3D Monster

This is the first tutorial of my four part series dealing with character animation. These tutorials are targeted for beginners wanting to learn the basics of organic modeling, uvw mapping, texturing, rigging, and creating a cute 3d monster. In this first part we’re going to create the geometry and you’ll learn about polygon modeling and subdivision surfaces. I’ll do my best to keep things as simple as possible.

Step 1 Let’s See What the Final 3D Monster Model Will Look Like

In the picture below you see the 3d monster we’re going to create. There is a low polygon model on the left and the final subdivided model on the right. The goal is not to create the model as fast as possible but rather to give beginners a chance to experiment with different modeling tools. You need to know the basics about the interface, modifiers, and the transform tools to be able to complete this tutorial. I’m using 3ds Max 2011.

Two monster models

Step 2 Reference Image Setup in 3ds Max

I recommend using reference photos/images whenever possible to make the modeling process easier. I have prepared two images that you can use while modeling the monster. Please download the following files:

Create a Plane ( Create panel > Geometry > Standard Primitives > Plane ) in the front viewport . Modify the Plane ( Make a selection > Modify panel ) according to the following parameters :

  • Length: 200
  • Width: 200
  • Length Segs: 1
  • Width Segs: 1

Create another Plane in the left viewport with the same settings. Now we have two planes in the scene. Go to the left viewport and align ( Tools > Align > Align… ) the planes vertically ( y axis ).

Let’s apply the reference images to the planes. Open Material Editor ( Press ‘m’ in keyboard ) and create the materials for the planes:

  1. Select the plane you created in the front viewport and assign the material to it
  2. Add the diffuse map ( Maps > Standard > Bitmap > 3d-monster-model-front.jpg )
  3. Enable “Show Standard Map in Viewport” ( Makes the texture visible in shaded viewports )
  4. Self-Illumination: 100 ( Makes the texture easier to see in the viewports )
  5. Select another material slot and create the material for the other plane as well

Reference picture setup in 3ds Max

If the images are displayed in low resolution go to the display driver settings and and maximize the resolution ( Customize > Preferences… > Viewports > Configure Driver… > Appearance Preferences > Download Texture Size > Match Bitmap Size as Closely as Possible ).

Chances are that your planes are near zero or intersecting with each other. In either case, the planes will get in the way when we start the modeling. Let’s move them in the top viewport:

  • Front reference image: Move about 200 units along the y-axis ( you don’t have to be exact )
  • Left reference image: Move about 200 units along the x-axis ( you don’t have to be exact )

Now we’re ready to start the modeling process.

Reference picture setup in 3ds Max

Step 3 Useful Keyboard Shortcuts in 3ds Max

There are some keyboard shortcuts that are extremely useful during the modeling process:

  • F3 – Shaded view on/off
  • F4 – Edged faces on/off ( matters only when the shaded view is on )
  • ALT Q – Isolate selected object ( There is often a need to orbit around the model during the modeling process. At certain angles the reference planes might get in the way and that’s when the isolation mode becomes handy )
  • ALT X – Selected object becomes transparent
  • 1-5 – In Edit Poly modifier you can quickly switch between different sub-object levels by pressing 1-5 in keyboard

Step 4 Start the Modeling

We’re going to model polygon by polygon, so let’s create the very first polygon to have something to work with. Create a small Plane ( Create panel > Geometry > Standard Primitives > Plane ) in the front viewport and apply ( Make a selection > Modify panel ) the following parameters to it:

  • Length Segs: 1
  • Width Segs: 1

Add Edit Poly modifier to it ( Make a selection > Modify panel > Modifier List > Object-Space Modifiers > Edit Poly ). We’re going to start the modeling from the lower lip. Activate the vertex sub-object level and move the vertices according to picture below. I recommend concentrating on one vertex at a time. First position the vertex in the front viewport and then in the left viewport.

Modeling with reference pictures

Now the first polygon is in place. Since our 3d monster will be symmetrical we’re going to create only half of it and complete it with the help of a Symmetry modifier. This character is going to be animated so we’ll create it by using quads ( four sided polygons ) only. ( Quads deform better than triangles.)

