HMC #37 - Toph Bei Fong


I was going to model Lady Tsunade or one of the other huge breasted women from Shonen Jump but instead I think I’ll go the exact opposite and model a 12 year old girl. She also happens to be my favorite female character.

Toph Bei Fong, the greatest earthbender!

I love her intro scene from “The Blind Bandit” vs. The Boulder. It really shows her unique style of earthbending. I plan on creating this pose where she hurls The boulder from the arena.


I’ve been gathering reference for this since Roberto first announced the topic and the one sticky point is what is she doing with her legs? I watched the animation several times and compared that to Sifu Manny’s movements. I think it ends up being a reverse move with her torquing against herself. I tried the move myself with some good intensity while my wife snapped some reference photos.

So first thing, I posed a mannequin using my reference photos.

While that helps, it isn’t going to look like Toph to base it on a 6’ tall man. So I took the same mannequin and made a short, squaty version. Aww, how cute.

And then posed it the same.

And last attached and posed some hands. They probably won’t hold up during dynamesh so I’ll have to recreate them again.

And that’s a good place to stop tonight. I’ll start the sculpting proper tomorrow.


so fast… :slight_smile: awesome character.


That’s pretty quick, never used the mannequin sofar, will have to look into it.


cool workflow never knew they had mannequins in zbrush… wonder if posable symmetry works for it after using dynamesh.


cgrenesh, airflow - Thanks guys. They are good little devices for getting poses quickly. The problem is dynamesh doesn’t work so well with them. You lose a ton of detail or you have to start at too high a polycount to preserve it. I really want to make this work so I’m sticking with it a bit more otherwise its back to dynameshing from a sphere which is also good. :smiley:

It does not. ZBrush has no form of posable symmetry at all. I assume you mean how Mudbox does it right? Not a problem though. After watching Steven Lord’s presentation on Visualarium I really want to try all asymmetric this time.


Not so sure about mudbox, but zbrush has posable symmetry based off topology so i think that dynamesh destroys the symmetrical topology of the mannequin. Still, i guess its good to sculpt without symmetry from time to time.


Oh, that symmetry. I never liked relying on that because it always seemed to get screwed up when I would need it.

Progress for today. Worked through converting the mannequin shaped mesh into something less blocky while still trying to keep the details in dynamesh. The fingers got a bit screwed up but that’s to be expected. So far so good. I now find myself with an odd problem. I have no idea what the anatomy of a 12 year old is supposed to be… which I suppose is a good thing. :smiley: For now I’m just going to shoot for the cartoons look.


I’m hitting that sticking point where the sculpt goes from a generic shape into an actual likeness. Made doubly fun by trying to do it with a drawn character instead of a person. I’m sculpting her eyes more like the final scene where she’s squinting a little.

I’m using this concept sketch as reference but the shapes aren’t consistent from drawing to drawing so I’m not sure.

I’m open to suggestions if you guys see anything.


Here is a quick little paintover of some changes I’d recommend. Mostly to the shape of the cheeks, and nose.


Progress for today.

I realized after posting this that her headband, from the original concept sketches, is about twice the size as it finally ended up being in the cartoon. Blarg, I’ll fix it tomorrow.


Finally got a chance to redo the headband and I figured I’d 'splain it if you haven’t used Panel Loops yet. This info is all available in the Pixologic tutorials.

The first time, I used Dynamesh as I thought it was required so I also had to retopo after in qRemesher. This time I just used the spheres existing geometry. No problem.
1. Appended the new sphere and reshaped it a bit.
2. Used Curve slice brush to cut the mesh. Hold space while in curve mode to move the cut line. Tap alt to create a curve joint. Double-tap alt to create a hard angle.
[li]Under Geometry->Edgeloop click Panel Loops to create panel loops.[/li][li]Settings: loops=5, thickness=0.02, select double. Watch the tutorials for more details on settings.[/li][/ul] 3. Ctrl+Shift+Clicked the “headband” polygroup to hide everything else. Press Ctrl+A to select attached. This includes the loops and the inside created by panel loops.
[li]Each panel becomes its own vert-welded unit after panel loops so you can select each individually.[/li][li]Under Geometry->Modify Topology click Del Hidden to delete all hidden panels leaving just the headband.[/li][/ul] Subdivide and sculpt, profit!

Now I need to redo her hair to fit the new band and add the hair in front of her face. This is why I’ve left a gap between the headband and her head.


Its looking better, but i still think its lacking in smoothness and I think there needs a nicer transition from the cheeks to the chin, maybe make it a little more full. It is also a little craggy under the nose.

Anyway keep up the work. Its good to see you trying out some zbrush features. I still dont know any of them.


I find that link of an 3D version. Some difference based on the eye difference with you but anyway, it’s a possible ref


Toph doesn’t seem much like a femme fatale to me, but it’s looking like a good start. It seems like a photoreal treatment with a real actress in mind might be more appropriate for highrez work.

If you want to stick with the cartoon look then it’ll probably look best in more of an ‘andrew hickinbottom’ direction. Also a quick google search for toph character sheet comes up with a lot of good references.


Its possibly a good time to retopo the face so you can adjust things better. I tend you use dynomesh to get the base blocked out. Then retopo to be able to have subdivs or levels. Its coming on, just missing that anime sharpness.


Nice work Wyatt!
Super challenge doing a baby face. Great work so far :slight_smile:


Thanks guys.
Man I need to update. Made quite a few changes but I’m still tweaking the hair so I was waiting to finish that first.


I really don’t want to show it in this state but I haven’t updated in a while. Everything is very much WIP. Her bangs are halfway done, you can see her right side hasn’t been touched yet. The idea is I’m catching her at the moment of impact so her weight has shifted and everything should be flying off to her left side, hair, clothes, jewelry etc. Check the ref.

Fattened up her cheeks, smoothed out the angled parts of her face, made her chin a bit pointier like the cartoon and gave her a temporary expression. It’s in a layer so I can still modify later.

This is the BPR render using the new “hair” material in ZBrush. The bad thing is I like the look of the ungroomed hair. The hair I’ve styled seems to lose that natural sheen and just look like lines. IDK, may have to start over again with polygroups. One thing I don’t like about most hair sims I’ve used, they always default to that ragged hairline and then expect you to straighten it out afterward. I’d love for them to have a default “cut” setting since most of my characters have seen a pair of scissors before.


the ends of the hairs look nice. Did you use noise modifier for the length beforehand? thats one thing i hate about fibermesh once you messed up the initial settings you cant change them on the fly.

You could try to use Doubleshade material with hair 1/2 as the base and play around with the specular of the second material.

btw do you find that sometimes using some of the groom brushes (groom long/short) will make the hair go crazy?