The design for this Tiki idol is original and based on research I did of many kinds of wooden idols from different cultures.
To create the base mesh I modelled each part of the face flat using the Polygon Pen tool. Working flat takes the added complication of z-depth out of the equation and allows you to focus on creating a clean mesh first.
Using Symmetry is also a really important as it saves a tonne of time and ensures the model is perfectly symmetrical.
Next I used a Wrap Deformer to create the circular wrap, converted that to polygons, and welded the points at the back to close the loops.
I followed that with a Shrink Wrap Deformer to wrap the geometry onto a sphere. Using the Wrap Deformer as an intermediate step gave me control over any stretching of the mesh, allowing me to adjust the Wrap while the Shrink Wrap was active and get instant feedback on scale and position. Thanks to Toby Pitman for the tip.
Once happy with the Shrink Wrap I converted that to polygons once more and extruded the various elements using the Extrude tool to add thickness, then added control cuts before subdividing with a Subdivision Surface object.
Using the same sphere that I used to Shrink Wrap onto, I split off one small section, inset the triangle shape, used an Array Object to retreate the top hemisphere of the sphere, then dropped that into a Connect object and a Symmetry object to create the bottom hemisphere. Working with radial symmetry is a brilliant way to add detail to circular shapes like this but it’s important to start out with enough geometry in the sphere especially if you plan to subdivide.
This chevron ball is another example of the kinds of details you can add using a radial symmetry workflow.
Once the face and internal sphere we complete there were some obvious gaps that needed to be filled.
Filling the gaps was easily done by selecting polygons on the sphere and extruding. I removed the polygons from the top and bottom of the sphere as they aren’t seen in the final model.
The final dropped into a Subdivision Surface Object.
I’ve been practicing modelling for a few years now but since incorporating the abundance of techniques that Toby teaches in MILG 11: Hard Surface Modelling Tactics for Cinema 4D, I’m way more confident in approaching a model such as this. If you’re serious about learning to model properly in Cinema 4D you need to watch this training.