View Full Version : Modelling help needed - Heads in particular

10 October 2005, 04:54 AM
Hey all,

Well i'm currently doing a (My 2nd year...) course that revolves around game design, we're putting the finishing touches on a demo game. I was lead artist, and as such my role leant more toward the area of manager than artist. So i've found i haven't improved my skills as much as i wanted.

Now i've been able to model quite happily when using a reference image (front & side), but when attempting to just "freestyle" a model i've hit many a roadbump. Many. I've gotten the body mesh more or less right at the moment... but the head is giving me absolute Hel.
I've gone through three different attempts, at the moment i've got an ok basis for the head, but i'm drawing blanks on how i can get it to work.

Now what i'm attempting to model here is a HL 2 "main character" mesh, so around where that Alex lass was in HL2, i don't know how high they made her. Either way, if anyone knows of any good tut's for doing that poly level of head modelling please pass it on to me.
Hell any good tutorials for lower poly modelling, preferably in 3ds Max could you post 'em here? Or just any advice.

I've done a bit of searching through the other forums, and found tutorials that are either very out of date, or for other progs/high poly. I couldn't see any Tutorial links around this forum, and gaming is the arena i'm going to be basing my skills in.

I shall post images of what i've got so far so people can gimme some advice, any would be greatly appreciated.


LeeLee D
10 October 2005, 05:11 AM
From what I have learned, through school and through practice is that, Modeling something with no reference at all it like driving blind. The best thing Ive found is start with just a base Head reference or base body and model that. Then modify it to your particular needs.

10 October 2005, 05:57 AM
The body mesh is only 1818 triangles.
I'm gonna add mroe detail as i go along; i was waiting to model the head completely first, then detail.

I think i got the anatomy ok i can see where my comic drawing influence has snuck through. Though there's nothing in particular i can see that's... totally off (other than the head!).

I figured i could have a bout 2000 tris for the body, and then 1000 for the head, and that'd be the average higher poly game model. Is that about right?

LeeLee - that's kind of what i did with a sketch to use for character design, though i've not made a mesh i've been happy enough with to use as a basis for everything. Also i heard that can be considered bad practice.

10 October 2005, 11:41 AM
So anyone got any comments? Anything?

10 October 2005, 02:38 PM
First of all I agree with Lee, there's really no reason why anyone would need to model without reference. Even if your character is completely made up, it'd still be beneficial to do either a quick front and side sketch (assuming you're good at drawing), or just find front and side shots from someone similar. Another way of going about it is to create a basic head shape (again, using reference), and then with any future models you can start with that base head, reproportion it to what you want, and then add any details.

On to your body mesh: If you're going for realism then your shoulders are way too wide. It looks kind of like he's wearing big shouler pads. Also your legs are maybe a little too short. Again these are the kinds of things that using reference images will usually make clear.

Besides that the body seems ok. You might want to add some curvature to the legs (in the profile the body looks a little flat), and you could probably just go over the body as a whole and match it up closer to reference once you have that in. I can't really give more crit beyond that without seeing wires.

As for poly count, here's a guide for HL2 counts...

Alyx is 8,323 tris,
Barney is 5,992 tris,
The Counter Strike Source Terrorist is 3,202 tris.

Alyx is Valve's showpiece character which is why she's so high. Barney is closer to the kind of count you might want to go for for named characters like Eli Vance, Judith Mossman, Dr Kleiner, etc. The CS terrorist is about as low a count as you might go with humans, and it's a good count to aim for for any models that you might see lots of on the screen at once (enemy models, multiplayer models.

10 October 2005, 03:29 PM
I'd like to add that having references around can be very helpful, especially if you are really trying to get a certain look or shape. However, relying on ortho views in your model to create your mesh can easily cripple your freeform modeling skills. In contrast, practicing drawing ortho views and different angles of human anatomy in your sketchbook can be a HUGE benefit - I've found that my 3d modeling has had a very positive impact on my figure drawing, but also that my figure drawing has had a VERY positive impact on my modeling. If you have speed or precision limits, then using orthos in the modeler can be a necessity, but you will be far better off in the long run if you can create assets from a single, external reference.

I'm not sure any of that addresses the issues you're having now but I hope it helps anyways!

