The head shot gallery


Hello everyone,
I recently started a new portfolio project. My plan is to practice face modeling without references.

    This is my workflow in Luxology's modo 301: 
    1. SDS basemesh
    2. UV unwrap and layout
    3. Sculpting of details via image based sculpting
    I want to acquire an efficient workflow with just one tool for everything. The sculpting of a head takes about 1 to 3 hours right now, depending on complexity.  The base mesh took much longer though. Please give me a note if you want to see base mesh, wireframes or anything... 
    Later on I will do some normal map baking and texturing, but for now it's all about modeling.
   Hope you like the guys. Feedback is much appreciated. I am also working on a female head. Mapping is not done yet, but I will post it soon. 
   Best regards,


Nice stuff, dude. I’d say the nasolabial fold and the grooves coming from it look pretty strong on all the characters, particularly out of place on the female head.

I’d be interested in seeing the base mesh used for these.

How are you finding sculpting in modo, by the way? I seem to have real trouble getting the image based stuff working well, and then I can never seem to bake it out to a low poly mesh afterwards.


Good variety. They all seem to have their ears stuck to their heads.

I’d say the 3rd one has way too pronounced and rounded bags under the eyes. You’ve got some nice crossing wrinkles on the forehead. I would add more of that and fleshyness benieth the eyes.
Thats the problem with working without reference (which I agree is good practice) is that its hard to focus on the look you are trying to capture. Is the 3rd guy old or just imaciated, or both? He looks neither. Good start on these though.


they look great. the sculpting looks good. i have one crit tho. the nostrils seems to be lit when they should be darkened due to the fact that they recess into the nasal cavity. thats all.


Hey guys, thank you for all the valuable feedback! I will give all of the heads some rework.

  I had to look up nasolabial. Cool word - I'm going to remember that one. 

  I will surely post my basemesh tonight. Maybe there are some problems with it, whichI will otherwise carry into all heads.

  Well, actually the characters shown were all supposed to be male.  But you are right; the second one looks androgynous and could also be a girl.

  Sculpting in modo is great! But I also had some problems getting it started. Make some simple tests with spheres and stuff and transfer your workflow to your real geometry afterwards. I already made some simple test to bake the normal to a low-poly object and things went fine. Just give it another try. Image based sculpting is a great way to handle details. You can simply adjust the opacity, mix maps, exchange maps between characters and so on. Maybe I am going to start a little tutorial on that in the modo area. 
  Thx, man. Good crits. Ears are a problem, I agree. Maybe it's already in the base mesh. I will work on that and give it more focus with my next characters. 
  You are also right about your thoughts concerning work without reference. I already thought that maybe it's too early for me to really work without. Maybe I take some references for the next head and switch to working without later. Another idea is to write down some simple characteristics for the next character and then try to hit the description. What do you think?
  The third guy was really meant to be an old weather-beaten character. But you are right; he is not really old right now. I'll do some rework on him and make the ears bigger and try to work on his age.
  I have the feeling that I am still playing around with the new technique and do not have a clear focus yet. Hope this will come later...   
  [/u]Thank you for your praise. Does your crit concern the rendering of the character? I did not put any effort into rendering right now. It's all about modeling yet. But maybe I should give it some thought to better showcase my work....



I did one new head yesterday. Spend too much time on figuring out render parameters. Ambient occlusion, subsurface scattering and stuff like that. I have to go more into that later.


Also did some corrections on Head number 003. Nose and Ears are much bigger now and I tried to work on his age.

This is my basemesh by the way. I already encountered some problems while sculpting and maybe I have to give it some rework. What do you think?

Best regards,


Just a few thoughts/suggestions to hopefully help you along. The nasolabial fold should originate above the nostril; very important. On the older face, it just seems like a carved in groove as opposed to a 3d form. The wrinkles in general on the older fellow seem wrong. On that sort of character, the anatomy has to be rather carefully constructed because the older a face is, the more present it is. For the old dude, you might try making the space from the nose to the upper lip more convex than concave and the definition on the indentation between the lower lip and the chin less strong. Those bits soften with time. Something also strikes me as off about the eyes but I can’t quite put my finger on it. I’m nowhere near an expert though so take this all with a grain of salt. Everybody is different and everybody poops.

