Blending Life, Category A - Isabella

Very good work on the texturing for both the skin and the eyes. You managed to get good looking hair too. I will add my voice to the strong SSS comment. This makes her look more like a wax museum statue rather than like a real person. I think the tiny and very bright specularity have something to do with that too. Not only the strong SSS.

My strongest critique, though, and I join my voice to chipmasque’s for that, is the lack of expression. I don’t care repeating what Karl just wrote because this is an important aspect that a lot of the participants to this contest missed. You did a superbly fine modeling and texturing job but she is still lifeless because there is no posing and acting. There is no story behind this shot. An angled camera view is not enough. The model’s eyes should never look straight ahead. Never! At least give the eyes a little oblique angle. Give the model a sort of internally going thought process. this shows through the eyes. Add a little tilt and/or turn of the head, a little bit of neck stretch or compression too. But most of all, avoid this frozen staring look. If she were just looking at the camera, it would add a whole other dimension to the result.

Thanks everyone for all your feedback and rating. I enjoyed reading them!

I agree with the comments about the SSS. I had noticed this a while back and tried playing around with the values, toning it down, etc. But the results never looked as good and I was running out of time, so I decided to leave it move on to getting the rest of her completed. As it was, she still had no hair or eyelashes when we reached our final 2 weeks before this challenge’s deadline. I will continue learning more about SSS, if not on this piece, then my next.

I decided to keep it simple because I wanted to focus on the finer/more subtle details, while still keeping in mind the limited time constraints of the challenge. Having a deadline helped a lot because I tend to get caught up in too many ideas (of wanting to add this, or wanting to add that). It gave me an excellent opportunity for focused learning. There were many points during the challenge where I felt I couldn’t possibly finish her on time, but I realized we were all in the same situation, and this pushed me to keep going too.

@averil, @Andreu: I appreciated hearing your comments on her eyes. I attached more images of how I created them. :slight_smile:

@BbB: It’s nice to hear this made you want to do character modeling again! I hope you do! :slight_smile:

@bunny: Thank you! I’ve attached a closeup of the texture maps for you. :slight_smile:

@Reyn: Thanks for your note on the topology. The modeling part alone took me 3 weeks to do. I really wanted to get the foundation right because my aim was to create a head that could be rigged and animated eventually. :slight_smile:

Even though the challenge is closed, my plan is to continue working on her, especially in the areas of hair, SSS, facial expression.

Thanks again everyone! And congratulations to all who completed their work on time! The reality of our industry is that we do have constraints and deadlines, and we can only do our best!



I don’t know if this will be useful, but I’ve explored how to map SSS to different areas of a model. I’ve read that the problem with SSS on people is that it isn’t even (like it is with wax) - the forehead has very little because of the bone just under the surface, while the ears, cheeks, etc have more due to the soft tissue. I have a simple blend file that shows how to vary the SSS across a model (a cuboidal shape in this case) using material nodes and a transparency map for mixing SSS and non-SSS versions of the same texture.

Ohh, I like that face model! :yes: Apart from what have been said I have just one more observation - the eye pupil is too far inside of the eye, I think. It can be seen especially on the picture from the side. Except that it is just great! I’m looking forward for your future work on facial expressions for this model. That’s what I’m interested to do too. I’ll cross my fingers for you! :wink:

Thanks for the closer look – such nice texturing, very inspirational!

I think the most dramatic settings in the SSS panel, at least when using a single layer, are Scale and Col. With such clean topology, facial rigging will be a breeze; can’t wait to see!

Well, you’ve inspired me to attempt yet another human face. Well done… the maps are spectacular (or should I say… specular?).

Great work nyxia, modeling, texturing, hair all looks fantastic! This is one of the big contenders for sure!

Excellent work!!

Modeling and texturing are top notch for me. Astonishing work.
My only perplexity is for the iris of the eyes, is it my impression or it is really too much concave?

Link to “Blending Life Challenge” voting thread --> here

Here’s a list of some very helpful resources.
Since Blender is still quite new to me, they were instrumental in helping me create the results I wanted. I hope you will find these helpful too.


Photo References:

Preparing Your Front and Side Reference Images & Topology Planning Stage, video tutorials by Eric Maslowski (Photoshop)
Part 1:
Part 2:

Realistic Portrait, by Alt-ligury (Blender)

Making of “The Patient”, with video clips, by James Busby (Lightwave, Photoshop)



Topology: Poles and Loops, by toontje (Blender)

Female Face, video tutorial, by Jonathan Williamson (Blender)

Human Ear, video tutorial, by Jonathan Williamson (Blender)

Human Eye, video tutorial, by Jonathan Williamson (Blender)


UV unwrapping:

“Saskia” Head UV Unwrapping Tips, by Len (Blender)

UV Unwrap a Human Head, by Jonathan Williamson (Blender) -->NEW!



Texturing a Head with GLSL preview feature, video tutorial, by Lile Hanson (Blender)

Projection Texturing a Human Head, by Ben Dansie (Blender)

Creating a bump & specular map, video tutorials, by Eric Maslowski (Photoshop)
Part 11: bump
Part 12: spec



Modeling, by Krishnamurti M. Costa (Maya)

Texturing, by Krishnamurti M. Costa (Photoshop)

Gnomon’s Creating Believeable Eyes, 4-part video tutorial, by Alex Alvarez (Maya, Photoshop), 4 hours total and very informative!


Hair Particles:

Tony Mullen’s book, “Bounce, Tumble, and Splash!” (Blender)
* Chapter 2: The Nitty-Gritty on Particles, pp. 59-64
* Chapter 4: Hair Essentials: The Long and Short of Strand Particles, pp. 165-203



Three-Point Lighting for 3D Renderings, by Jeremy Birn, author of “Digital Lighting & Rendering”


.blend files:

Broken Shadows - Grunge Portrait, by Len (Blender)
gallery thread:
wip thread:

Saskia Portrait, by Len, (Blender)
wip thread:
gallery thread:

Nice preview of the hero from the upcoming project. (HeeHee) Definitely one of the models that shows what blender can do.

thanks a lot for sharing ressource and documentations, it always usefull to understand artistic/technical relationship