At this point I start pulling out the general form of the hand. I notice some people like to model it little by little, but I have a hard time conceptualizing that way. I like having the form to play with, then go back and add the geometry afterward.
Edge loops are created along the hand to get read to pull out the thumb and fingers.
Here’s sort of the fun part for me, mainly because I enjoy seeing clunky, ugly figures like the above, manipulated into something far more attractive. It’s a bit like putting a puzzle together. What I’ve done above is extrude the area that will make up the first finger and the thumb. The thumb I set aside to work on later, for now I focus on the finger, deleting the polys to will be replaced with the other fingers later.
Edge loops are added to create the knuckles, with the edges flowing toward the wrist in a fanned-pattern. If you look at the bones that make up a hand, you’ll see how the metacarpals (palm) spread out from the carpals, leading toward the phalanges (fingers), thus the reason for the edge flow.
From there, edge loops are added to define the finger. This finger will be later duplicated and adjusted to make up the rest of the fingers of the hand.
Smooth preview to see how it’s looking so far.
Once the finger is to the point I’m satisfied, it’s separated from the mesh and cloned several times. Each finger is then adjusted and reattached to the original mesh.
And here are the combined and finished fingers. The nails were extruded out along the way, and an edge-loop was created for the protrusion of the joint along the upper-outer side of the wrist.
Flip around address the thumb. Edge-loops add more definition to the figure and flesh, then start pulling out the verts along the underside of the hand to create the soft, fleshy parts of the palm.
And here’s the completed hand. You can see how the edge-loops created for the knuckles serve a double function in creating the outline of the bones beneath the skin. Right now the loops are closed off prior to exiting out through the wrist, because that would create more topology than currently necessary for the forearm. Eventually the arms will get more definition, and those edges may end up meeting with the loops in the hand, where they will be readjusted. For now, I closed them off; at least this way, I don’t have to worry about forgotten pipes/tris/whatever left for later in the hand.
And to wrap this post up, the underside of the hand. Below is the same image with wireframe turned on.