Create your own 3D Lego superhero

Meet Creative Bloq's own Lego superhero! With the Lego Movie out today, Pat Imrie explains how to model your own Lego mini-figure.

As we're sure you know by now, we're huge fans of Lego art here at Creative Bloq. So you can imagine our excitement at the release of the much anticipated Lego Movie in cinemas.

To celebrate the film's release, we asked digital artist Pat Imrie to create this awesome CB superhero Lego mini-figure. And now you design one too with his brilliant step-by-step guide on how to create your own 3D Lego character.

This guide was created using Maya, but any 3D software can be used including free software such as Blender (head here for some Blender tutorials to get you started). So let's dive straight in and start Lego modelling...

01. Collecting and setting up reference

You'll find an abundance of reference material online

For anyone looking to create their own 3D Lego mini-figure, there's an abundance of reference material available - a quick web search will get you everything you need. I found very accurate blueprints, which I set up as front and side reference images. I also collected other reference images of various mini-figures from different angles to help me add in details where required.

02. Modelling the Head

Primitives and bevels will be the most common elements to creating this character

Primitives and bevels will be the most common elements to creating our Lego mini-figure. Starting with the head, create a Polygon cylinder with 12 sides and delete the caps off the top and bottom. Then fill in the caps with cleaner, quad-faced topology.

Fill in the cyclinder caps with clean, quad-faced topology

Now match the cylinder with the reference images and apply a rounded bevel to the top and bottom edges. Add in a few edge loops around the head to support the smoothness of the bevel. If the bevel doesn't match exactly we can edit the vertices to have it match more closely.

Match the cylinder with the reference images, apply a rounded bevel to the top and bottom edges before adding in a few edge loops

Finally select the faces on the top and bottom of our head and extrude these faces out to create the geometry for the top peg of the head and the neck.

Extrude faces out to create the geometry for the top peg of the head

Bevel the edges to smooth them off before adding in a few edge-loops to clean up the geometry.

Clean up the geometry by bevelling and adding edge loops

03. Modelling the body and hips

Delete the bottom face of the cube and scale the top vertices in

Starting with a cube we will delete the bottom face and then scale the top vertices in to create a trapezoid shape. Then we will select all but the bottom set of edges and apply a rounded bevel to them to create the desired look.

Select all but the bottom set of edges and apply a rounded bevel

Before adding in new edge loops to help refine the shape and support the newly created bevels.

Refine the shape of the body before adding in new edge loops

Next we will extrude the base in to create a recess for where the legs would go.

Create a recess for the legs

Next, select the vertex on the top of the body. Split or Chamfer this vertex and add in new edge loops to create a circular hole. Now select the edges and extrude up to create a neck peg, lastly cap off the hole and add in edge-loops to clean up the mesh.

Create a circular hole and extrude up for the neck peg

For the hips start with a polygon plane, eight divisions wide and adjust the shape into an archway.

Create the hips using a polygon plan with eight divisions

We will then add in new edge loops to support the shape before extruding the faces outward to create the hips.

Extrude the faces outward to create the hips

Finally, create a cylinder with 12 sides and clean up the cap geometry as we did before and scale it down to match our hip geometry.

Create a cylinder with 12 sides for the centre of the hips

Then select the top eight faces and extrude them up and flatten them out to create the centre of the hips, adding edge loops where appropriate to cleanup and finalise the geometry.

Extrude the top eight faces up and flatten them out to create the centre of the hips

04. Modelling the arm and hand

Reshape an eight-sided cylinder with the forearm reference

Starting with an eight-sided cylinder delete the caps and line up and reshape the cylinder with the forearm reference. Now extrude the edges up to create the upper arm and reshape as required. Now add in more edge loops to give us more geometry to further refine the shape of the arm.

Add in edge loops to further refine the arm shape

Lastly, select the edges around the wrist area and extrude them up to create a recess for the hand. Finishing the wrist off by bevelling and adding edge-loops to clean up the geometry.

Extrude the edges around the wrist area to create a recess for the hand

For the hand we will start with a 10-sided cylinder and delete the caps. Then delete the two underside faces.

For the hand, start with a 10-sided cylinder and delete the two underside caps

Reshape the hand based on the side reference before selecting all the faces and extruding them inwards to create thickness.

Reshape the hand based on the side reference

To complete the hand we will first add in some support edge loops and then split one of the top vertices so that we can extrude out the wrist of the hand.

Add in some edge loops to clean up the mesh

Finish the hand off by adding in some edge-loops to clean up the final mesh.

Split one of the top vertices to extrude out the wrist

05. Modelling the leg

Start the legs with a 16-sided cylinder

For the leg we start with a 16-sided cylinder and delete all but one cap, adjust the topology as in image above. Now select four faces on the underside and extrude them downwards, before adjusting the topology to create the shape seen below.

Select four faces on the underside and extrude them downwards

Create the foot by extruding out a bottom edge, then add in a border edge around the leg shape to help create clean topology later on.

Create the foot by extruding out a bottom edge

Next select all the faces of the leg shape and extrude them to create thickness of the leg.

Create the thickness of the leg by extruding faces

Then add in some supporting edge loops so that we can create the holes at the back of the legs.

Add some supporting edge loops to create the holes at the back of the legs

To create the holes we will split a vertex on the back of the leg and add in additional edge loops to create an eight-sided hole.

Create a hole by splitting a vertex on the back of the leg

Now extrude edges in to create the finished hole, and repeat the process for the top hole, adding in edge-loops where required to finish off the leg geometry.

Extrude edges in to create the finished hole

You now have your very own 3D version of a Lego mini-figure, which you can model accessories for and texture however you see fit.

You now have your very own 3D version of a Lego mini-figure - hurrah!

Words: Pat Imrie

Pat Imrie is a freelance 3D artist and trainer specialising in modelling and digital sculpture for TV, film and games.

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What should our Lego superhero be called? Give us your suggestions in the comments!