Body topology

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  12 December 2003
Body topology

Instead of keeping the SubD hierarchy, which was my old worlflow (see old tute on my site), I'm now doing what everyone else does, putting all the detail on the 0 level. (I discovered more drawbacks, and I've found I could get the benefits other ways.)

As you can see I'm pretty much ignoring the edge-loop concept (unless they appear by accident), and I use 5 and 3 sided polys whenever it serves. This gives a lighter model, important if you want to make lots of Blendshapes, and it tweaks more easily. It also leads to better deforming. The whole thing is only 3400 polys in polygonal mode, including fingernails and toenails. It can still render in Mental Ray if I do 1 level of subdivision, it can render in Renderman as is...
This is a Maya rendering, no raytracing, very fast. (See my recent foot modeling tute on my site.) It's one piece, except for the head (which has to be interchangeable).

  12 December 2003
Re: Body topology

What does the wire look like smoothed?

Looks great but the arms are a bit boxy looking.. if you know what I mean.
blah blah blah
  12 December 2003
Re: Re: Body topology

Quote: Originally posted by gmask
What does the wire look like smoothed?

Looks great but the arms are a bit boxy looking.. if you know what I mean.

thats what i was wondering

maybe just smooth it?

i can never get those sub'ds to do anything me theyre a mess...
  12 December 2003
Impressive as usual. Funny you are going down the 3/5 sided route just as I have been converted to quads for edge-looping. Oh well, I figure as long as the model gets done and is easy to work on for whomever needs to, then you're in good shape. Looks cool.
  12 December 2003
yinako, I know a lot of people agree with you, and I just don't know why. I mean, I've never had any trouble with this method. See image below, this is the same polygonal cage converted into a SubD. I don't think it looks very angular, and I think it will animate fine.

  12 December 2003
I guess this may not apply to subd, but when I smooth out a polygon base 1 or 2 times and do a triangulate to see how the surface renders out in maya, areas with 3 or 5 side will no longer follow the contour or topology you want(ie sometimes form series of diamonds.

All these are very minor details that usually can't hurt when you view a render from far away, if you are doing localised details with 3 or 5 there isn't mcsh worry. But to for main focused gemetry you would like to keep the tessellation predictable.
  12 December 2003
Fascinating. I've heard you say this before, Stahlberg, yet until these pictures it hadn't really sunk in enough for me to experiment or change my workflow. I'm not OCD about killing all stray tri/ngons, but I would never leave some of the things you've left in your mesh, for example the loops that just terminate right into the side of a poly:

But I've never really questioned why? That's just what I was told when I first began modeling and I accepted the edge-loop / quad approach as axiomatic, despite how enormously frustrating it can be.

Ok, I gotta apologize in advance for the following barrage of questions, I'm just very curious about your thinking here ...

Do you think this is just a case of you mastering the rules to the point where you know when and where you can break them? Because you do have nice flowing edge-loops, it just seems that perhaps you know when and where you can get away with abruptly terminating detail in a way less experienced modelers would be more wary of.

And if this is the case have you made any useful distinctions on when/where you can get away with it?

For example, where on a face model would you feel comfortable with terminating detail abrupting, leaving tris/ngons or poles?

Can you think of a case where you make sure that you had all super clean edge-loops/quads? For example, maybe in an incredibly flexible character that needed to deform anywhere and possibly with skin/muscle sliding/bulging?

Also, would you suggest this approach to someone newer to modeling? Some may say it could lead to sloppy modeling habits, while on the other hand an overly technical focus on "pure" topology can be frustrating and drain the artistic process.

Finally ... obviously Bay is an excellent modeler and possibly the original and most influential proponent of edge-loop / quad philosophy ... so do you believe this is more of a personal workflow issue (that clearly works for him and many others) than a fundamental rule of modeling for proper shading/deformation? (I'm reminded of this thread:
Sean Omlor
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  12 December 2003

You are my man, you use the words I have been searching for. I tried a few times to convince other CGTalkers that subdivisions ARE usable in Maya but I lack the experience of a good modeler.
At some point I thougt that my workflow was wrong but you just showed me that someone can get results modeling this way. (excellent model by the way).

For the interested, here is how I model things:

The beginning is very much the same as in stahlberg's foot modeling tutorial. But I convert to Subdivisions right after I've defined my basic poly shape.

After conversion to subdivisions in polygon mode I put the poly cage and smoothed subdiv on separate layers (for easier vertex/edge selection on the poly cage or for uncluttered smoothed previewing of the model)

What I've found out that slows down subdivisions a lot is rerouting edges (don't know if this is the correct word. In other words deleting an edge and afterwards resplitting the face, but the edge in another direction)

Don't get me wrong I'm not trying to convert the quad face/edgeloop modelers to something (I think is) more fun and flowing way of modeling. (keeping all faces quad AND keep the model ultra light...... I still haven't figured it out)
I just wanted to let Stahlberg know that he's not alone with his modeling thechnique.
  12 December 2003
when you say the model renders in PRman, what surfaces did you use? Maya subd's or renderman sub'ds? I ask because I have had trouble when converting faces with more than 4 sides when using renderman...

  12 December 2003
Could you Mr. Stahlberg post wires from the back view?! thanks...
  12 December 2003
I've tryed to render many polygon models in Renderman as pixar subdivisions and it looks great, just like if you have smoothed your low cage many times but it's smother of course. Because Maya Subdvs is not supported there.
I wonder why Mental Ray doesnt have such a tool in standard version!! it would be very cool to see such kind of surfaces in MR.
Eyad, you could see some wires of backs on Steven's website
Thanks steven for saving our lifes !!
Lazhar Rekik
  12 December 2003
Great work Mr Stahlberg!!

I have always liked Maya's sub-d's and have never understood why people say they are not any good.

I think it's great that you like/use 3/5 sided polys. I think it's part of the advantage of using poly/sub-d's over NURBS..... but I know of at least one CG Studio that makes the modelers use only 4 sided polys because the studio still treats them like NURBS and the poly models need to be "patched out" for texturing.

Anyway, again GREAT work!
  12 December 2003
Quote: Originally posted by Stahlberg
yinako, I know a lot of people agree with you, and I just don't know why. I mean, I've never had any trouble with this method. See image below, this is the same polygonal cage converted into a SubD. I don't think it looks very angular, and I think it will animate fine.

It's mainly the inside of the elbow that looks square to me..

Could you post one smoothed version fo the wireframe? Would you mind also showing a polycage wireframe view of the back?

It may not make much of a difference but I think the edgeloop thing is more important for the face.

Also if the head is a seperate piece how are you keeping the seam from showing and still blendshapes? My approach would connect the head and use sets of vertices and blendshapes instead of shapes and blendshapes.
blah blah blah
  12 December 2003

I have a couple of quick questions. You said in your ealier post that you body poly count was 3400 in polygonal mode. Do you mean 3400 faces unsmoothed or... ? I'm a bit confused since maya usually reports Verts/Edges/Faces/UV's.

Also is that 3400 inlcuding the head, is that just from the neck down?

And finally, where do you seam the head/body together? Top of the neck or ...?
  12 December 2003
Steven, with maya 5.01 u can now render low poly directly with mental Ray subd´s have u tried this? so if u have a good skinning u need no wrap deformer i have tried it and it looks good (texture smooths too)
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