A realistic portrait of a girl, topology experiment[update:11-09-08]

I started this about two months ago and then let it cool down. I want to make a fresh start on this portrait. The first portrait was from a sketch that I did I was happy with the general proportions and form of my first attempt and I have rendered out othrographic views so that I can work on them for my second attempt.

I am working on a base mesh for sculpting so that I can sculpt in the finer detail for a displacement map or normal map. My aim is to create an animation ready lowpoly mesh that will be mapped with the highpoly mesh detail.

I need some good c & c as I really want to push for photorealism. The attached photos are from my first attempt, am already working on some topology fixes for the mouth, eye and ears as am not 100% happy with my first approach


Great start. Good topo, from what I can see. I agree with you on the ear: the connection to the head is the most problematic, I think. Seems like it needs to detach somewhat. Also: the neck is quite thin. As for your goal of photorealism: one thing that might help is to have a view of your reference sketches or photos - I say this mainly since you’re using the word “portrait”, which implies you’re aiming to make a specific person’s likeness.

Edit: oh, and the face seems very “flat”, making the head seem rather box-like - a bit of rounding might help around the cheek areas.

I like your start. I think your topo is ok, if you want to can spend a little time on improving the areas you mind but dont make the mistake to spend too much time on it. Just check the different topos of good models on the net or at blenderartists.org :slight_smile:

More important is that you get realistic proportions now. Use reference as this is the best way to achieve photorealism. I also recommend you to read http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?t=121552 and http://uploader.polorix.net//files/12/BD_BlenderProjectionFace_Progress2.pdf as you get here an idea how to get realistic skin, IMO the material is the most important part to make an object look realistic. Take also a look at how modeling eyes and creating textures, because the eyes often reveal that a portrait is CG and not real :frowning:
If you want to give your portrait hair you can ask me for details because this is very tough, too as you can see in my former WIP
anyway it is not impossible :slight_smile:

Hey, just for the record, I finished that tutorial, though didn’t make a pdf.

As for your model - very clean topology, the face is nice and I particularly like how you have worked the side of the face through the back of the head (forehead, cheekline, around the ear, etc). The only thing grabbing me right now is that the neck seems a little small, but it’s already said that reference would help us with comments like that.

Thanks for the comments thus far the have been helpful in making me pick up some flaws I will definitely correct them when i start sculpting, the head is from a pencil sketch that I did. I am using some reference photos but its mainly to check out that my general form is correct. My general aim is to work from a pencil sketch and create a cg version that is believably photo real.

@relledom thanks for the texturing links I have looked at the multilayered skin shader thread and Ben Danise’s site is one that I have bookmarked some time back already but I didn’t know of the PDF so that’s a boon. I will look at the work you did on Heidi klum for the hair this is something I have zero experience with.

@Ben Danise I will take a look at you completed tutorials thanks.

made some changes to my model trying to follow what was suggested, am trying to fix the ear so it still a bit undone, keep the C and C coming it helps to have fresh eyes looking at what you have done.


Hmm…hope this doesn’t hurt…
personally I liked the first try better.
In the second her cheeks are to…hard.
But keep it up, I think this will turn out great in the end.

@Photoguy am not too sure what you mean by hard, but I checked the reversed head against the older version there wasn’t much difference around the check area between the two so I think I will just leave it as it is… I think I have been modeling this one for a bit too long I have decided to start texturing following Ben Danise texturing tut, first time am using this method.

Seeing as this is only my second attempt at a head am sure I will learn from my mistakes and make the next one just that much better.

this is the model as it stands, I reattached my old ear and just tweaked it a bit I lost interest in reworking it plus in all probability it will be covered by hair


Glad nie sleg nie:)

Anycase, on your nose, there is always a kink right before the bridge of the nose, right after the brow. Its small and minute but right now her face is too smooth for me.

While the model looks realistic, it still lacks the character to make it come to life. But Im jumping the gun here, you’re first doing the basics, character is at the way end:)
Post some more soon

The widest part of the head is usually the zygomatic arch, not the braincase.

I beg to differ, I once thought so too but one look at a skull from the top said otherwise. The-blueprint dot com has some references of skulls I think one in particular has a top view its worth a look but I will recheck just to make double sure. The problem with most skull drawing is that the tend to be of an object that is pretty close to the artist or who ever is making the drawing so there is plenty of foreshortening in these images what would be ideal would be to get my hands on cast of a skull or anthropology measurements of one.

