Mark Gillard
Programmer.Gamer.

SCME2202: 3D Animation

Unicycle, Redux - May 19, 2013

Today I decided to re-do my unicycle, since my old one was ugly as sin and I felt as though my skills had improved enough that I'd be able to model a much nicer one very easily.

First step was finding a good reference image. This consisted of using Google Images to look through unicycles until I found an orthographic-front photo of a unicycle that I thought looked good.

Then it was a matter of modelling the unicycle. I did this in a hierarchical manner, starting with the frame, then the wheel nut/axle, then the spokes, then the wheel rim, then the tyre (see below image). I was worried the spokes were going to be a pain in the arse, but I learned that in the Duplicate Special options, you're able to set how many copies you like, and each copy will be translated and rotated according to the previous one, not the initial instance. This meant that once I'd created the first spoke and positioned it's pivot at the center of the wheel, all I needed to do was set the rotation to 360/(however many spokes I wanted + 1), and it would perfectly position the duplicates. Winning.

The hierarchy of my new unicycle.
The hierarchy of my new unicycle.

The astute reader will have noticed that I've not made mention of a seat. That's because I didn't feel the unicycle image I was working from gave a good depiction of a seat, so I decided to model that separately and import it, working from a close-up seat sketch I found. Viola! Here's the finished product:

Edge-of-your-seat stuff.
Edge-of-your-seat stuff.

Once I'd completed that model, I imported it into the new unicycle scene and coloured the various parts of the model. I found a tutorial for making a basic chrome-like material using a Phong Shader and applied that to the metal components of the seat and the unicycle then applied the same method to the blue wheel rim to give that a metallic look. I then imported this unicycle into the animated scene and replaced the old one with the new one, animated the new model's wheel rotation and pedals, re-anchored the character's IK handles and called it a day.

an image an image

Supporting materials

Prac 2583 KBUnicycle photoSeat sketch