Category Archives: Imaging and Data Visualisation

Turning Heads

Finally finished the head model. I made a video of it revolving to show it from all angles. The only part that I’m not sure about it the ears, the top of them look a little odd but I don’t know why. I saved each time that I made significant changes to the model. Model_01 to Model_35 were my first attempt at modelling the head and then Model_36 to Model_75 were my second attempt. I also made a note of when I deleted the construction history for the model so that I knew where I could go back to, to get the last point with all the information.

Nice labelling?
Nice labelling?

Unrendered revolution:

Heads Up!

I’m almost finished modelling Andrew’s head so then I will no longer have to think of any more head puns.

Here is the last post on the progression of the head and then the next one will be the finished product.


Well this is just a bundle of joy.

Essentially, at the end of this adventure to model the ears and get them looking okay whilst attached to the head I discovered I had some strange deformation on the model when I smoothed it.

I tried deleting these strange shapes but that only seemed to exacerbate the problem.

It turns out, at some point, I duplicated the head. So there was a head inside the head and I was deleting faces off of each of them. So now I have to pick one and go with it.

It was also lovely trying to model the ear. I ended up using the tutorial by _ for the ears. It was just a little too vague on the maya autodesk one for me to follow, mainly because the ear I was using was a fair bit more complicated.

The nose wasn’t too hard. Actually it was quite straight forward.

I just like to make things difficult for myself though, and I decided to try and rename the images I was using for reference whilst in maya, leading to them becoming inactive. Nothing showed up in the files when I loaded them and you could not click the files to reinsert them.

I then had the originals on my phone so I blue toothed them over. Then I remembered that I had cropped the images so they didn’t have unnecessary background, somehow this seems to have effected the scale so the images no longer fit my model.

Hopefully it will look better when it’s fixed, although I remain unconvinced that it actually looks like Andrew, but at least his head is no longer in the shape of Dirk the Daring.

Head Modelling Research

Eye Modelling



DSC_0270 DSC_0271

Ear Modelling



Costa, K. M.. (2009). Realistic Eye Modeling for 3D Characters.Available: Last accessed 3rd May 2015.

Napier, J. (2011). 8 Sensitivity and Response in Plants and Animals. In: GCSE Biology for CCEA. 6th ed. London: Hodder Education. p58-59.

Pigeonchicken. (2011). How to Model a human ear in Maya. Available: Last accessed 4th May 2015.

Two heads are better than one

I have way to many head puns.

It is not yet finished; eyes, ears and nostrils need to be put in along with the shape adjust somewhat, but nearly there.

This time I decided to start with a sphere for the head, so that I didn’t make (one of) the same mistakes as last time and forget to have the head come back in. I then deleted the bottom of the sphere and extruded the edged to create the neck.

After that, I started on the face. I deleted some of the faces on the sphere and created the eyes, also flattening the forehead. I worked down, creating the mouth and nose with the create polygon tool and join up to the rest of the face. Working out from the neck to create the chin.

Once I was satisfied with the shape of the lower part of the face, I went back and deleted the top of the sphere and moved the vertices so that it followed the correct topology, then extruded the edges so that I could seal the head off. I used one of the topographical models from as a guide for where my edge loops should go.

Really, aside from modelling the eyes and ears, I really just need to tweak it.

The cheeks should come out a little more and the right side of the face should go more to the left, but so far so good, I haven’t had any nasty deformations as of yet, so as long as I keep my head it should be good.

Making Head(way)

I decided to try and get my head model out of the way so that I could focus all my efforts on the animation.

Things started off okay, I had my reference images and I had my Mac working again, then I started modelling using the tutorial mentioned in a previous post.

I think this is where I made my initial mistake. I believe I used too many vertices and created a modelled too detailed to start with, rather than layering the detail. Still, I persevered, and ended up with a decent starting point with the nose, mouth and eye modelled. However, I began to wonder why the eye was black and realised that the faces were backwards- weird but okay- I fixed that.

Then I noticed that the outline that I originally created was deformed, again strange but I eventually ended up deleting it and rebuilding it. I probably should of stopped and started again, but no I went on thinking I could correct whatever was wrong.

I ignored how the model had weird bulges in its head, assured that I would simply adjust them when I sealed the head- big mistake.

It is only now after a solid 25 hours of work that I realised just why the face had little black bits on the face when I smoothed it- I thought it was the edge loops but I accidentally had it on smooth with X-Ray and discovered stacks of little triangle just waiting to be discovered to destroy any of my remaining sanity.

Over 10,000 of the little so and sos were there. I decided it wasn’t worth my eyes falling out and rolling away to sit and delete them, so I’ve started again! (Also, the fact that I forgot the neck goes in again and not just straight back didn’t help).

Head Modelling Tutorials

We were shown these maya tutorials in class on how to model a head in the correct way and hopefully avoid triangles forming. There was also the Thunder Cloud Studios article on how to model a realistic human head with helpful advice on how the edge loops are placed.


Maya Learning Channel. (2011). Modeling a head with proper topology – Part 1. Available: Last accessed 19th Apr 2015.

Maya Learning Channel. (2011). Modeling a head with proper topology – Part 2. Available: Last accessed 19th Apr 2015.

Maya Learning Channel. (2011). Modeling a head with proper topology – Part 3. Available: Last accessed 19th Apr 2015.

Thunder Cloud Studio. (N/A). Modelling Guide: Realistic Human Head.Available: Last accessed 19th Apr 2015.

Head Drawing Research

How to draw the human skull

This wasn’t actually helpful for the task, but as usual with youtube I was distracted by little thumbnails and I figured this would be a fun little thing to watch, and it was.



I found that this video was a bit rushed when trying to show the different steps of the drawing, as it would jump ahead and not really let you see what was done. However, I did up with a version I was happy with as I was drawing along with the video.

Clear step by step:

I found this to be more helpful in explaining the different steps of the drawing, what the basic shapes where and how you build upon them.

How to draw a portrait

I could never draw portraits before watching this video and after a this I ended up with a drawing that actually resembled the Andrew and not the creature from the Goonies. I had always tried to start with a clear outline of the facial features and work from there rather than starting light and using shading to bring out the different features. These three videos were really, really helpful.





cholowiz13. (2014). How To Draw a SKULL – (graffiti Character).Available: Last accessed 19th Apr 2015.

Circle Line Art School. (2014). How to Draw a Realistic Skull: Narrated Step by Step. Available: Last accessed 19th Apr 2015.

Draw with Jazza. (2013). How to Draw Skulls. Available: Last accessed 19th Apr 2015.

Richards, B. (2013). Learn to Draw Portraits. Available: Last accessed 19th Apr 2015.

Richards, B. (2013). Learn to Draw Portraits Part Two. Available: Last accessed 19th Apr 2015.

Richards, B. (2013). Learn to Draw Portraits Conclusion. Available: Last accessed 19th Apr 2015.

Head Reference Images

I had to get pictures of Andrew’s head for reference when I come to model it. Initially I was just going to have him stand there and take the pictures but we found out he is just too tall for me to reach. So, he sat down to make it easier for me- and was still taller. However, the height difference was significally decreased so I got the photos.

Next I’ll draw on the various facial muscle groups onto the photos so it will be easier to edge loop in Maya.