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Building a Digital Human [Paperback]

Ken Brilliant
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

April 30 2003 1584502851 978-1584502852 1
In the universe of 3D animation and graphics, the final frontier isn't the vast unknown depths of outer space but rather the intimately familiar human form. Replicating this body is by far the most challenging journey to undertake as a digital artist. Why? Because everyone knows what a human looks like. Digital humans are in our midst. They are stuntmen and background extras in movies such as Titanic. They are your favorite hero or heroine in video games like Tomb Raider. They are the main characters in Saturday morning children's shows such as Max Steel. And now, they have even taken center stage as full fledged, photorealistic actors in such feature films as Final Fantasy. It is clear that digital humans are here to stay; and that artists need to know how to create them. To help artists learn how to master today's powerful 3D tools and improve their skills, Building a Digital Human explores the entire modeling process from head to toe. Beginning with the fundamentals of assembling reference material (photos, anatomy books, etc.) through the details of texturing and refining the skin and hair, a complete human model is built. Once the model is complete, a female and fantasy troll are created to illustrate how easy it is to transform the basic model. Building A Digital Human teaches modelers and artists the texturing and modeling skills needed to create 3D digital humans. It also provides fundamental skills that can be used for a variety of other 3D projects. The models in the book were built using NewTek's LightWave 3D, however, the techniques can be applied to just about any 3D package on the market. The ideas covered utilize a relatively small toolset, so transferring the steps to your program of choice isn't difficult. To make the transition between programs as easy as possible, a quick list of corresponding tool names from Maya, 3ds max, and LightWave 3D is included.

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Chapter 1 Assembling Reference Material Chapter 2 Polygonal Modeling Terms And Techniques Chapter 3 Building A Digital Human Chapter 4 Modeling The Head Chapter 5 Modeling The Arms, Hands, And Fingers Chapter 6 Modeling The Legs, Feet, And Toes Chapter 7 Modeling The Torso Chapter 8 Texturing The Head Chapter 9 Hair Chapter 10 Signs Of Life Chapter 11 Creating New Characters Chapter 12 The Female Chapter 13 Clothing Appendix About The CD-Rom Index

About the Author

Ken Brilliant (Newbury Park, CA) is an award-winning artist, sculptor, 3D character modeler, animator, and instructor. He works in Hollywood in the film and television industry, and his work can be seen in a variety of movies and television series, including Jurassic Park 2: The Lost World, X-Files: The Movie, Interview with a Vampire, Roughnecks: The Starship Troopers Chronicles, and a variety of other films. He is also the author of Modeling Digital Dinosaurs.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Workbook Oct. 15 2003
Building a Digital Human presents a book-length tutorial that starts with a cube and ends with a fully-articulated male model. Reference images on CD in addition to clear writing with frequent explanations of why the author chooses to model with various sub-division modeling techniques is extraordinarily helpful.
To be honest, beginners will probably not walk away from this book with the ability to model any human. Intermediate-to-advanced users may find nuances that will be missed by those new to polygon and sub-d modeling. I've found that my investment of time and patience has increased my general modeling ability more than I can had thought possible, even though it may be a while until I can recreate all of the steps that the author has taken while modeling my own characters. I heartily recommend this book.
Building a Digital Human is non-software specific.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book if... April 21 2005
By erik turchin - Published on Amazon.com
This book is ideal for someone like me who has built a few human models before, but is looking for details in how to work smarter and better, but not harder and longer. This book truly covers every aspect of this process. Everything, that is except sexual organs. Minor details as tedious as eyelashes are covered if you need them. This book is advanced however, so your are best to know your 3d program well, your paint program well, and perhaps have modeled a few figures already in your past. If you meet those 3 requirements, then you should certainly get a wealth of information out of this manual. The whole book is quality, but the last 75 pages or so are gold in that they explain powerful methods for manufacturing a wide variety of characters based souly on the model you build in the first 2/3 of the book. Using these techniques allows an artist to spend their time building one quality base model, and in turn, spawn numerous unique variations off of it essentially allowing you to build 10 distinct models in the time it would take you to model 2-3 from scratch. Use the tools wisely, change some textures here and there, and you can quickly build a stable of wildly different characters in hours or days compared to weeks or even months. Finally, and probably the most important, is the anatomy lessons you learn along the way of building the model named Frank. This is probably a 3d book that will stand the test of time for a while. Many of the anatomy and concept lessons will not change that much any time soon if ever, so after you read it, using it as a reference for the next many years is probably a wise move. If you are just starting out in 3d, then your better off with something else because you will probably get lost and confused. If you are at least intermediate with 3d, then you should get this book no matter which of the more well known 3d programs you use!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book April 28 2005
By Flatline - Published on Amazon.com
If you are in organic modeling this book is for you. This is really great book. It's not for begginers it's more advanced. Here you have very nice tutorial how to model head, body (with hand, fingers etc.), hair and here you have one amazing thing "how to transform you male model to female".

