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Prep Project 1 - Female Base Body Mesh (Creation and Study)
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Prep Project 1 - Female Base Body Mesh (Creation and Study)

Thanathorn Phumsawai
by ThanathornPhumsawai on 16 Nov 2023

This project is a part of my small project series that focuses on studying and practising each area of 3D animation and modelling. Prep project. For this one, I will focus on topology and retopology. I will be practising this by creating a female body base mesh.

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Greetings, My name is Thanathorn.
I'm interested in character animation and every other element in 3D art creation. 

After my recent project, I created my first animated short film titled "Path in Darkness".
I realized that I still lacked experience in many areas, which prevented me from completing many other things in that project.

Introduction

In this new project, I call it Prep Project. Because I want to focus on smaller and more specific areas of 3D knowledge and practise them. I hope this will give me a better foundation and help me create better animation, storytelling, and art.

So, for the past 4-5 weeks, I have chosen to start learning and practising more on topology and retopology by creating the character's base body mesh (female in particular). My goal for creating this base body is for future character creation, like a base mesh for sculpting, retopology reference, etc.

The software I used in this project is Blender.

Preview of the final result.

Process

First, I would like to introduce Rena, the character I created for the recent film.
Although, there is something that doesn't feel right when I look at her.

When I looked at her head mesh, I noticed that the issue may be related to her facial structure is not in the right place. So, I decided to focus on improving her head area first.

I added more subdivisions to the mesh and improved the face structure with sculpting tools, but I am still unhappy with the result.

So, I went back to do some research and try to understand the female facial anatomy and this time, I sculpt in a high poly mesh, focusing on the correct shape and then will retopology.

After a while of sculpting the head and face shape, this is the result I feel happy with and ready to move on to the retopology process.

My first attempt at retopology is not going well. Although all the polygons are quads, they lose a lot of shape information. I tried to fix this by adding the subdivision modifier, but it also changed the shape of the mesh, which is not what I wanted.

I spent some time finding head topology references and trying to learn from there. I decided to increase the vertex count of the mesh to better maintain the shape's silhouette. I want this mesh to have a higher quality for film and offline rendering that will be used in future projects.

However, if the performance will be a problem in the future production process, I think there will be some alternative solution later.

Here's my second attempt at retopology. I worked on each face section separately and used different colours for each piece. This helped me visualize in a more organized view and avoid mistakes when making changes to other pieces.

After that, I connected all the sections together into one mesh. The head part is now finished!

Moving on to the other part of the body, unfortunately, most parts of her body underneath the clothing were deleted, and I do not have a backup of those parts. Therefore, I will need to recreate them from scratch.

This time, instead of sculpting the shape first, I wanted to try hard surface modelling and use sculpting to adjust the shape.

After some time, this is the current result. While all polygons are still quads, I believe the topology flow can be improved further. This is because some areas appear to be more stretched out than others. Similar problem to the head part, the detail on the arm and some other areas do not complement the body silhouette very well.

After looking up more references, I came across various styles of topology flow. I decided to mix and match some of them to improve my topology. The current result is much better than before. The body shape is more defined, and the topology flow is much easier to read. However, there are some downsides to this one. The current model requires subdivision to achieve this look, and there are fewer vertices around the neck area, making it can't connect with the head part.

The solution I use is applying the subdivision modifier for more variety and adjusting the connection area around the neck to match the head part.

The final step is to connect the head to the body and make minor adjustments to some positions. The female character base mech is now complete!

The end result summary

This base mesh uses a higher vertices number for a more defined and recognizable body silhouette. The entire model consists of quads, and I try to make the vertices easily readable and looped well for smooth deformation.

Reflection

I feel that I have gained a better understanding of topology and retopology. Along with the workflow and other related skills during this project. With good topology, they can save time a lot in the long run.

This is all I have for this project. Thank you for your time to visit this project. There will be upcoming projects that will definitely build on this one.
Please feel free to leave any comments, feedback or criticism. They are helping me to improve myself.

Until then, I will see you later,
May your road lead you to your passion.


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