Soldier Base Mesh Development and Anatomy Study (nsfw)

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Stealth23 polycounter lvl 4
Hi everyone,

I'm a long time lurker and aspiring character artist. Over the past year I've been very slowly learning the fundamentals of anatomy and have been dissatisfied with my progress, so recently I've decided to start an anatomy project with a set goal to try and better educate myself.

The project I've chosen is to create a faction mod for the game Squad and I'm going to create all of the character assets from scratch. Specifically what I'm planning is to create an African Rebel faction so I've bought a reference pack off 3D.sk of a man with the body type I'm going for.

I'm following Rafael Grassetti's tutorial series for my workflow and so far I'm still working on the blockout. Once I've got the proportions correct I'll move onto the torso anatomy and continue through the rest of the body after that.



I would really appreciate any feedback or constructive criticism, Thanks!

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  • carvuliero
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    carvuliero interpolator
    Bold move Stealth23 , you have to jump first to learn how to fly right ?
    As you still on proportions you might ask yourself which proportional system will best to use (If I remember correct Rafael used 8 heads ) . There are quite a few to pick from : 
    - head width 
    - head height
    - relational 
    Meanwhile one thing is a bit off if you using 8 head height as proportional system - head is to small (height and depth)

    Best
  • Stealth23
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    Stealth23 polycounter lvl 4
    Thanks for the feedback carvuliero. I have made the head larger and slimmed the character down a bit, now he's about 7 1/2 heads tall. I've also tweaked the proportions of the legs and arms.



  • carvuliero
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    carvuliero interpolator
    Ok then you have unique opportunity to benefit from Paul Richer's proportion charts (I dont think I can upload higher resolution  then that here , let me know if they are blurry)
    I will let you have some more fun with your character , maybe on your next post I will step in and give some tips 
    Maybe just one this time - push chest out 
    Can I ask you a question > Is Rafael's tutorial working for you , is it understandable , easy to follow 


    Best.
  • Stealth23
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    Stealth23 polycounter lvl 4
    Ok then you have unique opportunity to benefit from Paul Richer's proportion charts (I dont think I can upload higher resolution  then that here , let me know if they are blurry)
    I will let you have some more fun with your character , maybe on your next post I will step in and give some tips 
    Maybe just one this time - push chest out 
    Can I ask you a question > Is Rafael's tutorial working for you , is it understandable , easy to follow 


    Best.
    Thanks for the guide, I'll definitely use it next chance I get to work on the character.

    As for Rafael's tutorials I have already gone through them once to understand the workflow and I do find them very helpful, although my first attempt was heavily flawed because I didn't use consistent reference. I think generally his workflow is effective for me, I've tried a couple others but never got results to the same level as what I'm getting out of his.

    In my mind the main issue I struggle with at the moment is my eye for overall anatomy. I get very tunnel visioned when working on a specific areas and it quickly gets disproportional to the rest of the body. I also tend to compromise on changes when I shouldn't, like the chest for example, I pushed it out more initially but then quickly pulled it in because i was worried it was too much.

    Anyway, thanks for the feedback, always appreciated.
  • carvuliero
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    carvuliero interpolator
    Yeah I know what you mean , you have to force yourself to see when you look , right now your brain is filtering most of the information - study anatomy and tracing reference can help you see better 
    I could probably help you with some of your current problems :
    -consistent reference : You can prepare and  lineup you reference as first attach image and later use guides similar to second attached image in zbrush (Note: use side view for calibration always ) I am using just few measurements (widest point on shoulder, waist and widest point on pelvis)
    Also you can use  a box with maximum dimension of you character (cyan rectangle) ,  just to keep yourself in this boundary its helpful when you blocking , its like a marble block your sculpture cant ever be bigger then that 
    -tunnel vision : You can block your character in straight line(or use primitives or big simple shapes- 3rd image ) and just compare 2 lines at the same time (red marking) also you can use the box and negative space to check yourself 


    Best



  • Stealth23
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    Stealth23 polycounter lvl 4
    Thanks for all the tips, when I get the chance I'll go through my references and get the guide lines set up. Unfortunately tonight I didn't have much time so I just changed the characters side profile to fit better with Paul Richer's proportion charts you provided, but it was fairly rushed.


