View Full Version : Topology and Edge Flow in the Organic Body, Sculpting and Normals.

02 February 2010, 01:10 PM
Hi, I've only really done hard surface modeling before now and the more soft body stuff I do I am finding one consistent problem I don't really understand. How should my topology and edgeflow work out in relation to easier animation further down the process? Or in relation to taking it into zbrush/mudbox?

This thread ( was pretty illuminating especially in the later pages on pictures of proper edge flows and topology that matches how the underlying musculature structure would work, while Hippydrome ( had lots of great examples of nice, smooth animating joints like hips and shoulders because of how their edgeflow works.

While I understand that simple vertical and horizontal edge flow is not how you should do body modeling, I don't really understand how to know where and when I should be changing my edge flow to match the muscles, especially on characters that are more stylized with cartoony anatomy, or completely inhuman creatures who's muscles I have no way of studying. I've never done much anatomy work before, but would it help me to look at a body without it's skin to see what direction my edge flow should go? If anyone knows of a good resource that shows or explains very distinctly where the edge flow should go and why they're doing it this way, that would be greatly appreciated, better yet an actual finished human model with the proper, realistic edge flow that I could rotate around in Max to examine.

A bit of a secondary issue is while I try to change my edge flow around, I end up with a lot of tris and poles. While I can get rid of the tris with a little work, I keep getting five edge poles all over the mesh, and I'm worried this will cause even more headaches once I take the mesh into zbrush/mudbox. How important is the sculpting step on a character that doesn't have a lot of deep crevasses or details on it? When can you skip this step or is it always absolutely necessary?

And lastly, should I do make a sculpt, what is the best way to bake the normals back down onto the low poly mesh? I work in 3DS Max, and I always wondered if there was a better way then pressing '0' to bring up the render to texture screen as it always gave me unreliable results.

I almost forgot. I also looked at the topology research ( but it didn't yield any useful or significant results for me, but maybe I just wasn't looking hard enough or just didn't understand. There were a lot of heads but that is not yet my problem, I'm still working on the body topology, I'm going to be restructuring my head later.

Which just reminded me of another thing, are there any good tutorials or examples on efficent ways to change the edge flow without adding tons of pointless and useless new edge loops? I have a few about Sub-D but they mainly cover cleaning up your tris rather then edge flow.

02 February 2010, 10:48 AM
SubD Modelling (
The Pole 1 (
The Pole 2 (
Topology Head (
SubD Video 1 (
SubD Video 2 (

hope this helps...

02 February 2010, 02:48 PM
Great links! Thanks Piflik

02 February 2010, 02:52 PM
Those really are really helpful, I appreciate the reply. I'll be sure to study them extensively.

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02 February 2010, 02:52 PM
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