Newb Challenge #4
Low Poly Heads
Okies .. it was going to be putting eyes in heads this challenge. But all the ZScripts I've made fail to show a lot of the actions, so I'm trying out some screen capture progs instead .. Yay! Movies! In the meantime, I thought, "this is a good opportunity to look at creating low poly heads in ZB". Honestly I did. So at least we'll have heads to put our eyes in, in the next challenge.
There are loads of ways to create basic heads in ZB, mainly because it can handle huge numbers of polygons. Lots of people begin with a blob and start painting. This can result in a realistic head, but usually doesn't. You'll have noticed a lot of the really skilled posters often start with a basic mesh created in another app (Maya, Silo, C4D, Modo etc), which they then import into ZB for detailing. They do this because they can make low poly models using tools like 'Extrude', which ZB doesn't offer. But it is possible to make good starting meshes in ZB and, since it's a good way to learn several tools, that's what we're going to do.
What's Happening in the Script?
Let me start with a quick disclaimer .. I'm no trained artist / sculptor / modeller. This is more an example of tool use than how to sculpt a head. And yes, you are allowed to giggle when I **** up my edge loops half way through. As long as you gasp with admiration when I rescue myself.
Starting with a ZSphere, I add two small spheres for eye sockets and a larger one for a neck. The 'eye' spheres are moved back into the main sphere so they become transparent .. when turned into a polymesh, these will be indented into the head. To get the lowest number of polygons, I turn Preview on and turn Density down to 1, IRes to 1 and turn Mc on. This is then turned into an Adaptive skin. I could use ZSpheres for ears, mouth, nose etc, but I thought it'd be fun to use edge loops instead.
The next job is to isolate polygons where I'm going to want more geometry. I use Ctrl+Shift+drag to isolate a circular set of polys which will become mouth, cheeks and eyebrows. I then apply an edge loop to this set. I do the same thing with the neck to create a torso / shoulders. Same for a nose and again (several times) for the ears. Notice how using X Symmetry and Move make the whole job pretty easy.
Why are we doing this? Well, when you sub-divide in ZB, every polygon is split into 4. For most machines, the optimum starting base mesh has between 1,000 and 2,000 polys (2,000 sub-divided 5 times gives you 2 million polys). Or 4x lower (250 - 500 polys). The head in my example has 152 polys at its lowest resolution (608 when sub-divided once), so I've got the scope to add more detail if I wanted to.
Use ZBrush only to create a head mesh with fewer than 2,000 polygons. If it still looks pretty much like a head at one sub-division lower (up to 500 polys) then you get extra kudos! Post your pics and/or ZScripts in this thread. Good luck!
Hints & Tips for the Non Artist
Initially aim for a Spiderman look to the head. With his mask on, his nose and mouth are obscured and the whole face is flattened. It's much less intimidating to get this basic shape than trying to create fully-formed nose, lips etc from the start. When viewed from the side, imagine your character wearing glasses. Not Spiderman, obviously, cos his glasses would fall off. The arms of the glasses should be horizontal, which will help with getting the eyes and ears at the right levels. Both are approximately half-way down the head. The sides of the head (ignoring the ears) are often pretty flat. Hairline > Eyebrows, Eyebrows > Nose tip, Nose tip > point of the chin are all approximately the same, and the face is often two of these lengths wide. The pupils are approximately one of these lengths apart.