WIP female character - need feedback

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  04 April 2012
WIP female character - need feedback

Hello everyone,

I am currently building a 3D model of a female character using Maya. The model will eventually be used in a short 3D animation that I'm developing as a student project. I'm still learning how to model and this is only my second attempt at a realistic human character, so I could really use some feedback from more experienced modelers.

I have also modeled some hair, although it still needs a lot of adjustment.

Most importantly, I am looking for help with the character's face. I'm having a lot of trouble making everything look convincingly realistic while still maintaining a high level of appeal and a stylized appearance. I'm also going for a specific likeness to a character design that I've created:

I could also use some feedback on the facial topology, specifically in regards to being a functional and expressive setup for rigging and animation.

All comments are welcome. As I said before, I'm new to modeling, so any feedback at all would be very helpful and greatly appreciated.

  04 April 2012
That's a nice start! However, you have to rethink your proportions. The arms and legs don't match the head and the torso in my opinion. Also, the hands are strange. The thumb is too small compared to the rest of the hand. Furthermore, I would increase the size of the nose. Plus the clavicle and sternum area with the small indentation called the jugulum and the sterno-clavicular joint needs some more work. The clavicle itself is too straight. Look at slender women images to see the difference. After all, this is only your second attempt and for that it's looking pretty good already, so keep it up! Looking forward to some updates...

  04 April 2012
Wow! second attempt. Super.

The face is quite attractive. The bridge of the nose next to the skull looks like someone whacked it inwards. See that on your 3/4. She looks cross eyed. There is an indentation in the middle of the forehead which is due to edges being close and 4 triangles on the nose shaft. Maybe that is symmetry welding, don't know as it is Maya.

The arm shape of tough babes is really tricky. Check out photos of Linda Hamilton from the Terminator movie. Visualize arms as being 'back to front' legs as your leg shape is pretty nice and the musculature is the same.

Great stuff.
The terminal velocity of individual particles is directly related to pink rabbits on a bank holiday.
Characters, Games, Toys
  04 April 2012
Thanks for the feedback! I have made some changes and addressed a few of the issues you mentioned.

The_Fubar -I've adjusted the proportions on the nose and fixed the hands as you suggested. I've always had a difficult time with hands, and due to time constraints I made the decision to graft on some pre-built hands (courtesy of Turbosquid) instead of trying to reshape the malformed hands that were on the model before. How do you think they look now?

I plan to fix the clavicle area too, although it hasn't been resolved yet in these updated screenshots. In regards to the proportions of the arms and legs relative to the head and torso, could you give some additional details about what seems wrong? It looks alright to me, but I'm no expert, and there's a good chance I can't see the problem because I've been looking at the model for so long. I'm trying to go for stylized 'comic book babe' proportions, like Lara Croft, or Abbey Chase from the "Danger Girl" comic book series.

Kanga - I've tweaked the face quite a bit, giving special attention to the areas you mentioned in your critique. I tried to fix the crossed eyes, but something still seems off. I'm having a lot of trouble making the eyes look 'alive' - there seems to be something missing, but I can't figure out what it is and no amount of tweaking has seemed to help.

I didn't understand your comment about the bridge of the nose, although I resculpted the entire nose area quite a bit. Did I address the issue? If not, could you clarify which part of the nose you're referring to?

The indentation in the forehead was my attempt to create the crease that appears when there is tension in the eyebrows. I saw another model on the web that had similar topography, but I was definitely concerned about the triangles on the nose. In any case, I deleted those edges, but now I'm concerned that there won't be enough mesh resolution to create those wrinkles between the eyebrows.

I haven't adjusted the arms yet, as I wanted to clarify what needs changing. Is the problem that they are too well-defined, too narrow/thick, bad proportions, or something else? I've found some good reference photos but I need to determine what direction I should go with my adjustments, keeping in mind that I'm trying to achieve a stylized (ie. not completely realistic) look.

Thanks again for the suggestions, Kanga and The_Fubar, they were very helpful.

One last issue I want to mention is in regard to the character's face. What's important isn't just that her face looks attractive and anatomically correct - the likeness is particularly important as well. What's proven the most difficult for me is taking my stylized two-dimensional design and converting it into a detailed 3D model while maintaining an accurate likeness. Are there any clear differences that I'm missing between the facial structure of my model and that of my character design concept art? Here are a few more sketches of the character for comparison.

  04 April 2012
The problem I see you both want it to be stylized and yet realistic, which is mutually exclusive. So, it's hard to comment, as anything can be stylized. "I see it that way!", as some artists scream.
Also I see you didn't make a sketch for modeling. For modeling, the sketch should look like this

Some my corrections.

  04 April 2012
The character is high poly right? So you can vary the amount of geometry resolution over you mesh using hooks. Hooks will let you terminate loops and maintain quads. They come at a price so you have to be a bit careful where you place the termination as you will often get 5 point poles which can look like nodules on your surface. Here is an example of a model I am working on I drew where you can insert geo without using tris.

As far as the eyes go you have very low poly for realism and the eyesballs have no depth due also to no materials being used. Check out the photo real busts here on cgt to see how far you have to go to get anywhere near realism. Its pretty far and this is your second attempt! IU reckon you are doing pretty good so far. Cross eyes are a result of the sockets not being placed properly. I cheat sometimes if needed and diverge them a bit.

