Athlete Base model

This is a 3d model that I am working up from the mirrorhead model I built previously. It is a relatively low resolution mesh that can be subdivided and edited accordingly to create a much more dense mesh. It follows the form of my drawing style and will be used as a starting point for some of my tall athletic character designs.
3/4 view from the front
The images presented here are screen grabs from Maya showing the actual polygonal geometry and the smooth mesh preview version. Where possible they have been presented side by side for closer comparison.

3/4 view from the rear

There were a lot of bugs in the mirrohead mesh that I had to wade through. I’m trying to build cleaner, less dense, and more articulate meshes. Understanding how edge loops and flows work are going a long way to helping me build these things faster and with more assurance. This post at the Blender forums went a long way to helping explain and solidify some of the concepts behind turning edges, using edge loops, and editing edge flows in existing topology.

edge loops turned to provide easy deformationlower torso and upper leg

This particular mesh needs to be very articulate around the hips and shoulders(most do) so I am paying close attention to building forms that can be edited and deformed reliably. I’m trying to get a good silhouette for the character body as well as a good amount of geometry so that it can be deformed well when the rig is added and this thing starts moving.

There may need to be at least one more loop in the division between the hip and upper thigh. I paid attempted to create some loops that logically follow the contour of the body and other loops that trace the forms of certain muscle groups. Building geometry that follows the structure of expected deforming parts(ankle, knee, hip, shoulder, et cetera) was an important consideration while modeling this character. In the coming weeks I will post more imagery from the modeling stage as well and updates on the rigging and animation of this base rig. The head and hands have only been blocked in, more detail will follow. When finished, this base model and rig will be used in the track athlete model as well as the Carrier Mage model to be built later.

Any critiques or observations?

the feet and ankleslow poly shoulder view
from behindsmooth preview shoulder view

*edit* Here are the added images I mention in my comments below…

poly version of mesh with different loops at shoulderpoly version of back of meshpoly version of mesh no wireframe
smoothed version of mesh with different loops at shouldersmoothed version of back of meshsmoothed version of mesh no wireframe

P.S. If you see him, say “Happy Birthday” to my long-time friend Gary Wynter 03/18!
This post is part of a sequence:


  1. Charles says:

    First of all, crap man that was fast.
    Second of all, I notice that your loop for the deltoid base is flowing off of the collar bone area instead of from the base of the pectoral. Would that cause issues with certain gestures when you animate or is this just a preference thing?
    Other then that, definitely fits your style. Looking forward to seeing the riggin and texturing and all that rigmarole.

  2. testjamal says:

    Well, that is a bit sticky. The base of the deltoid actually does insert at the collarbone. So does the inside top of the pectoralis major. They(deltoid and pectoralis major) run alongside each other before they both insert in different places on the arm. The pectoralis major inserts closer to the front of the humerus. The deltoid insert more to the outside and back of the humerus.

    So I tried to have some of my loops flow perpendicular to their insertion or attachment point to bone.The belief is that I can limit the distortion of the vertices near the “bones” of my mesh when joints move and get a reasonable looking deformation. Whether this will aid deformation of the mesh when animated remains to be seen, but I believe it will. I will also consider adding a muscular system(NURBS shapes) driven by the skeleton, that will sit underneath the skin(polygonal mesh) and aid deformation. But that is a setup for later(hopefully not too much later).

    I am editing the post above, and adding a few images(front and back) to show two versions of my approach. I’ve turned off the lighting for clarity. One where the loop is well contained for the deltoid and turns at the front insertion point and loop and loops back onto itself near the back. Another, where the loop that runs around the outside of the deltoid continues to run to the center of the form across the collarbone. I have changed the color of the faces of that loop to silver for clarity. Please give me your thoughts.

    I’ve also added two images of the mesh without wireframe in shaded view to show the shape off without the distraction of the lines of the wireframe on the surface. Hopefully, this will show how closely they(the two meshes) resemble each other.

  3. Charles says:

    I think I might have used incorrect terminology. When I said “base” I meant the portion that terminates between the bicep and triceps on outside on the arm.
    The line flows from the base of the pec across the deltoid (around the arm) and terminates inbetween the bicep and tricep. I normally see that replicated in meshes, yours was throwing me off because that portion of your deltoid appears to originate from the collarbone area instead of flowing from the base of the pecs.
    Your explanation clears up alot though, and makes some sense. I remain somewhat leery of this, but I’ll defer to your years and years and years (and a whole lot more years) of experience in this area.
    I’ll be very interested to see how the chest and shoulder area deforms the animation stage. Though I’ll admit the more I look at the mesh the more I can see how your approach may be beneficial.
    Hope I cleared up my position… Or made you much more confused…

  4. testjamal says:

    OK I think I see what you are referring to now. Honestly, this mesh is somewhat experimental. Luckily I save versions and I will be able to edit the mesh if I can’t easily get it to deform as I expect.

    Come along for the ride. I will be posting my progress here so stay tuned!

    PS. so what sort of problems are you seeing as likely with the way the mesh is built now? Even though I have so many thousands of years of experience(whippersnapper), your insight may open my eyes to a more elegant solution. And if so, we can share the knowledge

  5. Charles says:

    Well the main thing Im concerned with is deformation in the armpit area. But the more I visualize it the more I think that I might be wrong andmaybe I’m just crazy. Wouldnt be the first time

  6. Charles says:

    Double post:
    When I say armpit Im specifically mean the area where the delt meets the pec.

RSS feed for comments on this post. / TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Shapeways prints ordered

I recently prepared three models for printing via shapeways.

the Big Blue Boy Scout from Jamal Sullivan on Vimeo.

version of the joker from Jamal Sullivan on Vimeo.

punk duck full model from Jamal Sullivan on Vimeo.

Details »

the Big Blue Boy Scout part 2

The modeling for this character is complete! You can see a turntable of the model here:

Details »

Vail Film Festival 2012

I recently had occassion to attend the Vail Film Festival. I created the animated pre-roll of the festival logo and sponsors.
Details »

the Big Blue Boy Scout

supes and his cape

I’m modeling a very familiar character for a 3D fan film, Superman, or as I’ve seen Batman call him “the big blue boy scout”. Here are a few images of the model in progress as well as a turntable of the current look of the model.
Details »

Demo Reel 2012


This demo reel showcases some of the work I have been involved in. Unless otherwise indicated, I did all of the work presented. I work in 3D animation, primarily using Maya currently. I also am quite familiar with 3D Studio and to a lesser extent SoftImage XSI. I am extremely proficient in many of the Adobe Creative Suite applications.
Details »

3d turntables on vimeo

I’ve posted some turntables of some models @ vimeo. I’ve embedded them here:

self portrait turntable from Jamal Sullivan on Vimeo. Details »

Modeling a punk duck

Here is an original character I came up with sketching for a class one day.

Details »