modeling a human

after watching Jonathon Williamson female modeling tutorial, I was wondering, do you really need to model the base mesh if your going to use I think it’s called re-topology over the topology mesh?

That depend on what you’ll do next with your base mesh, if you want to move it through dyntopo or multires sculpting or just want to manually model it

If you go -> base mesh -> dyntopo sculpting -> retopology
You don’t need to have any good topology, as with dyntopo your base mesh topology do not matter, the details you’ll sculpt will not have a care about how optimised your edge loops are. Only during retopology your topology will become important but during dyntopo sculpt it’s not.

If you go -> base mesh -> multires sculpting -> retopology
You need the base mesh to have a good enough topology to avoid your sculpting to distort the quads too much, so good edge loops are probably a good idea, and if possible base detail should be modelled on the base mesh to help the multires
(but when going multires make sure to not too much poly, something between 1000 - 3000 faces is optimal to keep good multires performance good)
And if the multires base mesh is good enough in term of edge loops and topology, you may not even need to retopologize it.

If you go -> base mesh -> add subsurf -> continue modelling like that -> retopo the whole result
your base mesh will need to be good because the subsurf only “round and smooth” it , so if you’re having a bad base mesh, the subsurf will not turn it into a great model.