Mirroring and Lofting the Head

In this lesson, you create a complete head surface. First you mirror the half-head, then you use Join to connect the contour curves. Finally, you loft the connected curves.

Mirror the head:

  1. Use the file StudentID#_BetterEAR.max from the last tutorial Creating The Ear. Your head should look like the one below, maybe just with slightly different eyelids.

  2. Select the NURBS model.

  3. Choose Tools menu > Mirror. In the Mirror: World Coordinates dialog, leave X chosen as the mirror axis. Set the Offset to -0.5" (inches), choose Instance, and then click OK.

    Make sure the offset is negative, or you will get a weird overlap between the two halves.

    The head is now mirrored, with a slight gap between the two halves. The new instanced half is selected.

  4. Go to the Modify panel.

  5. On the Modifier Stack rollout, click Make Unique.

    The mirrored half is now an independent object.

  6. On the General rollout, turn on the Attach button, and then click the original half of the head.

    Attach makes both halves part of the same NURBS model.

Remove the temporary U lofts:

  1. Right-click in a viewport, and then go to the Surface sub-object level in the modifier stack.

  2. Click to select one of the surface halves, and then hold down CTRL while you click the other.

    Both halves of the head should be selected. (You can leave the eye lids  and ears as they are.)

  3. On the Surface Common rollout, click Delete.

    Now the head consists of just the eyes, the ears, and the contour curves.

Connect the contour curves:

  1. Use Zoom and Arc Rotate to move the model so you can easily see the gap between the contour curves of the two halves, but most likely one view for the whole process with not work .I started with a perspective where I could clearly see the neck curves , joined them as described below and rotated my view as needed so I could clearly select as needed.

  2. Go to the Curve sub-object level.

  3. On the Curve Common rollout, turn on Join. Click the end of one curve near the gap. The curve is highlighted in blue, and a blue square is displayed, showing the end that will be joined. Drag to the corresponding curve. The second curve is also highlighted in blue, with a square to show the end that will be joined. When you have matched the curves you want to join, release the mouse button.

  4. In the Join Curves dialog that appears, click OK or press ENTER to use the defaults (the ZIP tab is active by default, and this is the best way to join two curves).

    Steps 3 and 4 can be tricky, because it can be difficult to see where the curves are, and which ends should match. Follow these guidelines:

    • For consistency's sake, move from top to bottom and left to right.

    • Before you join, make sure the joined curve (highlighted in blue) appears symmetrical. Do not join mismatched curves.

    • Join only the final ends of curves. Do not join if a small green circle appears in the blue highlight box. This indicates the start of a curve. (After joining the final ends, you will close the curves all at once.)

    • Zooming in and panning to get a closer view can help you locate the ends to join.

    • Save your work frequently so you don't have to backtrack too far if you make a mistake.


  5. When you've joined all the contour curves, use CTRL to select all of the head curves.

  6. On the CV Curve rollout, click Close.

    Close will be unavailable if you didn't connect all of the paired curves.

    Now all the contours of the two halves of the head are joined together, and you're ready to complete the head.

  7. Save your work as goco_closecurve.max.

Loft the head:

  1. In the NURBS Toolbox, turn on Create U Loft Surface.

  2. Create the final loft of the head. Begin creating the loft at the base of the neck, and proceed forward to the mouth.

    Tip: If you aren't sure you've picked curves in the right order, highlight each curve using the U Curves list on the U Loft Surface rollout. If a curve is out of order, highlight its name in the U Curves list, then change its position by clicking the buttons with up and down arrows just above the U Curves list.

  3. The U Loft surface is complete, but now we need to fix the nose cap, the curves on surface for the eye lids and ears and also mirror the eye. Which we will do in the next tutorial.

  1. Save your work as StudentID#_closecurve.max



Completing the Head