A Note on Topologies

As of this writing and from what I know, I don’t think there’s such a thing as a “one topology to rule them all,” and you won’t know how good a topology is until you start to get into deformation of the mesh (animating it). Not to mention that all modellers are different in their approach and each mesh has a unique flow or structure to it. However, there is a general guidelines that all modellers follow, such as the mouth and eyes areas and so on. If we get the part for the mouth and eyes setup correctly then the rest will slowly fall into their proper places as you try to piece them together. How you go about piecing them together will be different from how others go about it.

One of the reasons why I’m currently experimenting with creature’s heads is because it’s uncommon to see people post topology overview for monster’s heads. So I want to train myself to see topology overview for a varieties of models (human, monsters, creatures etc…). Right now I’m just guessing and learning as I go.

Digital modelling is both creative and technical but don’t let that turn you off!

Creature Head Form #1

Messing around in Blender. Sketched the profile and used it as a guide to block out the form. The rest is just imagination and making things up as I go.

creatureform_1

First model of the year. Still a work in progress.

CF_1_sc

CF_1_wip

Grease Pencil, L-Flow and Spin Edge

Blender has a thing called “Grease Pencil” (GP) and it’s extremely helpful when it comes to detailing your mesh. While modelling you can draw anywhere on the viewport by holding down “D” on the keyboard. To erase simply use your right mouse button while “D” is pressed down. My setup is a little different (D + Shift + Left Mouse to erase).

Metric & Imperial Units In Blender

Blender provides three distinct types of unit that can be used to measure objects (distance) in a Scene; “None“, “Imperial” and “Metric“. Although relatively self explanatory in terms of what they represent, their use does come with some caveats the user needs to be aware of, which depends particularly upon the version of Blender being used. (Read more)

A Thought on Digital Modeling

The thing with digital modelling is that there are some hurdles and obstacles to get over. First, it’s the software that you’re using. Secondly, the theory and fundamentals of digital modelling (topology for example). These things can really hold you down if you’re the analytical type that wants to know the ins and outs before you even begin to do anything. With digital sculpting, you don’t have to worry too much about all that, but the downside is that you need a fast computer to really have a smooth and fun experience or experimentation.

Poly modelling is a lot easier in that you can look at topology references and get straight into it, following the muscle flows right from the start and tweaking your way outward (like a ripple effect).

Box modelling on the other hand requires a different mindset, and can be challenging for some. You’ll have to learn how to manipulate flows with spin edge, multi-cut and so on. I like Box because it bends and twists my mind in a lot of ways. It’s the modelling method that I started out with, and it’s a habit that is very difficult to break, but I must learn to break this habit and try other modelling methods in order to grow and expand as a modeller.

Some people find that Box modelling got easier after they did a lot of Poly modelling. I guess one of the reasons for this is that while poly modelling, you’re forced to look at topologies and your mind makes a record of all the flows. So when it comes to Box, you can immediately see how things ought to flow, and from there all you need is just some good techniques to change/manipulate flows.

Blocking out

Form practicing in Blender using 2d model sheets as references. Blender has all the necessary tools for Box and character modelling.

formpractice

Digital Sculpting in Blender

I personally have no sculpting experience (traditional or digital), but last month of this year I decided to just play around with it. For the first time, it finally clicked (one of those Eureka moments)! Overall, I really enjoyed it and the image below is the result of that first experiment with a Wacom tablet. I’ll talk more about sculpting in Blender later on with some thoughts and pointers for those that want to get into digital sculpting.

Viewport’s References

A lot of people find the human hand to be challenging to model or block out (form) in a way that looks realistic. There are many ways to bring an image into Blender but when it comes to modelling the hand, this is the only method that I know of that can help and the good thing about it is that it doesn’t matter where you are in the viewport. In the example below, I zoomed into the hand from that angle and placed an empty object (Shift + A –> Empty –> Image). From there you can drag and drop the image into the border of that empty object or manually load the image in the properties window.

imageplane
Don’t forget to check “Align to View” immediately after you placed the Empty

If you have some basic drawing skill, what you can do is sketch out the form/shape of the hand and use it as a guide. This same steps can be repeated for the foot.