Marilyn Monroe as Poison Ivy

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Old 05 May 2013   #1
Marilyn Monroe as Poison Ivy

Hello everyone. This was supposed to be my entry for the Hardcore Modelling Thread unfortunately my parents suddenly decided to tour around states before heading back to our country so I wasn't able to finish this up. I really liked the idea and so I'd like to continue where I left off. Here are some updates on the model.

I will be rendering her eventually soo this is a very exciting project for me
Art Station
Old 05 May 2013   #2

some new tweaks to her face. Somehow I feel like there's still something wrong with the model
Art Station
Old 05 May 2013   #3
The mouth seam a little bit low.
Casting Refs: - CG Movies list:
Old 05 May 2013   #4
How did you set up your references in the viewport? To be frank, it doesn't look like her at all so far, apart from the mole. The first thing I thought of when I saw this model was the female changeling from Deep Space 9. I would go back and re-examine the landmarks and proportions of her face. I don't mean to sound harsh but hey, that's why this is the WIP section. Monroe was very beautiful so you've set yourself a real challenge here.
Old 05 May 2013   #5
Thanks for the feedback guys. This is the set up I did back in Maya:

I didn't use the orthographic views. I made cameras for front and side view so that the model wouldn't look so different when viewing it in perspective view. I thought I'd tweak her face further in Zbrush since my references for front and side aren't that reliable.

And no worries, it's not harsh at all If it doesn't look like her then I sure have a lot of tweaking to do.
Art Station
Old 05 May 2013   #6
Hey man,

Yea, to be honest, it doesn't look like her. But it does look like you've lined things up with your images well, and overall, your proportions do look human. I think your close though. I'm looking at your images and your reference photos, and I can spot all kinds of very small proportion issues, like the distance between the bottom of the nose and the top of the lips is too large, and the nose appears slightly too wide. The brow and check bones look to far in, while the jaw sticks out too far.

I would try working off just your reference photos and your own sense of proportion and form, and rely less on lining up your lines with the photos. The more you work like that, the stronger that part of your brain will become, and the easier you'll find it to match things by eye.

Old 05 May 2013   #7
Thanks for the critique AJ. When you mean working on my reference photos, do you mean the front and side view or the pix that I have? Oh and usually how many reference pictures do you compare your work with? I have like 20 photos of Monroe but only chose around 5 to compare with.

New update on Monroe's face: Hope it's getting there

Art Station
Old 05 May 2013   #8
Hey man,

Get as many photos as you can. One single photo wont give you everything you need, so you'll need to get as many as possible, and study them. I've got some projects where I've accumulated hundreds of reference photos. You'll have to interpolate somewhat, and use your sense of judgement on what to reference from each individual photo.

It might also help to add a soft box in your 3D scene, and try to roughly mimic the light setup in your photos. Also add a more diffuse shader on the skin. When your looking at your reference photos, your trying to judge the shape based on the shading, highlights, and shadows, and it helps to roughly replicate that in your 3D scene so things line up better.

Old 05 May 2013   #9
Just on a casual glance Marilyn's face is overall wider than the models. It also as a fuller look.
Old 05 May 2013   #10
just a front and side view isnt enough.

most important reference is imho a good 3/4 view in perspective.
Old 05 May 2013   #11
In order for exactly matching your vertices to points on the photo to work accurately, you need to match up the virtual lens type with the lens type of the actual camera that took the photo. I.e. 35 mm lens or 70mm lens. There probably aren't any photos of Monroe that contain that type of meta data since she died before all that stuff got popular. So you'll have to guess. Judging by the pics you posted of your model and photos, it looks like you're using a virtual camera with approx 35mm lens, but the photos of Monroe used something like a 70mm lens.

I'm not a photographer and don't remember technical terms, but here's the general principle: A low focal length (i.e. maybe 20-40mm) makes the distance between objects seem greater, a large focal length (80mm?) makes the distances between objects seem smaller (think of televised baseball games in which batter and pitcher look close to each other although they're actually far apart).

