Human Anatomy and Topology

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  11 November 2012
Human Anatomy and Topology

Welcome to my new thread.
I've decided to concentrate on human modeling. I'm not very good at it yet but with your help and my commitment I'm hoping to get better.

I'm working in Maya/ZBrush and right now trying to figure out the best topology for human face.
I'm looking for the easiest and fastest way to model the head.
In my opinion the problem areas I'm facing right now is the nose, mouth and zygomaticus area (cheek).
Any critiques are welcome.

Please see attached images.
Thank you.
  11 November 2012
Here is my new model. Trying to work in zBrush right now to bring more details to the face.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg head13.jpg (35.9 KB, 30 views)
  11 November 2012
Testing lighting and skin shader.
However I've got to get back to Zbrush and fix areas around the eyes and do more wrinkles and pores.
  11 November 2012
Trying to get back to basics and learn to draw the head to better understand the shape of it.
  11 November 2012
the head look a bit shapeless, a bit inflated. anyway the proportions aren't correct for example the eye should be in the middle of your head. look at some refs like this one

also it's always good to sculpt a skull and then add muscles and build you way up from there.
  11 November 2012
Thanx jister,
You are right. I need to be more careful with proportions of the face. I was thinking to model a skull first as well and might do it but later.
Here is a quick fix.
  11 November 2012
np ;-) maybe try to get a skull out of this one, it looks strange in that you can't put an age on it, seems to have different ages for different parts... i would go in there with the Rake brush and start cutting in some cheek bones... or do the opposite and make it a real fat character, give it some cheek lines from the nose to the mouth and such.
anyway looks better now.
  11 November 2012

I can't help you with the modeling per se, but I might be able to provide one suggestion (that I should follow myself as well) and that is to practice drawing faces/heads using references.

I got a priceless advice from an artist when I was 14 and obsessed with drawing horses. As soon as I heard he painted horse portraits (among other things), I had to show him my drawings (which were...not good to put it nicely). After he had had a look at them, he told me to practice drawing horses using one of my books full of photos of different horse breeds, until I felt confident that I had learned what a "generic" horse looked like. And that's the advice I give you, practice until you get a feel for human faces/heads, THEN you can start playing around with those 3D software thingies you use.

Good luck and keep practicing!

Last edited by PollyBoffin : 11 November 2012 at 01:24 AM.
  11 November 2012
The nose and lips in the last image look a lot better!

I wanted to comment on the topology. Use only 4 sided faces, and triangles if you can't help it. If you have to use a triangle try to stick it in the area where your geometry is not going to bend, or barely visible (for example you can easily use a triangle when attaching an ear to a head).
  11 November 2012
You should let yourself go and just concentrate on sculpting for now I reckon. You can always study the topology of heads later as there are several approaches. Check this out

All you ever wanted to know about geo ha ha! Lucky I found it and lucky someone documented it.

You can study sculpting the human form by doing chords. Like this but for all features:

Hope that helps
The terminal velocity of individual particles is directly related to pink rabbits on a bank holiday.
Characters, Games, Toys

Last edited by Kanga : 11 November 2012 at 08:18 AM.
  11 November 2012
Best I can do at 3 AM
Hope it helps

Learn the shape using zbrush dynamesh, then retopologize - easier and faster

  11 November 2012
Once again you are right. I should get a skull over there. I think this technique is called "ecorche".

Thanx for your advice. That's exactly what I'm trying to do now, learning to draw a human face and try to figure out the generic look of a human head. I guess it's all about doing a huge amount of work.

ilerchik, CollDet
Thanx guys for your tips on topology.(special thank you CollDet for drawing=)) There is one topology I like and it seems to work with any kind of head models. (see attached)

Great links ! thank you. I think I'll get to sculpting asap Like it says in one story, it's better to sculpt 100 pots over a month then concentrate on just one.

Practice makes it perfect
Doing some head drawings at the moment and will upload them soonish.
  11 November 2012
Don't lose your head over topology. Any topology is fine as long as:

1. it looks good.
2. it can "hold the shape" when animated.
3. it's not time consuming to rig.

If you're gonna do just still images, only 1 matters. If you can do all 3, it doesn't matter how the wireframe looks.
While it's true that a quad only topology will be much easier to handle, a lot of people who are much better than you and I will ever be routinely use triangles to define shape and bend directions.
So don't obsess on topology. It will come naturally down the road.

A good exercise in ZBrush is to sculpt whatever you want by defining planes:


This helps you understand the main shapes and the proportions - which are a lot more important than the fine details. A detailed head will look wrong if it doesn't have the right proportions, whereas an undetailed proportioned head will look ok, even if maybe a little boring.
From a topology POV, each plane is a regular grid of quads. Where planes meet, you'll have poles (poles are vertices where 3 or 5 edges meet, and they are the thing responsible for your edge flow and your shape). If you train yourself to read the object planes, you'll grasp topology as a consequence.

Ecorchè is very useful if you want to learn anatomy. Traditionally, it's a sculpture of a body without the skin (kinda like those busts used in medicine). By extension, in ZBrush it's a sculpt you do starting with the skeleton and then building up the muscles.
Ecorchè does little for your topology, because topology doesn't follow muscles. I'd take my time and keep anatomy for when you can whip out some good heads by just imitating the shapes you see in your references. Knowledge of muscles is the next logical step, but you can do pretty convincing stuff without knowing what's going on under the skin.

More importantly, be persistant. I guarantee that if you take even just 30 minutes each day to sketch something in ZBrush, you'll quickly progress. I know this sounds like generic advice, but it's true. Art is slow. So start from a dynamesh sphere, sculpt whatever you like, then put it away and do something else the next day.

Last edited by CollDet : 11 November 2012 at 11:16 AM.
  11 November 2012
Thank you CollDet for your reply and the great image (helps me see more of the main structure)
You are right even 30 min a day will have the impact on my skills. What I wanna try and do is at least one sculpture of the head a day.
And it starts today
P.S. I know that the ears look terrible now))
P.P.S. Ryan Kingslien is amazing at this stuff, so I'm doing a few tutorials made by him.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Head_01_Front.jpg (53.7 KB, 25 views)
File Type: jpg Head_01_Side.jpg (42.8 KB, 14 views)
  11 November 2012
Alright guys, here is day 2 sculpture
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 8_Head_02.jpg (48.4 KB, 17 views)
File Type: jpg 8_Head_02_02.jpg (44.9 KB, 16 views)
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