Base Mesh : Planes of the Head (John Asaro) VS. Topology


Hello [obligatory lurker’s-first-post-greeting goes here],

UPDATE: 12.18.2002 (Newest Version)

The point of this mesh was to create a simplified generic head (roughly similar to Stahlberg’s idea) from which i hope to generate future variation with relative ease. i was less interested in its look then the fundamentals of its construction. the main stipulations was that it needed to be highly modifiable (old, young, fat, thin…) and easily animatable but at the same time i wanted it to adhere to the anatomical structures of the face. the big struggle was whether to emphasize the topology (i.e. edgeloops/edge layout) or to try to more closely follow established schemes for depicting the anatomical structures of the face, such as John Asaro’s plains of the head model. this is my best compromise to date.

Any feedback on its chances for good deformation, its ability to be “morphed” into other faces and/or its conformity to anatomical structures/planes would be greatly appreciated.



I’m not an expert but the mesh looks very clean, I think it’s quite suitable(had to rewrite that 3 times , good night everyone) for animation, oh and if i’m totally wrong it might be 'cause i’m in a not very here ends all brain activity ok good night whatever and so on


Ooh ooh, that is just spiffy! I’ve been roaming these forums and many websites for a long while now trying to figure out what the heck a good basic structure for a head is-- I’ve found that it’s an absolute requirement for making a model that LOOKS halfway like ANYTHING. I wish I’d had somebody to show me a wireframe like this a year ago, it could’ve saved me months of Cranium-scratching. It looks like you’ve broken down the head into the basic edge patterns in a very coherent and well-handled fashion. That curl around the bony structures behind the ear is something very few people use, and it’s nice to see. Everything’s at an efficient minimum, which is great, showing where all the 5-edge poles are and how the different areas interact, it’s lovely.

There’s still a few bits I’m not so sure about. The hinge of the jaw, for instance. There’s not much there to support detail in that area, for characters with defined jawlines. Also, the edges leading down from the corner of the eye next to the nose… it looks like they wouldn’t blend into the slope of the nose and cheek very well, the outermost row is very narrow, and will probably give you too sharp of a crease where there shouldn’t be one. Ooh, discussing this stuff will be fun!


bjotto - thanks for the comendations… and i hope you got a good nights rest

gnarly - glad to here it could have been helpful :). i certainly did my share of wireframe hunting as part of the effort to come up with this mesh and must thank many of cgtalk’s own (Roy’s, chamade, stuzzi, syomka, Stahlberg…) for unselfishly providing very useful wireframe examples in the past. hopefully my head can add a little to the effort.

a)jaw - i think i see your point. i’ll run the mesh through some basic tests today i.e fat, thin, muscular… to see what i can get out of the current jaw configuration and improve it where i can.
b)eye-nose - in my smooth tests it worked pretty well, but i can see why it might be a problem, when i get to work i’ll try spreading the lines apart especially as they approach the eye and see if that doesn’t help.

thanks again for the help


Heya, this page seems pretty darn astute and helpful for this stuff, you seen it?


gnarly - yup, i ran across the human head site a year or two ago. the instructional parts are pretty helpful as a way to get you feet wet but i usually find it more useful to learn by example (i.e. the human head gallery and sites like this).

and an update per gnarly’s suggestion…
the jawline, especially towards the ear, should now much more controllable and accurately defined.

more crits? anyone else? please? pretty please? don’t make me rename this thread… “character: elven-hot-fantasy-chick anatomy”


Nice job, very well laid out head The one suggestion I would make is that it looks like the top of his head is cut off. General rule of thumb is that the eyes lie half way down the head, you’ve got yours set about 2/3rds from the jawline.

Still, really looks good so far. :beer:


my fault, now that you pointed it out, i can see that the eyes are obviously screwed. its amazing what you loose sight of when you’re too deep into your work.

here is the correction they should now be very nearly halfway down. the image in the back is the original screwed one at the same scale.



Haha, that’s what happens when you get in to the zone!

This just keeps looking better and better. Nice job!



I am impressed, very nice. Keep on working!

Regards Endre


Excellent work. I’m really anal about topology too, and I’ve been doing the same thing you have–trying to come up with the perfect prototype topology for a head.

You might want to move a few lines from the jaw hinge/behind the ears towards the middle of the lower neck to accomodate the neck muscle.


I agree this looks really good in terms of topology, and it’s about the level of detail that I like. Looks like the ear could use some more attention perhaps. Great work. :thumbsup:


I very surprised you have not resieved much feedback?/!!

