Looking into Retopology

Retopology looks like a very interesting task, it looks fun but is more than likely tedious and difficult. Before doing some research into what retopology does and how it helps with texturing and animation, it was a term unknown to me. It seems like a process that will save you loads of time in the long run if done correctly. CGCookie states that retopology “is the act of recreating an existing surface with more optimal geometry. A common use-case is creating a clean, quad-based mesh for animation, but it’s also used for most any final object that needs textured, animated, or otherwise manipulated in a way that sculpted meshes are not conducive to.”

When looking at retopology in accordance with a human head you have to think about the different muscle groups of the face, neck etc… So it seems to be quite beneficial to know some facial anatomy or if not, to have an escorche type image on hand to take reference from.


The image above shows the normal head model on the right and the retopologized version on the left. The image is taken from toast man’s Deviantart (link found in references). As you can see there are more edge loops around the mouth and eye areas, this is due to these areas having plenty of muscle movement. Topology is also useful in helping to create expressions. I would assume that if you have a base understanding of how to retopologize a head correctly you could bring these skills into maybe a humanised character design/creature design and play about with adding extra edge loops to allow for greater, strange or eery expressions. I’m really looking forward to learning more about this process and giving it a try myself. I know I won’t get it perfect my first go but you have to start somewhere. 🙂

When looking into tutorial videos on how to retopologize, Danny Mac’s videos are everywhere so I have given the first video in the series a watch and it seems exactly what I need. I was also reading through some forum chats on the topic and came across a guy who suggested to take a look for a man named Johnathan Williamson who had worked on a retopologizing series years back. I searched in CGCookies archives and found them! You have to sign up for a free account but it’s worth it as the videos cover not only the head but the rest of the human body, amazing. I have the link here, for anyone interested.

This video below is another good one where you can just watch someone using the quad draw tool in Maya for the topology of the head. Quite useful as well, watching how he decides where he will make the points in order to keep everything a 4 sided quad and not triangles.



The image above is great in highlighting the main edge loops around the eyes nose and mouth. The escorche image below was made by artists Adam Skutt and I think it is quite interesting, although not extremely easy to distinguish the muscle groups, it is nice to see both the exterior and interior of the face side by side.




Toastman85.deviantart.com. (2017). Human head. [online] Available at: http://toastman85.deviantart.com/art/Human-head-80919685 [Accessed 8 May 2017].


CGCookie. (2017). Home. [online] Available at: https://cgcookie.com/dashboard/ [Accessed 1 May 2017].

Pinterest. (2017). [Aporte] Practicando con la retopologia. [online] Available at: https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/383791199468012146/ [Accessed 1 May 2017].

3dtotal.com. (2017). // Ecorche by Adam Skutt / Character – 3dtotal.com. [online] Available at: https://www.3dtotal.com/galleries/image/Character/6247-ecorche-by-adam-skutt-anatomy [Accessed 23 Apr. 2017].

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