Head Model Sculpting and Topology

We have been given the ask of Topologising the Head of someone from our class and I am doing Emma head and she is doing mine. The process that Alec has given us, is that we should sculpt the head out first in mudbox and the bring it back into may to re-topologize it.

The process of re-topologising is to take a high poly mesh that has all the details you want and then to recreate a lower poly mesh over that which would be more suitable for animating. To have a good topology I believe you need to have as few poles (five edges coming together) as possible/ or place them where the face is unlikely to deform, and it needs to be made up of polygons (four sided faces) though I have seen some tutorials that place some triangles in the ear, because it’s a complicated shape and the ear isn’t usually affected by animation so it won’t deform.

Staring in Mudbox

I found this tutorial that gave me a basic insight to the tools of Mudbox, his process isn’t that complicated using mainly grab and wax tools starting from the basic head model in Mudbox.

Before sculpting I needed my reference images, I’m not the best photographers so I didn’t take photographs that  lined up well to be an exact reference, the meshes where two different when you changed view. Instead I used them as a guide which moved the process along faster, if I could go back I’d maybe take more from a few angles.


I tried to line them up roughly.


My first attempt at Mudbox sculpting and there’s a lot of changing while I’m trying to get the hang of the strengths of the brushes. I actually gave up on this model as I was running in with a problem with the eyelids, they looked very stretched and distorted. Trying to fix it wasn’t working so I took this as a trial run and next time would include spheres for eyeballs to work as a stand in to mould around.

A lot happier with this face, although the front view needs a bit  of tweaking, it looks too symmetrical. This was another first attempt at hair now, which is a lot harder that I though it would be. I was adding bulk with the wax tool and cutting back into it with the sculpting tool to get the basic hair shape of flow. None of this really worked and I kept getting odd dots on my face so I undid it all.

This is my finished head sculpt, with included hair and hoodie. After mostly using symmetry with my tools I then went back to asymmetrical details to make it more realistic to Emma’s face. The hair is still unfinished and will remain that way, I won’t be including it when I topologise, I again used the way tool to build up mass and then sculpting but with a scratching brush to try and emulate hair strands, I realised that I had no idea how to sculpt the bun on top so it’s not as defined.

Sculpt without hair.

Topologising in Maya

The process of topologising in Maya is, bringing in your mesh, selecting it and making it live, and then with the quad tool you draw dots and connect them as polygons on top, and because the mesh is live the dots should snap to the surface of the mesh.

A few of the second years had recommended to me to look up this tutorial and follow it as a guide to draw my topology. This is kinda when I realise that I should have left the face symmetrical in the model and then changed t after topologising it, as it would have made re-topolgy a lot easier. Although I still do use the symmetry tool where I can and the change it.

This is a very basic start to the topology, I think I restarted a few times to try and get the lines running closely together, I was also looking up other examples of topolgy so I understood more the purpose of poles being in certain places and how the sections should flow int each other.

Image result for topologizing an ear

(Google.co.uk, 2017) An added ear ref 

This is my Head with finished Topology, that has a poly count of 3711 from an original mesh of 131200. The limit was 10,000 polygons but I don’t think I have the knowledge yet to correctly place all those polygons, I believe a would have made a huge mess.

It’s not as distinctive as I’d hoped it would be and some of the smaller details around the mouth and eyes don’t look too right when smoothed. Learning as I went made it more difficult to visualise all the pieces fitting together in the end and how spacing and polygon shape should fit into it. This project was quite a change from modelling in Maya and I enjoyed it and learning how to do it,

I would have extended it to include the hoodie but I was running short on time. I hope we get to create more using mudbox and topology in the future and to see how animating these meshes will go