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. ūüôā

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 Р3dtotal.com. [online] Available at: https://www.3dtotal.com/galleries/image/Character/6247-ecorche-by-adam-skutt-anatomy [Accessed 23 Apr. 2017].

3D Portraiture – Digital

Whilst researching into digital head modellers I came across Julien Kaspar. Kaspar’s work has a great sense of originality and detail that I can take a lot of inspiration from. His characters emit a lot of personality and the sculpts themselves have some semi-realistic/clay-like textures that I love. Examples shown below.

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I would like to sculpt hair on my model so I looked a little into some good head sculpts that display great technique.


Image Courtesy –¬†Vimal Kerketta

Kerketta’s sculpt’s shown above display a good level of detail in the hair area. When sculpting Clare’s head I will hopefully spend time trying to get a good amount of detail in the hair.

For sculpting the hair I will take advice from an online article that explains which sculpting tools would help to texture and create hair. (Found here) The work flow begins with building up the starting shapes possibly using clay build up and then using brushes such as dam_standard or slash brushes.

The video above is a great example of how to sculpt stylistic hair and may be handy to refer back to when getting into the hair section of the head.





3D Portraiture-Traditional


I like to think that the traditional way of doing art is almost always the best way. I decided to look into some traditional head sculptures and wanted to focus on those which contained a lot of expression. I feel if there is a strong emotion present in the face, it will always stand out no matter how much or little detail is added. The two male portraits below are sculpted by an artist named Glauco Longhi. I chose to show his work here as it contains this emotion which I would love to portray in my portraiture sculpts.





Philippe Fauraut is another traditional sculptor who creates masterpieces full of emotion and character. His webpage can be found here.

Screen Shot 2017-04-08 at 10.46.39

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I came across a website named muddy colours that displays various fantasy art from traditional to digital.

I found a great article which I came across that goes into great depth on how to create a character from sculpting to rendering and then into photoshop. This will definitely help if I decide to give my 3D head model some colour and life. (Link here)




School, O. (2017). Observations from the Old School. [online] Muddycolors.blogspot.co.uk. Available at: http://muddycolors.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/observations-from-old-school.html [Accessed 23 Mar. 2017].

Riesco, N. (2017).¬†Creating a Character Portrait in ZBrush, the Making of “Hammerhead”. [online] 3D & Motion Graphics Envato Tuts+. Available at: https://cgi.tutsplus.com/tutorials/creating-a-character-portrait-in-zbrush-the-making-of-hammerhead–cg-23664 [Accessed 19 Mar. 2017].

Philippefaraut.com. (2017).¬†Portrait Sculpture Gallery ‚Äď PCF Studios. [online] Available at: https://philippefaraut.com/collections/portrait-sculpture [Accessed 8 Apr. 2017].

Male VS Female Head Structure

This week we have been given a new assignment in our Imaging and Data Visualisation class. Our new project is to team up with someone in the class and use each other for reference to sculpt an organic head model in Zbrush or Mudbox. Once this is finished we will bring the model into Maya to ‘reconstruct the polygon mesh as a low to medium resolution’, basically giving retopology a try. Clare McMurray will be my reference for this project, I can’t wait to dive in as I enjoy Zbrush more than Maya.

I have started into some research before digging into sculpting the head. I started off with the basics, looking into the differences between the male and female skull. To get this shape and underlying structure is very important when starting out. I feel that maybe from there then I can start building upon it with the muscles, skin and features.



The image above shows the structure of the male skull whilst the image below shows the female skull. The artist needs to be aware of these noticeable differences when drawing/sculpting male and female.


This youtube video goes into a lot more depth into deconstructing these differences with good explanation to help the viewer to clearly understand.


Since I will be working with Zbrush I have done some research and watched a few videos on how to use its interface.  Creative Bloq has so many good tips on using this programme. I found an article by Glen Southern on how to make your sculpts more life-like and it was very useful as he goes through the main tools he uses to create certain effects. (Link here)



Differencebetween.com. (2017). Difference Between Male and Female Skull | Male vs Female Skull. [online] Available at: http://www.differencebetween.com/difference-between-male-and-female-skull/ [Accessed 23 Mar. 2017].


3D Character Artists

3D Character Artist

Waldemar Bartkowiak is another exceptional 3D artist who focuses on character design. Another artist who pays a lot of attention to detail in his modelling/sculpting work. His final renders have amazing textures and colour harmony. Below is a sideshow demonstrating his amazing skills. (Link to Bartkowiak’s Artstation page¬†here)

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Antone Soliman is another character artist who has quite a different style in comparison to the artist above. On his website he includes a visual breakdown of his character workflow. (See Soliman’s work¬†here)


Soliman had posted his workflow in the form of these images :


I found a website which gives a brief description on the different areas of the 3D workflow, it is quite interesting. There is so much to learn within each process. (Link here)