Rendered Head and Topology

Okay so i might have went a little over saturated with the purple lol. The lighting also shows up the flaws in the topology, like I think I may have gotten the flow wrong over the muscles in the neck.

Andrew Loomis – Drawing the Head and Hands

These pages from Loomis’ book Drawing the Head and Hands was good for remembering how the facial muscles flow for planning topology.

Siobhan’s Head Topology

This is the mesh that I drew on top of Siobhan’s face for reference during modeling. I had also aligned the front and side views in Photoshop but there was still some areas like the nostrils that didn’t line up perfectly in Maya.

This topology/facial articulation reference from came in very useful:


Head Modeling Progress

These are screenshots I took as I modeled Siobhan’s head. I mostly used three references for this topology project:

Project 2:



I started by drawing Siobhan’s side profile with the quad draw tool. I similarly drew quads around the eye shape from the front view and then connected these to the nose. I initially did this with the quad draw but then found that extruding edges and using the target weld tool was easier for bridging connections.

I drew the mouth with the quad draw tool and extruded the edges a few times to create the loop flow around the mouth. I looked at the reference from a lot to keep in mind where the poles occur at certain areas where the eye, mouth and nose loops border other eachother. I mostly used the front and side orthographic views when shaping the mesh to the images of Siobhan.

I then started to bring the geometry from the front of the face around to the back of the head. I first made the mistake of bring the geometry straight up from the forehead resulting in too much resolution being directed to a small area. I looked at the Project 2 tutorial again and found that the geometry needs to be spread around the temples also. I made a similar mistake with the edge flow leading down to the neck and had to rethink how the loops from the jaw and neck flow back around the face.

The sculpt geometry tool came in useful from this point on. The smooth function helped tidy the mesh while the push and pull functions helped define the varying volumes better. I then created Siobhan’s ear by drawing around her ear shape with the quad draw tool. I tried to keep the resolution as low as possible so that it would connect to the mesh of her face without creating n-gons.

After this I tried to reduce some of the resolution leading down the neck and top of the head but it had to fixed when I mirrored the geometry as it created poles.

For the eyes I followed this tutorial that Abigail showed me on Youtube:

I pulled the cornea a bit more out at the front to match the diagram on the Thunder Cloud tutorial. I also added thickness to the eyelids and added the canthus. After the mesh was mirrored over I spent some time on adjusting the asymmetrical details.

Lastly I used the ‘mesh cleanup’ to find n-gons and triangles on my model. I cleared some up around the ears and nose but left an n-gon on each side of the nose and on each ear.

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?

Camera Movements

Helping to plan shots for the Genome Tower has made me realise all over again how much I need to learn about cameras and planning moving shots alone. It will be particularly useful to learn about for our Hard-Soft animation project also.

These shots from Solaris (2002) were particularly helpful in planning our camera shots of the Genome Tower:

We also looked at Interstellar (2014).  In this video they talk briefly about visualising the black hole which is interesting:

This Telegraph article and video on Gravity‘s (2013) behind the scenes is also very interesting! Haha, 7000 years to render on one computer….

We tried doing a trombone shot also but it didn’t fit very well so we decided to leave it out. I found this short video on the history and science of the dolly zoom to help me understand it a little better!:)

2001: A Space Odyssey also had some gorgeous shots of the large and slow sci-fi feel that we were going for: