Sunday, March 18, 2007

Tutorial: Creating the Helmet from 300

The movie 300 has been one of the best movies I've seen all year, maybe even the past two years. Persians might be mad at the story, but you can't deny its artistry and I'll take the 300 members of their special effects against a 2000 member army of Persian special effects guys any day (just joking). Anyways, the movie sparked in me a creative spirit to recreate to my best abilities the helmet used on the main character, King Leonidas.

So lets get started:

3D Studio Max


1.) Create a Line that goes right down the y axis. This will be your reference line when making the helmet, so you want to make the length, the same length that you envision it would be going from the top of the helmet to the tip of the nose, and you want to make sure that it is as straight as possible. (For my tutorial it is pink but for your model it can be whatever color you want)

2.) Next Create another line and make the left hand side of the mask as shown below. After finishing modeling that half of the helmet, you should align it with the pink line. The easiest way to do this turn on the "Snaps Toggle" icon ,

and drag the upper most vertex to the top of vertex of the pink line, and do the same for the tip of the nose as well. Notice that your helmet is now aligned with the pink line.

3.) Next Clone the Line by clicking Edit->Clone, and make this a Copy clone because we will modify this side ever so slightly to attach it to the other side. Then after cloning, select from the taskbar, Tools and then Mirror, and mirror about the X axis.

4.) I have deleted the pink line, and we going to move the right side, as close as possible to the left one.

5.) Next we are going to select the vertex at the top of the left side, and drag it to its left side counterpart. Then do the same for the tip of the nose. Then Attach the two sides together.

6.) Then select the vertexes at the top and the tip of the nose once again and weld them together. The best way of selecting the vertexes at a given location, lets say the top, is to just drag your mouse across the small area and both will be selected.

7..) We are now going to add more vertexes to the helmet. To do this check the Connect box first, and then select Refine and start placing vertexes around the helmet. Look at the picture below and you would notice that the vertexes are placed symmetrically. (Warning: Use Edit Spline often, as its an easy way of saving your work. Don't be scared to use it for each step of the Outlining Process)

8.) Now select Create Line. Notice how there is a mysterious line that is just created. Personally I think that this is a bug in max. To correct this just select the undo button.

9.) The undo, will keep the create line still selected, and also with the Snap Toggle Icon highlighted. Create lines connecting the the vertexes we have just made. Only connect horizontally and not vertically. When you go from vertex to vertex, usually a red cross hair will appear informing you that you are connecting a line to a vertex.

10.) We need to add more lines, so we are going to refine the grid a little bit more. See below.

11.) Connect the remaining vertexes and this is what you should get.

11.) We want to make the helmet a solid, so under the Modifier panel, we choose Surface, and if you can not see your helmet, select Flip Normals. Also, although its not shown in the picture, set Steps to 0.

12.) Under Modifiers select Edit Poly and choose Polygon, and highlight all of the polygons within the helmet. Check the Perspective view to see if they are the Polygons on the visible side of helmet. Then Extrude it ever so slightly as to create a plate.

13.) Time for detailing, lets make a small brim at the bottom, so select Cut under the same Edit Poly modifier and begin making a line just above the bottom of the helmet. Do so for each side.

14.) Then select the polygons created and choose Inset and drag the polygons ever so slightly to create a smaller set of polygons from the previous set.

15.) Afterwards, select Edge from the Edit Poly panel, and select the edges leading from the tip of the nose to the top of the helmet. Next Chamfer them ever so slightly. Then select the polygons in between and using the move icon, drag them away from the mask. The outcome should look like the third picture.


To get the Bend in the max as shown below, in the Modifier drop down menu select and use the settings below or adjust the angle until you are satisfied with the bend.

15.) Now select Element from the Edit Poly panel, and choose AutoSmooth. Notice this smooths out the finish of the helmet.

16.) What would a helmet be, without a potion to put your head in. So far we only created a mask. So create a sphere and place it acordingly.

17.) Next add an Edit Poly modifier to the sphere and remove the vertexes as shown.

18.) The switch over the the Perspective view and see if you can see any vertexes through the eye portion of the helmet If so select them and delete them too. You may now have gaps at the side of the helmet from in between the spherical region and the mask part, so move the vertexes accordingly to cover the gaps. (You can move the vertexes by selecting vertex underneath the Edit poly panel).