Reference is nothing to be embarassed about! Avoiding it just leads to banging your head up against a wall. Good luck.


hi espen,
nice to see, you have some time left to go deep into character modelling, which seems to have become a science to master in the last years. i cant say much about this, because my head is filled with other stuff, but i think you didnt make it easy for yourself, when you started whith thes ultra realistic character work. Do you plan to go back into cartoon, again?


Thank you guys for all the valuable feedback!

       [u]  hypercal:[/u]
         Very good crits. The nasolabial fold is wrong with all characters. I will have a closer look at this in the future. You are right about the folds of the old guy. His wrinkles are pure fantasy. And yeah well, I think I will take some reference with the next character. 
         There is also something wrong about eye placement. The eyes are too distant form each other. I got some excellent crits on that on 
         I finally decided to give my basemach another rework before going on to the next cahracter. 
         This is my old base mesh:
         This is my actual version:
        Front and side view:
       Any crits to my new base mesh? I do not want to continue before I checked that things are right with the base...
       Hey Antweiler, didn't hear of you for ages! Great to see you again! There was a hell of a lot of work for me the last year. But now that we passed an important gate for our actual production things are going a bit slower. What about you?
As I am normally working on full capacity with administrative and mangement stuff, I was hungry to do some own stuff again without production pressure and deadlines. 
       Modeling heads is excellent practice. It does not take so much time and to work on real anatomy is so complex it gives your brain a challange. But I have also ideas to continue more cartoony stuff. Maybe re-open the Creature Club...
       Hope to see you around in Berlin these days. There is some vacation coming up for me... great! Take care. And if you want to start a new concept art collaboration, just tell me. :deal:


i really like number 3 …he look just right … not too wrinkly … but you can easyly recognize his old age :slight_smile:


Hi guys,

spend some time on a female base mesh. I want to have my basemeshes (male and female) right, before I continue with sculpting. So please feel free to give some crits, feedback, or wise advice.

Best regards,


Hi guys,

couldn’t help it. Started a new old guy portrait yesterday. Still WIP but I wanted to share it with you anyway. Some crits on that one? This time I used photo reference for inspiration and it worked well for me.

I made his face asymmetrical the first time and I think it worked great. I will do this to all my characters in the future and maybe also do some rework on the old ones when I find the time.

Head_005 (WIP):

Best regards,


i like the asymmetrical appeareance of the last one, or is it the lighting?
A nice detail, i see, are the big ears that older men get, as well as big noses sometimes
Do you try different light setups? cool stuff, when ill be free once, i will also try if i still can do it :wink: (you willl hear from me, espen)


Wow. Muuuch better that the other. Damn. You really nailed it. It really sells. Got a lot of character in his face. Looking forward to his texture.


Hi guys, just wanted to give you a little update on the old stuff before I will post any news.

Head_005 (update)

I did some work on his neck, his wrinkels and other details.

Beside that I did an update of my first characters with all your good feedback in mind. It is no complete rework, just a little update…



I know it is boring to show the old stuff once again, but as it is a work in progress thread I show it anyways. Maybe some of you are interested in all the steps.

There will be new stuff soon.



Two more heads. Feedback welcome as always.




Another head of a young woman. It is fun to explore the subtle details that make a face interesting, beautiful or both.




Hi guys,

for everyone who did not check out my [GameArtisans]( thread: here is my latest update on the head sculpts that I am doing to practise my scultpting and facial anatomy skills. 

Head_010 (update):


I also did some normal mapping tests:

 Low poly mesh without normal map (1722 triangles)

 Normal mapped low poly ingame mesh (1722 triangles)

And additional testing on hair with alpha planes:

Best regards,


Head 09 looks great, its the assymetry that makes me like it, head 010 looks a bit odd to me, particualy around the mouth and lips, the lip definition seems too sharp, unlike head 09. Hope this makes sense! Great stuff though! :thumbsup:


sk3d. glad you like them. you were right about the mouth area. I fixed that right away. Check my updated version below. I also forgot to post my reference. Here it goes:


Next time I’m going to model japanese actor Yutaka Takenouchi. Maybe he’ll by my samurai.