learning face topology

I know how the loops are suppose to go on the face but… I am having issues setting up the foundation on the head. for an example the eyes I can get right in front view ortho but not the side ortho. and after I outline the whole middle of the head from the nose to the back of the skull. when I connect the sides, i cant get the check muscles right or how the side is suppose to look from the front ortho. would it be easier to to do the block in head to get the basic shape not the eyes and stuff and then, re topology and use this edge method then ? it seems I like edge modeling but not good enough to get the basic shape down , only in front and ortho then cant connect them from there.


Ok, you have a good beginning with the loop (I assume it is doubled because you have a mirror modifier) going along the profile in side view, but it seems to have too many vertices. Go back and remove half of them, anywhere it does not affect matching the shape of the girl’s profile. There are plenty of them to remove. Also, connect the loop through the lips.

Now, delete everything that attempts to model the hair (except for the profile loop, of course). You need to concentrate on the face.

Remove the second row of faces along the ‘face loop’. Don’t add more verts like that until you already have the shape down with one row of faces. It’s hard enough without doubling the vert pushing by adding an additional row of faces. Then set to work on getting the major loops in place: face loop, mask and muzzle:

Work on the curves for these loops in any view but front and side. Look at them from the top, from odd angles… Adjust until the loops look like they might fit on the girl’s face from any angle. It will take a while to do properly, and may be frustrating at times, but keep plugging away.

Have an even number of vertices in each half of each loop. You will be connecting these later, and if all the numbers are even, this simplifies the connection process. Keep the number of verts as low as you can, while still matching the shape. Remember, this is a rough first draft: the loop does not have to flow smoothly over every little bump and hollow on the face, but it must match the overall shape. The fewer vertices you have in your loops, the easier it will be to match the shape.

Post again when you have these loops as close as you can get them. These are the foundation of the face. If you proceed before they are the best they can be, you are building on a poor foundation, and your subsequent work will be wasted.

can you elaborate on
" Have an even number of vertices in each half of each loop. "

happy bl

Efficiency is key. Reduce the number of polygons it is much easier to work with 100 vertices vs 1000 (exaggeration of course). I have included 2 images that might help you with the topology. The first will help reduce the poly count and fit the form of the face.The second one should help with the shape of the skull.

Start small and work your way up. Once you have a good base then you can refine the parts of importance.
Hope this helps.


thanks guys. I seem to be having issues with placement I guess in front ortho.pic 1 see how the check looks like a dent
but then in side ortho 2nd pic shows curve? I know I need to pull out the vertices but wondering if I should use like normal axis for this? or just keep using global?

then last pic 3
shows how there isn’t really proper aliment is side ortho but then if I move it it moves the front ortho topology a little and doesn’t align.

I am starting to like the outer loop because it looks even disputed on the extruded quads compared to the middle. the eye, mouth and nose looks cramped in some areas.

does using ctrl left click make even extrudes or should I be entering say .5 on a certain axis?


Well, yes.

The parts you are having problems with are not part of the three base loops. Your face loop is pretty good, but I don’t see a mask, nor do I see a muzzle.

I would strongly urge you to delete everything except the face loop, re-establish the profile loop that you had in your first post (but with way fewer vertices (see PeteMc’s second image for a good example)) and then model the mask and muzzle. Getting the muzzle right first will help position that ‘cheek’ you are having trouble with.

I also recommend, when you are modeling, to get away from front and side ortho views. Look at your model in 3/4 view (press numpad 4,6,8 or 2 a couple of times), decide what needs to move, and then switch back to front or side ortho to actually make the moves. Then return to a non-right angle view to see how well it worked. It may take many rounds of small vert pushes before the loops look like they are in the right place from any angle. You’ll get better with practice, but don’t expect it to be quick the first few heads you model.

@RickyBlender: about an even number of vertices – I assume he’s using a mirror modifier, and only modeling one side of the face. By an even number of vertices I mean on one side he should try for 6 or 8 or 10 or 12 vertices to model one half of the eye mask, or the muzzle, or the face loop. It is a very crude rule of thumb for beginning modeling. If you do some loops with odd numbers of verts, and some with even numbers of verts, you increase the chances of things not matching up, and having to shoehorn in extra vertices somewhere.

would be easier to follow with a small pic showing all that !

but in any case you will probably end up at some point with some N or E points
the thing as I remember you need to place these points where there is minimum deformation.

and here we are not even talking about getting a photo realist head
that is very difficult to do and requires a lot of experimentation.


This is the foundation for the topology of a human head. With a bit of creativity, it can also be the base of any mammal’s head: anything with eye sockets, a jawbone, and a nose between the eyes and the mouth. I guess that applies to fish, too, and lizards.

The red face loop goes across the middle of the forehead, down the side of the face just in front of the ears, then along the jaw line out to the chin.

The blue mask loop goes along the brow ridge, around the eye sockets and over the middle of the bridge of the nose.

The green muzzle loop goes from the middle of the bridge of the nose, down along the ‘smile line’ to the point of the chin.

These loops touch each other, and there are five point pole vertices where they split apart.

I really don’t want to stress the exact number of verts to use, except to say keep the number down. But mistakes there will only require simple corrections later on. If the shape of these three loops isn’t done correctly at the beginning, corrections later on will be difficult or impossible. This is the foundation. (This is A foundation. I assume there are others. But most of the others include these loops as well.)

To model a head poly by poly, rather than sculpt and retopo, these three loops must be in place and looking like they would fit on the reference head from any angle. When this is done, it’s possible to proceed with the assurance that the head will look human. Unless, of course, you are modeling a moose or an elephant or an alligator.