Artistic help

So I keep trying to make otherworldly creatures, and I have a vague sense in my mind’s eye what I want. I want something original, but natural looking. For example, I wanted to put the eyes of a creature higher on it’s head, but still keep a semi-human form.

What happens, though, is if I try to place any recognizable object, like nose, eyes or ears, anywhere but where they are supposed to be, it just looks like a fuddled amateur attempt at a face gone wrong, or Mr Potato Head. Like I didn’t know the eyes are supposed to be at the center of the head, not 3/4 of the way up.

Any advice on how to model non-traditional, alienesque heads without just looking like a 3rd grade kid’s misconsceptions about the human face?

N/M, Ill post in critque section.

Sometimes we are the harshest critic to our own work. With all the Sci fi games and movies available to use as inspiration or resource I would think this would be an easy task. If you look at games like Mass Effect or a movie like Star Wars you will see how the artist use human proportions and likeness to sell their alien designs. Obviously if you mess with face feature placement it wont look right to humans because we spend all our time looking at other peoples faces. But if your concept has a strong design to it and you have a solid back story for your character as to why they are genetically engineered to be a certain way then your audience will understand it and probaly accept it.

Sketch sketch and sketch some more:

I find Sculptris to be an ideal tool to sketch again and again a 3D head until you’re satisfied with the proportions, much more easier than modelling or multires sculpting as Sculptris allow much more “freeform” sketching.
I think in this case it would be very helpfull to build easily your proportions.

By example a quick sketch of some alien face with non human proportions, started from just a sphere as a base model

Thse kind of faces are difficult because being humans we are so used to human size and proportions regarding facial features. So it’s easy to find “something is wrong” in front of your own work.
Then once you have build your base sculpt, you can always export it and import it in Blender to retopo or further work.

Soon the same kind of freeform sketching will be possible officially in Blender with Dyntopo (scheduled for integration in Blender 2.66), you can already grab builds with the work in progress of the Dyntopo code on graphicall.

Try to imagine how the creature’s bone and muscle structure is going to be before modeling it,this usually makes the creature look more natural.

Definitely embrace the “quirkiness” of your self-expression. Bruce McCullough of Kids in the Hall was a very strange duck when I took improv classes with him back in the early 1980s, but he didn’t conform or try to be more mainstream. As a result, he built a career around that quirkiness.

Don’t forget, you can sketch using Blender 3D model as well. Just keep the mesh simple. Push and pull vertex out. Here I started from basic humanoid proportions made from cube:

And the Grab brush from the sculpt mode, it’s an extremely usefull tool when modelling even at low poly, in every of my character base modelling session i have always used the Grab brush at some point or another to adjust parts of my model to fit more what i have in mind.

It’s a bit similar to moving vertices with proportional editing enabled, but i find it more convenient.