A head in progress...


My third attempt on creating a human head, this time with facial expression, not the usual mannequin look. I am really trying for detailed and high resolution realism, so it will be a while before this is done.

This time, I have spent over 16 hours on tweaking this mesh, toggling between Orthographic mode and Perspective mode. I used a real reference for the front view, but had no reference for the side view, however with my best judgment and many other pictures, I believe that I have a fairly accurate side view.

16 hours is a lot of time, and I almost canned the project a few times, but glad I didn’t. Is this too long for some people?

I find that modeling from an orthographic view is great and handy, but there is an error in doing this. You are literally stretching a perspective image into forced orthographic view (unless you have a blue-print or photographic shot with a specific lens). When you do this, you distort the image, and this can clearly be seen when the finished mesh is viewed in perspective mode. You can correct this problem in two ways. Either by hand (moving vertices) or changing the camera to something like 55mm lens. I sort of do both.

Another “problem” is eyeballs. You got to get a good look at how the human eye is set in the face. There is more than just eyelids that need to be formed. The face needs to be right too, including thickness of the lids and placement of tear ducts. The size of the eyeball is much larger than I thought. I had to visit a few medical websites to see how large human eyes really are.

C&C is appreciated, although there isn’t much to view right now, but any “head modeling” tips are welcome. Also, this face is a celebrity’s face that most of you have probably seen, but I will reveal that secret when the project is near completion ( …and YES, the ears do stick out a bit).

…a quickie update.


Still shaping the head, now that both halves are connected. Added some upper teeth, but no gums or lower teeth yet.

Lots of work needed. I plan on doing multiple textures and bump maps for the skin. Adding SSS too. I am going to use a new method on creating eyes. The hair is going to be a challenge, but I feel as though I can do it with some Alpha-channel mapping and a few tricks.

The top of the head looks a little flat but peoples heads come in all shapes and sizes. The chin seems too thin but the same answer comes to mind as my last sentence. Perhaps you could post a wire. Have fun uvmapping him.

Here’s the mesh with the “saved UVmap” used as a texture.

Here’s the actual map (quite large)
You’ll notice at the bottom of the map, there is some extra meshing. This is the inner lips/cheeks which will be one color. The other meshes are the detailed edges of the eyelids that surround the eyeballs. I still need to manually adjust those in the UVeditor.

Since my final rendering will have hair, I am not concerned with detail on the ears or the scalp. The split under the chin can easily be blended with less detail.

You are probably wondering how I got a great unwrapped mesh.
Unwrapped Image Here.
It wasn’t easy. Trial and error to get something somewhat workable. I had to manually move sections of the unwrapped mesh by hand and place them in the correct positions. Then I had to flip the entire thing on the X-axis, because for some reason, Blender unwraps it in reverse.

A tip on doing this: In the UV Editor, press the B-Key twice to select what looks like one vertice and move it to where you want. Several sections at a time should be moved, in order to retain a "proportional map. To get the vertices perfectly aligned on top of each other, select them, then press the S-Key and move the mouse to center them.

The head looks pretty good, kind of freaky though. Can’t wait to see what it looks with the textures on it.

thats prety nice, I have a heck of a time with heads, they always go squaresh or flat on me (by flat I mean its flater than what I want) lol


how did you model the teeth and gums realistically?

Kind of hard to explain how. I did only half of the teeth and duplicated it for the other half, then adjusted each tooth to give it a less symmetrical look and natural look. Very basic poly, but I do my meshing with subsurf on and the optimal button on too.


I need to tweak it a lot more. The spacing and the sizing. The gums need to be fuller and natural looking, they are too high. I still have a lot of “dental” work to do. I am going to add a little SSS to the teeth to give them a slight bit of translucency.

I didn’t do the back sides of the front teeth, because I originally started with the front teeth, and wasn’t planning on doing any details at first.


I am discovering that my 1000x1000 UVmap doesn’t have enough resolution for the UVmapping of the face, or the BumpMap. I may have to go with 2500x2500 so I can bumpmap the pores and get the lips a bit more realistic.

The skin texture is still being worked on. I added some moles and color, but you can’t see it here. I did manage to get the lips shiny. My SSS is not going to be used until the final step of the project.

One thing that I can’t figure out, is the lighting for the inner parts of the mouth. The shadows seem too dark and make the teeth look dirty and dark in between. I actually meshed the inside of the cheeks, which press against the rear molars.

any tips for painting skin like that? i would like to work on a cartoony human as my next project.

Perhaps placing the teeth and gums on a seperate layer and puting a very very low level lamp either in front or in the middle of the mouth and setting it to affect only that layer would get the effect you are looking for.

You could try to decrease the AO Dist, or maybe lower the Energy. This will affect your entire scene, though, not just the mouth. A more local approach is using a special light, as suggested above, or perhaps make the tooth and gum materials Emit a little bit.

Or if you’re desperate, render once with AO and once without AO and combine the two images with some transparency on the top layer. That might be called cheating, though. :wink:

You say …"and setting it to affect only that layer… "

What do you mean by that. “Bake some light on it”, or add a touch of SSS? Do this procedure in a seperate layer, then place it back to the main layer which will be rendered?

Really nice ^_^. But the one with the wire mesh lines on it is kinda scary :P. It jumped when my browser automatacilly scrolled to that one.

Haha! Yeah. looks like a Hell Raiser Clown.

I wanted to show the wire mesh combined with the YafRay rendering, of just the face. Then I Tossed in the teeth and egg-yolk eyes for a Halloween effect. Anyhow, the final product will be much more pleasing to look at.

I was thinking along the lines of,

  • Place the teeth and gums into layer 2
  • add a low level lamp in front of the teeth in layer 2(or three at different angles at an even lower level
  • in the material settings for the lamp press layer and take off ray shadow
  • now select both layer 1 and 2 using shift when selecting
  • now you will have a low level of light affecting only the teeth and gums.

I appologize if this seems stupid but it has worked for me in the past.


This is great. I am copying and pasting these instructions in my Blender ‘Tips’ folder on my PC.

Working on molding the mesh around the eyeball.
I have worked and worked on the just the facial mesh, and I feel that I’ll have many hours ahead on tweaking it before I am satisfied. Then, I’ll apply a UVmap.



Looking good! How did you get transparencies to render in Yavray? I also have a hard time rendering out procedural textures in Yavray as well.

The eyeball has a thin transparent shell on top of it. It almost touches the eyeball. I put a cornea bulge on it, used Yafray default GLASS and turned the Traceable off, the Tra Sha off and the Ray Mirror off.

I have a bad choice of Light source here. I used an area lamp with several samples, thus causing a dull shine on the “wet eye”. A Spot lamp may work better.