  • carvuliero
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    carvuliero interpolator
    Nice strong side view gesture line , you can improve on the front view by adding carrying angle to the forearm and change direction one more time at wrist (nice graceful curve down the arm is what you after)
    One more thing , maybe enlarge the space between medial  border of pectoralis(xiphoid process)



  • Stealth23
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    Stealth23 polycounter lvl 4
    Nice strong side view gesture line , you can improve on the front view by adding carrying angle to the forearm and change direction one more time at wrist (nice graceful curve down the arm is what you after)
    One more thing , maybe enlarge the space between medial  border of pectoralis(xiphoid process)
    When you say add the carry handle do you mean to change the positioning of the entire arm to reflect the reference you provided or just the angle between the forearm and upper arm? Because at the moment I've been using the pose of the current Squad characters as a guide, like this:

    I was planning on refining the pose to make it more accurate to the Squad models after getting the major proportions done to reduce any issues with rigging, but what would you recommend to do? Should I continue sculpting in this pose or switch to a more natural pose now then change it later?

    Also, following your advice for creating a consistent reference sheet I've spliced together some of the images from the pack I bought and come up with this:


    I would also like to ask for advice when it comes to following the reference. Because I want to turn this character into a base mesh to use for other characters how strictly should I follow some of the more abnormal features of the reference? For example, he's got proportionally large obliques and his posture is fairly bad. So would you recommend I try to make the model as close to the reference as I can or take some liberties to make the base mesh more versatile?

    And thanks again for all the help, you've brought up a lot of stuff I would of never thought to do myself.
  • carvuliero
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    carvuliero interpolator
    Yes carrying angle is between arm and forearm (there is similar thing at the knee but not sure if have same name )
    Pose is up to you (just keep in mind that carrying angle is part of anatomically correct human arm its not accessory-pose thing ), current A - pose is perfectly fine for rigging and with some re-sculpting can turn into T-pose or whatever
    Basically you can use a pose as tool to show some character to your model , I have attached an image which clearly show that same model can look and feel differently just by changing pose (also notice poses are symmetrical you can sculpt in them ,every character artist should know this thing and most have not idea what leading with is  http://sonjebasa.blogspot.bg/2014/10/pushing-your-figures-leading-or-head.html)
    Looks like you did great job aligning this images , one thing tho middle measurement should be waist , sorry I didn't explain myself why pick exactly those 3 measurements (widest point on shoulder - its widest point on your model when arms are close to the body, so you have outer boundary , waist - narrowest point on your model , so with shoulder you have min and max , widest point on pelvis which is more or less at gluteal fold level - this 3 measurement give you approximation of the trunk, from here you can use comparison or relation to measure everything else )
    About your reference question :
    1 Reference is just that a reference so you can use it as closely as you want  or not at all 
    2 Base mesh will be retopo of what up end up from current sculpt so at this low polygon state you can make drastic changes in a click of a mouse , if your topology is good , base mesh should be able to encapsulate everything humanoid like 
    3 Also about using references : you can just use one part from one model and another part from another - mix and match make yourself a perfect frankenstein , but as you still learning stick to one model till you know how different parts interact and connect to each other 




  • Stealth23
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    Stealth23 polycounter lvl 4
    I've made some more tweaks to the general proportions using the reference proportions guide and tried to add the carry angle. I'm fairly happy with the proportions at this point and might move onto refining the torso.

  • Stealth23
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    Stealth23 polycounter lvl 4
    Started on the torso. I might be getting ahead of myself when smoothing out the muscle detail, is it better to leave the hard muscle details for now and smooth everything to look natural when the overall muscle structure for the torso is finished or smooth the muscle details as I finish sections?


  • carvuliero
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    carvuliero interpolator
    Hey there ,
    Great progress ! Maybe just a few small suggestions :smile:
    -biceps doesn't seems to go under the deltoid 
    - missing semilunar line 
    - maybe add just a little costal cartilage 
    - some more volume to top of gluteus medius
    Also can post few more views nest time 


  • FourtyNights
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    FourtyNights polycounter lvl 4
    I just got to say that this is awesome anatomy feedback from you, @carvuliero.

    It's rare to see such an in-depth criticues here, and you had a couple of cool latin/latin-english terms that I had to google to find out more. Speaking of the gesture of an A-pose or a T-pose, I agree that it's crucial to get that natural flow of the body. A proper lordosis (the balance of cervical, thoracic, lumbar and sacrar curvatures) is the key.

