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In this tutorial you’ll learn how to create an awesome low-poly dinosaur using Blender and Gimp. Artist Karan Shah will walk you through the entire modeling process step by step, and show you how to create an optimized model suitable for use in any game engine.
We'll follow things up later this week with part two, where we’ll delve into Uvmapping and creating unique hand painted textures. Though this tutorial is made using Blender, the modeling work-flow is universal in approach and can easily be applied to any other software. So get started after the jump!
Every few weeks, we revisit some of our reader's favorite posts from throughout the history of the site. This tutorial was first published in January of 2012.
Additional Files/ Plugins:
In a new file, select the default camera and lamp, and press "Del" to delete them, leaving only the cube. Press "3" on the Numpad to get a Right Side View, and switch to "Ortho" view by pressing "5" key on the Numpad.
Select the Cube by Right Clicking on it, and hit 'Tab' to enter into "Edit" mode. Also turn off "Visible Selection" so we can select the vertices hiding behind the front ones.
In the right view press the "B" key and drag select the last 4 vertices. The ones behind will also get selected as we have turned off the "limit selection to visible" mode.
Press "E" to Extrude, move your mouse right a little bit and Left Click to confirm.
With the new vertices selected, Press "R" to Rotate, and Move the mouse to rotate them around 45 degrees, like in the image. Left click to confirm.
Push them down a little bit. Press "G" to move them, and Move the mouse down and left click to confirm.
Now Extrude again, and then Rotate and Move the vertices as shown in the image.
Extrude again to form a "C" shape. Then select and move the corner vertices to give it roundness.
We can now add the background image for reference. With the mouse over the 3D view, Press "N" to bring out the properties panel. Click on the checkbox of the "Background images" panel and the open the reference image. Adjust the transparency and scale to your comfort.
Press "N" again to hide the properties panel (you can also press "T" to hide the Toolbars panel.) While in "Edit" mode, select all the vertices and move them over the head area. Press "Z" to toggle the view mode to wireframe, so that we can see the reference behind the object.
In Edit mode, move the vertices to create the shape of the head (as shown.) And then Save the file by pressing "Ctrl+S" or "Ctrl+W".
Press "7" on the Numpad to get into the Top view. Move your mouse near the center of the mesh and press "Ctrl+R" and Left Click to confirm. This will give us a center seam on the body.
Select all the vertices by pressing "A" and then scale them along the X axis by pressing "S" and then the "X" key. Click with the Left mouse button to confirm.
Deselect all by pressing the "A" key. Now press "B" to drag select all the left vertices, and press 'del' to delete them.
Click on the "Object Modifiers" Button in the property toolbar, and then add the "Mirror" Modifier. Turn on "Clipping" and "Editing Cage". Any editing done on one side will now automatically be mirrored to the other, so we don't have to model twice. Turning on clipping will keep the center loop of vertices intact.
Select the side row of vertices, and then rotate and scale them down (as shown.)
Press "1" on the Numpad to enter the Front view, and then adjust the top side row of vertices (you can select a loop of vertices with alt+Right click.) Push them inwards, you can also turn on/off wireframe mode with the "Z" key. You can also switch on the "selection to visible".
Switch back to the Side view by pressing "3" of the Numpad. Move your mouse over the mesh and create an Edge loop over the eye, by pressing "Ctrl+R". Once the Magenta mark for the loop is in the desired place, left click to confirm and then adjust its place by moving the mouse. Left click again to confirm.
Add more edge loops (vertically) and continue to shape the head by tweaking the vertices. Verify the shape by checking the model from all views.
Now in the Side view, Press "Ctrl+R" again to add one more edge loop (this time horizontally) and Left click to confirm. Adjust them and pull them out a bit.
Select the vertices running across the eye and move them as shown in the image. And then Click on the "Face" select mode.
Select the two faces shown below. This area will hold the eye loop. Press "E" to extrude the faces, but do not move the mouse and left click. Instead "RIGHT-Click" to leave the extruded faces where they are (we don't want to move the new ones.) With the new faces already selected, press "S" and scale them down to form the eye.
Add another loop running around the eye. Tweak the vertices to give them a good eye shape and the loop around it. You can switch between "Face" select mode and "Vertex" select mode for editing. Again check the model from all angles.
Add another Edge Loop near the center of the head. Tweak the vertices to bring out the eye loop, and give more roundness and shape overall.
Select these two vertices at the back, and delete them.
Select the edge loop with Alt+Right Click, and in the side view Extrude them with the "E" key. With the new vertices selected, press "S" and then "Y" to scale them along the Y axis or in short, to align them in a line.
Adjust the vertices to create a nice round shape.
Scale the vertices only on the Z axis, and tweak them to match the reference.
Extrude the loop of vertices, and Scale and Rotate them to match the reference. Extrude a few more times to form the neck. Tweak the loops from all angles.
Now using the same method construct the rest of the body. Extrude, Rotate and Scale the vertical loops as you go, and check from the Top view as well. Adjust the vertices to give the body a nice shape. I have kept the loops marked below in mind while constructing, for the limbs to come out of.
Now extrude the tail, matching the reference. You might need to move the vertices close together in the Top view, but do not move them too close or they will stick as we have "Clipping" on in the mirror modifier settings.
Complete the tail, leaving the last point.
Select the last loop and press "Alt+M" and click on "Center" to merge all the vertices into one. In the Top view, move the vertices towards the center and they will snap. And now you will have the body ready!
Select and delete this edge.
With "Edge" select mode, select the two corner edges shown below and extrude them.
Move the edges closer together and press "F" to create a face between them.
Select the top two edges and press "F" to make a face.
Create an edge loop with "CTRL+R" and tweak the points to give it roundness.
Select the edge loop with "ALT+Right Click" and Extrude. Tweak the points from all angles to give roundness.
Complete the leg using the same Extrude, Rotate and Scale method. Check from the front as well. Aim to have three rows of vertices running around the joints (as shown.)
Now create an Edge loop just above the toe, and select the front three faces. Press "ALT+E", select "Individual Faces" and pull out the toes.
Extrude one more time and Scale down the new faces. Insert edge loops and shape the toe (check from all views.) You can combine the tip face into one vertex using "Alt+M".
Select the faces where the arms will start and delete them. And then select the corner two edges as shown.
Press "E" to extrude them out. With the new edges selected, press "F" to fill the hole with a face. Do the same with the top two edges.
Insert a new loop and tweak it to create a nice round shape.
Select the last loop and extrude it to bring out the arm.
Extrude, Rotate and Scale the loops to complete the arm (as shown below.)
Select the front two faces and extrude them out. Insert new edge loops and tweak them to give shape to the toes.
Select the bottom edges (two at a time) and press "F" to fill. Also do the same for the bottom of the foot.
To add teeth, create a new Plane, press "Shift+A" and click on the Plane. Select the bottom two vertices and press "Alt+M" to merge them. Place the triangle inside the mouth, you can press "SHIFT+D" to make duplicates, then align them to create the desired effect. Remember to check from all angles. Your Low Poly T-Rex is ready!
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