People use 3D models for many different purposes, from entertainment and video games to making informative posters and presentations. One of the more difficult projects in 3D modeling involves creating models of living organic beings. It is relatively simple to make models of things like buildings and bookshelves, but a model of a living thing, such as a bird, has complex curves and a much higher polygon count. In addition, the modeler has to take into account the need to bend certain parts, like wings. You can use many programs for this purpose, ranging from the expensive and complex to the inexpensive (or free) and straightforward. One of the best approaches for creating such a model is called “box modeling,” though you can also use “Boolean” functions.
Open Hexagon. Click on the “primitives” tab at the top and choose the “cube.” Draw the cube into the main view.
Change the selection mode to “faces” and select the front facing polygon. Then click on the “surface modeling” tab and select the “extrude surface” tool. Use it to extend the face forward to create a pointed area that will become the head of the bird. Repeat this step with the other faces to create rough extrusions for the wings and the tail.
Use the “tessellation” tools to divide faces to create more detail. Select points or edges you want to reposition and move them using the “universal manipulator” tool. You can continue refining your model by using a combination of these tools to add greater detail.
Open Cinema 4D. Click on the “cube” at the top to add it to the main view.
Select the cube and click on the “make editable” icon on the upper left of the toolbar. Then change to the “polygon” mode and select the front face of the cube. Click on “structure” in the menu and select “extrude” to create a rough shape for the head of the bird. Repeat this to form a rough tail with the rear polygon.
Use the “knife” tool combined with the “extrude” and “move” functions to refine your design into a bird.
Select side polygons and use the “extrude matrix” function to create rough wings. Adjust these using the tool properties panel on the lower right, which lets you change the curve and distance of the extrusion.
Open Vue Infinite. Select the “cube” primitive from the toolbar on the left.
Select “terrain” shape to add a terrain to the scene. Select the terrain.
Select “object” from the menu and click “edit” object. In the dialog that pops up click on “reset” to get a flat surface. Then select the “dig” tool and use it as an eraser to create a bird shape as seen from the top. Click “OK.”
Use the “move” function to intersect the terrain with the cube. Select the cube in the “layers” panel on the right. Hold down the “CTRL” key and select the terrain object. Then click on “Boolean” in the toolbar on the left. The cube will be trimmed to the shape you created with the terrain. This is only from one angle.
Repeat steps 2 to 4 to trim the bird shape out from other angles.
Daniel Ketchum holds a Bachelor of Arts from East Carolina University where he also attended graduate school. Later, he taught history and humanities. Ketchum is experienced in 2D and 3D graphic programs, including Photoshop, Poser and Hexagon and primarily writes on these topics. He is a contributor to sites like Renderosity and Animotions.