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Creating a Cartoon Head using Softimage XSI
By Siddharth Bolurker

Hey guys, lets have a look at a tutorial on creating a Cartoon head using SOFTIMAGE XSI. Its gonna be an intermediate level tutorial, so I'm just gonna go over the steps involved in the process. I`ll be using Softimage XSI for this tutorial, so if any of you want to try it out, you can get it done using the SOFTIMAGE XSI EXP CD, freely available for download at

  1. Start with a Primitive Cube with about 4 subdivisions on the XYZ axis. Start simple... that's the best way to approach your modelling. Even better, if you have any reference images to model from.

  2. Delete one half of the cube and mould it into the basic shape of a head by just moving the vertices around.

  3. Further refine the shape of the head by adding and deleting extruding ploygons as shown in the diagram below. Delete the polygons around the eyes, extrude the ones around the nose and push the polys around the mouth area to create the mouthbag.

    Click here to view a larger picture

  4. Create the other half of the head by using the POLYMESH > SYMMETRIZE tool, and viola!!!!!

  5. Create the hair by just drawing and simple curve, select the polygons on the head and use the EXTRUDE ALONG CURVE option to create the hair, type in some scaling and rotation values in the extrude ppg to get some randomness in the hair. Thats the beauty of Polygon modeling inside XSI 3.5!!!!! Also everything in the ppg that has a green divot can be animated, so anytime you need to animate the hair growing out , just go in and key the start and end of the extrusions; as simple as that!!!!!

    Click here to view a larger picture

  6. Create the ears for your model by just subdividing a couple of edges on the side and the extruding them out along with scaling to shape them, u can then add a edge to shape the rim of the ear, just something very quick and basic. You can also go ahead and extrude the polys at the bottom to shape the neck.

    Click here to view a larger picture

  7. And now for the brilliance of Subdivision surfaces inside XSI , just with a couple of clicks of the '+' key, you can turn your scrappy low polygon model, into a nice smoothed one [And believe me, the speed of XSI subdivision surfaces absolutely ROCKZ!!!!]

  8. This is what my model looked like once it was finished, still a work in progress though. Maybe I'll write about how I went about finishing the model in an upcoming tutorial. Till then, CHEERS!!!!!

About Siddharth Bolurker
A graduate of the International Academy of Design [Toronto], he`s been a die hard SOFTIMAGE user and has worked in the Indian animation industry with prominent companies like Prime Focus Ltd., Paradox Studios Ltd. and Infinity Post Pvt. Ltd., before settling down at his current gig as the India Product Specialist for Softimage Xsi.

With character animation as his area of interest, other things he enjoys doing is collecting DVD`s of the latest animation flicks and getting his hands on the latest PC gamez to hit the stands. You can catch him at siddharth44@hotmail.com.
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