Model a Minion using NURBS in Maya

By Satish B, Academic Head, Department of Animation, Jain University


Welcome to part 2 of this tutorial.

We will start by modeling Minion’s hair.

The minion in the reference has got neatly combed hair which is parted in the middle.


We will use the extrude tool to create the hair.

From the front view, create a curve which represents the path of one strand of hair. Adjust the CVs in the perspective view so that the hair curve matches the reference. Duplicate this curve and tweak the CVs to create the next strand. Create all the hair curves on one side of his head in the same way.



Create a circle and adjust the radius so that it has the right thickness for the strand. Snap the circle to the end of the first hair curve. Create more circles in the same way and snap them to their respective hair curves.



Select the first circle. Hold down the shift key and select the corresponding hair curve. Go to Surfaces > Extrude Options box. In the option box, set Result position to At path and scale to zero. Click on the extrude button. This will create the first hair strand. Repeat the same process to create the rest of the strands. Duplicate a copy of the hair strands symmetrically to the other side. We have created the Minion’s hair.


Next, let us create the Minion’s blue denim overall.

Select the body of the Minion and offset it by clicking on Edit NURBS > Offset Surfaces. This will create a copy of the body which will be offset from the original by a distance of 1 unit. Change the offset distance to 0.2 to shrink the size

Notice that the copy will also contain the cavity for the mouth.

 With the copy selected, click on Edit NURBS > Untrim surfaces to remove the cavity and make the surface whole. Delete all construction history for the new surface.

Switch to front view and draw a curve (indicated in red below) which traces the contour of the overall. Do not trace the shoulder straps. Make sure the corners of the curve extend beyond the model’s boundary.


Select the curve and the surface respectively by holding shift and click on Edit NURBS > Project Curve on Surface.

This will create a surface curve running from the front to the back of the surface. Select the surface and click on Edit NURBS > Trim Tool option box. In the option box, make sure keep and shrink surface is selected.  The surface will change into a wireframe mesh. Click on the lower portion and trim it. This will create the surface of the denim overall as shown below.


Select the overall and offset it by a distance of -0.2 by clicking on Edit NURBS > Offset Surfaces.


Select the trim edges of both the surfaces by right clicking on them and loft them. Delete the construction history. Then delete the inner surface. This leaves only the thick outer surface of the denim overall.


Using a similar method of offsetting the original surface, projecting a curve and trimming the required shape, the shoulder straps can be created. Use NURBS spheres to design the buttons as shown below.


Next we will add a pair of legs. The leg is designed from a NURBS cylinder. Position the cylinder according to the reference image. To blend the leg with the denim overall, use circular fillet. Select both the surfaces and click on Edit NURBS > Surface Fillet > Circular Fillet. Adjust the radius as required. This will create the continuity. Duplicate the pieces for the other leg.


The model so far is shown below.


Let us add the pocket in front of the overall. Create a NURBS sphere and detach about one fourth of it from the top. Delete the smaller portion and retain the larger one. Tweak the control vertices of the larger one according to the details in the reference image. Move, rotate and scale the piece to fit it in front of the overall. The pocket is done.


The loops can be designed out of a NURBS Torus. Duplicate the loops and arrange them as shown in the reference image.


We will model the shoes next.

Create a NURBS circle with 16 sections and shape it like a foot print by moving and tweaking the control vertices.  Adjust the size according to the reference image.


Duplicate the curve and tweak it so that it will fit around the character’s ankle.


Select both the curves and loft them to generate the surface of the shoe by clicking on Surfaces > Loft. Set the section spans of the loft to 4.


Move and tweak the control vertices so that it resembles the shoe in the reference image.


Select the bottom curve and click on Surfaces > Bevel Plus to generate the details on the bottom of the shoe.


We have finished modeling the shoe. Group all the pieces of the shoe and duplicate the group across to the other side.

Part 2 of this tutorial ends here.

Part 3 will focus on the Minion’s arm and hand.

If you have any questions, kindly mail them to and i will try my best to answer them.

Thank you for going through this tutorial. I hope that it has helped you in some way.