About Face

Modeling from photo reference

The first thing to know about modeling the human head is what makes a face look different whether it's age, gender or race. It's then a matter of concentrating on catching all of the unique features of the reference or what you want the model to look like. It's also important to remember that no model will look right without some knowledge of human anatomy.

Creating a human head is pretty simple, but the hardest part is matching and adding characteristics to the model. Small changes can make the model look completely different, and sometimes it's hard to define what makes the model look odd or right.

When I do my personal work, it takes an endless amount of time to finish a single head model. It will always look different from day to day, and I'll constantly see things that need to be fixed. This is because the creative process is dependant on my mood and environment. Usually, I'll watch a movie or listen to music which is related to the character while I'm modeling. This keeps my mood even and that helps me to pull out characteristics from the model. It usually takes me less than five hours to complete the head modeling.

Another way to simplify the modeling process for me was to create my own tools. A couple of years ago, I created a tool which helps me generate human characters in order to speed up my modeling process.The tool generates UVs, multiple levels of geometries, and adds fine details to the model automatically. Each level of detail also contains around one hundred facial blend shapes. This helps me build basic features of the human head with a couple of clicks and lets me concentrate more on giving life to the model. The tool is not only for modeling, so it can cut down production time on texturing and animation work as well. This allows the texture artists and animators to concentrate more on the creative side of their craft.

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