During one of my recent training courses, one of the delegates asked about surface modelling. I thought it could be easily digestable by relating it to an everyday common item, so I thought- why not a Rubber Duck!
Initially this type of shape can be a tough challenge but if broken into the small pieces of how this model is actually made it can be a much less daunting task.
First Step was to try and create the largest feature the body, so this is done firstly by drawing outlines of the shape I wanted to create (in this case tracing around a picture of a rubber duck!) these sketches will be used as guide curves in the loft and also to help me place my other sketches.
The next step was to create the profiles for the loft - these were now much easier to create as I could link them to my guide curve sketches. Next I lofted the profiles together and added in the guide curves.
Next step I created the beak, again this can be done using a lofted surface but rather than having the profiles parallel to each other they can be at an angle in this case 90 degrees.
Again I’ve then trimmed away the excess using the surface trim tool and the purple surfaces on the inside have been removed. I then repeated this process with 2 new sketches to create the lower beak as well.
Then to add a slightly more realistic look I have created to split lines which I have projected on the head to create the eyes and then repeated this process on the side to create the face for the wing. Which allows me to select the faces and give them some colour.
Once I was happy with the surface model I now wanted to turn it into a solid. So to do this I decided to use the insect tool with the front plane this will give me a solid model of the area between my surface model and the plane.
All I had to do then was mirror it across to get my duck. Mirroring is great for complex shapes as it means you can focus on getting one half of the model spot on, knowing you get consistency across the other half. The key however is ensuring you have good quality surfaces along the line of symmetry so that there is no evidence of a witness line, or sharp edge when you mirror.
Once I had my duck I then took it into photo view to create a render. And using the flatten floor option within edit scene I can make my duck look as if it has been placed in the environment and not floating around…..
Sometimes the best way to learn new feature sets is to challenge yourself to an item nearby- not that we are saying your should be using your laptop in the bath...
Check out our training schedules for surface modelling courses if you want to learn more.
By Alex Hall