But anwyays, I have been reseraching just the very thing you have done . I think this is a great attempt at solving the problem and a very usefull one at that. I find that its good to mix and match different topologies to get just what your looking for, so this is very helpful to me.:slight_smile:

I think its a great lesson to learn while starting modelling and I think what you have provided is a great resource.

I want ed ask though , if it alright, what was the process you underwent to achive this result----direction to changing topology direction ----conforming topology to gfavial features—stuff like that?:slight_smile:

thanks once again defininety an outstanding piece of work

ps. can we see a front view:)thnks

take care



hmm… seems this thread lost a couple of posts in the mix up…

seebede - thanks

lunatique - thanks again, again. any chance you could repost the picture with your suggested changes. i got swamped at work and had to switch over to more pressing tasks for a bit and didn’t get a chance to incorporate your suggestions. also you had asked a question in your last post about my modeling intentions which i hadn’t fully read through yet, if you repost that also i’d gladly respond. sorry and thanks

kpalazov - thank you very much for your compliments. i do blush. :blush: i’d hoped that more people would respond for a good old shake-and-bake, but thought the responces have been somewhat scarece, those that have responeded have been very helpful. :thumbsup:

i’ll gladly post a front view once i get to work, though i’d like to incorporate some of lunatique’s suggestions that got deleted in the server mixup first.

i’m not sure if i’m qualified, and there really was no process, but… i constructed a poorly laid-out face using a very basic set of tools: split poly, append poly, smartCollapse, smartDelete, and smartExtrude. once it looked decent i ripped it apart. using the same tools i slowly built it back up trying to incorporate ideas from various sources i had collected including muscle and bone reference, a picture of John Araso’s planes head, a mirror and a lot of other peoples wireframes. nothing special just time. it was at least partially as a learning tool so the process lacked refinement.

i doubt i answered your question to any level of satisfaction, so feel free to ask for clarification. have you constructed a face you’d care to share?

thanks again


Are you:

a)trying to make a head with the perfect/most efficient/accurate topology? If yes, then you are doing fine.

b)trying to make a base mesh with low level of detail so you can make other heads with it, and also use it as a wrap deformer for animation/making blendshapes. If yes, then your mesh is way too dense for that purpose.


lunatique - thanks for reposting, i sincerely appreciate the time you’ve taken to respond to my post. i’ll try tweaking the head in the next day or two.

i’m actually doing a couple of things simultaneously (which might be part of the problem). one part is definitely an attempt to create a head with the most efficient, logical and anatomically cohesive topology i can muster. and thats what i’m striving for currently. the second stage that I hope will follow upon a successful creation of part “a” will be an attempt to aim for a head smack-dab in the middle of “a” and “b”. unfortunately unlike Stahlberg the theoretical iterations built off of this head won’t be created in a full fledged program. more likely then not the controls will be limited to self contained sets of predefined deformers. the ability to freshly generate ears and nostrils won’t be available. conceivably there might not be any human input to guide the iterations at all. i may however get a chance to a couple of base heads (man/woman/child or maybe thin adult/fat adult/child) to ease things along.



kpalazov - here is the latest front view (with lunatiques chages) if you are still interested. i’ll post the other view later today.


hi phreaknasty,
I’m just comming from a bussy week , first time I’m reading your posts. THanks so much for the update and views, greatly appricated.

Firstly my work , the only work I have on the net at the moment is from long ago , but here it is just the same:):

this was WIP at the time I made the jpeg, sorry for the quality.

The mesh is more dense then yours but I found that , after animating the head the mesh conformed very well to the creases and stretches of the skin. Ofrourse I have not created a next and ears and they are some what of a challenge for me as they are very important, ear to look, neck for goood deformation.

Over all your mesh seems to make a compramise batween the desity of the mesh and the flow of the contours of the face which I thing is a much better way to head the problem.

In the next post I will try to give you a better crituque:) sorry for the rambling:)

thanks again for your time in posting the images.

take care



phreaknasty- I just noticed another problem with your topology.

Wrinkle your nose–notice how there are wrinkles that stretch from your inner eye corners to the middle of the bridge of your nose? You need to change some lines around there to conform to that.

Check out the topology on the head I have on my website in the 3D section. It’ an old head that I never finished, but I did the topology in that area to accomodate the nose wrinkle.


kpalazov - the mesh is looking mighty clean. nice.

lunatique - funny you should mention that… i had a snarl built into the model long ago but somewhere along the way i must have tweaked it out since viscerally it seems so unnatural to have those lines coming to a peak. oops.

anyways here is the new nose.