Face to FaceMay 2009
Damn, no post for a very long time… It’s not like I’m a lazy bastard or wouldn’t have anything new to show, I’m just too busy at the moment and most of the work I do is liable to an NDA. But here are a few models I made during the last few months. I was focused on the human face in general. All of them aren’t more than rough sketches based on different reference material. I have used a part of the base-mesh that I’m using also for all of my “full body” figures. But you could start with any kind of base-mesh, even with ZSpheres or a simple box. Of course it gets a little bit easier to work with a mesh where some basic features and mesh flows are already existent but most of the time you have to focus entirely on the shape and proportions of your model and not the mesh itself anyway.
The faces you see above have around 1 million polygons because I sculpted the hair as a part of the face-mesh and not as a separate subtool. The main proportions and the placement of the face-features or even a likeness can be already set on a very low resolution level. I think you don’t need more than a few thousand polygons to get it right. Every additional subdivision level just helps to create a smooth surface and even transitions between important landmarks. I have also studied the skull that lies underneath all muscular parts. It is prominent almost everywhere and so a basic understanding of its architecture is essential for sculpting the face. All in all my knowledge about this subject is still very loose as you can see on the examples I have posted 🙂 .
Working with good reference material is important when you try to make a working face. If you can come up with some pictures shoot from different angles of a static face expression, then the actual sculpting work can become pretty easy and fast. On the other hand, if you have too much reference material of the subject you try to recreate, you can get into trouble. I was watching myself switching from one picture to the other and getting lost on the sculpture because I didn’t know what’s looking right and what’s looking wrong anymore. It seems to be a better strategy to work with only a few pictures than hundreds, at least for me…
I really love sculpting the hair as a part of the head. This practice has some pros and cons. First of all, hair plays an important role as a major shape of the head and face. That’s why different hairstyles create different looking faces and people. And it feels much easier to get the proportions and placement of the face features right (size of the nose, distance between the eyes…) Of course you would have to remove the sculpted hair or build it as a separate subtool when the model is used in production. You are also able to easily sculpt the transition between the hair and the head itself. One of the disadvantages is that you need a quite high mesh resolution for detailing the hair. It’s a pain in the ass sculpting hair with too little polygons…
As always, I did some sketches before I started sculpting. For me, drawing is still the “easiest” and most direct way to become familiar with a subject. The sketches you see here, except one, are done with black ball pen on paper. I’m still in a fight with different materials and couldn’t commit to a particular working material and paper yet. So I’m using ball pen and white copy paper. You don’t have to think much about pen pressure or even an eraser. There are just you, the pen and the paper and the subject you are trying to capture. Every line has to be in place; otherwise the result looks wrong… I have also started a sketchbook but have not much time to draw at the moment.
The drawing above is a copy of one of the AMAZING pieces done by the artist David Kassan. Do yourself a favor and visit his blog: (http://kassanstudio.blogspot.com ) I wasn’t able neither to copy his work nor transport some of his genius to my piece – but I have learned a lot by doing this!
Also with drawing, the type of reference material you use is important. It can be hard to draw from a bad lit photo or a bad lit real life model. Of course I have tried to capture the likeness of the face as close a possible but I failed very often. Sometimes that doesn’t matter; more often the drawing starts to go its one way and the results can be quite interesting, even if it not looks completely identical to the original.
I did also some quick “face feature modeling” again. I have done many of this stuff last year as a preparation for my modeling reel. This type of work is still very funny to do and helps to understand how muscles and bones play together. Such speed sculpting works best in combination with extensive theoretical study of the matter.
Models for free
I’m giving away these two models (the skull is the same as the one at the top of this page). I’m not sure if they are working on every system because I have used different matcap materials per object and that could cause problems if you haven’t installed the same matcaps on your workstation; but just download them and test it. Both models are quite low poly. For the skull I started with a simple box inside ZBrush. The muscle version is the same mesh as the skull. I have used the clay-tube brush to model the muscles on top of it. They aren’t very accurate relating to anatomy and some features are missing but maybe they are useful for someone.
Here is the obligatory link-list for this post
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QP-SIW6iKY that keeps me motivated, nothing goes on without that stuff…
http://www.artisticanatomyblog.com one of the best blogs I know
http://kassanstudio.blogspot.com absolute stunning work done by David Jon Kassan
http://www.dorian-iten.com the blog of Dorian Iten, a young and unbelievable talented artist