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Creating a Jurassic World Dinosaur Character in Maya: Part 1

Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

1. Setting up Model
Reference Images

Step 1

Open Maya.

Open Maya
Open Maya

Step 2

In the front
view, go to View > Image Plane > Import Image
command.

View  Image Plane  Import Image
View > Image Plane > Import Image

Step 3

In the
Open window, select front sketch.jpg image
file and then click on Open button. You will find the reference images attached with the tutorial.

Reference images
Reference images

Step 4

Following the same way, import both reference images in front and side view ports respectively as shown in the following image.

Import both reference images
Import both reference images

Step 5

Move and place the front image on the grid in the front panel.

Move and place the front image
Move and place the front image

Step 6

Match and align the heights of both reference images using the plane primitives created in the view port as shown in the following image.

Match and align the heights of both reference images
Match and align the heights of both reference images

Step 7

With the side image plane selected in the perspective view port, move it in X axis direction
and check on Looking through camera radio button in the Attribute Editor.

Attribute Editor
Attribute Editor

Step 8

In this way, both reference images have been set properly in the front and side view ports as well.

Setting up both reference images
Setting up both reference images

Step 9

Additionally, you can slide down the Color Gain slider for less brightness as shown in the following image.

Color Gain slider
Color Gain slider 

2. Creating Custom Polygon
Shape for Body

Step 1

Jump in the Modeling
mode. Go to Mesh Tools > Create
Polygon
.

Mesh Tools  Create Polygon
Mesh Tools > Create Polygon

Step 2

With the Create Polygon tool selected, create the body outline according to the reference image as shown in the following figure.

Create Polygon tool
Create Polygon tool

Step 3

Once you are done with the body outline as shown in the following image, press Enter key to complete and finish the process.

Press Enter key
Press Enter key

Step 4

In the
perspective view port, you will see the created body outline shape mesh. You need to split the polygon mesh to model the body of the dinosaur.

Body outline shape mesh
Body outline shape mesh

Step 5

Go to Display > Polygon > Vertices command to show the vertices of the mesh without being the mesh selected.

Display  Polygon  Vertices command
Display > Polygon > Vertices command

Step 6

You will see the vertices on the outline mesh. It is easy to split the mesh with the parallel edge loops as per the vertices.

Vertices on the outline mesh
Vertices on the outline mesh

Step 7

Go to Mesh Tools > Multi-Cut tool as shown in the following image.

Mesh Tools  Multi-Cut tool
Mesh Tools > Multi-Cut tool

Step 8

With the help of Multi-Cut tool, split the mesh with parallel edges as shown in the following image.

Multi-Cut tool
Multi-Cut tool

Step 9

Go to Display > Polygons > Vertices command to hide the vertices without the mesh getting selected.

Display  Polygons  Vertices command
Display > Polygons > Vertices command

Step 10

With all faces of the mesh selected, go to Edit Mesh > Extrude. Alternatively, you can press Ctrl-E key.

Edit Mesh  Extrude
Edit Mesh > Extrude

Step 11

After
applying the extrude command, drag the faces a little bit in Z axis to get some thickness as shown in the following image.

Applying Extrude command
Applying Extrude command

Step 12

Select the inner faces and press Delete key to delete the selected faces as shown in the following image.

Delete inner faces
Delete inner faces

3. Creating Symmetry
mesh

Step 1

Jump in the Modeling
mode. Go to Edit > Duplicate Special and click on its option box.

Edit  Duplicate Special
Edit > Duplicate Special

Step 2

In the
Duplicate Special Options window, turn on Instance radio button and set the value of Scale X axis to -1. Click on Duplicate Special button.

Duplicate Special Options window
Duplicate Special Options window

Step 3

You can see the duplicate symmetry mesh in the perspective
view as shown in the following image.

Duplicate symmetry mesh
Duplicate symmetry mesh

Step 4

This is the mirrored symmetry mesh. If you edit or move left side’s vertices, the opposite side’s vertices will follow it.

This is the mirrored symmetry mesh
This is the mirrored symmetry mesh

4. Detailing Body Mesh

Step 1

Go to Mesh Tool > Insert Edge Loop
tool to insert various edge loops to add details.

Mesh Tool  Insert Edge Loop tool
Mesh Tool > Insert Edge Loop tool

Step 2

With the help of Insert Edge Loop tool, insert two edge loops horizontally as indicated in the following image.

Insert Edge Loop tool
Insert Edge Loop tool

Step 3

Move the edge loops outwards to give some thickness to the mesh.

Move the edge loops outwards
Move the edge loops outwards

Step 4

Following the same way, edit other edge loops also to get the shape according to the dinosaur’s body.

Edit other edge loops also
Edit other edge loops also 

Step 5

Jump in the front view and edit the mesh to get the shape according to the dinosaur’s reference image.

