ARTC 4110/5820

Advance 3D Computer Modeling / spring 2017

Call Number: 16942
Credit: 3
Location: Room 246 Wolfe Center
Date / Time: Tu Th 2:30pm - 4:50pm
Instructor: Saritdikhun Somasa
Phone: 372- 4550
Office hours: Wednesday 1:45pm-3:45pm

Course Overview

The artistic visualization of complex forms using digital three-dimensional (3D) modeling and rendering. The course focuses on the effective principles of design and the application of advanced digital 3D modeling tools (software and hardware) to create artistic images, sculptures, film or game art. Five studio hours. Prerequisite: ARTC 3110 or consent of instructor. May be repeated up to six hours.
This course will explore advanced modeling techniques with 3D computer modeling tools including topology construction for proper geometry deformation, UVs layout for texturing, and rendering techniques with Maya 3D and ZBrush pipelines.
The course aims for understanding both modeling for animation and modeling for illustration techniques.

Course Objective

Students will produce a high detailed model for both Animation and Illustration purposes. Students will understand all aspects of modeling for animation, game production and fine art. This can create the potential to turn a digital 3D model into an actual 3D object using a 3D printer.

Goals are:

  • To improve visualization of complex forms through computer assisted 3D modeling with Maya and ZBrush.
  • To understand the topology, producing the effective deformable surface character model
  • To improve skills in advanced Polygonal mesh modeling techniques
  • To understand the surface color texturing and rendering techniques
  • To explore contemporary methods of translating the virtual 3D arts using Maya 3D, and ZBrush software into the tangible 3D artworks using a 3D printer and/or Pepakura software, (optional: laser cut printer.)

Required materials for this course

  • External hard drive/USB 3 at lest 1TB
  • Money for 2D printing of artwork (3-4 prints at 17x11 inches / approximate cost at $60)
  • Money for 3D printing (2-3 prints / approximate cost $80)
  • Post artwork/works in progress on the class group at the end of every class

Recommended Reading

  • Anatomy for Sculptors by Uldis Zarins with Sandis Kondrats
  • Atlas of Human Anatomy for the Artist by Stephen Rogers Peck
  • Force: Dynamic life drawing for animator by Michael D. Mattesi
  • Carving Classic Female Faces in Wood by Ian Norbury
  • Fundamentals of Figure Carving by Ian Norbury
  • Dynamic Anatomy by Burne Hogarth
  • Dynamic The Human Head by Burne Hogarth

Requirement for each of the assignment and the final project

  1. Name Convention Format
  2. (your user name)_ (project name).ext
  3. Example:
    • saritds_ BustModel.jpeg
  4. Students are required to update artwork on their digital arts student portfolio throughout the semester.
  5. See individual project writeups for the exact list of items that need to be turned in on the indicated due dates. Below is the basic list of items on each project:
  6. Maya project directory including
    • Maya models
    • Textures
    • Final rendering images
    • OBJs
    • File format: *.obj, *.stl and *.x3g
  7. Presentation to the class for each project on the Critique Day is required.
  8. Print out of the best image for each project, 17 x 11 inches (2 points off for each missing print)
  9. Screen presentation of a minimum of 4 full view images of each project, taken from different angles (must be in 72 dpi of JPG format)
  10. At the end of the semester, students must turn all three projects in the class folder. ZBrush Tool, Alpha maps (if you are use customized maps for your alpha brushes)

Term projects

Approximate Grade Emphasis

Every section of the in-class exercises is a part of class projects. There will be approximately ten in-class exercises.

  • Project 1 (80 points)
  • Project 2 (100 points)
  • Final Project (120 points)

During the semester, students will need to post screen captures of in-class exercises on the class’s Facebook group.

Project 1: Figurative Model

(see project 1 document here or on BGSU Canvas for details)


Character design and modeling in CG, is intensely involved with the study of human and animal anatomy. Even though the character will be stylized, the artist still needs to have advanced understanding of proportion, shapes/forms, bone structures, muscle systems, functionality of bones and muscles to be proficient when designing an animatable character in 3D. Also, good topology in geometry will help to define the deformation of polygonal mesh, to create believable motion.