Step 5 New Polygons by Cloning

Let’s create a new polygon by cloning:

  1. Activate the edge sub-object level
  2. Select the leftmost edge in the front view port ( See the image below )
  3. Press and hold SHIFT in keyboard
  4. Move the selected edge to the left ( See the image below )
  5. Activate the vertex sub-object level and move the new vertices according to the reference images in both the front and left viewports

Cloning edges in 3d Max

Step 6 Modeling Around the Mouth

Let’s repeat the cloning process several times to create polygons around the mouth. Whenever you create a new polygon, remember to move the vertices in both the front and left viewports!

Tip: Press ALT X in keyboard to make the selected object transparent. This might help when positioning the vertices.

Poly modeling

Step 7 Cloning Several Edges at Once

You can also clone several edges at once:

  1. Select two edges in the front viewport ( See the image below. Press CTRL in keyboard to select several edges. )
  2. Press and hold SHIFT in keyboard
  3. Move the selected edges upwards ( See the image below )
  4. Activate the vertex sub-object level and move the vertices according to the reference images in both the front and left viewports

Polygon modeling

Step 8 Cloning Polygons

So far we’ve created new polygons by cloning edges but we can also clone polygons:

  1. Activate polygon sub-object level
  2. Select two polygons ( See the image below )
  3. Press and hold SHIFT in keyboard
  4. Move the selected polygons upwards. Select ‘Clone To Element’ in the new dialog.
  5. Remember to move the vertices in both viewports ( See the image below )

Modeling by cloning polygons

Step 9 The Bridge Tool

Whenever there are two border edges that we want to connect with a polygon, we can use the Bridge tool:

  1. Activate edge sub-object level and make sure you have nothing selected ( keyboard shortcut for deselect is CTRL d )
  2. Activate the Bridge tool ( Edit Poly > Edit Edges > Bridge )
  3. Click on the border edge in the front viewport ( See the image below )
  4. Click on the other border edge ( See the image below )
  5. Repeat the process on the left side of the eye as well

Using the bridge tool in 3ds Max

Step 10 Welding Vertices

Our goal is to create a unified surface where polygons share vertices with all adjacent polygons. Often there’s a need to weld vertices of adjacent polygons together. Let’s try this in practice:

  1. In the front viewport, select two edges on the right side of the eye and create two new polygons by cloning
  2. Select one edge on the left side of the eye and create a new polygon by cloning
  3. Activate the vertex sub-object mode
  4. Activate ‘Target Weld’ tool ( Edit Poly > Edit Vertices > Target Weld )
  5. Click on the vertex ( See the image below )
  6. Click on the other vertex ( See the image below )
  7. Repeat the process on the left side as well
  8. Remember to move the new vertices according to both reference images

Welding vertices together

Step 11 New Polygons with the Scale tool

The Scale tool can be an effective method of creating new polygons:

  1. Activate edge sub-object level and select 6 edges ( See the image below )
  2. Press and hold SHIFT in keyboard
  3. Scale the edges in the front viewport ( See the image below )
  4. Remember to move the vertices in both viewports

Modeling by scaling polygons

Step 12 Modeling by Cloning

Let’s clone some polygons in the left viewport:

  1. Select 5 edges ( See the image below )
  2. Press and hold SHIFT in keyboard
  3. Move the edges to the left
  4. Move the vertices according to the reference images ( See the image below )

Modeling monster head with polygons

Step 13 Symmetry and TurboSmooth Modifiers

This is actually an optional step but highly recommended nevertheless. The idea of this tutorial is to create a half of a low polygon model, complete it with the Symmetry modifier, and smoothen the surface with the Turbosmooth modifier. I’ll show you how we can see the final surface while working on a low poly model:

  1. Deactivate any sub-object level and go to the front viewport.
  2. Clone the whole model by moving it while pressing SHIFT in keyboard. Select ‘Reference’ in the clone options dialog.
  3. Apply Symmetry modifier to the reference copy ( Make a selection > Modify panel > Modifier List > Object-Space Modifiers > Symmetry ). If the model disappears, activate Flip ( Symmetry > Mirror Axis > Flip ).
  4. Activate mirror sub-object level in the Symmetry modifier and align the mirror plane to the right side of the model. The vertices in the middle are welded together.
  5. Deactivate mirror sub-object level and add Turbosmooth modifier ( If you see a seam in the middle, all vertices haven’t been welded and you have to move the mirror in the Symmetry modifier ).
  6. Set Iterations value ( in Turbosmooth modifier ) to 1-3 depending on your needs and computer power.