Very very good book.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good. Aug. 2 2006
By S. Washington - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I used this as a class textbook and it worked fairly well. This is not a single program book so this will work well with whatever program you model with. Although, depending on what you model with, depends on if you need to go out and find plug-ins that will do what he does. The book is really good going through step by step. Although there are some occasions where he leaps forwards ahead with really telling you what to do. Also, sometimes when he gives instructions, there aren't any images to go along with them, so you have to end up guessing what to do.

This is modeling for realism/cinematics and if you want to use this book to model in-game characters, you are out of luck. The was he teaches you to model is extremely high poly (especially in the head). The CD doesn't do much for you, it mainly just has naked pictures of the guy he models on it so you can copy exactly what he does. The book does give good information on the differences between modeling men and women, although it is fairly brief. He does go into UV mapping pretty good as well as modeling hair. The book doesn't, however, go into modeling clothing fairly well, just a short chapter. The book also doesn't even mention rigging, which I think is a crucial part in character modeling.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Look no further for detailed and anatomically correct human modelling! Excellent book!! Oct. 2 2006
By Jose Barroca - Published on Amazon.com
If you want to learn how to model a detailed digital human,this is THE book for you! You start out with totally empty viewports,and if you follow the book you'll end up having created a model with an incredible amount of detail.

The author explains in great detail the process of modelling every body part (head,neck,arms,hands,legs,feet and torso) with anatomical references where they're most important.

I wanted a book which I could use as a definitive guide to model a detailed and anatomically correct human body or body part,and I'll look no further when I have to do so. It's also got a clever chapter about modifying the same model to create very different ones, and a good chapter about texturing and UVW unwrapping. Finally, it refers to cloth and hair (somewhat briefly) and,no,it DOESN'T cover rigging. But it does cover, extremely well, human modelling, which is what mr.Brilliant had set out to do,I assume. Very very good!
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He thought of everything! Sept. 29 2005
By Nasheet Zaman - Published on Amazon.com
Given that you are already familiar with some type of modeling software, this book is the best resource you could have! The non-software specific approach of the book keeps it focused on the concepts of creating a good model rather than the user interface. Every detail of the body is covered with step-by-step diagrams, and a lot of it focuses on creating a topology that is animatable and will subdivide correctly (ie the mesh is mostly in quads). It also covers texturing, rigging, facial animation, both modeled and simulated hair, and simple clothing. The book discusses anatomy to the extent that it is needed to create a realistic model, and uses those concepts to demonstrate how the male model you create can be changed into a female, or into a fantasy character that looks completely different.

One thing that did make it a little difficult to use was that in the screenshots, the mesh was transparent and therefore you couldn't tell whether vertices were at the front or the back of the model. More screenshots with an opaque mesh would have made it easier to see the topology.

Overall, the explanations are concise and makes the task seem efficient, easy, and fun.
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