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...

  10 October 2009
Originally Posted by Elliotjnewman: 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...

What kind of trouble? There is no upper limit on the number of faces a subdivison mesh can have in PRMan, 3Delight, AIR, etc. And they all work fine.

Maybe yor mesh was non-manifold? That might be an issue, n-gons with n>4 aren't.

Also, when you render a Maya subdivisoon surface through RfM or 3DfM, it gets converted into a RenderMan hierarchical subdvision mesh automatically, behind the scenes.

Result wise, there is zero difference between rendering a polygon mesh as a subdiv or converting that into a Maya subdiv before, when rendering with RfM or 3DfM.
The only theoretical difference is that Maya's subdivs allow hierarchical edits, so the latter always has to be rendered as a hierarchical subdiv mesh with PRMan or 3Delight.
However, if no hierarchical edits were applied in Maya (the poly mesh was just plain converted), the resulting geometry inside the renderer (and hence the resulting image) is identical.

Render faster, get to the party earlier /*jupiter jazz*/
  11 November 2009
Originally Posted by kyroboy: "Eccentric" topology is at the artist discretion. I usually go by the what the rigger is willing to put up with, but if you are rigging it yourself feel free to experiment. It will take many variations of edges here and there to get the facial folds you are looking to achieve for the shot. Mostly trial and error, you can follow edges loops like stalhbergs and try to see where they apply in facial animations.. You can also use a mirror at your desk and make funny faces to see where they might apply.

If your not planning on doing anything crazy, then your edge-loops seem suitable for basic animation. The animated face on Stahlbergs site, makes use of these very custom edges to provide the ability to make the tight creases that are revealed during animation. This however is not currently easily doable with sculpts, without quite a bit of technical knowhow.

Thanks for the insight. I've noticed that while working with a rigger I tend to stick to very clean, standard topology, but experiment more when just messing around.

Your facial planes experiment seems pretty interesting. Would you mind explaining a little bit? Thanks in advance.

Originally Posted by tokoloshi: hey been goin thru the motions of learning all about topology.
and wow did it prove to be such a headache when I started modeling at the begining of this year, as I became obsessed with it without really understanding. Anyways starting to get the feel for it and I've built up enough courage to post some pictures for some much needed guidance.

Still working on the body using Stahlberg original topology. But wanted to get some feedback before moving onto the shoulder and arms which could be tricky.

Well, your facial topology in general is pretty good, but you need work on a few things.

I'm far from the best artist around here, but I hope you don't mind me doing a quick paintover as best I can.

For one, before you worry about what goes where, begin by spacing out your edgeloops a little more, and try and cut down on unnecessary edges. Take a look at your mouth area. Getting rid of a couple of edges on the bottom and top(the ones marked with slashes) will probably clean that area up significantly. Also notice what I did to the median(the area above the upper lip, just in the center)
A little more spacing will really help in the cheek area. You might also want to add an edgeloop to the lips for more definitition.

Next, you general meshflow is pretty good, but there are a few key areas that will lose out on deformation with your current topology.
One area which sticks out right now is the loop I've outlined in yellow. I'm guessing you planned this loop to pull the corners of the nose up along with the smile lines, but most people tend to use an edgeloop more like the one I've done in red. What that loop does is allow for deformations formed by the muscles that sort of pull the bottom of your nose slightly upwards when you 'crinkle' your nose.
Why your yellow loop is not completely accurate is because it should continue down the cheek and form the smile lines. The loop I've drawn in orange is more along the lines of what should be over there.
One last change in topology you need is to have a loop coming horizontally from the center of the nose and forming the cheek(the green loop)
I've also added a few fill-in loops in blue.
Hope it's not too messy, haha.

Sorry I don't have time to really help you with the body right now. When I'm free I'll try and post.
Strange things often happen to me......
  11 November 2009
thanks flatulentFuzz for the gr8 reply mate... been a little busy but now Im back to cracking on my modeling... busy on another head model right now will post it up for some tips
im so obssessed with topology now ;/ I cant even finish projects off

ok quick updateskies!

Last edited by tokoloshi : 12 December 2009 at 11:57 AM.
  01 January 2010
Wow I abandoned this thread for a while....

@FlatulentFuzz in response to last post to me from last April...
as far as adding in more detail in a program like Maya or Max without taking into Zbrush etc. and sculpting...

I would say depending how much detail you want to add, and if you will be adding in detail all over your model, or just in certain areas...there area couple ways to go about it. You could either smooth the whole model after adding in as much detail you can at a simple stage, and then continue moving points from there. Or you could just select a few faces for a particular area that needs more detail, subdivide those faces, edit those points to your satisfaction. Then probably want to cut the edgeloops connecting them to the rest of the model in a way so it doesn't make a bunch of ngons.

But really what I usually do just depends on what the model needs and what stage I'm at. For example with a character you could start with a box, extrude out arms/legs...@ this point the torso, arms, and legs are all 4-sided cylinders. Then you could subdivide the entire model. This will make the torso/arms/legs all 8-sided cylinders, automatically nice and uniformly spaced verts. Now you can edit these points manually as you wish. At this point if you're trying to keep a fairly low poly model, if you want to add more detail in an areas, say sculpting muscles of the deltoid and bicep, don't subdivide the whole model again, because that would just cause a headache with tons of points. Instead just use your cut poly tool and manually cut in the edgeloops and extra polys you need for this particular area of detail.

The above is just a generic example of when it may be a good idea to use different tools for adding in detail, really it just depends on the situation.

Hope this helps if you are even still looking for an answer to your 9-month old question
  12 December 2003
Could you Mr. Stahlberg post wires from the back view?! thanks...
  06 June 2004
mmm,nothin to say im only replyng for subscribe to the thread.i dont know how do it whith the neew version of cg talk
excuse my english
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