View Full Version : Help Choosing 3D Classes

11 November 2011, 05:25 PM
I'm a student at Otis in Los Angeles in the Digital Media department. I have taken one Basic 3D class and really want to make that the focus of my degree. Right now I am between three classes for next semester and can only take two of them. There's an Intro to Zbrush class, a 3D Anatomy class and a class called 3D: Topology. I know what the first two classes are, but have no idea what the Topology one is. What kind of things should I be looking to take for a student who's only had 4 months experience with Maya?

12 December 2011, 01:47 AM
try 3dbuzz dot com he has all kind of classes

12 December 2011, 04:20 PM
try 3dbuzz dot com he has all kind of classes

Err, not was he's asking.

Anyways, any of those classes should be useful. I'd ask around and find out which ones have the best teachers, and go by that.

12 December 2011, 04:18 PM
Q: You ask what the class called "3D: Topology" is about...

A: This would most likley involve modifying models to improve how well they can be textured and animated or to reduce the polygon count (which doesn't mean you have to sacrifice detail).

If you sculpt a character's head from a simple shape like a sphere, you may very well have an interesting design, but when you try to animate the mouth or eyes opening , the geometry may stretch in unpredictable ways. So, artist change the topology, which basically means changing the way the polygons of the mesh are laid out, without effecting the original shape of the object.

This link shows a new product called Topgun, which is handy for doing retopolgy on ZBrush models. I think this sums up topology (or retopology) very well:

By the way, many artist start their models with a "Base Mesh". This is a basic shape of their intended design that already has the mesh laid out correctly.

If you can only take two classes, then take the other two first. You defiinitely need this skill, but it can be learned after you have some modeling experience. For now study the wireframe of experienced artist and become familiar with how the edges flow in models. Look for "edge loops" around eyes and mouths.

Hope this helps,

12 December 2011, 11:32 PM
It sounds like the 3D Anatomy class and 3D: Topology class would be useful to take before Intro to Zbrush class, but that is just based off of name alone. However I'm not sure how useful a full course on topology would be. There is a lot to learn and it is certainly important, but I think of the three choices it would be the easiest one to learn on your own. Considering these courses cost money, I'd take the Anatomy and Zbrush ones and learn Topology on my own.

12 December 2011, 11:44 PM
The two most important ones in my opinion would be the Anatomy and Topo classes

The reason being as that it isn't to hard to learn a piece of software on your own especially with with some video tutorials (like gnomon or digital tutorials.) However with anatomy it really helps to have a teacher to guide you and show where you are going wrong. Topology you could also learn on your own but having someone experienced there to, for example tell you why a specific poly flow is more desired over another would be better than just watching lots of re-topology vidoes with little context.

So if you are prepared spending some preparatory time of learning the software yourself, knowing the buttons and navigation and what not in ZB, then jumping into an anatomy and topo class should give you a really good grounding.

That's my opinion from my experience anyway.

Good luck!

12 December 2011, 09:46 PM
If you plan on working for an animation studio, I would highly suggest you take the Topology class. Knowing proper Topology can make your life and the rigging artists lives a lot easier. When you are able to properly understand topology you will be able to model a character that is both aesthetically appealing and functional. You can create a really amazing model in zBrush, but if the geometry/topology isn't constructed correctly, it is pretty much a useless asset for a rigger/animator.
When you build a character you must keep in mind, how the character is going to move and which pieces need to stretch/compact. Knowing how each part will move, you would then model the asset with the correct amount of supporting geometry. When you go to rig the character, all of the extra supporting geometry will help deform your character the way it's supposed to. Here's an example of a basic torso edge flow. Notice how the geometry follows the major forms like the pectorals and the abdominal region. This ensures that when rigged it will deform naturally.
If you can understand topology well and know how to use it correctly, you will achieve better looking models that will be a lot easier to rig/animate. You would definately have an advantage over people who use zBrush to sculpt high res models but don't know how to make them usable. I hope this help you!

01 January 2012, 07:04 AM
Honestly, in my experience, I think you are going to get hired first on your overall artistic character sculpting abilities and your technical expertise secondarily. This is not a knock on topology, but you could be the world's greatest edge flow whiz kid and topology expert and make freaky horrible looking characters and it would mean diddly poo. Therefore, I'd say take the anatomy course and zbrush class simultaneously and then learn correct topology afterward. There is a wonderful Gnomon DVD by Zack Petroc on modeling the human male form from Maya to Zbrush. He builds a box character with no topology and focuses primarily on making a sound looking proportionally and anatomically correct character first, then he goes back in and gets the topology straightened out. Remember that topology in some ways simulates the underlying anatomical structure as well. So if you don't know the obicularis oculi first then you won't understand why you need an edge loop around the eye to blink, furrow, squint, etc. Just my opinion....

01 January 2012, 09:47 PM
If I were you I would take the Anatomy and Zbrush, and ask the topology instructor if I could sit in sometimes. You don't have to sit in every class, but I think some basic knowledge of topology will help you in zbrush.

You definitely want to be in the Anatomy and Zbrush class because that way you will participate in the class assignments and get your work critiqued. But topology you can probably just sit back and learn from other people's topologies.

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