Gnomon DVD: Modeling the Human Head

Kevin Hudson takes us through the process of modeling a human head, starting from a cube. Here are a summarized list of steps:

1) Make poly cube with 6,4,3 (w,h,d) subdivisions.
2) Shift pivot to lowest point, sit on origin.
3) Scale head to about 8 x 6 inch.
4) Align image planes to cube in front and side views.
5) Make sure image planes corresponds correctly using some planes to check.
6) Delete half the cube.
7) Define edges at side of nose in front (2 rows of edge loops).
8) Define edge loops roughly in the shape of the skull in side.
9) Extrude and define neck rough shape in side.
10) Start rounding off the forms at back of head.
11) Start moving vertices to define the areas of the brows, cheeks, nose ridge.
12) At this point we start nudging the vertices around the head with the flow of edge loops we have defined.
13) Add edge loops to define the neck, the side of the eye.
14) Make the mouth by merging front faces and scaling that face down, eventually deleting it to make a hole.
15) Edge loop for the ear.
16) Same way for eye socket.
17) Extrude ear inwards.

At this stage we end up with a template where we can use for other models.

18) Define corner of mouth.
19) Define lower lips and chin.
20) Define upper lips and bottom of nose.
21) Define nose, mouth and cheeks.

At this stage we can slowly build up the parts, adding edge loops only when required. Follow the anatomy as much as possible. Essentially, it is like adding lines on a head that follows the muscles. Keeping quads helps in subdiv rendering.

Major steps include extruding inwards twice behind the lips for the mouth, making a nurbs circle (3 deg off center to prevent cross-eyed effect) that is live to snap points to it, making larger eyelids that looks better when subdivided, adding an extra edge ring for the corner of the eye (2 triangles), a few extrusions inward at the other corner for the tearduct, extrusions for the nose and nostrils, placing the gums-teeth-tongue set in the right position, building the throat with a mouth-socket-like piece.

The ear is the hardest part and Kevin says it’s completely okay for it to be convoluted.

Mirror geometry over, making sure all the vertices at the center are aligned properly, and checking border edges after that. Run a merge vertices with low distance settings.

Making your model asymmetrical helps a lot. Use lattice deformers and such to quickly shape the overall forms. Add some edges for wrinkles.

It only took about 3 hours for Kevin to make the head!


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