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Modeling your first Anime Robot in 3d, part 1/4

By Gianluca Panebianco, Published: 4 Apr 2007

Home > Blog > Modeling your first Anime Robot in 3d, part 1/4

Modeling your first Anime Robot in 3d, part 1/4

1. Lightwave 3d Modeler: a simplified robot 3d modeling

Please remember this is a basic tutorial for low experienced users.
This tutorial is based on Newtek Lightwave 3d, but if many concepts end techniques can be used also on many other 3d software, as 3D Studio Max, Maya, XSI, modo, cinema 4d, etc.

As our first step, we model a simple humanoid figure in 3d: it will be our first anime robot and our "guide" to model new and more complex models.

Each limb will be created as simply boxes, and each limb/box will be placed in a different layer: in a next tutorial, we discuss how to replace these simple forms with other, more complex.

After modeled this "dummy" robot, we import the entire 3d model into Lightwave Layout, setting hieranchy chains.

After this, we add a ground to place our robot, then we set lights and Global Illumination properties, Camera and so on to obtain a rendering in radiosity.

The final image will be similar to that you can see on the left: a simple 3d model similar to Commander (Convoy), taken from Transformers series.

Before starting: don't fonrget to save your project periodically...

We'll model each part of our Robot as seprate object ans assigning a different colour (as you can see in the final rendering). Let's start creating the pelvis. Select layer n.1.

Now, select Box tool using Shift+x key shortcut, then open the its Numeric panel (n button); insert these values:

Width = 1.7m   |   Height = 0.8m   |   Depth = 1.1m

leave 0 for Center X, Y e Z values.
Press q key to assign a new surface to our pelvis: name this surface simply darkGray and set its colour as 126.126.126 (in RGB... a dark gray...).
See in fig. 1 the result of these operations.

Now continue in the same way also for the other object...
So, continue by modeling the legs: first of all, model the thigh, then the leg and finally the foot. Now we model the right side, and in a second time we duplicate these objects to create left legs.

Thigh (fig.2):
move on layer #2, create a box with these info (use the same commands used on par.1.1):

Width = 0.8m   |   Height = 1.8m   |   Depth = 0.9m
Center X = -0.5m   |   Center Y = 1.2m   |   Center Z = 0

create a new surface (key q), and name it white; set 248.248.248 as RGB colour.

Leg (fig.3):
move on layer #3, create a box with these values:

Width = 0.9m   |   Height = 2.2m   |   Depth = 1.1m
Center X = -0.6m   |   Center Y = 3.2m   |   Center Z = 0

set for this 3d object a blue surfacecreate a new surface (key q), and name it blue; set 37.82.186 as RGB colour.

Foot (fig.4):
move on layer #4 and create a box with these values:

Width = 0.8m   |   Height = 1.8m   |   Depth = 0.9m
Center X = -0.5m   |   Center Y = 1.2m   |   Center Z = 0

Now we created a pelvis and a right leg structure. To create a left leg, we can simply mirror each object created for the leg on the right, and move it on a new layer... let's start for this...

Move on layer #2 (where we modeled the right thigh), select mirror tool (Shift + v), then press n to open its Numeric panel. Don't modify these values (leave all at 0!): you can see the left thigh near the right.
Press Ctrl+h to activate the polygon selector, and select this new object (left thigh). Cut it using Ctrl+x, and move on the first empty layer (if you have followed all command, this is the 5th): past here the left tigh (Ctrl+v). That's all: we just created the left thigh.

Continue in this way to create the left leg (mirror the right leg on layer#3 and paste the left on layer#6) and the left foot (mirroring the right foot on layer#4, pasting the left foot on layer#7).

We completed the 3d modeling for the lower part of our first 3d anime robot. This is a very simple model, but for the first time it's ok...
In fig.6 you can see a preview of all 3d objects created.

In this paragraph we start modeling the trunk: first of all the waist, then the chest. The operations are the same as yet seen.

