Nurb and head modelling

It seems heads are popular things to model here. I’ve tried a couple times, and have never gotten very good results. Tonight I decided to try a technique I’ve used with other modellers (Pixels3d, Infini-D) and modelled the head using Nurbs in blender.

I know it’s not a very good head but believe it or not, it’s the BEST head I’ve ever done, and it’s done with Nurbs, not mesh editing. Also, it was FAST!!! the whole thing took me about 1.5 hours (on the generous side. 50 minutes is the least time, but i didn’t really time it. just by how many CD’s i went through while modelling :wink: )

Also, I’ve never seen any blender tutorials for Head modeling with Nurbs. Has anyone else tried to do a head with Nurbs? what kind of results did you get?

and here’s a screenshot of the Nurb editor:

The only MAJOR disadvantage to using blender’s nurbs that I’ve found is that it’s not easy to close the ends off, you get “streaking” and “stretching” (I forget the technical term…) of the model near the attempted closing. I haven’t found a button that properly closes the nurbs. At either end. So I guess my head will have to wear a hat :wink: --> :Z

I have tried head modelling with NURBS, and I have to say that I don’t think it’s a good approach. I kinda’ gave up when it came time to add in details, as it was virtually impossible as NURBS, and converting it to a mesh would had rather less than desirable results.

Before I gave up on it:

I’m not going to post any editor shots, but rest assured that the CVs are very complicated (and I have used CV weights extensively).

Hmm… I didn’t use a lot of vertex weighting. mostly around the lips, and the upper edges of the eye sockets. otherwise it was just positioning the vertices… I looked at it again a few minutes ago, and realized there’s still some lumpy areas that need to be rounded out… but that won’t be too hard.
Is it just me or is anyone else reminded of those big stone heads on Easter Island?

A little. Maybe if you fattened the neck? (Hmm, pencil neck. Cartoony).

I think the reason head modelling with nurbs is rarely tried in blender, is because the nurbs features are underdeveloped, and are only meant for basic use.

Sub-division is the preferred approach for organic models/characters in blender.

Also using “tracing” edge loops comes out with a very good result. is an excellent basic tutorial on creating a low poly head, and with small amount of tweaking you can turn it into a very individualistic head.

Well maybe because it’s not a very good idea… Nurbs don’t give you fine control, in my experience.

NURBS would be good to model a head with. Get the general shape and convert it to a mesh (alt-c). and then tweak it as a mesh.

Wow this crowd is pretty down on Nurbs! I myself like them but have had trouble finding a good modeller. There was a great one years ago on my old iMac, I used it together with Infini-D… and I can’t remember the name! :frowning: but I think productions on it stopped long ago. I remember Form*Z had a very powerful and complex skinning system which allowed a head to be defined with curves. I saw a tutorial somewhere demonstrating a very good head but I had trouble duplicating the results. Similar story with Amapi. I also liked Pixels3D’s nurb editor, but alas! I don’t have access toa Mac to run it anymore.
I think Nurbs can be a VERY powerful tool for organic modelling if there is a good editor/interface available. Yeah, blender’s nurbs kinda suck, but I wonder what I’d do with this head if they didn’t…?

Also, does anyone know a good Nurb modeler for Linux? I’d try nurbana but the website seems to have disappeared. Anyone know a mirror?
I’ve tried Ayam, but I’m not happy with it’s limited export (it can export RIBs and OBJs… and that appears to be it).

I’ve been working on modeling and think that nurbs are great.
You can select a line/series of vertices very fast and easily, isolate them and then move them as you like.

If you play a little with order and resolution (CurveTools) you can have a lot of diferent results from your ‘base’ mesh

The biggest problem with them is that if you add a little detail in an area, you will have to work with all those vertices added in another part of your model.
You can not “reduce” them so your mesh becomes harder to smooth

Mmmm, i think i’ll post some (un-finished) face models made with nurbs…

Well… by now i’m using sub-surfed poly mesh, optimal turned ON they are the closest thing to nurbs…

Man, that is one ugly head. You are very far off with this one. It is possible to model a head with NURBS in Blender. Blender NURBS has the minimum requirements to pull off the job.

Look on the internet for Peter Ratner. He has written a well known text book on human figure modelling and his tutorials are on line too.