Now you continue working with the original low poly monster model and you see the changes in the smoothed model in real time. If the smoothed model gets in the way you can just move or hide it. ( It’s also possible to add the modifiers to the original model you are working on, but personally I find that method more troublesome. )

Symmetry and Turbosmooth modifier in action

Step 14 Modeling the Rest of the Head

Now you know everything you need to know to go on. Complete the rest of the head as you see fit. The front reference image doesn’t help you much when you create the back of the head. You just have to create new polygons, orbit around the head, and move the vertices. Remember to weld vertices together when necessary. If it feels hard, remember to concentrate on a one polygon at a time. Be patient and move the vertices until you get a nice round head. This is what polygon modeling is all about.

Completing the head of the monster model

Step 15 Modeling the Torso

Now the hardest part is over. The rest of this 3d monster model is pretty simple to create. Let’s complete the torso:

  1. Activate the edge sub-object level and select 5 edges ( See the image below )
  2. Clone the edges downwards
  3. Move the vertices according to the reference images

Modeling the torso by cloning edges

Repeat the cloning two times and create the bottom of the monster according to the image below. Cloned edges and use Bridge tool when you can.

The structure of the bottom of the model

Step 16 Creating the Arm

The arm is really easy to create with Extrude and Bevel tools:

  1. Activate the polygon sub-object level
  2. Activate Extrude tool ( Edit Poly > Edit Polygons > Extrude )
  3. Click and drag on top of a polygon ( See the image below )

Make sure to extrude the polygon only a little. We want a relatively sharp joint here so we need two edges that are close to each other. If you are not sure what I’m talking about, look at the smoothed model while extruding and compare different extrusion values.

Creating the arm by extrusion

Complete the arm:

  1. Use Extrude ( Edit Poly > Edit Polygons > Extrude ) once more and move vertices according to the reference.
  2. Use Bevel twice to complete the arm ( Edit Poly > Edit Polygons > Bevel )

Bevel works just like Extrude except it allows scaling just after the extrusion.

Modeling the arm with Extrude and Bevel tools

Step 17 Finalizing the Monster Model

Let’s work with the eyes and mouth just a little more:

  1. Activate the border sub-object level and select the edges around the eye
  2. Activate the edge sub-object level and select also the edges around the mouth
  3. Press and hold SHIFT in keyboard
  4. Move the edges inwards to create new polygons
  5. Move the new vertices according to image below ( pressing ALT X in keyboard should help )

Creating eye sockets and mouth

Finally orbit around your model and fix all bumps and errors in the surface. Create two spheres for eyes and the monster model is complete!

Step 18 Rendering the 3D Monster Model

I rendered the final image with Mental Ray ( Rendering > Render Setup… > Common tab > Assign Renderer > Production ).

My rendering setup:

  • Standard material with light gray diffuse color
  • Skylight with pure white color
  • White plane under the model
  • White background

Rendered 3d monster models

Hopefully you learned enough to be able to create your own 3d monster models. Stay tuned for the unwrapping tutorial!

160 Responses to 3D Monster

  1. Hagane says:

    nice, by the way , you’re the best of the best i love your bog , i love you , keep up the good work, i hope one day i can become you

  2. Adam says:

    Omg awesome :D

  3. Pedro says:

    If I saw this 5 years ago, I would explode of happiness… There is so much trash out there for begginers… This is awesome and I’m looking forward to the next in the series ..hoping rigging skinning and animation!

  4. Remington M says:

    Thanks so much! I check your blog everyday now :)

  5. 3D-Maxer says:

    Awesome, But If I want to create something else, How Would I get it’s Picture

  6. Damian says:

    What about next stage? Rig and animation for example?))

  7. Ian Bonifačić says:

    GR8!!!!!!!!1 Tnx m8. Keep up the good work!!!

  8. JWilliams says:

    Thanks for this!! This is probably the best modelling tutorial I’ve found…I’m fairly new to 3ds Max but trying to learn it to integrate into my Video Editing/Post Production side of things. I followed this tutorial perfectly thanks to how great it was.

