Module Reflection

I really enjoyed Imaging and Data Visualisation as a module, it has been a very interesting module and really challenged my abilities. This module really threw us in at the deep end in terms of software and while I found this very difficult at the beginning, the lessons throughout the semester along with extra help from both my tutors and classmates made learning this software a lot less daunting and more enjoyable.

Both assignments of this module really tested my time management capabilities and were quite deceiving in terms of how long I thought the assignments would take. While the floating city seemed incredibly daunting, the research and planning of it took a lot longer than the actual modelling and texturing of the objects. The face model was the opposite, planning this model mas much less complicated and took much less time than the actual modelling.

Another thing that this module has taught me is how important it is to save often and have backups of my work. The amount of times Maya crashed just as I went to save was infuriating, but this also taught me how deleting the history every once in a while can really up the performance of the software (and reduce the risk of it crashing…) which was a very important lesson to learn.

Overall, the way this module was planned and carried out was great, and the support from tutors during this was also amazing. The range of things Alec and Conánn taught us during tutorials was incredibly helpful both for this module and our other module New Narratives and allowed me to experiment with the software, becoming more comfortable and confident as the semester went on. All of the knowledge I have gained over the course of this semester will play a huge role in helping the transition in to second year and on to placement.


Finished Head Model

So my head model is finally finished, and I am honestly so happy with the results.



After working on this for so long and spending such a long time staring at my own face, I must say I am very glad to have finished this assignment. I am happy with how the shape of this has turned out, however because I didn’t manage my time as well as I should have, I didn’t leave enough time to make my end head model as unsymmetrical as my actual face is, so it looks very strange and not that much like me in my opinion.

Regardless of it’s likeness to me though, I am very happy with how the topology of my final model and know that if I had of managed my time better I could have done more in terms of making this look more like myself.

For this head model, I used Duylinh Nguyen‘s series of videos to help me along the way, this series was immensely helpful, however there were points where I varied from his way of doing things as it seemed to create a lot of unnecessary poles.


Getting To Know My Face

The first part of this assignment that was really key to the whole thing was gaining a better understanding of our faces so that we knew what we were aiming for when it came to the final model. For me this means having a chance to draw my face and then figuring out what the topology of my face would be before actually beginning the model, something that my research showed was honestly vital.

Last week, after class, Conánn offered to take reference pictures for us to use with our head model. As I was struggling to even line up the reference photos I had taken myself, I thought it would be best to take him up on this offer, and today he sent me them.

After getting my reference pictures, I’m now drawing out the topology that I’ll be aiming for in my sketchbook, so that I have a guide to work from when it comes to the final model.


Life Drawing: Focusing on the Head

Today for our life drawing session, Michael had us focus on the models skulls so that we could better understand the anatomy of the head as he thought that this would come in handy for our head model assignment.

I’m very glad we had the chance to do this today as I found it very helpful having the anatomical skull there to use as a reference. Seeing how the variations of the skull and muscle influence the face was very helpful and showed me the importance of studying these things.

Topology Research

Before beginning to model my face, I decided to do research in to what topology actually was and what good topology looks like so that I can then implement this in my own model and get better results than if I were to just watch a tutorial and hope for the best, or worse, just wing it.

Sean Vangorder’s post Face Topology [Breakdown Guide] was incredibly helpful when figuring out what good topology is and learning where the main edge loops of the face should be and how they intersect with eachother to prevent a mas of poles, ngons or tris when modelling.

His tips included starting off low-poly then adding to it in order to keep the model under your control and stop yourself getting lost. It is easier to add to a low poly model than to take away from an incredibly dense model.

Another website which I found incredibly helpful when I began to look at this assignment was Thunder Cloud Studio’s tutorial. This tutorial is broken down in to 7 main sections which go in depth about different aspects of modelling a human face, including common mistakes and how to avoid these.

Something that is highlighted in this guide which is incredibly important to consider when planning the topology of a head model is where the muscles within the face are and how they would crease in real life: areas that crease more (e.g. mouth and eyes) will need more edges in order to allow for this creasing.

Although Athey Nansel-Moravetz’s tutorial is not explicitly for a realistic human face, I found it helpful for planning out where the main masses of the face to plan from are and she reiterated the main tips I have gathered from the rest of my research:  Always layout the primary masses first. Eyes, Mouth, Nose-to-mouth loop,and Face loop. Even though you’ll probably tweak and change them later on, laying them out from the start will help you get it right from the start. Add additional loops out from the mouth and eye until they meet. Avoid ngons, tris and minimize poles.



Assignment 2: Face Model

As well as presenting our first assignment of this module, yesterday we were given our second assignment:

  • Model our own face in Maya with accurate topology
  • 50% of this module
  • Submitted on 09/05/16

We have been warned that, although this assignment seems like a smaller assignment than building a floating city, this is a lot more time consuming than we expect it to be and managing our time with this alongside our work for New Narratives will be vital if we want to succeed.

Even though this is a Maya project, we should take time to sketch/draw our faces and get an understanding of them from multiple angles as this will make it a lot easier when translating it in to 3D.

As well as drawing ourselves, we should also do research in to other artists topology and tutorials in order to get an understanding of what good edge flow is and how this will affect the models we make.

We Built This City

Yesterday we had our final presentation for our Floating City assignment and got feedback from the tutors on our outcome.

As a group we were happy with out end result and really relieved that we were able to get it fully rendered in time. The tutors advised us to focus more on the scale of our models; because we had made our models quite small, the lighting we had was very harsh and made it less believable.

As well as this advice, Conánn gave the class as a whole some tips on presentations;

  • When presenting rendered stills, don’t lose the artistry in the process, ensure that your end result is what you had in mind when doing concepts rather than letting the software dictate what the renders look like.
  • Any and all images in your presentation should line up and be pixel accurate or this will impact how professional your presentation comes across.
  • Spell check will save your life, especially if you’re doing posters and data visualisation  – otherwise, nothing matters.
  • Typography – base font should be 11px + 50% of the average age of your audience, headings should then have another 11px added to this.
  • There should be a visual hierarchy in your presentations