I have been using Poser for the last year to generate 3D images for my articles and website. Recently however, I wanted to create some anime characters, but could not find the right face on DAZ or other 3D-model sites.
Therefore, I decided to model the look that I wanted using
You can see the results on the images used on this page.
The easiest way to quickly start creating your own character faces is to modify an existing high quality model. This tutorial describes how I modified the Michael 4 model that comes with Carrara 7.
You can use the same process to create any type of human head that you want.
This tutorial is written for Carrara beginners.
No pre-existing Carrara knowledge is required. To do figure modeling in Carrara you need at least the regular Carrara software (or Pro). Carrara Express does not support figure modeling.
- Start Carrara.
- Select File >> New. Create a new empty document.
- Select File >> Import and load in the Michael 4 figure from your Poser or DAZ Studio Runtime directories.
At this point, you should have the Michael 4 figure on your screen.
By default, you start in the Assembly room. This is represented by the highlighted hand on the top-right of your Carrara application. To get into the vertex modeling screen, look at the bottom right menu.
There should be a list of instances in your scene. Open up the Michael 4 instance, and double click on Model which is right below Michael 4.
This will put you into the vertex modeling screen with a wire-frame representation of the Michael 4 figure.
If all you get is an empty space, then you are likely using a version of Carrara that does not support figure modeling.
You will need to upgrade to regular Carrara 7 for figure modeling capabilities.
2. Group Relevant Vertices
Now the fun starts.
The first thing you want to do is set up some selection groups for relevant vertices. This is important because during vertex modeling you will want to isolate only certain parts of the Michael 4 model for editing.
Here are the vertex groups that I created –
- Go into Selection >> Select By >> Name. A pop-up should appear.
- Choose Polygon, and a list of pre-saved polygons should appear to the right.
- Click on head and then select OK. The head of the figure should now be highlighted in red.
- Go into Selection >> Invert Selection. This selects everything else except the head.
- Go into Selection >> Name >> Vertices. Give your selection an appropriate name (e.g. Body) for easy retrieval later on.
- Select View >> Hide Selection. Now only the head of the figure will be visible.
Now we want to just isolate the face and hide other head parts such as lashes, tear, and inner mouth.
b) Face Elements – Lashes, Tear, Inner Mouth
- Go to Selection >> Select By >> Shading Domain. Choose Lashes from the list.
- Do the same for Tear and Inner Mouth.
- Go to Selection >> Name. Type in Face Elements and click on OK.
- Go to View >> Hide Selection.
Now only the bare head should be showing.
c) Back Head
- Switch to the Top Camera. Do this by clicking on the camera selection area on the top left of the screen and selecting Top.
- Press Ctrl-A to select the whole head. Go to View >> Zoom >> Zoom to Selection. Alternatively, you can just press ‘0‘ (zero) to zoom to selection.
- Click on the Marquee selection tool on the left of the screen. Drag your selection rectangle so you select the back of the head.
- Go to Selection >> Name. Type in Back-Head and click on OK.
- Go to View >> Hide Selection.
Success! – Now only the front face should be showing.
3. Set Up the Front and Side Backdrop Image
- Switch to the Front Camera.
- There should be four tabs on the middle right menu saying Model, Morph, Bones, and Global. Click on the Global tab.
- Click on the Load image file button and load in the Front and Side images of the head you want to model.
Note – For the images to work well make sure their width = height. This will ensure that the image aspect ratio is maintained in your Carrara working box.
- Click on Enable and the image should appear as a backdrop.
Unfortunately, the image fills the entire working box. To properly use the image to trace our 3D-head we need to resize the working box.
5. Set the Size and Position of the Working Box
- Make sure you are on the Front Camera.
- Go to View >> Grid.
- Set the Working Box size to whatever is appropriate for your image size. You may have to tweak this later on to get it exactly right. For now just set it to 1.
- At this point, your screen will jump to the new grid. Do Ctrl-A and then View >> Zoom >> Zoom to Selection (or hit ‘0’).
- Ctrl-Click on a vertex in the middle of the face. That will move the working box to that position.
- Go to View >> Align Working Box. When you do this, your head will again disappear from view. This is likely a bug in Carrara but it is ok. Just do Ctrl-A again and View >> Zoom >> Zoom to Selection (or hit ‘0’).
Now your backdrop image should appear behind your 3D wireframe head.
You will need to repeat the process above to tweak the size and position of your working box so that your backdrop image exactly matches the size of your 3D-head.
6. Vertex Editing
Once you have your backdrop image aligned with your wireframe head, you can shift the appropriate vertices around based on your background 2D drawing.
Then, simply switch to the right and left cameras to edit the side view of your 3D-head.
When doing that, you may want to select and hide the side of the face you are not working on so that you do not accidentally move the wrong vertices.
To do this, select the Marquee tool at the left of your screen and drag your rectangle to select the side of the face you want to hide. Then, go to View >> Hide Selection.
When modifying your 3D-head, take note of the Manipulator section on the right side of your screen – just above the Global tab area.
Hidden allows you to hide the control arrows on a selected vertex. In general, you want to do this because the control arrows often occlude the vertices around your selection, making it difficult to select them.
Soft Select gives you the ability to easily reshape entire surfaces by just moving a single vertex.
- You can control the size of the surface area that it affects by changing the value on the left slider.
- Changing to a flat-shaded view of your model will enable you to quickly see the area of your soft selection. You can change your model view by going to the top right area of your screen and clicking on the Flat View cube.
7. Have Fun with Head Modeling!
By modifying an existing high quality DAZ model, you can quickly create compelling content that also matches your character vision.
For example, the theme images used on this page were generated using the first head character I created on Carrara 7.
I just bought Carrara 7 about 1 week ago, and was able to create my first character in that time.
With this tutorial, you can probably do yours in a couple of days! Have fun!
Note – There are more than a few bugs in Carrara.
Sometimes, after shifting some vertices, your model surface may suddenly look extremely deformed. When that happens, just save your work to a temporary file (using the Save As option).
Restart Carrara and reopen your temporary file. The surface deformities should go away after you do this.
Also remember to save often as the Carrara application may sometimes freeze or crash.