool mode and modify the shape of the cube to match the reference image in both views. Make sure you select and move contiguous points, as shown below, in order to maintain a better overview of the overall structure.

Next we will use the Line Cut tool (disable the Visible Only option so you can cut through both sides of the mesh). Cut the leg several times at different locations (see below) so the shape of the leg can be better defined. Then arrange the points so the shape of the mesh matches the reference image in both views.

Select the points as shown below and center them by setting their scale along the X axis to 0. In the image below you can also see how the points have been adjusted between the legs to better match the reference image.

In order to maintain the required symmetry axis we will convert the current point selection to edges and then extrude them. To convert the points, switch to Use Polygon Tool mode while pressing the Shift key.

These edges can now be extruded slightly. Position the extruded surfaces along the X axis using the Coordinates Manager and make sure their scale stays at 0.

Before we use the Subdivide... command to round off and subdivide the mesh we must first remove the polygons where the openings will be (waist and foot). Otherwise these regions will be rounded off as well and our mesh will be unusable (see bottom half of image below).

Compare your mesh to the reference image. If they do not match, undo the subdivision you just made and adjust the mesh before subdividing again. It is much easier to edit a mesh with fewer points than a mesh that has already been subdivided. The image below shows an acceptable degree of subdivision for easy editing:

Make your mesh a Child object of a Subdivision Surfaces object and this in turn a Child object of a Symmetry object, then re-position the center points using the Set Point Value command. along the X global axis to a value of 0.

You have probably noticed that the color of the mesh is different every now and then. This can be done using the Use Color option in the object’s Basic tab. When using a Generator (Subdivision Surfaces or Symmetry object in our case the last visible polygons will be generated so that their color can be changed. This lets you assign a different color to points, edges or polygons for faster recognition without having to create a material to do so. If the Automatic option is used instead of Always the selected color will only be used until a material is assigned to the object. The Always option is especially useful when working with larger, more complex scenes in order to make object groups easier to recognize.

The first thing you will notice is that the flow of polygons along the thigh is not quite correct. Since this region of the leg will later be deformed quite a bit we have to change the structure of the model so the edges flow in the direction of the deformation we will later apply (and so the points can later be properly linked to the Joints). To change the direction in which the edges flow, first cut your mesh as shown below:

Select the edges shown below and apply the Mesh | Command menu’s Dissolve command.

Compare the objects in the image below. It shows the difference between the old and new edge loops. As you can see, the new edge loop is better adapted to the shape of the leg, which will later result in a more precise deformation.

Before we add more detail we must first delete the last few triangles. Switch to Use Point Tool mode, select the Stitch and Sew command and move the points outwardly as shown in the image below.

Your mesh should now look like this:

The mesh still needs to be modified a little in order to improve the flow of polygons. Take your time in doing so because this will finalize the shape of the mesh for later use. In this case it’s a good idea to keep the Subdivision Surfaces enabled when creating the final shape.

Don’t forget to rotate edge loops if necessary in order to maintain a uniform mesh and to make sure the edges around the knees also flow in the correct direction. Furthermore, a few points in the crotch and buttocks area still need to be adjusted to increase detail.

Generally speaking, the Parallel view should be used when modeling. This gives you a view of the mesh without any perspective distortion. The Parallel view can be defined in the Attribute Manager without having to add a Camera object. To do so, set the Default camera’s Projection type to Parallel in its Object tab settings (Mode menu).

We will now bring out more details of the knee by adding a row of points above and below the knee loop. Switch to Use Edge Tool mode and apply the Bevel command with a Subdivision of 1, which will maintain the center row of points.

Use the Slide and Move tools to adjust the shape of the knee.

Next we will add a few folds to the bottom of the leg by cutting a few new point rows using the Loop/Path Cut tool in Loop mode:

Now reposition the new points to create the creases.

Make the upper body mesh visible and adjust the pants to fit the shirt mesh. Don’t worry about matching the reference image 100% - after all, the reference image only serves as a reference. In our example the points along the waist must be modified to avoid any gaps from appearing later. Also, the pant mesh was centered below the shirt.

Here you can see the result of using the Symmetry object, which can now be converted to a polygonal object (made editable).

We can add thickness to the pants by applying the same methods we used for the shirt. The image below shows the result we achieved by extruding edges and repositioning some points:

The next image shows an alternative solution using a negative Thickness value for a Cloth Surface object (don’t forget to add an edge loop near the leg opening in order to give it more thickness):

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