    My question is, when I render, the inside of my mouth acts as if its transparent. It shows the white background instead of the black mouth. Its like it ignores the inside faces of the back of the monsters head.

    Thanks again bro…cant wait for part 2 – 4!!

    • Richard says:

      That will be because you haven’t capped off the holes so it is showing the back of the polys inside the model. These are ignored by the renderer hence why the background is visible. If you select the border of the mouth and eye after you have extruded it inwards and click ‘Cap’ on the tools pane then it will create a polygon and fill the hole.

  9. Thomas Morrell says:

    Thank-You for this tutorial I can’t wait, much like JWilliams I’m interested in merging 3D with my video footage, as I’m aspiring to become a Visual Effects Artist. Another thing iv’e always struggled with is character rigging so I really can’t wait for the rest of the tutorial series.

  10. OmerMintz says:

    Awesome job on the tut ! very helpful and clear ! :D
    w8ing for the other parts !! =]

  11. 3D-Maxer says:

    Mr. Polygon Blog :

    I Love 3D So Much, I’ve Been Using 3Ds max Since I was 12 Years Old and Now I’m 16, Do You Think I Should Keep on Going And Learn it More, or Should Just Drop It, I’m Studying Medicine To Be a Doctor, I Don’t Know What To Do, Thnx in Advance

    and Which is The Best To uSe : 3ds max, Maya, Cinema 4d

  12. Abducted47 says:

    Oh… thanks a lot man… hope you publish a lot of more character modeling tutorials… this such as hair, and cloth would be very welcome too.

    Thanks a lot for you lessons. One of best blogs i’ve seen.

  13. JWilliams says:

    ahh..i solved my problem by rendering with v-ray…

    i didnt render with mental ray either the first time so maybe thats why i had that problem in the first place…

  14. Evy says:

    learn a lot. there’re many tutorials on web, but none of them is clearer than yours, especially in my mother tongue.
    you’re amazing.
    thank you.

  15. Benji says:

    Thankyou so much, I have never been able to model with reference images before, but I was able to complete you tutorial!

    I am also having an issue with the render.. you can se the background through the mouth area. Could you please tell me how to fix this =)

    Thanks again mate, you really are a champ.

  16. LuckySeven says:

    Thank you for all your wonderful tutorials! :D

  17. Hagane says:

    Antti, I really Love your Blog, I can’t wait for more, But How about Making a Tutorial the explains the 3d for begginers like me, like what is the mentalray and things like that for begginers

    • JWilliams says:

      mental ray is a renderer you can use to render your product in 3ds max..if you go to your render settings, you scroll to the bottom where it says “assign renderer” and choose “mental ray”…

    • polygonblog says:

      Thanks JWilliams and Hagane. I’ll take your suggestion about beginner’s tutorials under consideration.

  18. Spartagos says:

    Very super!

  19. Chris says:

    thanks mate, great tutorial, when can we expect to see the next stage of the process?

  20. Hagane says:

    thnx JWilliams

  21. Nugo says:

    OMG!!! best tutorial that i ever see….. i just begining to learn on 3Ds Max but hardly to find basic polygon tutor to learn.. but finaly i found it….. 4 THUMBS UP!!! keep the good work on tutorial i wish u can become more “great” for sharing the great tutorial

  22. 3D-Maxer says:

    is it possible to create characters and enviroments like in the the movie Avatar or transformers using ONLY 3ds Max?????

  23. Alex says:

    did you use symmetry and turbosmooth for the rendering? And also, how do you set a background for the rendering, and last of all, will there be a detailed explanation on rendering settings in the last tutorial?

    • polygonblog says:

      Yes, the usage of these modifiers is described in step 13. Background can be set from the menu: Rendering > Environment… I could write detailed explanation on the rendering in some of these tutorials.

      • Alex says:

        Thank you. I just meant in the final tutorial of the series when it’s finished, for the detailed rendering settings. :)

  24. Ricko says:

    Thank you! I dit it ! :D

  25. Polly says:

    Great idea! I’ve just learn 2 months, I did it, see here:

  26. Newbie says:

    I’m having a problem when using symmetry on the head, it looks a little squished. Is this part of it or is there something I need to fix? (Just started using 3dsmax a month ago :D)


    • polygonblog says:

      I’m not sure but try activating the mirror mode in the Symmetery modifier and moving the ‘mirror plane’.