Project 2: Poseable Figure

(see project 2 document here or on BGSU Canvas for details)


The mechanical design on the poseable parts of a figure are not only for the mainstream toy market, but have also been utilized in media entertainment and medical science, such as stop motion in an animated film and 3D print animatronic prosthetics.

Many mainstream toy companies have developed design and invested in research to improve both aesthetic and function of the doll or figure, such as Hot Toys, Medicom (MAFEX), FREEing, and much more.
Students will use their T-Pose base mesh model from the first project and redesign each part of the model for 3D print. The final figure design must be poseable (except fingers and toes due to the small scale of 3d print on this project). We cannot print larger than 1/16 due to time.

Project 3: Project 3: Synchronic Narrative

(see project 3 document here or on BGSU Canvas for details)


Synchronic Narrative is an art of storytelling. It depicts a mono scene, which may portray a single or multiple characters conveying an action taking place. A static 3D rendering image is comprised of several art concepts, such as digital sculpture, photography and painting, to illustrate an event or action telling a story.

Students will create a 3D computer rendering of a semi-diorama. The semi-diorama should depict an action telling a story.  It may be a parody of a current event, it could incorporate iconic films, pop culture, world history, or mythology.


*Professor reserves the right to change the rules to better facilitate the learning environment.

Please avoid clichés in your artwork.
This is not saying you absolutely can't use those types of images, but if you do they must be pushed WELL beyond the cliché!

Student Projects

Projects created in any Digital Arts course may be used by the ART department for promoting the student, the department and/or the university in general. These materials may also be used by the ART department for instructional purposes in future courses. Please inform the instructor in advance if you do not want your projects used.

Grades / Evaluation

Sequences include a "Grade of C or higher" in…:

ARTC 2210 – required to move on to any ARTC courses
ARTC 3110 – required to move on to ARTC 3120
ARTC 3120 – required to move on to ARTC 4130 and 4430
ARTC 3310 – required to move on to ARTC 4330
ARTC 3440 – required to move on to ARTC 4440
Where to find official course descriptions:

All projects will be graded on the rubric chart attached to the project page. A grade for Participation will be calculated as a sum of the student's involvement in class and the general helpfulness that the student offers to fellow classmates. In-class Projects and Readings are mostly graded on a pass or fail basis. Your final grade will be calculated from these three scores.

A (100-90)
Excellent - Above and beyond, artistically AND technically

B (89-80)
Very Good - Beyond requirements, artistically OR technically

C (79-70)
Average - Met the basic requirements

D (69-60)
Did not meet requirements

F (59-0)
Project not turned in or completely insufficient


3d art is time extensive and the technology associated with it is always changing. Learning the fundamentals is a must. Techniques, concepts and ideas discussed in this class are essential for a 3d Artist. Because of these, attendance is essential.

1 absences = excused
2 absences = grade lowered 1 letter grade
3 absences = grade lowered 2 letter grades
4 absences = grade lowered 3 letter grades
5 absences = fail course. Dropping course recommended

Being late to class three times will be counted as one unexcused absence. Likewise, leaving class early will be counted as an absence unless approved by instructor.

Student needs

Any student who wishes to discuss accommodations based on a disability, please come talk to me after class or during office hours. The goal of the Disability Services for Students Office is to help provide equal access and reasonable accommodations to BGSU students with disabilities. Students wishing to discuss their eligibility for such accommodations are encouraged to contact their office at 372-8495 (413 South Hall).

Academic Honesty

Students are expected to maintain the highest level of integrity in their academic work. From time to time, however, issues such as cheating, fabrication or plagiarism in an academic exercise arise. The original jurisdiction and penalty both vary depending on the offense and when it is discovered. Also, there are specific requirements for record-keeping and for notification of the student and academic dean. The complete policy is available in both the Student Handbook (Codes of Conduct) and the Faculty Handbook (Academic Charter).

Class and lab rules

  • No food or drink in the lab.
  • No cell phones or beepers on during class.
  • ALWAYS remember to turn off your cell phone or to turn on Airplane mode before class.
  • No sleeping during class. • No using head/ear phones, chatting Online, emailing, my space/Facebook/ or other Online surfing during class (accept research of requesting period)
  • No playing video games during the class time
  • Hardware: No student is permitted to disconnect, reconnect, or reconfigure any workstation without the permission of a digital arts or film instructor. Any problems with hardware or software must be reported to a digital arts or film professor, preferably by email. Report should include Workstation ID# and exact nature of problem.


If you do not obey the rules, you will receive a first warning. If it happens again, you will be asked to leave the classroom plus receive one half a letter grade drop and a third time you will receive a full letter grade drop on your final grade.



Course schedule

Student can access more details materials of in-class exercise and lecture on BGSU Canvas.

WEEK 1 (10th&12th)


  • Course materials
    • Discussion

Maya 3D

    • Anatomy of polygon
    • Edge loop or edge flow concept
    • Blocking figure model

Human anatomy concept

  • Structure of the body
  • Blocking Human Figure

Assign Project 1 (Due 2/14/17)

Polygonal Blocking State: Head:

  • Skull Structure and Mass Landmark
    • Eyes
    • Nose
    • Mouth
    • Ears

WEEK 2 (17th&19th)

Polygonal Blocking State: Human Upper body:

  • Skull Structure and Mass Landmark Torso
    • Back
    • Shoulder
    • Arm
    • Hand

WEEK 3 (24th&26th)

Polygonal Blocking State: Human lower body:

  • Skull Structure and Mass Landmark Torso
    • Front/Back Pelvis
    • Thighbone and mass
    • Kneecap structure
    • Shinbone and calf bone
    • Foot and Ankle

WEEK 4 (31th&2nd)

Maya to ZBrush

Preparing Maya file for ZBrush

  • Check polygon error

Working with ZBrush

  • Introduction to the software and working flow
  • Prepping Mesh for pose
    • Contain the selection
    • Division
  • Working with rough forms before posing
    • This preparation is not just only for project 1 but also this step will be used as a starting model for project 2
    • You can also do medium detail before starting to pose the figure.
  • Muscle structure
    • Upper parts
      • Head
      • Neck
      • Torso

WEEK 5 (7th&9th)

Working with ZBrush

  • Muscle structure
    • Upper parts
      • Arm
      • Hand
    • Lower Parts
    • Hip
    • Leg
    • Foot
  • Detailing figure
    • Define the final pose
    • Re touch the detail and forms

WEEK 6 (14th&16th)

Critique Project (Feb. 14th)

  • Project 1 due date

Studio Lighting Techniques in Maya

  • Working with lights.

WEEK 7 (21st&23th)

Assign Project 2 (Due 3/17/17)

Concept of Poseable Figure Doll

  • Limps
  • Joints

Division of the Limps and Joints in Maya 3D part 1

  • Design movable parts
  • Design Ball Joints Doll (BJD)

WEEK 8 (28th&2nd)

Division of the Limps and Joints in Maya 3D part 2

  • Design movable parts
  • Design Ball Joints Doll (BJD)

3D printing concept

  • Introduction
    • Martials
    • ABS vs. PLA

Working with 3D Printer P1

WEEK 9 (7th&9th)

Visiting BGSU Library Information Technology Services

  • Introduction to alternative 3D printing service
  • Introduction to alternative laser cut printer

Studio time

  • Finishing 3D models
  • Preparing the print parts

WEEK 10 (14th&16th)

Working with post print techniques

  • Surface Cleaning
    • Smoothing techniques
    • Coating
  • Assembling parts

Studio Time

WEEK 11 (21st&23rd)

Critique Project 2: 3D Print Object (Mar. 21st)

  • Project 2 due date

Introduction to Project 3

  • Diorama
  • Narrative concept

Modeling Clothes in Maya and ZBrush

  • Fold Concept
  • 3D paint with ZBrush

WEEK 12 (28th&30th)

Hard Surface Techniques (Maya and ZBrush)

  • Topology and flow
  • Controlling the forms

WEEK 13 (4th&6th)

Shading and Rendering Techniques in Maya

  • Intro to Arnold Rendering
  • Shaders
    • Shading Engine: Surface/Volume

WEEK14 (11th&13th)

Texturing ZBrush and Maya

  • Texture Painting P2 in ZBrush
  • Shadering in Maya

Studio Time

WEEK15 (18th&20th)

Studio Time

WEEK16 (25th&27th)

Studio Time

Critique Project 3: Final Digital Rendering (Apr. 27th)

  • Project 3 due date

WEEK17 (2nd&4th)

Individual Meeting

Final Print Due May 4th