Topology disaster, or am I just being a novice?

Okay, there’s no real disaster here, but I would like some help on this. Maybe someone more experienced than I am could figure this out in a minute. I am making a model based on my own drawing of a toony fat guy. I would that say this is my first model, but I really just scrapped my last one after following a step-by-step tutorial and getting everything wrong (I think I’ve learned my lesson this time.)

So my issue is that I have the face and body I want (mostly) and I want to refine it, but the topology looks really wrong to me. And I hardly know what topology is. In trying to correct this, I’ve found that there are some thing edge loops can’t do. I’ve attached some pictures of what I want to fix. Any instructions or redlining or anything would be very much appreciated.

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there are a couple issues, first, the edge flow is not good, and second, he’s looking a bit boxy, especially around the hips and thighs. also, you have a few bad quads there…I will have to make a diagram of what i mean by that, so brb.
(edit) ok, here is an illustration of bad quads. general rule is: keep it somewhat square, and if you look at a single poly along the edge, it should look somewhat flat.


Okay, I think I can figure that out. So just focusing on the face, would it be a matter of smoothing out the angles above the upper lip (maybe making the upper lip not so narrow) and moving around some edges and adding or removing some faces until there’s an even flow of quads from the upper brow to below the lower lip, etc? I’ll see what I can do right off and then post another screencap when I think I have it right.

most importantly you need good edge flow around the mouth, especially if he’s going to talk.

I just noticed another thing, there needs to be another edge loop around his elbow area, or his arm won’t deform properly when rigged.

After messing around some, here’s what I have for the face. It doesn’t look right, I couldn’t figure out how to really fix the bad quads, and I feel like I’ve just added edge loops and decided “okay, this looks kind of what it’s supposed to but really jagged and awkward”. I think I’ve at least improved the skull shape; it’s less cony. Any more suggestions?

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it’s looking alot better. there are still a couple of issues, but i think it’s an improvement. I would at some point check out the WIP forum for wires of other peoples head models, just to see how others deal with it, and also, there is the retopo tool…a pain to learn, but invaluable as an option once you learn it. If I get a moment, I’ll make some red lines and arrows on your image.

ok, this isn’t an accurate drawing, just a sketch to represent the optimal direction of edge flow around the face


Thanks for everything so far. I found this link on a thread in the WIP board, and it has some good references as well. Actually lining up everything has been difficult (and why not?) and here’s another update cause I feel kind of stuck again. Still some holes I gotta fill. Big thing here is I blew up the jaw cause it was really looking like a horse nose.

As soon as I feel I have an adequate enough first draft and everything is okay topology-wise and also lines up with my drawing, then I’ll post it to the WIP board.

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looking good.

So I filled the holes best I could, and now I think it’s mostly all right. The only thing is getting everything lined up right, and then giving him eyelids, eyes, and ears. Then I’ll worry about the rest of the body.

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pretty good, but I would reccomend something like so:


(edit) now i’m thinking I should have started with the next poly over to the right, because it would leave the next edge loop around the mouth intact.

How’s this?

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what I would do now, is duplicate the mesh in object mode, leave it in place, go into edit mode, then into retopo mode, and slide some of those vertexes around until everything is a bit more even and net-like. then delete the original, or move it to another layer. I use 2.49 for retopo because it works better, and I believe there are some decent tutorials out there on it. so, on the faces that are long and thin, try to square them up a bit and even everything out. Then things will flow smoothly when he talks or makes facial expressions. You know how on some computer animated cartoons, how the models seem to have an ugly inverted crease running from the corner of their mouth along their cheek ( known as “uglification” )? That is from having polygons that are too skinny, so, skinny polygons should be avoided, except when you want to have a crease, or a hard(er) edge.

So going by the tutorials I have seen, it looks like I have to draw out patterns that are more in line with how it should be were I to use retopo mode in 2.49. Am I correct in assuming that by sliding you meant pretty much following the messy quads and edges I have now, but with neater lines and avoiding long skinny polygons?

yeah, I am just suggesting making a couple of the edge loops more fluid where they have gone a bit crooked, and where their are skinny polygons, try to even them out, and let the adjacent polygons absorb some of the discontinuity. you don’t really have to use retopo to do it, but it makes it easier, because you can move vertexes around on the surface without changing the form.