Model And Rig a Character in Blender (Part 1 of 2)

In this two part tutorial, you will learn how to model (Part 1) and rig (Part 2) a character in Blender. This character can be used for whatever purpose you want, but I will be making it for use in a game engine, particularly Unity.

The character will be low poly, but you can model it any way you like following the same general process, and the rigging should work the same so make sure to check out Part 2 even if you choose to follow a different tutorial for modeling.

I will be using Blender 3.1.0, but regardless of your version, the steps should be fairly similar. I will also be assuming you have some very basic Blender/3D modeling knowledge, but will still write in an easy to understand way for beginners, including writing the shortcuts for actions the first few times we use them. If you just want a ready to use model, the .blend file can be found here. You can also view this tutorial in video form below.

Tutorial in video format

Setting Up

Before we dive in to actually modeling the character, we need to make some preparations. We need to mirror the cube in the x-axis so we only have to make changes to one side of the character, greatly reducing the workload.

First, select the default cube and go into edit mode (Tab), front view (Numpad 1), and toggle x-ray mode (Alt+Z). Your screen should know look like this:

In order to mirror the cube, we first need to delete the half where the mirrored changes will go. Over the cube, press Ctrl+R and add a vertical ring by left clicking and then pressing escape. You may have to move the mouse around a little to get the line to go vertical.

Adding the vertical ring

With the vertical ring added, select the far left two vertices on the cube and delete them (X -> vertices). Now, we are ready for the mirror modifier.

In the modifiers tab, add the mirror modifier and make sure the x-axis and the clipping checkbox is selected so the object always meets on the z-axis between the two sides.

Mirror modifier settings

Now, all the changes you make on the character’s left side will automatically apply to the right. With that taken care of, it’s time to shape the torso.

Basic Torso Shape

In front view (Numpad 1), select the top two vertices of the cube. Press G to move the vertices up and outwards slightly giving the object a very rough torso shape.

Rough torso shape

Neck and Head

Next, we will add a neck and head. With the top two vertices still selected, extrude slightly along the z-axis (E + Z), and scale down (S) until you have the base of a neck shape above the torso. You will likely have to exit front view to see the neck shape from an angle and scale in just one axis (S+axis).

Base of neck

Back in front view, extrude the neck in the z-axis. After you have the neck, do another slight extrusion and scale it outwards — this will be the base of your head. Make sure to go into side view (Numpad 3), and scale the base of the head on the y-axis to an appropriate size.

You can now extrude in the z-axis to create the head. I also like to add another small extrusion on the top and scale it down to round things off.

Your head should look something like this

Arms and Legs

With the torso and head complete, it’s time to create the limbs. Over the torso, add a horizontal ring (Ctrl + R) but before hitting escape, drag it up to just where you would expect the underarm to be. Select the top right shoulder vertex, and move it (G+X) so it line up with the underarm vertex in the z-axis.

Shoulder and underarm vertices lined up

Now, we will extrude the arms. This will be easier if we extrude the faces instead of the vertices, so go into face mode (3) and select the face on the side of the torso between the shoulder and underarm vertices (you can leave front view for this).

This part is a lot of extruding so make sure to refer to the gif or the video if you get confused.

In front view, extrude straight outwards slightly and scale down to the size of arm you want. Go into side view and scale on the y-axis so the arm is roughly square. Back in front view, extrude to the upper part of where the elbow should be. Extrude again the length of the elbow, then extrude to where you want the wrist. Now, extrude a small amount and scale inwards. Extrude a little more and scale outwards to about the original size to create the base of the hand. Finally, extrude out the length you would like your hand. If you want, you can extrude a little bit once more and scale it down to round off the hand.

Extruding and scaling the arm

Now, it’s time for the legs and we will have the majority of the character done.

Add a vertical ring to the body and move it inwards so at the base of the torso, the right side is the width you want your leg.

Bottom of torso with vertical ring

In face mode, select the right face on the bottom of the torso (the leg face). Extrude a small amount, scale down to leg size, go into side view, and scale in the y-axis — just as we did for the arm. Now, extrude to the top of the kneecap, extrude the length of the kneecap, and then extrude to the ankle. Finally, extrude the height of a shoe. To finish the legs, select the bottom front-facing face, go into side view, and extrude outwards the length of a shoe. Enter vertex mode (Numpad 1) and select the top of the toes of the shoe, and move it down slightly.

Extruding and scaling the legs

The character model is pretty much complete now, we will just add some eyes and then small adjustments can be made.

Eyes

The eyes are pretty simple.

First, we will finally exit edit mode into object mode. Add a cube (Shift+A ->Mesh->Cube), move it up to the head and scale it down to whatever size you like. Position it on the character’s left side, go into side view and scale it on the y-axis so it is very thin. Move it in the y-axis so it is just slightly sticking out of the head. Go into edit mode and add a vertical ring (When texturing the character, the right side will be the white of the eye and the left will be colored). Go back into object mode, select the eye, shift select the body, and join the two (Ctrl+J).

Creating and joining the eye

You now have a basic character model! You can tweak it however you like now. Some easy modifications would be to add more rings to the torso and move the vertices to better define it, add vertical rings to parts of the body and use Shift+S to make the body slightly curved, or subdivide the head to make it more round. The current model however is plenty fine for creating our rig on.

Now that you have a character model, make sure to check out part two of this tutorial where we will rig the model so we can move it around like a human and animate it.

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I am a freelance full-stack developer who loves to help others. 💻https://josephtalon.ca

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Joseph Talon

Joseph Talon

I am a freelance full-stack developer who loves to help others. 💻https://josephtalon.ca

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