10 October 2005, 04:22 AM
Ok so i've been working on the head on & off since my computer seems to be having some issues with 3ds Max, not good since it's demo reel time. Anyhow, here's what i've got so far head wise. ( (

It's so much better than what i had earlier, not perfect at all, but at least i can now see what it is. I've been trying to find some good reference pictures for the face; the model i'm attempting to make is a Swedish Viking, so i've been trying to find some Scandinavian faces to get a realistic style to it. All i can find is very badly drawn Vikings or fantastic images that are too small/don't show a profile & front. I don't have a scanner so i can't just draw one myself and scan it in.

So if anyone knows of a good head reference sit that has profiles & fronts i'd be grateful. (A free one, i've found one that's got alot of pics but i have to pay to get any that would be beneficial to me.)

Also in the realm of poly count, does anyone know a ballpark figure for melee weapons in 3rd person games? Ala Unreal Championship 2 for Xbox or Fable, etc...?

Oh, and i can't for the life of me remember how to render a mesh with the wireframe, just one or the other. I was under the impression we could render a solid mesh with the wireframe showing up on it... anyone feel like pointing out to me how to do that?

Any comments on the head would be much appreciated and also any links to low poly head tutorials. Hel, lay the criticism on. I've mostly been working on the face, and not the rest of the noggen, trying to get the nose/lips right. I know the lips need another line in there to give 'em shape.

So please; judge me!

LeeLee D
10 October 2005, 04:47 AM
I posted this in someone elses thread as well. From what I have through school and through practice. For the best visual results for the face you should follow the flow of the facial muscles. This is MUST if you plan on animating the face. You partially got the Ocular Muscle geometry flow right but it needs some work. As for the Mouth/cheek area, you might try for a flow more similar to this (see attached)

10 October 2005, 05:38 AM
Thanks Lee!

That's a really good wireframe you wouldn't happen to have the back of it would you? I'm currently cutting and re-aligning the face, but i'd like to see how that wiremesh finishes off in the back.

LeeLee D
10 October 2005, 06:03 AM
This wireframe is from a different model than the one above but the head is made the same way...The ear is still in low poly form

11 November 2005, 01:14 PM
Alrighty so i've been working on this mesh... not enough as i need to be. However, here's where i am at the moment...

I'm trying to make a Viking character, historically accurate to a point, i'm going for the look of a well to do Huscarl type. So he's got a large chain shirt, and a conical helm with the eyelet design, as well as a Danish long axe, sword, saex, and round shield. (
& (

So currently i am working on the body, i feel i've got it near enough at the mo' however since i worked with no background art, just free-hand then altering it to some images i have, i'm not entirely sure i've got the anatomy spot on. ( ( (

I'm trying to go for a look somewhere between the baggy pants that the Swedish Viking is wearing in the painted model i linked above, and the classic trousers that are roped up around the shins ala most classic viking looks.

Wires... ( ( (

The tri count is around... 2700 at the moment i believe. I don't wanna open up max at the moment, my computer is acting up and last time it did that i lost an accumulative 4 hours worth of work. Not happy 'bout that at all.

Also i was thinking of making two seperate arms for him; one that's got the sleeve on, and the other with the shirt sleeve rolled up near the edge of the chain armour shirt's sleeve. Like So: ( (

Any opinions? I'm planning on giving him a golden band around his forearm there, as it was a common piece of jewellry at the time.

Any opinions are very welcome, as well as all criticism, help would be greatly appreciated and is sorely sought out.

Cheers All

11 November 2005, 04:47 PM
The hand isnt properly centered, take a closer look in side view...try to move it to the back a bit, also feel his thumb/wrist connection is a bit long.

Also, you should be able to cut down quite a few polys without losing much details, if you see a loop that doesnt define anything major get rid of it.

11 November 2005, 07:13 AM (

Fiddled with the hand a bit; hell i've just fiddled some more since taking the screen grab, but now i see where the error was so i can fix it. Thanks.

Other than the hands, did anything else on the arm look out of place? Too short? Too long? My mate reckons the fingers looked a bit too long, so i shortened them a touch, but my tutor thought the fingers were too short when compared to the thumb... however i've re-sized and re-shaped the thumb since then so that might've sorted out the problem.

Anyone else got any C&C? All is welcome be as harsh as you want, seriously, i want to get as many good opinions on stuff as i can.

Also, does anyone know how i can do that "render the solid mesh with the wireframe over the top" trick without having to have two meshes; one wire one standard...?

11 November 2005, 10:05 AM
More detail on the body... ( ( (

Will post wires if it'll garner some attention. Comments? Criticism?

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