    • Mike says:

      Not sure if you figured this out yet or not but I was having the same problem where my whole model was “squished” together. You actually have to move the “original” portion of the head (the part you supplied the symmetry modifier to)around a little bit and then adjust the Threshold Modifier so that all the seams weld together. Just a small tip that may help with the symmetry portion that some people may be having trouble with….wish this could be added to the tut…maybe a small blurb about adjusting the original model around and then adjusting the threshold ( I know it’s mentioned at the end but this can really mess with beginners when they see all their hard work “squished” like that)

  27. Aleksandro Araújo says:

    Thanks a lot man! Great job. Loking forward fot the next part :D

  28. Tom says:

    Great tuts dude, thanks for sharing :)

  29. Thiago says:

    How wonderful! With this tutorial can model cars among other things. Loved!
    I’ma beginner and every day I get more Fascinated with the program, and all thanks to people like you. Thank you.

  30. neeraj says:

    good & easy to aplly . thnks bro

  31. Akaltar says:

    This tutorial is amazing!
    i want to learn some organic modeling…
    and found this series(which is AMAZING!)

  32. iKlsR says:

    hey im a blender user and i followed this tutorial perfectly.. ur teaching methods are flawless and u are awesome! keep up the super cool work!

  33. valentino s says:

    i had to stop i have no idea how you got to that screen in step 2

    • polygonblog says:

      Do you have any specific questions? This tutorial is aimed for beginners but you still need to have the basic understanding of the 3ds max interface, viewports, modify panel, modifiers, sub-object levels, transforms tools, and materials to be able to finish this.

  34. Marko says:

    Please keep it up!!!!! This is by far the best tut website ive come across, concise and easy to follow.

    Thanks again

  35. Kevin says:

    Thank you for your clear, concise and very helpful tutorial. I am switching over to 3ds Max from being a long time Maya user. These little production tips are extremely helpful!

  36. Toby says:

    Thank you for your time and efforts in making this tutorial. You did a really nice job! As I’m learning max I’m trying to get a handle on when to use some of the different workflows. What would be the advantage of modeling poly by poly like this as opposed to a more traditional box model?

    I’m looking forward to exploring more of your material and will be visiting often!

  37. sergen says:

    Note for the future users: if you wonder why the background reference images are still look low resoultion, check “Match Bitmap Size as Closely as Possible” and restart max. it will be effective at next session (dont forget to save your work).

  38. steph says:

    I have to say after doing two of your tutorials now these are by far the best tutorials I’ve come across, there is so much crap out there and it’s difficult to learn the skills.

    Yay for texturing!

  39. Abis says:

    Thanks you so much for all of your tutorials! I appreciate all of them! Thank you again!

  40. 3D-Maxer says:

    I Loved Your Cartoon Duck You Made

  41. iena says:

    thanks for the tutorial.. it helps me much as a beginner..=)
    waiting for more tuts from u..

  42. Mark says:

    I only see textures in the ‘perspective’ view. How can i change this?

    Thanks for this tutorial

  43. 3D-Maxer says:

    Hi, i’m stuck on step 14 please help,

  44. 3D-Maxer says:

    I solved the problem :-)

  45. Daniel ZilkMeister says:


  46. elixir says:

    your tuts are so simple and awesome. they’ve been helping me heaps. thanks so much

  47. Thomas says:


    Very good tutorial and soooo easy. It helped me alot =DE

    Could you give me some more details about the render preset you’ve used. I can’t get the same cool colors and shadows as you’ve got



  48. X says:

    so you make new thin subdivs around the eyes and mouth to allow the smoothing to work correctly? no tutorials ever explain WHY regarding this stuff.. also i presume you use turbosmooth after?

    if someone can link to a good guide on this kind of topology? guidance itd be appreciated

  49. son-ia says:

    Thanks a lot! You help me so much!!!!

  50. manda-in-brasil says:

    queremos mais tutoriais obrigado por este e os outros ajudo muito

  51. murat says:

    Thanks bro :)

  52. George says:

    Thank U very much. Nice tutorial for beginners. Looking forward for next one :-).