    Oh yeah, the carrying angle (cubital angle as I've known it), nice to know those other search terms to keep in mind (cubius varus and valgus). Generally it's more emphasized on females, but I agree that some males have it too. I've seen so many male sculpts with the opposite "varus syndrome", that they could really go a bit for the valgus' side more than anything else. BUT, still, the carrying angle on males tend to be more neutral than in the zone of "cubitus valgus". Maybe the general rule of thumb for males would be a careful angle of 2 degrees, and for females you may go as high as that max 15 degrees. But with Stealth23's recent changes, it looks good though.

    What comes to the use of references (mostly just proportion charts) in ZBrush, I've usually used the See-through slider on top of its UI. No need to hazzle with setting up reference images inside ZBrush. Just line up your character on top of the background image with the See-through feature to check your proportions, and you'll good to go.

    Anyway, I'm one of those character artists who devours artistic anatomy knowledge, and this is just awesome. I encourage other artists in Polycount to be like carvuliero and give feedback like this. It's extremely helpful. Also, I just can't highlight this fact enough:

    No matter how much clothes are going to cover your character, make sure your underlying anatomy is correct and detailed enough (apart from micro detail, unless the characters is going to be nude or close to nude, like wearing underwear).

    Nevertheless, keep working @Stealth23. (;
  • carvuliero
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    carvuliero interpolator
    Thank you  @FourtyNights
      FourtyNights said:
    Anyway, I'm one of those character artists who devours artistic anatomy knowledge, and this is just awesome. I encourage other artists in Polycount to be like carvuliero and give feedback like this. It's extremely helpful. Also, I just can't highlight this fact enough:

    I have a lot more thing to share so if you or anyone else need some help with his/her anatomy , I will be happy to do it 
    If you care to learn one more thing try "mental trigon" its the last weird thing I found about human body
  • Stealth23
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    Stealth23 polycounter lvl 4
    Thanks for the feedback guys. Really appreciate it.

    I've continued working on the torso using the feedback you provided @carvuliero but I haven't touched the arms yet, so I'll keep your feedback for them in mind when I get to them. I find I'm still being too cautious with muscle definition, is it too little or too much at the moment?



    Also, I imported the rig I'm going to use for the character as a guide mesh to get the proportions right, it feels a little off in areas like the hands but that could just be because I've been staring at the model with different proportions for so long.


  • carvuliero
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    carvuliero interpolator
    Clavicle location messing you whole construction in this area , maybe hide head and pose a top view or just push it closer to neck cylinder
    Pectoralis is missing one of his plane changes and looks deflated on the side 
    There are a lot of other smaller things so you maybe can use some of RIcher's help again , it a bit idealized so keep that in mind , but is great reference 



  • Stealth23
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    Stealth23 polycounter lvl 4
    Haven't had much of a chance to work on this till tonight but I've tried to adjust using your feedback @carvuliero and here's the result:



    The Richer's reference you provided was very helpful in furthering my understanding of muscle group relationships. I definitely need to continue refining but it was particularly helpful for the Obliques. I still haven't touched the arms but tried to add some of the muscle definition to the legs which you pointed out. Thanks again for your help.
  • carvuliero
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    carvuliero interpolator
    There is still something not quite right with pectoralis and its probably nipple position, in general they are one head apart also serratus and obliques can have a bit more smooth transition other then that I think it look good enough for now you can continue with the rest of the body and give it same level of details

  • Stealth23
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    Stealth23 polycounter lvl 4
    All I managed tonight was applying your feedback @carvuliero, tell me if you think this is about right.


  • carvuliero
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    carvuliero interpolator
    Good enough for a block out , do continue with the rest , try to define the other portions to the same level or maybe just arm and legs and after that block hands and feet in planes 
  • Stealth23
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    Stealth23 polycounter lvl 4
    I decided to continue onto the torso back because I've had a lot of trouble in the past with the back, even though I've heard it's meant to be an easier area to sculpt, so I'm taking it a bit slowly. Here's the upper back so far.


  • carvuliero
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    carvuliero interpolator
    To the contrary back is composed of a lot of muscles layered on top of each other and its highly variable base on scapula rotation and individual muscle flexion
    My suggestion is to put bony landmarks first so you know where to connect muscle to and not get lost in the process 






  • Stealth23
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    Stealth23 polycounter lvl 4
    I flattened out the upper back area and re-sculpted it with some of the bone landmarks. I also used clay tubes rather than clay to get a better understanding of the muscles and I haven't smoothed it yet, so tell me if you think this is better.


