Project 3: Head Modeling

Goal To gain experience with complicated organic modeling.
Prerequisite Exercises

In this project we will create a subdivision surface head using polygon tools. There is a variety of reference available at O:\unix\projects\instr\production1\REFERENCE\Humans or you may take your own. Only use human heads as reference. For this project we will be working in the Polygons menu set. Create a new Maya file to begin.

You should be familiar with the polygon tools and so the instructions for this assignment will be less explicit than previous projects, however new concepts will be explained. The tutorial below gives you a general idea for how to model a human head such as edge loop placement, but your model will vary in the specifics. You will want to make your head match your reference as closely as possible. Be sure to review the Image Plane prerequisite exercise so you can properly set up your reference images in Maya.

  1. Using the Create Polygon Tool, draw a outline of your character in the Side camera view (Mesh → Create Polygon Tool). Use as many points as you think would be necessary to create the outline.
  2. Extrude the outer edge and then delete the extraneous polygons.
  3. Adjust the faces to follow the curves of the face. Start creating the polygons around the eye. You will want to create a sphere for the eye and then form your model around it. Note that edge loops should encircle the eye, not spiral around it as shown in the picture.
  4. Start filling in the nose.
  5. Build the mouth as a series of loops. Notice that some of the edge loops from the corner of the mouth arch over the nose. This is an important feature and should be included.
  6. Fill in the chin.
  7. Continue filling out the area around the eye. Be sure that the geometry curves around the side of the head.
  8. Fill in the cheek.
  9. Fill in the top of the head.
  10. Continue the geometry down the side of the head.
  11. Start creating the neck geometry.
  12. Fill in the chin.
  13. Fill in the back of neck and top of the shoulders. Your reference may not cover the shoulders, but you are not required to modeling anything below the bottom of the neck, so you may ignore this part.
  14. Optionally fill in the area below the neck.
  15. Finish up the eyelids.
  16. And the lips. You do not have to model the inside of the mouth.
  17. You can add an ear for extra credit. An online tutorial on ear modeling can be found here. Model it separately then add it to the head. Note that this will most likely introduce a number of triangles into the mesh. Try to hide them behind the ear if possible.
  18. If you have not done so previously, duplicate the head across. Use Duplicate Special with an X Scale of -1 to do this. If you want the duplicated side to mirror any further changes in the original side, set the "Geometry Type" option to Instance. Make sure your head's pivot is on the Y-axis before duplicating the head across. Now would be a good time to check the curvature of the skull. The head has very few places that are completely flat. You can use the Sculpt Geometry Tool to try to smooth out any problems.
  19. Combine the two halves into one piece of geometry. Select all the vertices down the center of the face and Merge them to remove the seam. Delete your History and clean up your Outliner. Smooth the model and render out a still of it, but do not turn in the Maya file with the model smoothed. Note that your model doesn't need hair.
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