  53. Ryu says:

    Thanks so much for posting this tutorial you really answered a lot of unanswered questions I have had about design. Can not wait to see more tutorials!!!!!

  54. SHAIKH says:

    Really u r doing a great job for seaker and nobody can explain like you.
    you are grate

  55. Ben moz says:

    Thanks ,so much creative and helpful with vivid steps.
    Best Regards to you.

  56. polygonblog says:

    Thanks guys! I happy to hear you like it!

  57. Mike Holman says:

    Just completed this tutorial and its amazing!! Thank you so much :)

  58. João Ribeiro says:

    Hi, first i would like to thank you for your tutorials they are awesome, second I’m having a little trouble at step 4, could you tell me how did you do to center your images and zoom so that you could see all the details? Thank you so much for your attention.

    • polygonblog says:

      I’m not sure whether I understand the question or not but if your images are displayed in low resolution go to the display driver settings and and maximize the resolution ( Customize > Preferences… > Viewports > Configure Driver… > Appearance Preferences > Download Texture Size > Match Bitmap Size as Closely as Possible ).

  59. João Ribeiro says:

    Thanks for your quick reply, but that is not my question, bloody language barrier xD, I’m gonna upload an image of my perspectives so that you can see, my problem is that i would like to have my perspectives like yours for example step4, where you can see close enough. http://img683.imageshack.us/img683/8603/captureavt.png Thanks once again.

  60. Uzair says:

    Please check your email. I think i screwed the whole thing! :(

  61. UZair says:

    I still don’t get it.. I did follow all steps but got 2d image/polygons. I moved the 2 planes by 200 on its respetive axis. But still it wont work.

  62. UZair says:

    I did it again but same result.. WHat step am i doing wrong? :(

  63. Sunara says:

    i am having a problem with the placement of the poly. when i clone the polygon for the upper lip, if i adjust it in the front viewport, it doesnt come out right in the left and vice versa. i checked this in the top viewport and the problem as i see it is that when i move the vertices in the left viewport, the polygon goes behind the rest of the element. please help me out here.

    here is a screen shot:


  64. Julia says:

    hii! i loove this tutorial. but i got stuck at step 14, i can’t clone the polygons anymore.. since i did that target weld thing. heeelp me please. i would love to finish this.

  65. Awessome!
    Great Tutorial, my friend =]


  66. mrgsakis says:

    Do you mind if i make one question irrelative with modeling? How do you achieve this really nice soft shadow (more like ambient occlusion i would say) on you final model using skylight? I use skylight with high settings on final gather but the image still looks so flat.

  67. Sunara says:


    Thank you very much for this tutorial. finally made it!
    i just wanted to know if you can tell me of any websites that provide reference images like the ones that you have given. i mean with the polygon lines drawn on them. this makes it very easy to model them. so if you could tell me of any sites, i’d really appreciate it.

  68. Naxima says:

    Hi. Just got a little problem. Did that tutorial my own way a couple weeks ago, modifying and adding to the model. But recently I got back on the site and saw there are tutorials for the texturing and rigging parts wich i’m not familiar too. I decided to quickly redo-the model just like yours so I could follow the other ones too. The only thing is that when I render it, the mouth appears white, on a white background. The inner part of the monster is not 2-sided so it’s transparent from the interior. The thing is I fixed that on my first model, I just dont remember how I did… And now, i’ve finished the unwraping tutorial and when trying to get back to the plane’s or editable poly modifiers I get a message that another modifier will f— up if I touch this one. I can understand that the unwraped model wont be good if I modify the edit poly one. So, do you have any other solution than patching it with another black polygon inside? Thanks, at least for reading.

  69. Überlamb says:

    I can’t seem to be able to move each vertex without affecting the position of the others. I’m trying to adjust the position of the vertex but when I try to move a vertex it moves all the others on the polygon simultaneously.

    What am I doing wrong?

    Thank you.

  70. Überlamb says:

    A kind of irrelevant question but I wanted to ask for future reference. Sometimes I hit an unknown key or button in 3DS Max which makes my polygon edges unclonable and gives the edges different colours.

    Here’s an example.

    If you know what causes this please e-mail me, thank you.

  71. Sam says:

    Thanks a lot for the tutorial it was terrific. I’m wondering if you could explain the rendering in some extra detail though? I found how to add the skylight but it doesn’t cast that nice shadow that you have, are you using any special rendering settings?