I am having a bit of trouble with the texturing tutorial on Ben Dansie site, particulary the baking part.
what I have done thus far

  1. I am done with lining up my images for the eyes and nose using the gimp and its iwarp function and I have saved out a jpg
  2. For texture baking, I assumed my mesh had to be UV unwrapped, as stated in the blender manual so I did just that. I also baked out ao first (windows user)
  3. for the projection painting I followed the tutorial setup using Object coordinates for mapping, with my object been the plane
    and my jpg setup as an image texture when I bake this all I get is a distored image.

thanks in advance for your help

All this talk about anatomical correctness, and my own struggle with the innate problem that photo-references are by their nature in perspective, not orthagonal, prompted me to search out orthagonal representations of real humans. So, here’s this site [link], which I’m sure a lot of folks in this biz have probably heard of. Is the braincase wider than the zygomatic arch or not? Well, cut the section there and find out! Of course, the issue is that this particular cadaver is probably not the “ideal” woman in proportion, but she’s a start.

As for the model: looking good. She looks a bit “cubic” at this point, but that could be the way she’s rendered - ie, with some softer materials, she may appear rounder. I’ll let others provide anatomy crits - I’m in the learner’s seat right now on my own thread!:wink:

Hi, I think you’ve done a wonderful job with the topology. All quads and it flow quite nicely. Most work should be done in the shaping of your model. The ears look off, that is understandable and you should struggle with it a bit more for you are on the right track. A mad some constructive crits though :


Yakes am I bad. I just noticed that this is my older topology not the one I currently have, never the less some of the things you have pointed out Toontje are still valid the pole by the mouth I will remove, the one on the temple stays my justification for this is that it is in a flat relatively non deforming area I see no purpose been served by removing it. I will see what I can do about correcting that flow around the jaw and neck but first I need to compare it with some wires that I use to study. if I have learnt anything with topology it’s that the are many ways to getting what you want.

@Nadz-37 I must’ve breezed through the first line in your post, Dude embrassingly enough after 17 years of living in Namibia I can’t speak a word of Afrikans am assuming that’s what you wrote on the first line. ps what parts are you from?

I just had to edit this again, I found the source of my texture baking probelms I created a material index when I joined my ear back to my head the texture baking was been done on this new material which was only mapped to the ear, after making some topology changes I will try and start texturing again.

Hi, the poles at the neck are correct. They form a nice diagonal topology. Just the flow leading to the neck should be corrected. But don’t hard on yourself, your topology is not that bad.

Off topic: Cape Town;)

Okay after comparing and anlyzing Toontje’s paintover where do I stand. Probabley the only pole I cannot justify is the pole E-pole on the mouth but is it worth removing for this head no. I will definately change it for any future heads which I plan to do. That neck flow I will keep I have just found too many heads with that particular flow especially, to borrow a terminology from Someartist’s legendary pole thread from subdivision modeling, CT heads.

On to other things for those with an interest in face modeling check out this thread http://forums.3dtotal.com/showthread.php?t=59548 from 3dtotal, am a member but I have never posted work there, lets just say this fish is too timid to swim in that pond as of now but there is a ton of info on modeling people.

so as of now I am back to texturing i will post some shots soon

Here is my lame first attempt at texturing using photo projection. this is just a colour map I have yet to work on the other maps such as spec etc or hook it up to a multilayered sss skin shader like the one built by Maqs. There is still a ton of work to do on the colour map.


Don’t beat yourself up on the texturing, it takes a while to learn like modelling or any other part. I’m still learning much of it too.

The eyebrows, lips and such line up pretty well for a first attempt at the method. The main things seem to be the smear on the side of the nostril leading into the cheek, some hair still visible on the top of the ear (and some other details in that area) and the seam on the top of the head.

Seam on the head will be covered mainly by hair if you give her hair, so not really an issue unless you want the practice, the other two parts are probably quicker to fix by manually painting them out. Minor eyelash details to clean up, but not too bad.

Something else - the whole map seems pretty pale overall, mainly going by the eyelashes and the lips. Was that due to the reference photos you used? Just curious.

Also, if you ended up using my tutorial, I’m planning to do a sort of revised version, but in video tutorial form due to request. If you have any feedback on stuff that was hard to follow or something, please PM me or post a reply in the thread about the tut http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?t=125206&page=2

Not meant to be a thread hijack, just trying to get feedback to help more effectively.

Nice work, keep it up!

Thanks for the tips Ben. You are right about the seam on the head I was planning to leave it just as it is as it would be covered by hair. I will clean up the eyes and the nose as you suggested. do you have any tips on painting out such details, tool settings opacity etc. I tried to do it before with the clone tool or brush but the brush strokes are pretty evident.