We'll be modeling the Jack-o-Lantern below, as it combines spherical geometries with smooth planes (I'll go into detail later). I started this project when I saw the Jack-o-Lantern contest on the website. I had never done any organic shapes to this extent, but through either blind intuition or a whisper from the Lord, I found an approach that was malleable enough for organics, but geometric in nature. This process allows you have the freedom of organics, but with the straight-forwardness of geometric modeling.
I'll be using be using Blender 2.68a for this tutorial, but since it is mostly a concept tutorial, this should work for most 3D modeling/CAD softwares. Let's Begin!
Step 1: Know Your Subject
Two Key examples of this for this project:
Pumpkins: Not complicated. Spherical-ish, ridges at random point, going from top to bottom, and stem.
Vader's Helmet: Just about everyone knows it, but actually makes it so iconic?
- Built-in Googles
- Air Filter-like Mask
- Samurai-like Tapered Helmet
- Ridge over Helmet
- 2 definite pieces
If you can get these down into it, people will easily recognize it. There are other details, such as the triangular shape of the mask, the sharp cheek bones, and the two silver studs on the front of the mask, but these are secondary. Don't get caught up with small details if you haven't got the main features down. Starting with main features simplifies your model while still allowing you to add details later on.
Step 2: Making Your Helmet Base (Face Mask)
We're going to model the helmet (face mask since this is a two piece) first as the Jack-O-Lantern's shape look best when its modeled after the helmet.
Start by looking at those "key points" of the helmet and figure out what faces make them. Are they two triangles, a retangle? Keep it simple. Observe below:
-The cheek bones are just two rectangles. Just drag it away from the middle to make sharp angles.
-For eyes, just make the outline, extrude and scale it down a bit (for those of you outside of CAD, extruding just like copying, except the points stay connected to the originals). Then, extrude and merge at the center.
- For the face mask vent, make rectangles for the side faces, then bring together at the angle you want for the mask. For the nose, make the shape of the nose from the front without worrying about the side view yet. Once you have the shape you want, then you can stretch it out to make the profile of it.
Step 3: Making Your Helmet Base (Helm)
-Extrude, go to top view, move to about 1/6 of the way between the face, and what will be the back of the head. Go to the sides and move till you like it, always checking your reference pictures, and then repeat, moving 1/6 or so of the way at a time, till you are at the very back.
-Once you get the back, make sure that each side comes to its matching point. Merge each point to its counterpart, and check one more time. If you're happy, with it, let's get to the actual pumpkin! If not, that's okay. This is why we try to keep the parts simple, so its easy to go back and change what you don't like.
Step 4: Pumpkin Time!
Add in a sphere, and size it to roughly match the size of you helmet.
Next, deform it, a couple of rings a time till it has a similar shape as the helmet. The best view is from the front while you're doing this. Make sure to line up the sphere right behind the helmet so you can easily see when its close to it contour. Just move the lines out (don't move them up and down unless necessary, like wanting a sharp angle or higher detail.
-Note: More points/edges/faces = higher detail but that also means longer render times, so don't add line where you don't need them.
Now select a couple of the longitudinal rings and scale them (relative to the center) one at a time just enough to make it look "pumpkin-y". Do this about 6-14 around the entire sphere. It will now be begin to look like a pumpkin. Take the very top and bottom of the pumpkin and scale them in towards the center for an even better appearance.
Also, add a cylinder for a stem, and deform it like the way you did the pumpkin by selecting vertical portions of it and scaling them in. If you want a bit more, grab a couple of rings (horizontal loop edges) and rotate them around to give it a twisted look, increasing "realism".
*In image, the black is the pre-made helmet, the white is sphere, and the orange is the parts of the sphere that are selected.
Step 5: Carving
Now just add a curved back drop to fill in any resulting gap between the newly made pumpkin and the mask.
If you are using Blender, then here is a simple shortcut that will turn you model from blocky and ugly to sleek and professional.
-Select one of your objects and go to modifiers. Select from the drop down box Subdivision Surface. Run the "render" value up to 3-6 depending on the capabilites of your computer. When you render it, it should look wonderfully smooth!
Example of Subdivision Surfaces: The mask below is the exact same as seen in step 2, only with the subdivision surfaces modifier added.
Step 6: And That It!
Step 7: Enjoy!
I'll be uploading future instructables further breaking down this process into more of the actual modeling process for other things, like cartoon animals and characters, so if you like this, or have a question, I'd love to hear from you, praise or criticism (constructive please though :D)