19.) Lets unround out the sphere so we first take the vertexes in the front part and move them up. Then move other vertexes so create a flat region.

20.) The back may be tricky, so you should add another Edit Poly modifier here. First select the pole of the sphere and move it down. Continue by moving other vertexes down until you get a flat edge for the sphere.

21.) Now select the edges as shown, and while holding Shift move the edges downward and away. Then scale the edges across the x axis. The order of pictures are as follows upper left-> upper right-> lower left->lower right.

22.) Here I continued to unround the sphere by selecting the entire back portion and scale it inward across the x axis.

23.) Next I added an AutoSmooth modifier to the entire sphere.

24.) Then I looked in the Top View where I can still see that there was a gap in between the sphere and the mask, so I moved the vertexes to fill the gap. Next, I cloned the sphere, because if you rotate underneath you would see that there is nothing there. Then I added a Normal modifier to the clone, and chose Flip Sides. Now if you rotate you can see something underneath. What you should further do is Add an Edit Poly to the original and Attach it to the bottom portion, so when you make changes you will be making changes to both the shape of the inner and outer region of the helmet since they share the same vertexes.

25.) Returning back to the mask, we want to add some flare to it. So Add an Edit Poly modifier and select the inner vertex on the mask and move it outwards. That may sound confusing so refer to the picture for assistance. Then do the same thing for the vertex beneath and your resultant should be the lower right quadrant. The order of pictures are as follows upper left-> upper right-> lower left->lower right.

26.) Then adjust the vertexes that you made (not any other vertexes) to create almost an arc around the helmet.

27.) Autosmooth the entire mask. Then if correct any out of place vertexes in the spherical region.

29.) Create a lined shape as shown below. As you can tell this will be where the hair will be located.

30.) Now Extrude the shape and place it in the center

31.) Next in the taskbar select Modifiers and Hair and Fur.

32.) Now the extruded shape should have hair all over it, and that's not what we want. We want hair only on the top portion. So under the Hair and Fur panel select Polygon. Then select every polygon on the top surface of the shape. Afterwards, click "Update Selection"

33.) Now the hair where its supposed to be, but not quite where we need it. So lets select "Style Hair" and select the icon entitled "Stand hair up." Then move your mouse over the hair and as you select the hairs, they will move up accordingly.

34.) While still in the X view select the scale and the scale each hair line. To do this I placed the circle over the area and with my mouse, Right clicked and the moved my mouse downward. Its odd because if you move it up it might scale down the hair. This might take some practice but in a minute or two you would have it right. You will need to scale each line a lot so do not be conservative in your estimates of the size of the hair particles.

35.) Finish the hair piece by selecting the move icon and moving the back hairs in place to make an overall arc.

36.) Adjust the hair panels as shown below.

37.) Now for bringing it all together, let's add the material. Render-> Material Editor and click the box that says Standard in the first window. Then select Mtl Library and select the material entitled "Metal-Dark Gold". Its standard in all 3ds programs going back to 3ds version 3.

38.) Then scroll down and expand the Maps panel and reduce the Bump level from 30 to 15. Then select the box labeled None and add a Noise material.

39.) Then drag and drop the material on the helmet, mask, and hair region. If you want you can do a test Render to check your results. Another way to add the material is with the shape selected, click the Assign to Selection icon.

40.) One final touch to go and thats adding the spikes to the helmet. To do this create a cylinder with a height segment of 1. Next add an Edit Poly modifier to the cylinder and select Vertex. Then using the scale tool, scale the vertexes at the top of the cylinder inward. Then add the gold material that we just made to the spike. Next Clone the spikes and disperse them throughout one side of the helmet. Then select those spikes and clones those as well and Mirror it across the X axis. Adjust Accordingly.

41.) One final Render and your done.

** I understand some parts might be confusing but use the pictures as a guide. If you have anymore questions or comments just leave them and I'll try to answer them as best as I can. I hold down a 9-5 so its hard to respond during the day, but at night I'll try to answer them.


live said...

Hi i'm looking forward doing a mod helmet (power ranger) and it need to be place over a composite video shot. The tracking system I will be using is After Effects 6.5 app. I having problems understand the first & second steps.

Dealing w/the reference lines:

Create another line and outline the left hand side of the mask?