  • Stealth23
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    Stealth23 polycounter lvl 4
    I haven't worked on it much this week, only tweaked the upper back and added the lower back muscles. Will smooth it once I'm happy with the muscle positions and masses.


  • carvuliero
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    carvuliero interpolator
    Raise spine of the scapula and shave some of back volume 




  • Stealth23
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    Stealth23 polycounter lvl 4
    Thanks again @carvuliero.

    I adjusted based on your feedback, this is what I've got now.


  • Stealth23
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    Stealth23 polycounter lvl 4
    I smoothed out the back muscles and continued to adjust them but I ended up getting a bit stuck on the shoulders and decided to stop before doing more damage. So far I think this is looking better than my first attempt with the back, but still not quite right.


  • carvuliero
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    carvuliero interpolator
    Silhouette looks kind of wrong as a singular curved line should be made of few lines 
    I have attached on of my old studies might help you if you see actual thing in 3d , its old so use it as a broad reference 
  • Felixenfeu
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    Felixenfeu polycounter lvl 6
    There is a usually a very strong "triangle" shape in the back, from top view, that you definitely don't have here. It's basically because the spine goes inward within the ribcage and the scapula peak outward.

    See how deep in the ribcage the spine goes : 


    While your overall back muscles position seem OK, the volumes themselves at the moment are way, way too flat. 
  • Stealth23
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    Stealth23 polycounter lvl 4
    I didn't get a whole lot done tonight but I took your advice @Felixenfeu and tried to give the M shape to the back and added a bit more volume, in retrospect though I was too light with it. Currently I'm thinking about going back to the muscle sculpt, adjusting the shape there then trying to smooth it out again since the back still seems to be the part of the body I have the most trouble with.



    I wasn't able to download your study without it corrupting when I got home @carvuliero but luckily I downloaded it at work so I'll be able to check it out tomorrow.

    Thanks for the feedback guys.
  • Stealth23
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    Stealth23 polycounter lvl 4
    I grabbed that study you uploaded @carvuliero and gained a lot of understanding from it. Based on that study I did a quick re-sculpt and smooth of the back, it's not done yet but I think it's better than before. Let me know what you think.



    Part of the reason I wanted to do this project was to figure out what areas of anatomical understanding I have issues with and the back is definitely one of them. After I get this base mesh done I will do some proper studies but for now I'm going to press on with this and try to get it finished.
  • carvuliero
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    carvuliero interpolator
    Still need some love but looks better 
    There is a hole between deltoid and torso which should not exist - actually deltoid need some adjustment
    My suggestion is to fix head proportion next as is looking smaller in relation to body 
    General proportion for head - Width 5-6 Height 8 Depth 7 -> in relational units 

  • Stealth23
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    Stealth23 polycounter lvl 4
    I've been sick for the past week and haven't done anything on this project until tonight. I took the feedback you provided @carvuliero and adjusted the clavicle and head area. Unfortunately I had a shading bug that took me a while to fix so I didn't get as much done tonight as I planned.

  • Stealth23
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    Stealth23 polycounter lvl 4
    It's been a while. I had ACL reconstruction surgery which knocked me out of practice for this project but I'm getting back into it. I've started work on the arm but haven't touched the hand yet.


    I'm leaving the torso for now. While I want to try and do all of the major anatomy of this character the only important parts for mod are the arms and head so those are what I'll be putting the most effort into.
  • Stealth23
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    Stealth23 polycounter lvl 4
    Tweaked the arms a bit more today. Tried to shape the elbow area and back of the shoulder to be a bit more accurate.




  • Stealth23
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    Stealth23 polycounter lvl 4
    Been working on the hands recently and finished the first pass on the landmarks and proportions but any feedback is greatly appreciated.



    The last couple of weeks have been really slow for this project. I've had a lot of real life things to deal with but nothing bad. Hopefully now things have settled I'll be able to give this project proper attention.
  • carvuliero
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    carvuliero interpolator
    I would check proportion and over all form one more time 
    You have narrow forearm wide hand and narrow fingers , try to unify them so they flow nicely together 
    You don't really need references for this study just check your hand ,but just in case I attached few images that might be helpful 




  • Stealth23
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    Stealth23 polycounter lvl 4
    Thanks @carvuliero as always your feedback is hugely useful. I changed the overall proportion of the hand to get a better flow and put some adjusted the finger proportion and thickness. I also put some extra detail into the palm to get a better idea of how the muscles are sitting.

