teaching machines

CS 491 Lecture 19 – Box Modeling


  • Watch this video on modeling a figure in Blender. (I’ve picked this one because it has less magic and professional intimidation than many I’ve seen.) No 1/4 sheet is due, but next class you will be assigned a 1-blugold homework to animate a human figure.


Today in lab your task is to model one of these:

I do not offer a step-by-step walkthrough of how to do this, because our ultimate goal is to make our own stuff. However, I do offer a few suggestions and Blenderisms that I consider essential knowledge:

  • Ask me questions if you’d like to do something but don’t know how. I consider this essential to this lab.
  • Start with a box, slice it in half, and add a mirror modifier, just as you did with the tyrannosaurus rex.
  • Focus on the coarse structure before attending to finer details. This means you should rough out the body and limbs before working on the toes, eyelids, teeth, or mouth.
  • After the box model has been subdivided and extruded so that it approximates your desired shape, add a Subdivision Surface modifier. Toggle the visibility of the modifier with the eye icon to make it easier to tweak the underlying box model.
  • Selecting entire edge loops at a time is really, really useful. Alt-Right Click or Opt-Right Click on an edge to do so.
  • Inserting new edge loops with Control-R is also really, really useful to add “contours” to your model. To smooth out a boxy shape, I often insert an edge loop and then immediately scale it down. To tighten up a round shape (like the eyelids), I often insert an edge loop, scale it down, and then slide it next to its larger neighbor.
  • Breaking a big face into smaller ones can be done with Subdivide or Knife.
  • You can round out an edge loop with Shift-Alt-S or Shift-Opt-S. This is helpful for smooth out the legs or body.
  • For the toes, make you have a couple of faces on the front of the leg. Then use Extrude Individual to draw out independent toes.


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