3D Hand Modeling Tutorial

Modeling the human hand is one of the most difficult tasks in 3D modeling because of the complex shapes and curves involved. To create a realistic hand that can bend properly, you have to look closely at the way the hand is structured before you start modeling, since once you get far enough along from a mistake, there may be nothing to do but start from scratch. You can use the program Hexagon, but the tools you’ll need are common to all 3D modeling programs.


    You need to take three references images of the hand you want to model. You want them to be of the palm, the thumb side of the hand and the end of the hand with the fingers facing toward the camera. Examine these photos closely. Many people who are modeling a hand make a mistake at the very beginning because they treat the thumb like it is just another finger, whereas it actually is positioned almost under the palm away from the other fingers.

Start Modeling

    Open Hexagon. Go to the “Scene Properties” and click on the grids to add the hand photos you took earlier, placing each view on the appropriate grid. Your reference images will now be displayed in the main view.

    Select the “Primitives” tab and click on the “Cube.” Use the mouse to draw the cube in the scene. Now use the scale function of the “Universal Manipulator” to adjust it’s size to about that of the hand minus the thumb and fingers. Now select the line tool and move the line on the side of the hand with the thumb slightly inward. This produces a polygon from which you can extrude a thumb.

Thumb and Fingers

    Now select the polygon that will become the thumb. Go to the “Vertex Modeling” tab and select the “Extrude” tool. Use it to create a series of extrusions to make the thumb with its knuckle. Look frequently at the reference images as you work. Use the “Move” function of the “Universal Manipulator” to reposition edges and points.

    Delete the top and bottom polygons so as to make room for the fingers and leave a place for the hand to attach to the arm. Now create and modify a series of cubes above the hand cube. Extrude them out to form the finger joints. Select individual points and move them to better match the shape of the hand. Now select the “Bridge” tool and connect the edges at the bottom of the fingers to the hand. Now click on “Smooth” in the “Properties” panel to give the hand a more organic look.

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