reply to post by HomerinNC
Organic modeling can be difficult with maya depending on the methods you know. I would strongly recommend familarizing yourself with zbrush. There
isn't a free student license available for it unfortunately, so you will need to "acquire" it by other methods. But there are many tutorials for
zbrush on youtube and elsewhere that you can find. The process also depends on what the requirements for your project are. For instance do you need to
UV map your model and texture it? If so that complicates things. I will assume you need to UV and texture your model before you rig it.
Basically what I would do if I were you is this:
-Familiarize yourself with the interface and how you pan around with the camera, move objects, select stuff, etc (tutorials are everywhere for that
-Find a good tutorial on "Zspheres" and familarize yourself with how they work
-Start your model using Zspheres
-Block out the basic shape of your model using zspheres (head, arms, fingers, body, legs, toes, etc). In the case of a Grey, you may wish to add an
extra sphere for the eyes, depending on how much you want them to bulge out from the head
-Make sure you understand how Zbrush's symmetry feature works, and use it religiously since you will be rigging the model later
-Convert your Zspheres model to a polygonal object (this is really easy to do and zspheres tutorials should show you how)
-Start sculpting your Grey. Refine the detail of the face, nostrils, eyes, eye sockets, mouth, wrinkles, etc. Start with the head and the face and
sculpt away. Don't worry about making it perfect at this point, just get the basic detail in there. You may need to turn up the number of polygons
you are working with (or turn them back down depending on what you are doing).
-Sculpt the basic detail of the arms, torso, legs, etc.
-Look up how to retopologize your model in zbrush, and fix any issues you might have with your topology, or add topology where you need more detail.
Keep in mind during this process that you are going to want to keep your poly count within a reasonable range in the end. You want your edges to flow
where you need detail, but you don't want to go crazy. Most of your high poly detail will show up in your lower poly model through the use of the
normal map, which you will generate in zbrush later
-crank up the poly count and sculpt all the really fine detail. This is the funnest part.
-Once you are happy with how your model looks, You can either UV map it in zbrush (which can sometimes have undesirable results) or export your model
as an obj, open up maya, and uv map it there.
-Once your model is fully UV'd, export it back into zbrush, and generate a normal map for it which you will use to get all the high poly detail you
sculpted down onto the lower poly model.
-You can also start texturing your model in zbrush at this stage if you would like by using Zbrush's poly paint feature (you'll need a tutorial on
that as well). Polypaint allows you to paint directly on a UV'd model which is a more intuitive process for some. If you prefer, you can skip that
step, export your uv map, diffuse map, etc, and your model, and do your texturing in photoshop or maya
-Bring your finished model back into maya and clean it up
-Start your rigging
Again, this is a really indepth process so it would help to know what your project requirements are. I would also recommend you avoid facial rigging
unless it is part of your project requirements, as it will significantly complicate the rigging process. I'd also recommend you don't bother trying
to have your alien capable of blinking, as you'd need to model eyelids and then rig them.
If you AREN'T comfortable with learning zbrush, you can do the whole model in maya by starting with some image planes. See if you can find some image
planes of a grey alien on the internet (you would need a front, side, and top view of the same alien). Fix them up in photoshop and import them to
maya. From there you could use whatever method of modeling you are comfortable with (for me it's polygonal/box modeling) and start trying to block
out the basic shape of your image planes, adding more edge loops and shifting around vertices, edges, and faces as necessary. The general rule of
thumb with this method is to start with as little detail as possible and just block out the basic features and shape of your character, adding more
detail later on in the process.
I hope this sort of helps. It's a lot to chew on and I'm not really sure how familiar you are with the entire process. Think about which method you
want to use (strictly maya, or a combination of maya and zbrush) and let me know what your project requirements are and I will do my best to help and
offer further advice.