You may notice that I've changed a few things with my pirate, such as:
Recreating the head, which I suspect was getting too complicated and making it impossible to make any changes to the file. In the process, I created a neck for him.
Made the torso a little thicker.
Changed the color of his eyes and the color of his skin. The eyes are now brown and the skin is now a lighter shade of tan. Will it make a difference? It probably will if you start getting into the fine points of 3D printing and want one that can print in just about any color.
Let's start making our hands. What I've done is add a cube that, for now, is separate from my stick figure. I do it this way because this took a little bit of experimentation to get right. Here, I selected one side and extruded it by 0.2 Blender units. This is an important first step for keeping the thumb separate from the rest of the fingers.
So I subdivide this side of the construct. If you'll remember from a previous article in which I added details to a house, I go to the Mesh Tools menu on the left side of the screen, hit Subdivide under the Add category, and it will automatically divide the square face into four equal parts. The reason I extruded this face from the cube is that Subdivide has an unfortunate tendency to divide neighboring faces into triangles and, since I suspect that subdividing played a role in messing up the previous version of my pirate, I don't like that too much. So I go ahead and select the top two faces on the face that I subdivided and extrude them by 0.8 Blender units twice. Later on, this will form the base of our pirate's thumb and the edges where the extruded parts meet will become joints. For now, I just leave it so I can focus on the fingers.
Here, I subdivide the “top” of the cube and bump the number of cuts up to 3 to get what I need for four fingers.
Now I start extruding each finger. I selected four of the faces on the top of the cube that I just subdivided, and now I extrude them by hitting E on my keyboard and pulling out the extruded faces by 0.6 Blender units. I repeat that twice to create the “joints” of the little finger. Now that I have that, I select the top two sections of the little finger and rotate along the Z-axis so that they look like the screenshot below. Reason for this is that I want to get each finger separated before I form the next. I know I could Rip them afterwards, but that can get tedious. (If you're curious, you Rip things by selecting vertices and hitting V on your keyboard. This separates the attached edges.)
I now have the second finger extruded. It's a little longer; 0.7 Blender units on the first two joints and 0.6 Blender units on the third top joint. I have all the faces selected, including the ones nearest the original finger. I Grab those (G) and lift them along the Z-axis by just a bit. This is designed to add just a bit of more natural curve to the top of the hand and also has the added benefit of slanting the next four faces for the third finger. Here, I have three fingers so far and I've rotated joints on the third finger to line it up better:
And here I have all four fingers created.
Making Adjustments to the Thumb
So now I go back to the thumb. In the above screenshot, I am already working in Vertex Select mode and I've moved a few points along the Y-axis so that the thumb seems to get narrower as it goes towards the end. Next, I start moving some vertices up and down along the Z-axis to get the same thing. That'll do for now until I'm ready to start in on making it look like a curved hand.
Narrowing Down The Fingers
Of course, my fingers don't look very much like fingers yet. For starters, they are four faces thick and only one face wide. I will admit to a bit of laziness. I don't really want to mess with the number of faces, so I just adjust their dimensions wherever I need to. I make sure I'm in Face Select mode and start selecting the faces on the fingers and the thumb along one side of the hand, so it looks like this:
Then I Grab them and move them along the Y-axis by 0.2 Blender units. This has the effect of moving the affected faces and moving them “inwards,” making the hand more slanted along the same side. Why don't I just adjust the thickness of the hand, too? Well, that might start looking a little weird when I attach it to my pirate's wrist. I want the bottom face of the hand to stay more or less the same. Here, I've moved the first set of faces and now I've selected a few faces along the top and sides of the fingers.
Now that the first side is done, I move on to the other side. Now I have to move my selected faces inward by -0.2 Blender units. (Remember the negative sign. I know I sound like your math teacher, but it makes a difference, trust me.)
That's a little better. To save myself work, I now Duplicate my hand by hitting Shift + D and pulling another hand from the one I already created and rotate it by 180 degrees along the Z-axis. Awesome; now I'm ready to attach these hands to my pirate.
Attaching the Hands
Now I start moving the hands to about where I want them to be, just above the “wrists” of my pirate. While I'm at it, I rotate the one I'm moving by about 90 degrees so that the thumb is pointing towards the pirate.
Here, I have the first hand just about centered onto the wrist and I'm moving it by fractions of a Blender unit. I'm probably going to leave it just a little off the Y-axis so the thumb isn't doing the impossible and poking into the pirate's head.
I have it more or less where I want it, so now I attach it to the pirate's arm by creating his wrist. I go to Vertex Select mode, select two points on the hand and two on the arm, and hit F to create a Face using those points. I'll repeat the process with the other hand.
Now I have both hands attached to the figure. Awesome. Next up, time to give our stick figure some clothes.