For many 3D artist, especially CAD oriented ones like myself, the task of modeling an organic object be quite daunting. You want to make that really awesome animal/character/futuristic car that you've had drawn up in you mind, but can't draw anything that isn't straight lines. I've drawn up lots of machines, robots, and complex mechanisms, but I've always be either frightened to try organics, or when I did, I was so frustrated with the results (or therefore lack of) that I would just give up. If this is you, then fear not! This tutorial will not only guide you to making beautiful 3D Jack-o-Lanterns, but also help many of you past your fears of organics or at the least help redefine your way of looking at them.
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
One thing that you will find the more art you do, the more familiar you are with a subject, the easier it is to replicate and manipulate. For this project, our subjects are a pumpkin and a helmet of your choice (whether it be Vader, a stormtrooper, Iron Man, RoboCop, or Masterchief). Google it, and look at the images. What makes it special? What is the most recognizable part of it?
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.