With this trio of characters I finally started using the tools that are right up front in the Modeller Modify menu: Pole, Taper, Dragnet. One tries to use what's absolutely necessary when climbing the learning curve, and they were right up there with Metaball, waiting their turn. And like interactive texture placement (the Add Reference Object button in the texture panel) or using "shift" with multiple layers to check props/Booleans/etc., they seem to be just as indispensable.
How to make a chin larger without a lot of hunt-and-peck magnetting? USE "POLE 1" or "POLE 2." In the example above, I really goofed and did it the hard way.
I went in the opposite direction, and used "TAPER 2."(Image 1: the before picture) I rotated it, and used "Taper 2" which kept the chin the same size while shrinking the rest of the head (Image 2). A little magnetting (Image 3) seemed to help get it near normal.
Something else that needed changing, visible in the first image, was the whole head seemed to need to be "sheared" since the face was sloped back pretty far.
In the example above, the eyes and other face parts were kept in another layer, and were sheared to match the new sheared shape of the head. The chin was enlarged further using "Pole 2."
Things I am now doing all the time when modelling: using "Alt" to get the screen where I want it, selecting parts of an object, then "]" and "hiding" them to select polygons more quickly, as well as using shift selecting, and I'm being careful to get the most out of the built-in grid-snap. I also have fun with layers more, adding hats and eyes and other props and shift-selecting the layers for viewing or saving them together. Things I am doing more often in Layout: hitting the Scene Editor panel to convert most of the objects to boxes or partial wireframes, so that I can see the parts of the scene I care about refreshing as textured objects quickly.
About this time I was finally catching on that if I first stretch/compressed the points at the edge I wanted to mirror, and then did a "j" snap, the mirror would be grid-snapped, so that a "merge" would result in a perfect mirror. As mentioned, the backs of the heads were mirrors of the front, "stretched" flat and then magnet-rounded.
It's pretty close to a mystical experience, learning these buttons as they become important to what you're doing, even though in some cases you may be ignoring certain buttons for as long as 17 months! But that seems to be the way home-studying happens. "Pole 2" is super-powerful once you have a couple of head models and want to make them into a gallery of characters.
The head pictured below is actually from the first screen capture above, based on anime proportions. I had not learned that one gets better eyelids by modelling them closed at this point. Fortunately, cartoony eyelids may be modelled many ways.
The microphone was a single dot, entered as a texture over a typical chrome surface and sized to produce a screen. The sleeves were given their own surface name, and a different reference object, rotated. The shirt is ruffled because I once tried to iron a singer's shirt that looked like that. I am still debating how to "lapel" this model. The collar and cuffs are from a much earlier model.
About the only things in this shot that I didn't make from scratch are the hands and the queen of all sofa chairs. Yee-haw!
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