Head Model

Head Model – Re-topology

To begin re-topologising my head model, I first had to import my selection into Maya in order to begin the process, I did this by selecting the overall head and both eyes and saved them as an object file. I then opened the Maya software and imported the object file, and once in Maya I re-selected the head model and made it live by clicking the symbol that looks like a little magnet, it essentially means that you can’t edit to model but this allowed me to make new vertices over the original. I then needed to figure out how I was going to tackle this re-topology, what structure would best fit the head model that I had created, without some firm idea as to what I was going to do, I would find it difficult to know where to start. That is why I did some research into head models, specifically videos regarding sped up topology, analysing how they would do it before implementing this process into my own work. Below are some of the videos I had followed to help me figure out the process –

A resource that was given to me by my lecturer I found was crucial to helping me plan out my head topology was (“Modeling Guide: Realistic Human Head”) by Thundercloud studios. Especially in regards to the difference between a good and bad topology, a successful example being something that is functional with fewer polygons, more so than having too many without much purpose or structure. In following this, the guide stresses the importance of following the muscle structure of the head model, mainly because it is the underlying structure that allows the form to show expression, stretch, morph, etc.

“Imagine a thick sheet of foam rubber lying on a table, with strings attached to its underside. when one or another string is pulled, part of the sheet slides and wrinkles. The strings are invisible to us – all we see is the wrinkle on the surface. To get it exactly right we must study the outside shape of the sheet, possible also the table, but not the strings themselves” Steven Stahlberg – “D’artiste: Character Modeling” – Ballistic Publishing 2005.

((Image – Process Re-topology ))

One aspect I had noticed in particular was how the modellers fit the topology around the head’s eyes and mouth, forming a more circular shape, I also tried to avoid using triangles with my model, strictly focusing on using only squares for simplicity and productivity. With one half of my re-topology complete, I duplicated it and changed the scale x to -1 so that it mirrored the face before combining the two halves and welding the joints manually together again. However next time I would like to figure out if there is a way to re-topologise both halves of the model’s face at the same time rather than doing it all manually.

In order to improve my topology next time through this process, I may try to use even less polygons and try to form just a head shape rather than the complicated hair all in one. I will also be sure to make the subject of my topology live at all times, at first I had thought I had ran into complications because my dots were being placed quite a distance from the head model. Another helpful tip I discovered with some experimentation was that I could change the colour of the topology lines just so I could place it easier over the head model. I will also be more considerate during the sculpting process, in order for my sculpts to be used in a collaborative environment, I will use less polygons and try to be more strategic with my work.

((Image – Process Imagery ))


  • “Modeling Guide: Realistic Human Head”. Thunder Cloud Studio. N.p., 2017. Web. 28 June 2017.
  • “Help”. Help.autodesk.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 28 June 2017.
  • Mitev, Darko. “Head Bust Retopology”. YouTube. N.p., 2017. Web. 28 June 2017.
  • Calloway, Ryan. “Maya 2014 Tutorial: Retopologizing With Quad Draw | Lynda.Com”. YouTube. N.p., 2017. Web. 28 June 2017.

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