[question]lost already, i do understand drawing another line but
the pic doesn't explain what you mean by "outline the left hand side of the mask"

If also doesn't explain how you made a pink line. Did you select a color pick thru the name and color modify section should the pink line have a name assign to it?

Back to the mask word if it the term mask is use shouldn't it be a small floating layer box showning?

Please explain farther of what you meant by masking the left hand side. If have something to do with building that side of helmet please correct the meaning for us novice. Thank for you for your valuable time. Livewire-

Cero said...

Thanks for viewing my tutorial, I'll try to answer the best way I know how. By outline I mean take the line tool and make the left hand side of the mask. As for the pink line, its only a reference line and the color is not important.

Anonymous said...

well i am having problems wid surface modifier...after applying surfdace mdifier it dissapers .. so not able to go further even after applying the setting u mentined

Cero said...

Check or Uncheck the box that says Flip Normals. Also In order to create the surface, you can not have polygons with over 4 sides. So when you create the lines, look at how the picture is, there is not a single poly over 4 sides. Experiment and you'll get it.

Anonymous said...

is it hair and fur tool in 3d max 7?? what version did you use??

Anonymous said...

Hi, Im new to 3dsmax and im having problems trying to make lines between the vertexes. When i choose Create Line and click on a vertex, it only creates a new line and it doesnt connect to the vertex. What am i doing wrong?

Cero said...

You have to use the magnet toggle to place the vertexes at the same exact location. And then select the two vertexes (drag over them) and go to Edit Poly and select Weld.

Anonymous said...


I'm having trouble with step 15.
When i moved the chamferred edges away from the mask, i don't get the 3rd picture. I only have the flat mask, not the rounded mask. Am i missed a step?
Sorry for my bad english :)

Anonymous said...


I'm having the same problem as the one above. I'm not getting the rounded mask. What am i doing wrong?

Cero said...

Thanks for telling me, I now know what happened ad I'm fixing it right now. What you do is use the Bend Modifier and bend the mask across the X axis, until your satisfied that its round.

Cero said...

I edited the tutorial after step 15 to incorporate the Bend modifier, but if you have anymore questions just ask.

Anonymous said...

I followed your tutorial (awesome stuff, by the way) but I've gotten stuck on the Surface Modifier part - I've checked and unchecked Flip Normals to see a difference but half of the helmet disappears, namely the nose and the tip. I think that I haven't welded them properly or something - the vertexes are white and yellow, a mixture of both. Any help?

Cero said...

What I would do is just select all of the vertices and then select weld. Then I would make sure that any shape created by the new lines, doesn't exceed 4 sides. I should make a surface tutorial pretty soon, for any one needing help

Anonymous said...

i have a bit of a problem with the tutorial. im using max 8, and in step 9, i create the vertex's with the connect box checked and i use refine. i hit create line then the undo button. after that i try to create the lines and weld the vertex's together, but nothing is working. what do you mean by magnet toggle? the magnets at the top of the screen won't let me put the vertex's on each other because they are not all on lines. i've tried using attach, highlighting them both and pushing weld, everything. what else can i do?

Anonymous said...

Well the helmet looks great but like many before me; I just cant get the surface function to work properly. My helmet just disapears and flipping formals dosent help either. I do not have any polygons exceeding four sides. As far as I can tell all of the vercities are welded together. Thanks

Anonymous said...

im having the same problem as most people. the surface modifier. wont work i bevel and it works fine then extrude it that way. but for some reason when i get to the bend modifier, the top part of the helmet dents in above the eyes

K0rn said...

hey im the one that just posted last ^^^ but here is a link to my helm with a side view after the bend modifier and this is what i got.. any suggestions from anyone would be helpfull thanks!

KOrn said...

alright its me again^^ got it right. when i used the bend modifier i had it to grid not morph or w/e setting.

Anonymous said...

Hi I can't find the fur/hair modifier. I'm using version 7. Also on the spikes how do you disperse them onto the helmet?

Anonymous said...

hi great tutorial
but i am having trouble when you create the lines across the mask it doesnt connect to the vertices that were made in the previous step
the magnet tool doesnt 'lock on' to vertices and i cant weld them when i've created the line

Sisp said...

Hi. I'm using 3ds max 7 and Am making your mask. I have created the two parts and then i Select the top vertices's i press attach and then weld but nothing happens they stay separate.

Anonymous Posting Is Allowed and Click on Pics to Enlarge