Modeling a head with proper topology - Part 3

Uploaded by MayaHowTos on 24.03.2011

In the last video, we built out the eye sockets and nose of our zombie head.
We left it as an exercise for you to build the area connecting the eye edge rings to the mouth edge rings.
Since part 2, we’ve also taken the liberty of shaping the upper brow a bit further.
In this video we’ll finish off the rest of the head.
Let’s start by extruding the brow and connecting our vertices.
You can speed up your edge selection by clicking the first edge in an edge ring and then
Shift + double-clicking the last edge in the same edge ring.
Notice that as we move further up the temple, the quads at the top keep getting longer
while those at the bottom stay the same.
To mitigate this a bit, let’s go to the Merge Vertex Tool options and turn on Merge To: Center.
If we adjust the other vertices to match, this gets us a much more even edge flow.
Just remember to change this option back when working on the middle brow.
As you continue to hook up the brow lines at the temple, you may notice a problem developing.
Even with the Center option turned on in the Merge Vertex Tool options, if we continue to merge vertices here,
we’re going to be left with longer and longer polygons on both sides.
This is another good place where we can use a pole to redirect our edge rings.
Use the Append Polygon option to create a polygon across the two gaps shown here.
Extrude one more set of edges.
Then use the Split Polygon Tool to turn the tri into a quad.
As you can see, this leaves us with all quads, and our edges remain nicely spaced.
Up until now, we’ve had to imagine what our full face will look like from just this half.
Let’s change this by duplicating the other half using what we have.
Select the head and then select Duplicate Special from the Edit menu.
In the options, set the Geometry type to Instance.
This will create an instance of our current head, that will inherit any change to the original.
Also, set the x-axis scale to -1. This will mirror the instance to the other side of the x-axis.
Now that we can see the entire face, it has become apparent that our zombie is currently sporting the uni-brow look.
This is the result of another reference image perspective illusion, just like the eye socket last time.
Let’s pull the middle of the brow in to give separation between the left and right ridge.
After doing this, you can see another problem.
Looking at the top of the nose, something seems off.
If you take a moment to feel your own nose, you’ll see that, in comparison,
the bridge of the zombie’s nose does not blend into the eyes smoothly enough.
This is because it’s missing some topology definition, which will help with facial expressions like squinting or frowning.
We’ll have to use another edge flow change to fix this.
Now you can soften all your edges and take a look at what you have.
This is starting to look pretty good. If we zoom out and pan the camera a bit,
you can see how our final edge ring will form.
Extrude the next edge ring of the face.
Notice that the extrusion we’re getting isn’t clean all around.
This is because the extrude tool is set to local space, which means Maya extrudes the selected edges based on their normals.
In cases like this, it is simpler to extrude smaller sets of edges and then join them with the Merge Vertex Tool.
You can now finish the final edge rings with a few more extrusions.
As you continue to flesh out the head, you’ll need to change the edge flow a few more times.
You can also take the opportunity to, once again, clean up any vertices you feel aren’t spaced very well.
When you’re done, your model should look like this. The colors represent the edge rings you’ve built.
Take note of a few more areas where we’ve changed the edge flow.
At the top of the head…
…along the jaw line…
…and where the neck meets the head.
Now let’s finish this off by modeling the ear.
Notice that we left a hole here, this hole is roughly shaped like the ear in the side view.
The forward edges are matched up with the ear while the back edges are pulled a little further forward.
This is another adjustment we made for the forced perspective, since this drawing shows us only the outer ear.
We’ll first extrude just the edges for the helix, also known as the ear flap.
Match them up roughly with the side view shape.
Merge the first two vertices in the new edge ring to get the distinct ear shape. This of course leaves us with two tris.
Fix them using the Insert Edge Loop tool.
Now we can extrude all the edges again.
Pull back the front two edges since these are not part of the flap.
Now extrude a few more times and use the Scale Tool to pull all the vertices inward.
Use the Merge to Center option to merge all these vertices together.
To transform the tris into quads, delete every other edge.
There, for a low poly ear that’s not bad. Now just clean up some of the geometry.
Now let’s combine the two halves of our head together.
The last thing we have to do is merge all the vertices in the center.
Switch to the front view and select all the center vertices.
Now select Edit Mesh > Merge.
Maya merges all the vertices that fall within the threshold indicated in the options window.
And here we have a completed head with proper topology.
As a final bit of housekeeping, delete the history one last time.
You can apply the lessons and rules you’ve learned here to create the rest of the body,
as well as any other model you choose to build.