Now for modelling a head with NURBS. The way to do it is with patches. Why, because you can’t punch a hole (but NURBANA can I think) in a NURB. Imagine a head that is divided in patches so that none of the patches has holes in it (the mouth, ears, eyes). But sewn together you’ll get the correct facial features. So that is the way you should approach this.
Make a cheeck. Then make a forhead (at base it is curved in to accomodate the eye sockets), then the lower jaw etc etc. The tricky part is that all the parts should fit seamesly. For instance, attaching the cheeck to the chin, you should heave as many U’s or V’s on both patches, otherwise you cannot weld them together. When done correctly, you’ll get very nice results. If I am not mistaken, the models for Final Fantasy the spirit within are made from Nurbs. You can find the tutorials here:

SubDiv Polygons were used in Final Fantasy - The Spirits Within.

I think: SubDivs are better to handle than Nurbs, it’s easier to learn polygonal modeling and they are further developed in Blender (at this time). Nurbs are good for industrial design, where it is important to have scalable models.

By the way, my first Blender head looked very similar :wink: (and was a Nurbs Surface, too) - I switched to SubDivs later.

Anyway, everybody has a different approach, and Peter Ratner’s Nurbs head tutorial shows us how great this method can be if you got the right tool and experience.

Keep it up, modeling a head is always a great exercise.

here are some UNFINISHED models made with Nurbs.
–They were converted to mesh but no more work added–

and as said earlier… made with the same nurbs curve (the one near the center)

NURBS roxxor :slight_smile:

I pray to have some/same tools than Maya.
I haven’t tried Nurbana, so i can say.

if anybody knows anything about Nurbana, let’s say what…

Well, I took a look at Torq’s tutorial yesterday. It’s amazing how much tracing those loops helped! The face is where I’d always get stuck before. Thanks, Torq for the tutorial! :slight_smile:

anyways, here’s what I got:

…well actually I had to do the ear myself, but I found a good reference to trace so no problems there. The only hard part I’ve had is getting a shape on the nose that I like. Haven’t tried lips or eye sockets yet though.

Try this video tute

its several parts long and take a while to load because its a flash movie.
the link takes u to the index

ugh… way too many for now. I’ll bookmark and come back. Actually I’m kind of liking the way the mesh head turned out. It looks like crap because of the camera angle and lens, possibly. probably won’t rerender until there’s something of note, like lips, eyes, hair, etc…

It is a pitty you’ve abondend the NURBS method so soon. As far as I know I’ve never seen someone made a complete NURBS head in Blender. With all due respect to TorQ, but I don’t think his tutorial is the best way to approach this. It is a very good tutorial if you want to trace on an existing photo, but if you sculpting your own head from zilch, you better of using box modelling (and other variants) technique. I personaly think (and I’m not boasting) that my technique can help you sculpt a raw head with much more control over the proportion. There are quit a few ear tutorials out there. Check this one at It is free to register and the ear tutorial is free to download. My (preleminary) head approach:

I am still tinkering with this method, but all in all, I think that this is the easiest way to model a head.
I will try to make some time available soon to pick up modelling (and the tutorial) again. Right now I’m following the developments in Blender and I’m disecting the Blender code and reading a bunch of interesting Siggraph papers.

I think box modelling is where I had the most trouble. lol!
I found that it involved way to much vertex pushing and nudging… and that’s where most of my projects die.
The NURBS was the fastest, but not as nice looking as the mesh one, and I don’t think blender’s current nurbs system could model the ears on the same NURBS object as the head (not easily, at least).
Your method (start with a sphere, squash, edit, hack…) I have tried before on my own. Maybe I’ll try it again. The main problem I have always had is with positioning of facial features. TorQ’s tutorial addressed that issue exactly (and yours kinda stopped short of this). I did the ears myself (no tut’ls, but I DID trace it with a background image), and I think I’m getting pretty good results. better than anything ever before, anyway. It still needs work, no doubt about that, but it’s getting better.

I think most people has the same like you do too. That is, when box modelling, you have vast amounts of vertices to push and pull. I think it is a matter of using the selection tools most efficiently and I think it is 20 times easier now with the new Blender edit modes!
As for your remark about the position of the facial features, indeed I haven’t mentioned it yet. But I think it is more for the individual to decide where to put the eyes and nose etc. If your going for realism, then you could look at some photos as reference, but otherwise I think the Incredibles caricature style is way cool. So I don’t think if it realy matters where you put the eyes and nose, it will give your model a distinct ego I think… as long as it doesn’t make your model look like Quasimodo or something.