An example animation I put together with the same head mesh using a 35mm camera v. an 85mm camera in 3ds max. Notice how the ears stay in the same place but in the 35mm image her cheeks, forehead, nose, everything protrude much farther forward:

(If the animation isn't playing right, go to For me the animation only loops once in chrome but loops infinitely in firefox)

That animation probably explains the concept better than words can, but I'll try. In your mesh shots, her nose looks like it sticks far out and her cheeks block out a lot of her ears, which looks like you're using a low focal length. In the photos of Monroe, her face looks broad and you can see more of her ears--because the distance between her cheeks being close to the camera and her ears being farther away is *not* exaggerated, so her cheeks only block her ears very slightly. In your image, her cheeks look are closer to the camera compared to the photo, thus larger and blocking out her ears more. This makes me think that you're using a lower focal length for your virtual camera than the camera that actually photographed Monroe.

Also, the shape of her eyelids in your model seem a bit off. Maybe not shaped quite right, and a bit too small--imagine the actual size of the full sphere of her eyeball underneath that her eyelid has to be larger than in order to contain. The thick eyelashes in the photo though make it really hard to critique the eyelids accurately so take that with a grain of salt. You've picked a pretty challenging project--good luck with it and keep posting!

Last edited by jarisky : 05 May 2013 at 09:24 PM.
Old 05 May 2013   #12
AJ - I guess I'm on the right track collecting as much references as possible with projects I do. Thanks for the tip about the lighting, I'll start doing that then

thanks tibbi and kybel for taking a look at the model

Jarisky - Thanks for the feed back and tips! I sometimes I ask myself what have a I gotten myself into, trying to sculpt Monroe but thennn it's fun and I'll learn a lot Question,is it advisable to bring back the model into maya/max after working on it in Zbrush? I noticed that the camera in Zbrush is different from the one in maya. I changed the angle view in Zbrush to 55 since I use 55mm in Maya.
Art Station
Old 05 May 2013   #13
You're welcome! Whether or not you should bring the model back into zbrush depends on your workflow and where you are in this project.

Is the solid-shaded 3Q view from your "this is the setup I did back in Maya" post the last revision in Maya before you brought it into Zbrush? The latest shots look very different and a lot better than that maya screen capture. In zbrush, if you mostly pushed and pulled large areas and didn't do much fine small-brush refining, then if you want to camera-match in Maya more accurately, maybe it's a good idea to take your lowest-level subD from Zbrush back into maya, camera match, re-export, and then redo the highest level subdivision work. If you've done a bunch of high subD level sculpting in zbrush then you probably don't want to start all over with that. I think there *may* be a way in zbrush (by saving morph targets or something along those lines) to replace a lower level mesh but it's been a while since I've used zbrush so I don't remember the details.

If you're able to camera-match more accurately, great. If not you'll just have to look between a lot of different photos and use your best judgment, as AJ1 said. Just keep in mind there will be differences from photo to photo--the lighting will be different, the camera lens will be different, and her age will be different. Expanding on AJ1's advice, I think setting up multiple lighting schemes for comparison to different photos could help.

Marilyn Monroe is really famous. Nearly the whole world knows what she looks like, and she had a stereotypical classic beauty that is easy to recognize but difficult to define and emulate, so you have a pretty small margin of error in whether or not you hit the nail on the head. Other than looking at reference of Monroe, I highly recommend studying facial anatomy books and doing a lot of life drawing, focusing on faces.

This looks like a revival of an old project that I haven't seen, but if you haven't already, you could look for feedback on your base face topology. Fixing a few bad edgeloops/etc can go a long way.
Old 05 May 2013   #14
Well I do plan to render her out back in Maya so I guess I ought to bring the model back from time to time.

Yes that was the last time I tweaked the head in Maya then I started defining her face in Zbrush. Yes, I get what you're saying. I actually brought her back in Maya yesterday to tweak her chin, mouth and cheek and exported it to the lowest subD as you said

More or less the two images I compare her to when uploading are in the same age bracket right? Man do I have tons to learn with trying to replicate faces but I do hope I pull this one off!

As for topology, are my loops alright?
Art Station
Old 05 May 2013   #15
New update on Marilyn's face. Hope I'm getting there


Art Station
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