Digital Tutors – Mastering Topology in Maya

I figured it would be a good idea to learn as much as possible about topology before we even begin modeling our character for our Hard-soft animation. The ‘Mastering Topology in Maya‘ series on digital tutors has been good so far for getting practice and seeing all the things that need to be taken into consideration. This will also be useful for modeling the head in our Imaging and Data Visualization module.

Here are my notes:

  • N-gons: Are polygons with more than 4 sides.

Things to consider when eliminating triangles:

  • Think not as ‘deleting an edge’ but ‘moving an edge’. Create new edges and either delete triangle’s edge or select vertices and merge components.
  • If triangles are close together, can they be eliminated by creating an edge that extends between them? (either in an enclosed area or looping entirely around symmetrical geometry).

My attempts at removing triangles:

Screen Shot 03-23-15 at 10.35 AM

I solved this a different way at first but it’s good to look for end edges close by that you can extend a new edge down to.
Screen Shot 03-23-15 at 10.36 AM

Screen Shot 03-23-15 at 10.40 AM

Triangles close together can be solved by connecting an edge between them. Seems easy now but I over complicated it at the time as usual.Screen Shot 03-23-15 at 10.42 AM

Screen Shot 03-23-15 at 10.43 AM

Merging vertices with the ‘merge components’ command is useful.Screen Shot 03-23-15 at 10.44 AM

Working with poles:

  • Poles occur when more than 4 edges converge on a point.
  • Is the pole in a place that will be deforming or static? 5 pointed poles usually occur at the edge of mouth and eye loop groups. Consider which poles are acceptable and which need to be changed.
  • 6 pointed poles can be turned into two 5 pointed poles.

Screen Shot 03-23-15 at 12.41 PM Screen Shot 03-23-15 at 12.48 PM

Edge loops:

  • Edge loops match what the model need to do i.e. let you know where and how you can deform your polygons.
  • Deformation needs resolution e.g. loops which describe the nasolabial folds/laugh lines. Loops can be rerouted to add extra resolution to these places.

Screen Shot 03-23-15 at 02.46 PM

Screen Shot 03-23-15 at 02.47 PM

Facial loops:

  • The loops around the eyes and mouth (and rest of face) should follow the flow of muscles underneath so facial geometry can deform correctly.

I liked the method of drawing the facial loops with the cv curve tool and then converting to polygons which could be extruded. This is my attempt at drawing facial loops over this drawing from digital tutors:

Screen Shot 03-24-15 at 08.18 PM 001I messed up quite a bit and need to try this more but at least I have an idea where to start now with something complicated like the face. This was the solution from digital tutors which had a less puckered look:

Screen Shot 03-24-15 at 07.04 PMI’ll need to study more references to get a better feel for what way the loops curve around.

Geometry reduction:

  • How can you connect an area with high density edge flow to one with lower resolution? e.g. the front of the face has a high density to accommodate facial deformation compared to the back of the head which is static.

Screen Shot 03-24-15 at 09.26 PM

This is my attempt at connecting the hand to the arm exercise:

Screen Shot 03-24-15 at 10.55 PM

My connection would have been cleaner if I had of started by examining the mesh more and seeing that each finger has three edges which could converge neatly. I also made the mistake of converging the mesh too close to the wrist where more deformation is going to happen than e.g. the back of the hand. This was the digital tutors’ solution:

Screen Shot 03-24-15 at 10.18 PM

Resolution for animation:

  • resolution is needed in areas that bend.
  • Look at sketches and concept art of the character. Discuss what way the character will need to move. Will areas need resolution for squash and stretch?
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