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Using ShapeShop you draw a silhouette and it converts the silhouette to a "blob", which gives a nice game character. Using 3DSMAX 2012 you draw a line and close the spine. How do you convert it to a "blob" there? Extrude gives sharp edges, BlobMesh only converts the lines to a blob, I want it to be the organic "blob" structure it is in ShapeShop.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Step by step as requested... (although this is from memory as I don't have the software to hand)

  1. Place your image/silhouette in the background of your view port (there are millions of tutorials for this google is your friend)
  2. Create the plane - Command Panel > Standard Primitives > Plane > Click and drag in the view port to create it - make it a bit bigger than your silhouette.
  3. Look in the Plane's Stack (or modifier list) and make sure the plane is made of 1 width and 1 length segment.
  4. Right click the name of the plane - and select Collapse to editable poly.
  5. With the object selected press Alt + X - this will turn the object semi-transparent so you should be able to see you view port image.
  6. Open up the editable poly and proceed to use the edge tools to slice, connect and cut the plane so that you have more vertices (remember keep 4 sides polygons ), then push and pull the vertices so they follow the edge of your silhouette (this doesn't need to be 100% right as the later steps will be harder if you over do it at this stage)
  7. When the silhouette is complete select poly mode, and select all the polygons and press extrude.
  8. Adjust the 3D block so that it looks correct in terms of depth and proportion.
  9. Apply a mesh smooth modifier to your stack, you can increase iterations to get a smoother appearance but I wouldn't go over 3 unless you have a really powerful computer.
  10. Then with the 'Show End Result' button selected you should be able to go in to the editable poly and edit the shape in real-time to get a more desired finish. Again you may need to add more geometry at this stage.

That should be it, but what I failed to mention is if you want to use this for a game it will be horribly high-poly and will generally be inefficient to use in a game. Therefore it would be good to use this blob as a high poly mesh to then bake a normal map onto a lower poly mesh - again google is your friend here too.

Original Answer

I would create plane then add geometry trace the silhouette, always maintaining quads, then extrude. Adjust the depth accordingly, then add a meshsmooth modifier, this may/will destroy a lot of the shape depending on how you have distributed the geometry, you can either add more reinforcement loops or adjust the shape in real-time using the preview button.

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"I would create plane then add geometry trace the silhouette, always maintaining quads" What do you mean by this? – Zurechtweiser Feb 28 '13 at 13:47
create a 2d plane - this would be a quad - then add edges/loops (more geometry) then use these extra points to trace the silhouette – MephistonX Feb 28 '13 at 13:53
So you mean Create->Geometry->Plane or Create->Geometry->Contours I can't find an object labeled quad or '2d plane'. – Zurechtweiser Feb 28 '13 at 14:18
no a quad is a polygon with four edges... so you create a plane, then when you divide it - you create more quads(polygons) you want to avoid tri's (three edged polygons) as they cause pinching in meshsmoothed objects – MephistonX Feb 28 '13 at 14:32
Can you give me a real step by step version like Create->Geometry->Plane or Create->Geometry->Contours or w/e.. Another issue is that I am using a german version of 3dsmax so I have to translate-guess what it could be that you are talking about.... – Zurechtweiser Feb 28 '13 at 15:56

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