Topology research


Don’t put wide and narrow polygons next to each other. Instead, try to aim for evenly sized quads.


2 tokoloshi - maybe using of more classic type of topology could help. Here is some quick scratches:


thanks for the tip Laa-Yosh…
somehow I didnt realise that my topology was so off :frowning:
will keep an eye on that. thanks Wurich!


You’re headed in the right direction because you’re researching, learning, and trying. Looking back at my old models, mine are very similar to your topology. I simply did not know or understand what needed to be done. I knew what loops had to be in place, but was completely obtuse when it came to executing the processes on how to achieve them. Though I have over several dozen unfinished models, it has gotten to the point to where I can throw down a model in a week and be completely knowledgeable of what I need to do with the geometry. The majority of my guess work, trial, and error was done when I started out. It’ll seem like you’re not making any progress, but if you keep plugging away at it you’ll get there eventually.

Are you modeling from a box by chance? I find that method to be a little more advanced than what it lets itself off to be. My personal reasons for that is that its hard to achieve the natural form and volume of the shapes you want from a box, and if you don’t know the tools or topology well enough, you’re already (literally) boxed into a corner because you don’t know how to go about placing them in there correctly the first time so you don’t run into future mistakes. There are tons of tutorials out there to help with it, but I’ve always ran into problems with that method. Personally, I find the Edge Extrusion (Polygon Extrusion) method to be the most efficient. That method also has its pros and cons, but if you know what you’re doing, you can get the results and edge flow that you want without fumbling around with a box.

If you study the anatomy of the body, topology will make more sense. Our goal as modelers is to bring reality into a 3 dimensional space and allow it to move the same as it would in real life. If your geometry is all over the place, you won’t get the results you need to be getting. The same thing can be said for our body. If our muscles aren’t plugged into the right insertion points, and if everything isn’t lined up perfectly, we don’t function correctly.

So do some anatomy research and topology research. Know the dos and don’ts, and understand the terminology and basic fundamentals that come with all of this. Once you have all of that together, you’ll see improvement.


To any artist (professional or amateur, experienced or beginner) it’s a good practice to study photos portraying humans, and then try to draw main topology lines following the light shadow outlines, wrinkles, folds of the skin. Then topology becomes a second nature


Hey there,

usually I don’t post and search before bothering, but I’m at a dead end now

Here’s the problem: I am working on a shortfilm and don’t have the experience of knowing how certain body topologies will deform.
So here’s what I have so far:
Don’t mind the obvious form problems, I want to get the topology right first
I want to have a defined stomach/ribs/the other usual muscles

I thought about doing something like this , a very defined stomach area, but does it have any problems bending, etc?
Can I go with a topology like the one above where the topology is based on muscles? Or should everything be clean without many “interruptions” like the one I have so far ( at least I hope its pretty clean :stuck_out_tongue: )?
Does it matter at all and everything deforms nicely after some skinning and rigging?
I mean, if I look at the piece of Wurich on the page before, its topology goes with the muscles and it seems to work when animated.

I always feel like a n00b when posting a question. Maybe I didnt search the right terms or overlooked a good topic, or I am just too scared to go with a certain topo, but it would be really really nice to point me in a direction that works, or even post some examples? I would die for some (animated?) examples



Hi this thread is rly helpful.

Iam in the middle of doing a face in max. Tried to achieve a solid low poly base.
Any crit would be appreciated.
Can anyone say how i get the mark i painted in yellow?
It is not very much visible on the photo reference but would it be better to keep that plane?
If so how do i need to change my topo to make it work?

Cant figure it out. Cheers.


That reference image is actually looking very good. If you need more definition then you could increase the mesh detail, but it should work fine already.

Another approach is this one:
but it is far less realistic and also takes considerable time to set up (because of all the blendshapes).

Maybe I didnt search the right terms or overlooked a good topic, or I am just too scared to go with a certain topo, but it would be really really nice to point me in a direction that works, or even post some examples? I would die for some (animated?) examples

I don’t really know of anything else. Generally people learn the most from experience, seeing how these things work in practice.



my model is actually based on that one :>
But what do you mean when saying it needs time to set up? I would think that with this simple topology you would need far less time for blendshapes than a model with muscle topology?


But you have to rely on those blendshapes and have to add multiple shapes per joint, rig them and all… takes a lot of time.

Good topology on the other hand can make your skinning faster and easier to do.


Kind of obvious, but just checking - what you’re saying is that I would have to compensate the non existant muscles/joints with blendshapes if I go with Hippy’s method?


Yeah, exactly - particularly with such a low res mesh, and if you’re aiming for realistic results. In fact you’d probably have to throw in displacement maps and do some animated blending with joint rotation controlled masks as well. Which is okay if you’re going for stuff like the Hulk movie, but kinda complicated for an everyday project.
AFAIK Hippy is a character TD at Pixar and they don’t really do realistic naked torso stuff in their movies… his stuff is perfect for cartoonish characters that wear clothes or fur on top of the skin, but it isn’t necessarily for everyone. Then again, you can get a lot of good ideas from his stuff.

And… it’d also be worth adding some more detail to the base mesh because your anatomy is kinda lacking a bit at this time, too…


I can say you’ve reassured me to go through with using a more muscle oriented and detailed mesh, and hope no one has to say anything negative to bring my doubts back :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks for explaining and taking your time Laa-Yosh!


hey! thanks again for all the feedbackness!
so went back and started fresh and this is what i came up with after tonights work.
still needs quiete abit of work but would love to get some tips before proceeding on…
got back and did some work over the weekend. still lots of tweaking still needed to be
done but just wanna know am I on the right track now?


A lot of heads here :slight_smile: , so I to throw mine in as well.
(just for the layout, proportions have to be fixed and the ear area is still bothering me)

 But there is not so much body-topology. I stumbled over this thread (and the other topology-thread started by Stahlberg) when I was tackeling the shoulder-elbow-area and changed my mind as I went through this thread. Though it is so obvious it helped me really a lot that Laa-Yosh brought up gollum and to take a look at Mr. Stahlbergs wires. Thank you very much :bowdown: is my torso and arms. I am not really satisfied but I want to finish it for now and apply all I have learned fully to my next model.

 At the moment I am trying to get a good topology for the hand and stuck with the fingers as they are not as symmetrical as most tutorials suggest.
I played a little bit and till now the topology of the knuckles -as it now is- was the best I could come up with (regarding detail by low polycount). But I dont know if this might work for animation.


So I hope that this might push the discussion towards body-topology as most of the 60 pages are about head-topology.


The ear is causing your problems because you’re using a grid on the side and back of the head

the chest is also non standard … usually you’d do the pecs as concentric squarish circles …


This is how i usually keep my edge loops. I also like to have heavy topology so i can do details. Ofcourse this is not heavy. its just base


Hi guys. Great thread. I have some fairly low poly topology of a young female. Is there a chance you could take a look and give me some feedback as I want to be able to animate this character. This is the first character head Ive done so any feedback is appreciated.

Ignore the ears by the way…i’ll be re-modelling those.




If you have the time I would rewire the mesh a bit.

For the rest it looks fine




Thanks for the help…I’ll do that. :slight_smile: