CC-BY Grant Abbitt
Step by Step: B3D101
In this tutorial you will learn how to model a low poly giraffe.

Watch the video or continue with the step by step tutorial.

Search for an image of a giraffe

Search on Google for an image of a giraffe. Download the image as .jpg or .gif or .png. The image used in this tutorial is from Dimensions: You’ll need to sign up for an account to be able to download the image.

In Blender add the image to the viewport

  • Remove the cube by selecting the cube and then press X.

Add the image of the giraffe. We will use this image as background image when drawing.

  • Select Add -> Image -> Background or in the Viewport press SHIFT+A, select Image -> Background.

  • Select the file of your giraffe and then press Load Background Image.

You can see the image in the viewport. It displays perpendicular to the camera which is not very handy. We need to clear all rotations and movements.

  • Press ALT+R to clear rotations.

  • Press ALT+G to clear movements.

You can check this is in the Properties window:

  • Press N to bring forward the Properties window.

  • The Location and Rotation should be set to 0, the Scale is set to 1.

Rotate the image so it stands up in the X-direction:

  • Press R+X+90.

You can make the image bigger or smaller by scaling it.

Model the Head and Body

We’ll be using a plane to model the giraffe.

  • Add a plane by pressing SHIFT+A, select Plane.

  • Rotate the plane to match the background image R+X+90.

The plane is in front of the image so we cannot see our image. So use the Wireframe mode.

  • Press Z and select Wireframe, or select Wireframe from the Viewport Shading menu in the top right corner.

We’ll use the Front view to draw our Giraffe.

  • Go to the Front view by pressing 1 on the Numpad or select View -> Viewpoint -> Front from the top menu.

  • Go to Edit mode.

  • Go to Vertex select.

  • Select a vertex, press G to grab and move the vertex onto the giraffe.

  • Select another vertex, press G and move it onto the giraffe.

  • Repeat the above step for the other 2 vertices.

Add more faces to model the body and head of the giraffe (not the legs yet).

  • Select 2 vertices, press E to extrude and pull out another face.

  • Continue extruding until the body and head of the giraffe are covered. Create as few faces as possible.

  • Select a vertex and position it properly onto the giraffe.

  • Continue selecting vertices and positioning these onto the giraffe until you have a rough shape of the body and head of the giraffe.

Now that we have a rough shape we’ll add some cuts to create some more vertices.

  • Decide where you need some additional vertices.

  • Select the Loop Cut and Slide tool to create some cuts and add additional vertices.

  • Position these vertices properly onto the giraffe, creating a basic low poly shape.

Let’s create a solid shape.

  • Go to Face select.

  • Select all faces by pressing A.

  • Now press E to extrude and pull out the faces.

Use the Mirror modifier to mirror the giraffe in the Y-axis. Before we mirror the model we’ll need to apply our rotations. At the start of this tutorial we rotated the plane 90 degrees. To check this:

  • In the Properties window you’ll see Rotation - X - 90.

By applying the rotation, the current rotation becomes the standard and thus the rotation in X will become zero.

  • In Object mode.

  • Press CTRL+A to bring up the Apply menu. Select Rotation from the menu and the rotation is applied.

In the Properties Window you can now see that the rotation is 0.

We can now add the Mirror modifier.

  • Go to Edit mode.

  • Make sure you’re in Face select.

  • Select the faces on one side of the model (not the extruded side).

  • Press X, select Faces to delete the selected faces.

Now you have half of the model. Let’s add the Mirror modifier.

  • Go to the Modifier tab.

  • Select Mirror.

  • It can be that the giraffe is mirrored in the wrong axis, for example the X-axis. In that case select the Y-axis and the giraffe should be mirrored properly.

  • Check Clipping. The mirrored part is now connected to the model.

The Legs

To model the legs we can extrude the face for the leg, but then the mirrored face will also be extruded thus creating one big fat leg. What we need to do is to create some space between the legs. For this we use the loop cut tool to create a cut down the middle.

  • Select the Loop Cut tool and create a cut down the middle so that there is a space.

  • In Front view, select the face for the hind leg and press E to extrude and pull down the face.

  • Scale, rotate or grab the face to create the contour of the leg.

  • Continue modeling the leg by extruding, rotating, scaling or grabbing faces.

Do the same for the foreleg.

  • In the Front view select the face for the foreleg and extrude. Rotate, scale, extrude or grab to create the contour of the foreleg.

To align the bottom faces of the leg,

  • Select the bottom faces of the hind leg and the foreleg.

  • Go to Front view.

  • Press S+Z+0.

Next we will create a more stylistic look for the giraffe.

Styling the giraffe

Watch the video or continue with the step by step tutorial.

So far we have modelled the side of the giraffe. In this part we’re going to model the front of the giraffe.

Front head and neck

To model the front of the giraffe we’ll have to move the image from the back to the side of the giraffe. Instead we duplicate the image.

  • Select the image.

  • Press D to duplicate the image.

  • Rotate the image in the Z - axis.

  • Grab the image and put it to the back.

  • Go to the side view View -> Viewpoint -> Left or Right.

  • Align the giraffe and the image.

To model the front we need to pull some faces in.

  • In Edit mode.

  • Select the faces of the head and the neck and pull them in.

  • Model the head by grabbing, scaling, rotating the faces and edges (watch the video).

  • Model the neck by pulling in some faces (watch the video).

  • You can use Wireframe mode to see how thick the neck or head should be.

Watch the video and continue modelling the head and neck of the giraffe.

The legs

The legs look very rectangular. So create some more faces and adjust these.

  • Select the Loop Cut tool and create a loop cut around the foreleg.

  • Scale the cut so the upper foreleg becomes more rounded (watch the video).

  • Pull any sticking edges inwards.

  • Repeat above steps for the back leg.

The back of the giraffe might not look round.

  • Select the edges of the back and make them round by grabbing and scaling them (watch the video).

The tale

To model the tale we need to add an extra loop cut along the side of the giraffe.

  • Add a loop cut.

  • In the back of the giraffe select the face for the tale and extrude it.

  • Grab, rotate and scale the edges.

  • Extrude the faces and create the tale (watch the video).

Horns and ears

Try to create some horns and ears bij adding some more faces (using loop cut) and then rotating, scaling or grabbing faces or edges.