I think I have modeled myself into a corner

I have a model, that in my attempt to add muscle definition, I suspect I have only ended up created a load of unnecessary geometry. It’s mostly on the front of the legs, and I’m wondering if I should simplify the geometry or make changes to the rest of the model.


Well what do you want to do? Do you want to just manipulate some of the muscle forms? There are few options. You can use Sculpt on it to refine forms without messing with vertex at a time. Or like you say, simplify the meshes; use retopo technique.

Normally, muscles are not that definite, unless it’s a body builder.
And when modeling, the definition is usually made by subdividing the mesh more and sculpting.
Basically, I suggest keeping it simple… Unless you have a specific goal here?..

My goal is to keep it ascetically pleasing, and the geometry as animation friendly as possible. I’ve looked at other human(oid) meshs, and they often make use of as few three-poles and five-poles as possible. Getting rid of the most of the extra geometry should be easy, with the exception of the Vastus medialis. I’m not sure about how to handle that.

The bright red lines are what I definitely plan to remove.


The type of feature you are after are created using Sculpting tool. Then retopo technique is used to simplify the mesh. Using normal map retains high definition detail of sculpted object. Here is example of sculpted body:

I think that’s a bit restrictive! Surely sculpting works for some yet for others the results aren’t as good. As for retopo? People have been creating the same meshes that they can get from retopo for years. If the sculpt is good and the retopo is good you get a nice mesh. That isn’t the only way to get a nice mesh. Sculpting is a great tool but just because the tool exists doesn’t mean that it has to be part of your tool chain.

We need to ask what kind of results he is looking for. Just the simple fact that he is trying to remove geometry would indicate he isn’t looking for results like the image you posted. Is this for a game? If so you probably need low poly, and if you want muscle group definition you probably want a normal map. Is it for rendered animations? If so several thousand polys isn’t near as much of an issue. Do you want muscle definition beyond what you are willing to model? If so you probably want to do the sculpt and create a normal map. Do you just want to have fun with it, and work toward building a well rounded skill set? If so just keep it up. You’re doing fine!

What I’m aiming for (in terms of end results) is something like this, this, this, and this, the geometry is very clean. I’ve seen such meshes achieve a high level of detail using subdivision and a displacement map. The MakeHuman mesh, for example, is very clean.


OK we know what your after! :slight_smile:

If you just want the clean mesh…
I’ve never sculpted and retopoed in Blender, I’ve always used Silo, but if you haven’t done that before now would be a real good time to start. At least if it was me, I’d use your existing model as the base mesh for the sculpt. Use sculpting to tweak it just a bit if desired, then use the retopo tools to lay down a new mesh from the existing shape.

If you want the high level of detail with the displacement map…
Just sculpt man! Start with a well proportioned base mesh and sculpt in the details you want. Then use the retopo tools to get your new mesh. People have made and still make really wonderful meshes without sculpting. But it is “arguably” the best way to get a high level of detail on a nice clean mesh.

That’s my thought anyhow.

Here’s the updated version. I got rid of the unwanted edge loops, although I’m at a bit of a loss if I should get rid of the sartorius muscle.

I’ve heard bad things about Silo…


Hey there!

I agree with the approach of making a homogenic, clean and simple deform mesh, and not worrying about muscle definition too much…if animation is your final goal. If you want to focus on anatomy and muscle modeling, then sculpting is your best option, maybe with a retopo session to cap it. Lay out your goal on this project and it will make life easier. My first head model back in 2003 at it’s lowest resolution (baked in of course, without subdivision added) was in a same situation as your torso…I put in three weeks of vertex tweaking and had a sore wrist. Eventually I had to let it go and start from scratch.
think from big forms to small details…So while you don’t have your full body layed out, don’t make the mistake I did with getting into muscle refining when you don’t see the essential full body mass. Hope this helped.

Oh yeah! I wasn’t trying to suggest it, just saying it’s what I’ve used. It’s got some major issues and it doesn’t look like there will be any more updates to it. But since it’s core is built toward handling n-gons, it does make situations such as yours easy. If you don’t like how your edges are flowing you just delete them and cut in new edges to fit.

I think the new update is better than where you started.

Here’s a shot showing the nest phase. I haven’t saved it, just in-case.


I know how you feel. There was a period that ended only recently when I was adding way too much geometry to models.