Yes I turn it into a SubD, and tweak the higher levels, and keep them separate (no collapsing). I’ve gone back and forth many many times to ensure I get the 0-level configuration that will look best as a SubD. For instance, the 4 triangles meeting in each nostril must look strange but trust me it works excellently.
I’m a bit leery of loops, the real face has no such large looping structures so it can be a bit misleading to try too hard to find edge-loops in it… ok there are some circular or semi-circular muscle groups but I’m also not too fond of letting the muscles decide topology.
IMO only 2 things should guide topology:
- real surface topology (shape), both neutral and grimacing
- major wrinkles, both neutral and grimacing
Here’s a couple portraits I’ve marked to clarify what I meant about that nose-ridge, and the corners of the mouth and eye.
Also note, on the guy, the typical doubled-semi-colon shape that’s created by the nasolabial folds as they run into the chin, together with the next wrinkle parallell to it. Almost every single person on the planet shows something quite similar. (Although a few have the nasolabial fold hooking up a bit lower on the chin.)