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

Last edited by Kanga : 04 April 2012 at 12:28 AM.
  04 April 2012
mister3d - Thanks for the feedback. I was a bit unclear in my previous posts, but just to clarify I am definitely working toward a stylized, appealing, 'cartoony' character, not photo-realistic by any means, but I still want to maintain somewhat realistic proportions and textures. I guess it's easier and more helpful to provide some examples of the kind of stylized look I'm talking about.

In regards to the model sheet- I know I should have made one in advance, in fact I made one for my first 3D character but this time around I thought I could get away with using my existing character sketches and building on top of a base human mesh that I used as a template. After reading your post, I looked through a couple of modeling books and found some model sheets of similar characters that I can use to adjust my character's proportions. I'll post some updated photos soon.

The draw-overs you posted were very helpful. I have made some adjustments to the hand, let me know if this is any better:

Could you explain the adjustments you made in those face pictures you posted? It's hard to see what's different, although the brow looks very heavy IMO...


Thank you for the tip about using hooks, I will adjust the forehead and post some updated screenshots of the face topology.

In regard to the eyes:

As I said in my response to mister3d, I am definitely more interested in a stylized 'cartoony' appearance like the examples that I posted. I'm planning on using the following tutorial to create the textures and materials for my eye, which will hopefully help to give them some depth:


But before I get to the textures, I want to be sure that the basic form of the eye is just right. I think you're right about the eye sockets, but after spending some time tweaking the mesh I'm not sure that I am making the right adjustments. Based on the images I've posted, can you offer any insight into whether it's the placement of the eyeballs themselves, the flesh around the eyes, or the shape of the boney eye socket itself that's creating issues?

Thanks again,
  04 April 2012
Much better overall! I still don't like the hands that much. The fingers are too long compared to their diameter, in my opinion. Getting the hands right will add a lot of realism to your character in the end, since the human hands are the second most expressing body part, right after the face. How did you go about making the eyelashes? Keep it up...

  04 April 2012
Until you create a decent concept, which is suitable for modeling, you can say it's not realistic, or it's too stylized. How do we know how you want it to be? Make a proper concept first, we can't see what you want. The examples you showed are all different, and some are very realistic. Still, I think Kanga said the right points about the nose. Make a well-drawn concept, with each line determined. It can be unlimited tweaking until you make it on paper!
  04 April 2012
Thanks again for the feedback, everyone. I took a short break from the character model to focus on setting up the rig and controls for animation. Now it's time to make my final adjustments to the model before moving on to the binding phase.

The_FubaR - I'll go ahead and tweak the hands a bit more, and post some updated screens. In response to your question, I created the eyelashes using PaintFX and a great set of hair creation scripts I obtained from this site:


mister3d - I took your advice and drew up a model sheet for my character. I was having trouble with the proportions, so I ended up using some concept art from the "Danger Girl" series of comic books as a references, as the designs in that series are quite similar to the stylized look I'm going for.

After creating the model sheet, I've already identified a number of problems with the character model. I'll start making adjustments and post some updated screenshots soon, but in the meantime, please let me know what you think of the model sheet. Did I miss anything important?

Thanks again,
  09 September 2012
It's been several months now, and after taking some time to finish college and get my art degree, I have finally resumed work on my character model and have reached a point where I'm much happier with how she looks.

Here is the latest version of the model (missing hair, eyelashes, and textures):

And here is a WIP screenshot of the hair, which still needs a lot of adjustment (please ignore the face in this screenshot, it's from a much earlier version):

Overall I'm pretty satisfied with everything except the face. I feel like I'm getting quite close to the look that I want, but there seem to be a few subtle details that aren't exactly right yet. I've spent so much time laboring over her face that I feel like I've reached a point where I'm just 'noodling' and not making much progress, so I figure it's time for another round of critiques.

Here are some closeups... (I know the lighting's a bit weird, but I haven't learned much about setting up lights in Maya yet)

And here is a link to a turnaround of her head:

I am also concerned about the topology of my character's face, since I ultimately intend to use the model in an animated short film.

I have been closely following the process laid out in the book Stop Staring - Facial Modeling and Animation Done Right, by Jason Osipa. My concern is that in this book, the author uses triangles and five-sided polygons, which I previously thought was unacceptable for geometry to be used in animation. I am also concerned that the geometry may be too dense in some areas (for example, under the nose). The topology around the ear area also concerns me, as I deviated from the book here and grafted on a stock model of an ear that I purchased online (granted, the ears will be pretty much covered up by her hair in the end). Finally, I am a bit skeptical of how the book suggested to model the jawline area of the face. The topology doesn't follow the line of the jaw and I'm worried that it may be difficult to keep the jaw's definition when I start trying to deform the mesh for head/neck rotation and jaw movement.

Any comments, suggestions, and critiques would be greatly appreciated!

  09 September 2012
There seems to be a triangle near the left eye on the profile view and I think I spot a couple more on the top of the head. Also two five-sided faces on the front view, fix that and it will be golden.

Aside from that your model looks pretty okay so keep it up.

You mentioned lighting? I usually do a basic three point lighting on the character once I'm done up to a certain stage so that could help you. Try the site below.

Never stop learning

Last edited by donburihayate : 09 September 2012 at 12:24 PM.
  09 September 2012
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