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Maya modeling: The head

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Date Added: 12th November 2013
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Step 9: Adding the neck and the back of the head

Once the main forms of the face are in place, you should be able to pretty much continue extruding to fill out the neck and the back of the head. You may find that you have many edge loops running down the neck or over the head. I try to terminate these earlier so I have fewer vertices to connect to the body later on. You can also use this to your advantage to create the appearance of the Adam's apple at the front of the neck.

Adding the neck and the back of the head

Step 10: Create the skin flow of the eyes

Now here is where things really take a turn. As mentioned in the introduction, I decided not to follow the muscle flow of the area around the eyes but instead mimic the skin flow. To create the wrinkles, I pretty much just started cutting into the model using the Split Polygon Tool (hold Shift+RMB over the geometry and go Split > Split Polygon Tool). This was a pretty long, back-and-forth process of adding new edges, deleting old edges and reworking the vertices constantly while also trying to maintain quads. No special tricks or tools involved here, just the Split Polygon Tool, deleting edges, moving vertices and some good old spit and grit. Extra edge loops were also added as needed and, once again, the Sculpt Geometry Tool set to Relax mode was used to tidy up the spacing of the edge loops. During this phase, I also had a mirror to hand and I would repeatedly pull different faces and expressions to see how the skin on my face would respond. These noticeable lines (I'm getting older you see) were then incorporated into the model. Now, there is nothing wrong with having the edge loops mimic the sphincter muscle of the orbicularis oculi, and then using a Bump, Normal or Displacement map to create wrinkle lines around the eyes. I just simply prefer to try and get as much as I can directly out of the model ? it's a personal preference of mine. So if you are happy with your mesh and wish not to cut into it so viciously, feel free to skip this step.

Cutting into the model to add the skin flow around the eyes

Step 11: Connect the head to the body

Once you are happy with the head, it's simply a case of connecting it up to the body; although saying that, it most probably won't be as simple as we'd like. First, open up a scene with the body and then import the current head model. Scale it uniformly to match the reference planes and then examine how many vertices end at the bottom of the neck on the head compared to that at the top of the neck on the body. Next, use point snapping and move the vertices from the head to the body. Then use a combination of adding edge loops (to the body) and terminating edge loops earlier (on the head) to sync the two meshes together. Any edge loop added to the body will also need tidying up. Again, I start by using the Sculpt Geometry Tool to even the edges out, followed by some manual pushing and pulling of the vertices.

Bringing the head and the body together

Step 12: Editing the proportions

The final step is to rework some of the proportions. At this stage, I hide the photographic reference and refer to the work of Dr. Paul Richer. His book Artistic Anatomy is amazing and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in anatomy. I use his 'seven and a half heads' model as a guide to rework the proportions of the model. The reason I am straying away from the photographic images is because there seems to be some distortion to the proportions, and I do not have details about the lenses used to capture the images so I can replicate them correctly with the Maya camera.

To rework the proportions, I use the Lattice deformer found under Create Deformer in the Animation toolset under Create Deformers. Selecting areas of vertices, I apply the Lattice and then adjust the S, T and U divisions to give me enough control to push and pull the form without creating too much distortion. I also push the head back slightly as I feel as if it is strained slightly forwards and not quite in a natural position. Once you are happy with the proportions, select the Mesh and go Edit > Delete By Type > History to get rid of the Lattice deformers.

Refining the proportions using a Lattice deformer

Step 13: Reworking the topology

Last thing I did was to rework the topology in a few places. Most notably, I was not too happy with the area at the corner of the chest and arm. The placement of the extraordinary vertices (the star-like network of edges) was slightly bothering me so I decided to move it up by cutting into the model and re-directing some of the edges. This also resulted in creating a better edge-flow between the chest and the shoulder. At his stage, as we are close to finalizing the model, check for any other areas that you are not too happy with and make sure to push them until you are satisfied.

Next time, we'll go through and finalize the model, ready for it to move on through the pipeline.

Updating some of the topology around the chest region

Our model so far

Top tip 1: Camera Focal Length

The perspective camera in Maya has a default Focal Length of 35. When zooming in close to a model, this can create some perspective distortion. To reduce this, try setting the Focal Length to something between 80 and 100. This will flatten the view making it much nicer to work with, in my opinion.

The difference between a focal length of 35 and 85

Related links
Jahirul's website
The work of Julien Wolkenstein
Artist Anatomy by Dr Paul Richer

To see more by Jahirul Amin, check out Beginner's Guide to Character Creation in Maya
and 3ds Max Projects

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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
Vijay Rathwa on Tue, 23 August 2016 7:25am
The tutorial is very nice. can i get it video file of this tutorial.
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