  • Stealth23
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    Stealth23 polycounter lvl 4
    Tweaked the wrist bone position and inflated the palm on the non thumb side. Also added back rough finger nails.


  • carvuliero
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    carvuliero interpolator
    Pinky side outline looks still misshapen .Please check your thumb tip where meet index finger (in general should be around middle - second joint/knuckles)
    Finger can be better shaped they look like someone with rickets also male finger doesn't taper as much as females
    Just use your hand as a reference if you need to take a piece of paper and something to draw and  make an outline or use ruler to measure and compare different parts or if you have 10 extra bucks you can get some alginate and make yourself a plaster copy 


  • Stealth23
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    Stealth23 polycounter lvl 4
    I've tried to adjust the positioning of the thumb to be more accurate and refine the fingers a bit. I was using a skeleton rig as a guide before because I want to use this character in a mod but I learnt today that the rig is changing to one with better proportions. Once I get that rig I'll readjust but for now I'll just try to make it as accurate as I can.


  • carvuliero
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    carvuliero interpolator
    Whats poly count of this fragment ? Looks a bit on dense side to me maybe this is why you have hard time controlling your forms + bumps and lumps all over the place
    Maybe take a picture of your hand laying on the table or ask someone to help you so you have good top view this say you will have something to compare  your sculpt and image in something like photosop .This is good exercise to learn to see 
    Thumb is still to short and palm to wrist width ration need some adjustment - forearm/wrist is a bit too thin 
  • Stealth23
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    Stealth23 polycounter lvl 4
    The poly count was at about 450,000 which was too high so I busted it down to 90,000. I've adjust ed the thumb position further and continued tweaking the fingers and general proportions.



    Here's my hand I'm using as reference. they're not quite as pink in reality.


  • carvuliero
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    carvuliero interpolator
    Now you can play a little game "Spot the difference" even if sculpt and reference are not in the same pose 
    You could check proportions one more time(use wrist width as a measuring unit with transpose tool ) , 2 other things that need reworking are thumb orientation to the fingers(check your arm if fingers are flat thumb is around 60 degree rotated inward ) and stepping down of hand to wrist 
    If I may suggest to plane your fingers make then long rectangles will be easy to get their length width and taper ,you can always round them a bit later 


  • Stealth23
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    Stealth23 polycounter lvl 4
    I've applied some of your feedback @carvuliero but haven't tried to turn the fingers into rectangles yet, I want to see if I can fix them up without going that far for now since I don't have much time in the evenings to work on this. I have increased the length and side thickness of the fingers, changed the position of the thumb quite a bit, increased the size of the wrist and made some minor changes to the palm under the fingers.



    Let me know if this is the right direction.
  • carvuliero
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    carvuliero interpolator
    Its getting there slowly but surely .In side view forearm - hand transition looks a bit too thin and angle too sharp 
    I think you could exaggerate even more stepping effect on pinky side so you get clear delineation 
    You don't have to completely plane the fingers just trim them a bit(use lightly hPolish/TrimDynamic or similar brush ) so you have more clearly define planes , something similar to image below 

  • Stealth23
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    Stealth23 polycounter lvl 4
    I simplified the fingers into boxes to try and get the proportions right and I think it's helped, tell me what you think. I also increased the profile size of the palm on both sides and tweaked the thumb position. I tried to simplify the thumb in the same way as the fingers but couldn't get it to look right so I've left it smooth for now.


  • carvuliero
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    carvuliero interpolator
    Yeah that's looking like a hand to me , now just have to repeat same process several times and you wont have problem sculpting hands - maybe few in natural position and few in pose 
    Maybe just add a bit more mass to pinky base - in side view fingers are wedge shape , side view thumb side -> index finger is a good example 
  • Stealth23
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    Stealth23 polycounter lvl 4
    I've re-rounded the fingers and tried to add a bit of detail to them. I need to readjust some of the finger tip shapes just haven't got around to it yet, if you spot anything else let me know.


  • carvuliero
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    carvuliero interpolator
    Looks like you thin fingers a bit too much give them a gentle scale both in width and depth , especially in depth(side view) finger should gradually taper and have smooth transition hand to fingers, your currently have step down transition


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