Jump in the front view
Jump in the front view 

Step 6

Following the same way, edit the vertices also according to the front reference image.

Edit the vertices also
Edit the vertices also

Step 7

Insert four indicated vertical edge loops as shown in the following image.

Insert four indicated vertical edge loops
Insert four indicated vertical edge loops

Step 8

Edit the vertices according to the shape of the dinosaur’s body.

Edit the vertices
Edit the vertices 

Step 9

Insert two more horizontal edge loops to add the details to the body.

Insert two more horizontal edge loops
Insert two more horizontal edge loops

5. Creating Leg and Hand Mesh

Step 1

Create a cylinder polygon mesh in the perspective view with the values of Subdivisions Axis as 8 and Subdivisions Height as 4.

Create a cylinder polygon mesh
Create a cylinder polygon mesh

Step 2

Jump in the vertex selection mode and edit the vertices as per the leg’s reference as shown in the following image.

Jump in the vertex selection mode
Jump in the vertex selection mode

Step 3

Jump in the front view and edit the shape according to the leg’s outline reference.

Jump in the front view
Jump in the front view

Step 4

Isolate the leg mesh for a while. Select the top and bottom cap faces and then delete them. Exit from isolation mode.

Isolate the leg mesh
Isolate the leg mesh 

Step 5

Insert three edge loops to the leg mesh as shown in the following image.

Insert three edge loops
Insert three edge loops

Step 6

Create another cylinder polygon mesh in the perspective view with the values of Subdivisions Axis as 8 and Subdivisions Height as 4.

Create another cylinder polygon mesh
Create another cylinder polygon mesh

Step 7

Jump in the vertex selection mode and edit the vertices as per the hand’s reference as shown in the following image.

Jump in the vertex selection mode
Jump in the vertex selection mode

Step 8

Jump in the front view and edit the shape according to the hand’s outline reference.

Jump in the front view
Jump in the front view

Step 9

In this way, the basic structure of hand and leg is ready.

The basic structure of hand and leg is ready
The basic structure of hand and leg is ready

6. Connecting Hand and Leg Mesh with Body Mesh

Step 1

With all mesh parts selected, go to Edit > Delete by Type > History to delete history. Alternatively, you can press Alt-Shift-D
key.

Edit  Delete by Type  History
Edit > Delete by Type > History 

Step 2

With the body mesh selected, go to Display > Polygon > Face Normal
command.

Display  Polygon  Face Normal command
Display > Polygon > Face Normal command

Step 3

After
applying Face Normal command, you can
see the normal angle pins inside the body. You need to reverse the faces.

Face Normal command
Face Normal command

Step 4

With the body mesh selected, go to Mesh
Display > Reverse command to reverse the faces.

Mesh Display  Reverse command
Mesh Display > Reverse command

Step 5

Once the normal faces are rectified, you need to turn its visibility off. With the body mesh selected, go to Display > Polygon > Face Normal command.

Display  Polygon  Face Normal
Display > Polygon > Face Normal

Step 6

Now you need to connect the leg with the body. With both meshes selected together, go to Mesh > Booleans > Union
command.

Mesh  Booleans  Union command
Mesh > Booleans > Union command

Step 7

Following the same procedure, connect the hand with the body too. With both meshes selected together, go to Mesh > Booleans > Union command.

Mesh  Booleans  Union command
Mesh > Booleans > Union command

Step 8

All parts are connected now. But you need to edit and clean the mesh topology for the proper mesh deformation.

Clean the mesh topology
Clean the mesh topology

7. Cleaning Mesh Flow

Step 1

With the body mesh selected, go to Edit > Duplicate Special.

Edit  Duplicate Special
Edit > Duplicate Special

Step 2

With the unwanted vertices selected together, go to Edit
Mesh >
 Merge and click on the option box.

Edit Mesh  Merge
Edit Mesh > Merge 

Step 3

In the Merge
Vertices Options window, keep the value of Threshold as 3.0000 and turn off Always
merge for two vertices 
check box. Click on Merge button to merge the selected vertices as shown in the following image.

Always merge for two vertices

Step 4

These vertices are now merged into one vertex as shown in the following image.

These vertices are now merged into one vertex
These vertices are now merged into one vertex

Step 5

Following the same way, keep merging required vertices together to form a proper mesh flow of the mesh.

Keep merging required vertices together
Keep merging required vertices together

Step 6

You need to insert several more edge loops to add more details to the mesh as shown in the following image.

Insert several more edge loops
Insert several more edge loops

Step 7

Keep adding edge loops according to the need of the mesh as per the reference image.

Keep adding edge loops
Keep adding edge loops

Step 8

In this way, you have created the basic body mesh of the dinosaur with the proper mesh flow.

The basic structure is ready
The basic structure is ready

Conclusion

In the next part of the tutorial, I will show you how to create the head of the dinosaur.