Topology research


In my humble opinion, it’s useless to discuss topology at this detail level. You don’t have any facial features on the model, the major and minor planes of the face are undefined, it’s pretty much a blank state at this point.

So we can’t evaluate how the loops would help to define the shape or help animation at this point.

Oh, and spirals are usually bad, indeed :wink:


man i love this thread, so may opinions


I will repost after adding some detail, i been working on the nostril/nose area and its a pain to define a nostril for an african american, it kind of loops within itself (looking at the image I am using as a base) which my topology doesnt account for, I may have to redefine the topo into a spiral :expressionless: I will post picks later on what I mean.


Yes i do enjoy this


Ive done some work on and off, its nowhere near complete but this is what Ive got so far using some background ref images of an african american.



In my opinion this is the perfect proof of the ineffectiveness of this approach. You have spend lot of time on topology, and to be honest neither the topology, nor the shapes are good.

As a computer free practice I suggest you to check out as many photos as you can, and try to define the facial planes, and the main topology lines. Draw on the images and as you advance, you will be aware of shape and topology as well. Without any 3D :slight_smile:

If you handle character modeling as an art, you will realize that how powerful is to understand the human anatomy, before opening up your 3d package


j3ster is right, but not to the degree that he claims. You are on the right track. You should probably spend time on modeling now. You will learn exactly where you need to make changes to the topology. You can always make an alright model through brute force by increasing your subdivisions. For right now, it seems that you should take what you’ve got and “perfect” the shape, then retopologize, then refine the shape, then retopologize, then refine the shape.

Just a suggestion, but attempting to reach the best from the beginning is hard. I have found that it is best, when learning, to build up then break down and repeat.

And get rid of all those loops. You can get by with fewer loops.


I know I currently have too many loops, I will be getting rid of quite a few of them, I been not paying attention to the shape as I should be, I been just adding loops and just getting a feel for this style in modelling.

My previous modeling style has been extending quads from the eye/mouth etc, this is more box modelling style which I will need to get use to!

I will give the drawing lines method you mentioned Jester and compare what I have now and what I should be aiming for…


Refer to this to help you find the plane structure Jat. Also look into Bridgeman and Vanderpol.

Also, look up Stephen Perkins and try to get a workshop with him. There is no one that knows the structure (planes) and anatomy of the human figure like Mr. Perkins.

Jester is right on. I have been working with his proposed workflow and it works very well. You can focus more on the likeness of the model (not your 3d thing but your person your making) rather than all the technical jargon. Once the likness is there you can dump any topo on the model you want in a more free form way has well as make any changes that others might suggest very easily. It’s also makes it easier to copy (in the effort to learn what others have done and discovered) other professionals topology layout. Eventually Through practice you will be able to model better in the traditional sence (poly by poly or box modelin) easier. Meaning you will be able to adapt to any 3d modeling style once you understand human structure and anatomy.

I had a teacher once say “Here is the secret to becoming better at protrait sculpture… Do a 100 of them and you will get better”. Sounds pretty simple I think hahah :slight_smile:

Anyway Jat I think you got some likeness happening already it just needs to be pumped up a bit. Study these images and try to find these plane structures in your models face. Sorry the sculpt is a bit ruff but, at least you can see the plane structures. If it helps you let me know and I can send you more…

Take care,
Da guai

Take care,
Da guai


IMO the “flow” looks good, but a lot of the shapes arent right, i.e. flatness around the corners of the mouth, pinching/sharpness at the chin, etc

Thus now you have the problem of having to fix the shapes with tons of vertices to work with, so youre likely to end up with rippling or bumpyness in your smoothed versions


thnx for the info DaGuai, im enrolling in a 2 year life drawing class starting september at college to help me with more of a traditional understanding, I will take a look at the books you mention providing I can get a copy, the leeds library has most of its copies missing I may end up buying them.

Yea I am suffering from the bumpy affect Yamo, I been trying to add all the loops and then editing them all at once, which is clearly failing me, I will post some pics in another thread with a hand drawn topo on top of the photo, I dont wanna hijack this thread anymore :\

I will be working with this later on, I havent given up!


i’ve got a question to ask, i’ve been told that when modelling the angle that the edges meets the verticies is important when i comes to deforming.

So basically all the edges that are coming out of the vertice should be as close to 90 degrees as possible.

Is that correct?
Could someone maybe explain this more to me?


It is sort of correct, even though I would not put it like that.