    Thanks again and I’m looking forward to taking on your other tutorials tomorrow.

  72. Mordi says:

    The textures remain low-resolution after I check the box for “match bitmap-size as closely as possible”. Maybe my graphics card can’t handle it or something. Tips anyone?

  73. Ajb92 says:

    I’m having a problem with the reference image. I click on the link and it takes me to a blank page. Is there some other way I can get the images?

  74. kubos says:

    Hi I somehow accidentaly disabled adding polygons by holding shift . Can you tell me how to enable it again ? Thank you

  75. stillm4tic says:

    In step 4 i’ve created the first plane and all that but how did you get the plane to line up with the imagine of the monster? Totally stumped on this step

    • Anonymous says:


      Go into the modify panel (left of the create panel), and in the drop down “modifier list” menu select the edit poly modifier (make sure you’ve selected the plane before doing so).

      Next, go to the selection part of the edit poly modifier (below the modifier list there should be a lot of options to do with the edit poly modifier), and in the selection part select the image of three dots at the top (the vertex sub level).

      With this selected, use the move tool to move the vertices (the corners of the plane) in the front view until they line up with the monster reference image. Do the same for the left view, making sure the right vertex goes in the right place (in this case the furthest left vertices in the front view image should be the furthest left vertices in the left view image, otherwise the mouth will go outwards instead of inwards.

      If you can’t get the vertices to line up with both reference images correctly, one is either the wrong size or not in the right place (most likely the latter if you’ve been following the tutorial correctly). I recommend lining up the vertices with the left view image and then moving the front view image until they line up with that one too if you need to move them.

  76. stillm4tic says:

    Thank you very much that explanation worked awesome not sure why I couldn’t understand poly’s

  77. stillm4tic says:

    Why is that after I clone some of the planes I can only move the vertices horizontally? I’m not able to move them vertically up or down…

  78. another Anonymous says:

    stillmatic, you probably clicked on one of the arrows (x,y,z). try hovering over that positioning thing until you see two axis highlighted in yellow. hope that helps

    @polygonblog: thanks for this awsome tutorial series!! worked great, only thing i would like to mention is that it was little unclear what exactly to do with the eyes and the mouth (final step) i just connected them becourse you said “place them according to the images” and i couldnt figure out where to put the vertices

  79. VidGameDude says:

    These tutorial step by steps are greatly appreciated.
    I thank you for taking the time to do this and not even ask for a single cent. you’re truly a charitable soul in your hard work for the newer users to 3ds max!

    if your still reading these comments, again i thank you!

  80. Habibie says:

    amazing tutorial! seems only you provide us many tutorials with complete pictures…

  81. Abel says:

    Thanks for the tutorial man, it’s really appreciated!! :D

    You can check my results here: http://stalyan.com/2011/03/05/working-with-3dmax-is-funny-placeholder-for-our-indie-android-game/

  82. great tutorial!

    I can’t get my renders to look like yours, despite doing my best to use the settings you listed.

    can you provide any more details on how you lit your model?

  83. Anth says:

    Hey, great tutorials you have here.

    I’ve encountered a problem though when i apply a simple material to my finished model, The material only covers the bottom lip and nothing else, as you can see here
    Any suggests as to whats causing this?

    • polygonblog says:

      It’s perfectly normal. Just go on with the unwrapping tutorial. If you can’t see the texture it means that the polygons don’t have uvw coordinates or they are really messed up. But don’t worry, just go on with the unwrapping tutorial.

  84. mattt says:

    Im having troubble modifying the panel. Some help please?

  85. dean storey says:

    hey, great tutorial by the way i’ve known all these techniques for a while but never actually modelled something cool with them and i remember trying to do this tutorial last year and i couldn’t follow up but now it was a breeze and my monster looks almost as perfect as yours thanks for showing how to increase texture resolution and weld vertices

    there is one problem i stumbled across and i dont know if its ever happened to you but i can see the floor through his eyes and mouth when i render it but then if i render his back there is no holes there i think it might have something to do with dragging his mouth and eyes in on the second last step to give him some depth but i dont know why its happening because theres no holes in the viewport

  86. Kieran says:

    Can you do a tutorial on making a clay render?

