Self Portrait 3D Model

Self Portrait 3D Model

#Maya #3D

This semester was busy for me! We've been wrapping up quite a few ongoing projects in our master's program and now is the time for me to share some of the work that I've been up to this semester.

So, here I must present to you: Juan -- in 3D!

I'm not much of a 3D artist, but I'm pretty proud of how this came out! This little model of me is my first time ever modeling a human. We've been advancing our 3D modeling knowledge from last semester and I have graduated from modeling just hard-surfaces to learning something about how to make a human (hint: it's hard). Everything was made in Maya and Substance Painter

The Process

This was the process that took me from nothing to fully complete and rigged model:

3D Scan

  • We started with a 3D scan of our heads in order to help us learn the retopologizing process as well as to make things a bit easier on us


  • Lots of hours spent figuring out how to retopologize my face in a way that made it look like my face

  • We also used a base template for the body which we retopologized in order to make it usable for rigging


  • The face involved an embarrasing amount of tries. For your viewing displeasure, here are the progress pictures of the face


  • So many planes

UV Unwrapping

  • I used to be really stressed by the concept of UV Unwrapping but to be honest, I am no longer very cowed by it. It's quite relaxing on the simple sort of models I've been making!

Texturing in Substance Painter

  • Layers. Lots of layers. I didn't put too much time into the clothes

  • Adding things like a beard and eyebrows did a lot for my model's likeness to me


  • Done with Advanced Skeleton 5 right in Maya. Very useful and I learned much about cleaning up my model for an easy rigging process.

Weight Painting

  • This part of the process was tedious and scary, and also kinda relaxing. I spent about 13 hours in total just working on the weight paints and the rigging for this model. It was a wonderful feeling to be able to pose him and have it look about right.


Though I'd love to say that the workflow was stream-lined... it wasn't. I spent a lot of time going back to retopologize my mesh just because he... didn't look right. And once you change your topology you have to re-do your UV's, and of course that means your textures need some adjustment, and so on. It all builds on each other.

I learned about edge-flow, how to avoid n-gons, merging edges, layering human skin, and plenty of other things that became rather big challenges through the process. Let's just say I have a thorough amount of respect for 3D artists and anybody in the creative industry. It's hard, precise, and delicate work.

That said, the project is complete after ~62 hours worth of work! And now we can bask in the glory of my uncanny valley self-portrait.


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