What you want is mostly even sized quad polygons with the edges running parallel and perpendicular to the direction that the surface moves during deformation.
This in turn means that the polygons shouldn’t only be even sized but also as close to a square as possible. Which, in turn, has all its four angles at 90 degrees.

Now obviously this theory is only 100% true in 2 dimensions, but when you add the third, the surface can change in tricky ways… but nevertheless, trying to keep your polygons as nice as possible is something worth aiming for.


Hi guys! Great thread. This is one of my favourite and ive learnt a lot from it. Here is my searchings in human topology. Lets say that its an giant. My workflow is - for shapes I use zbrush, for topology max.
Since I made this model for the animation I added as much detail as possible on the topology.
45 thousands tris for body mesh.


hi i have one question
could you help me with my little modeling i’m focus on anatomy edge flow and topology this is the link to the problem

By bunleng_iep at 2009-10-10

By bunleng_iep at 2009-10-10

i’ll be appreciate for your help
Name: bunleng iep
Country : Cambodia



I can tell you are putting some serious work into this model, so congratulations!

#1; Please tell me that you have a lower resolution version of this model. You have too many edges for an efficient model. Focus on the profile of the skull.

#2; The eyes are too far apart.

#3; I don’t see any ears.

#4; The topology isn’t perfect, but it’s a lot better than the modeling. Take a step back from the edge flow, because it is good enough for now. The edge flow will make more sense once you have spent time on the model.

#5; The biggest improvements will come from careful focus on the profile and volume of the skull. If you need to, use a lateral and anterior image of the human skull as reference planes and match it.

#6. Modeling with this many subdivisions is going to waist a lot of time.

#7. I should have put this first; grab some reference images and draw your topology on them first in order to get a good road map for subsequent child loops.

Keep up the good work, and do NOT be afraid to start from the beginning while applying the principles that you have learned.

Also, modeling with the subjects eyes closed can enable a more objective approach. When you have a human with it’s eyes open, staring at you, it can be easy to feel like you are doing well to create a human face, when in reality there are several key landmarks which have been neglected. Humans see eyes, they think human. What about the nasolabial fold? Or the caruncula? Cheek bones, masseter, etc…


thank you man this is my low res face neck and chest i just wonder that is my neck edge flow alright is it enouge and when i’m ready for this edge flow should i go on to the muscle and when i medel the mucle i subdevide it and i think this is no longer have the edge flow am i right or i am right thank you

By bunleng_iep at 2009-10-11

By bunleng_iep at 2009-10-11

By bunleng_iep at 2009-10-11

name : bunleng iep


ack… ummm

first, I hate to say it but that’s not a person… it has the parts of a person but the proportions, the placement of them … not a person. It’s a worthy attempt, I can see that your trying but you need to understand the proportions, the shapes, etc that make up a person.

I did a quick and dirty paint over of the head:

Frankly I think you would do best to not focus on topology and right now focus on getting the structures, shapes, sizes and placement down. Don’t worry if the wireframe is horrible and ugly; that technical side can come later. First get the object looking like what it’s supposed to be.


I’m glad that you have a lower resolution version. When you are learning the process, there are some things that you can try which can really accelerate progress;

-Separate the body parts in order to avoid stressful edge-flow.
-The neck is not good right now because you have a lot triangle shapes, everything needs to be as square as possible, like a grid.
-Don’t spend too much energy worrying about muscle or detail; the main point of going through this process is to create a clean grid to be illustrated later. Recent trends in mesh sculpting almost completely eliminate the need to define detail through base geometry or topology.
-Stay in the mesh’s lowest subdivision level to make changes to the profile and shape of the mesh.
-Keep it simple as possible, the common subdivision algorithms used these days do an amazing job at averaging the distance between points. This means that you will get some of your best results by constantly checking the results of your mesh in its high-res format. So; no 5+ sided faces, and avoid 3 sided unless you know how to use them.

Maya (and the majority of the 3D apps) has great options for smooth preview, and has the ability to retopologize. Retopolgy will can help fix the inherit mistakes you may have made when first creating the mesh.

After you understand the workflow that is best for you, it will be easier to conceptualize and execute you work.


Howdy everyone
would love some crit on this face model I was working on. The one problem I seem to have (beside the shape of my noses which im going to focus on now) is stretching around the nose area when I smooth my mesh. How can I avoid this? Should I simply add more definition or is my edge flow wrong?