  87. Mohammed says:

    شكرا جدا جدا جدا
    استمتعت بعملها
    وجارى عمل الخطوه اللى بعدها

  88. Marin says:

    Great tutorials, mate! Highly appreciated! Keep up the good work!:)

    Someone wanna say hi!:)


  89. Johnni says:

    Awsome tutorial man. I enjoyed dealing with this tutorial. I have link of complete head making tutorials in 3d max. Someone interested can check it

  90. Zeynep says:

    Thanks for these incredible information..You can’t imagine how much you help me..:)

  91. Tim says:

    Great tutorial. Writing a clear & helpful tutorial is a real skill — so many leave me with more questions than answers. This one was great, easy to follow & well illustrated! Thanks.

  92. Pietro says:

    Hello, this is an amazing tutorial, i finished the monster but i have a problem, the mouth it’s not black like your but it’s light grey why? i have read all the comment and i close in the mouth with polygon the hole, and i try to put 2-side material on, but with no success, it always light grey…please help me:


    • polygonblog says:

      There is no that problem with my model because I didn’t close the mouth. Your model is better in that way. Anyway, you could try to fix it for example by placing an omni light inside the mouth and setting the multiplier to -1. Negative multiplier creates darkness.

  93. hello says:

    thank you! your tutorial is very easy, so beginner like me is possible to follow.

  94. hella says:

    i cant import the images into 3ds max how do u do that i try import and it says improper import module found and improper file format help please

  95. ThomU says:

    You’re one of the Best blogs ever! Easy on the eyes, no nonsense, salient offerings….unlike TV. Keep up the great work!

  96. amjad says:

    ty sooooooooooooo much ,the best tutorial i ever seen
    simple and great modeling ,,,

  97. Alex says:

    Cheers for the tutorial!

    I have a problem, when I am dragging the vertecies to match yours, in the viewport I am getting another ‘edge’ which I cannot select, and it is not flat surfaces like yours. I have an image displaying my problem here:


    All I have done there is shift drag the edge out, then moved the vertex one my one, first in the front then the left viewport.

    A reply from anyone would be much appreciated !

  98. Yabuki says:

    Very Helpful Tutorial!

    I have a question, How did you render the monster in the back?

  99. Yabuki says:

    Thanks alot!

  100. Nightboy97 says:

    I want to know how to weld the vertexes between the model and the mirror in the turbosmooth part. im using max2010

  101. Terry says:

    Thanks alot for your Tutorial
    I am using the free version of 3ds max 2012 this seems to be different to max 2011
    For some reason I cannot get Step 5 to do anything

    Step 5 New Polygons by Cloning
    Let’s create a new polygon by cloning:
    1. Activate the edge sub-object level
    2. Select the leftmost edge in the front view port ( See the image below )
    3. Press and hold SHIFT in keyboard
    4. Move the selected edge to the left ( See the image below )
    5. Activate the vertex sub-object level and move the new vertices according to the reference images in both the front and left viewports

    Left SHIFT is pressed and the move Transform active using the mouse to move I am unable to move anything just sits there nothing happens, I did get some results using the Graphite Modeling Tools using the extrude tool not sure if the results are the same as you intended in your tutorial
    Perhaps you could give me a tip?
    Tanks in advance Terry

    • polygonblog says:

      Make sure soft selection is off. To turn it off, press CTRL + s while the edge sub-object level is activated. If it doesn’t help, I have no idea what is going on. I haven’t used 2012 yet.

  102. Peter says:

    such a cool tutorial :)

  103. Peter says:

    Just finished this tutorial :) Had a looot of fun :) Thank U, one of the best tutorials I’ve ever seen :)

  104. Jolty says:

    Awesome tut! I’m having some trouble with step 2.4 though. I’m using 2012 and after I apply the bitmap, the self illumination option disappears. How do I circumvent this?

  105. Bleu says:

    Fantastic tutorial
    Thanks a lot!
    Its very difficult to find such wonderful tutorials for 3dsmax, especially for beginners. Hoping a lot more tutorials from you!

  106. Hezebeth says:

    a real nice beginning for 3DsMax learners :) thank you

  107. Dave says:

    My teacher made us do this in class….I hate you.

  108. abolfazl says:

    more easy tutorial plz

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