Waist (fig. 7):
Select an empty layer (layer#8), and create a box with these values:

Width = 1.5m   |   Height = 1.4m   |   Depth = 1m
Center X = 0   |   Center Y = 1.1m   |   Center Z = 0

Open Surfaces panel (key: q) and assign it the "white" surface previously created.

Chest (fig. 8):
Create a new box in a new layer (the 9th):

Width = 2.3m   |   Height = 1.4m   |   Depth = 1.3m
Center X = 0   |   Center Y = 2.1m   |   Center Z = 0

Open the Surface panel and create a new surface named red, with 163.29.29 as RGB colour.

Ok, now you can model the arms: first of all, we model a shoulder, then the arm and finally the hand.
Also for these steps, we can use the same operations seen earlier.

The shoulder is subdivided in two parts, and we model them separately:
select the first empty layer (the 10th), and create a box with:

Width = 0.9m   |   Height = 0.7m   |   Depth = 0.9m
Center X = -1.6m   |   Center Y = 2.5m   |   Center Z = 0

apply to it a red surface previously created.
Now, select a new empty layer (the 11th), then create a new box:

Width = 0.6m   |   Height = 0.8m   |   Depth = 0.6m
Center X = -1.6m   |   Center Y = 1.8m   |   Center Z = 0

apply to it a white surface (still opening Change Surfaces panel using key q).
Now cut all this model in layer#11; open layer#10 and paste (Ctrl+v). We completed the shoulder (for the right side).

Arm (fig.10):
Select layer#11 (now it's empty!) and create a new box:

Width = 0.8m   |   Height = 1.4m   |   Depth = 0.8m
Center X = -1.5m   |   Center Y = 0.7m   |   Center Z = 0

set for this 3d model a red surface.

Hand (fig.11):
select layer#12 and create a new box:

Width = 0.6m   |   Height = 0.6m   |   Depth = 0.6m
Center X = -1.55m   |   Center Y = -0.3m   |   Center Z = 0

Set for the hand 3d model the blue surface previously created.
We created the entire right arm with its sub-parts.
In the next paragraph, we'll create the left arm...

As we done on par. 1.3, we have to apply a Mirror tool for each parts of the right arm (shoulder, arm and hand). Object for the left side will be placed respectively on layer 13th, 14th and 15th.

In fig. 12 you can see the model created on par. 1.4, a.5 and 1.6.

Let's complete our 3d robot, modeling the neck and the head. We'll use the same procedure:

Neck (fig. 13):
select first empty layer (16th) and create a new box with these values:

Width = 0.6m   |   Height = 0.2m   |   Depth = 0.5m
Center X = 0   |   Center Y = 2.9m   |   Center Z = 0

Assign to it "darkGray" surface.

Head (fig. 14):
in a new layer (the 17th), create our last box with these values:

Width = 0.76m   |   Height = 1.0m   |   Depth = 0.93m
Center X = 0   |   Center Y = 3.5m   |   Center Z = -0.15m

Assign it "blue" surface.

Now, we have to modify each layer name: this is an useful operation and we can see the advantages on the next pages, during operations on the Layout.

Click on F7: a new panel for the layer management will open: click two times on the layer you want modify, and insert the new name.
If you have followed precisely this tutorial, your layer will coincide with those listed in this table:

Layer # : object name:
1 pelvis
2 r_ thigh
3 r_leg
4 r_foot
5 l_ thigh
6 l_leg
7 l_foot
8 waist
9 chest
10 r_shoulder
11 r_arm
12 r_hand
13 l_shoulder
14 l_arm
15 l_hand
16 neck
17 head

That's all... in 10 minutes you modeled your first 3d anime robot.
I know, this is not a masterpiece... but now open Lightwave Layout: here we'll set a hierarchy chain to link each part to the other ones, then we can move our 3d robot and pose it for a test rendering. Result after these operations will be better...

Modeling your first Anime Robot in 3d
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