Imaging and Data Visualisation

So the end of Imaging and Data Visualisation is here. This module was both hard and enjoyable. The amount of skills I have learned from the module was fantastic. The lectures on Maya and it’s workings were very beneficial for the tasks that lay ahead in the module. The first half of the Imaging and Data was the Floating City project. This was the first project that required and outcome created in Maya. At the start my Maya skills weren’t up to scratch, but attending the classes on a Friday helped me develop my skills and therefore increase the quality of work I was making. Floating city taught me how group work takes a major role within Maya. Being able to pass about models and scenes helped me get into the group project’s again. Floating City was an enjoyable project for me as I got to research things that I was interested in and then bring these ideas to the rest of the team.  Modelling the city itself was a real learning curve within itself. In terms of the teamwork again showed me what would be the set up for New Narratives. Floating City was the favourite project out of the module.

Then on to the second project of Imaging and Data. The Head Model, this task was more difficult that I expected, although I had built my skills up I still had a lot to learn for the head model. The key thing that I would take from this task was that managing your time is key, although that lesson was learned last semester it became even more apparent with Maya involved. The Friday classes during the head model from weeks 6-12 were again very helpful. Alec is an awesome tutor and will always try and help in anyway way he can. This then made it easier to ask for help and advice. If I had off planned my time better I would of liked to go into more detail on Typology to make the model better. Although difficult, valuable skills and lessons were taken from the project.

Looking back to the start of the year I have made so much improvements on my 3d skills, to my own surprise I do like Maya now. Over the summer I plan to do my own projects to keep me on track for second year. All in all Imaging and Data was useful module to have taken, I felt this was a big part in my development.

Rendering Tests

Once the head model was finished I wanted to experiment with textures and lights on the head since i’ve never been able to do so before. The first set of images is just a texture that was used in the New Narratives module, this was a texture originally used for the tree but I thought it looked cool and decided to try it out, i liked how it looked in the model, although it is not textured the correct way for a face I thought it would be something different to show.


The next images have the same idea as the one’s above, this was a rusted metal textured that I had been using on my scene in new narratives, again  after being so stressed over the head model I thought some experimentation might of made it more fun.

Lastly is a graphic that I had made textured on to the head. Although the textures I am using would not be what I would of used if it had of been needed to be textured correctly. These were a nice way to finish the project off and show how the model looked.

Final Head Model

So it’s finally done, head model is finished. Although I’m happy that I got it done, I felt like a lot improvements could of been made. The most important one being time management. My poor time management was my main let down on the project. I felt that I rushed some areas due to the lack of time that I left myself with.

Although improvements could of been made, I was still generally happy with the outcome, one being that it did in fact looked human. Getting the typology right was again more difficult that I thought it would of been, tutorials were good for the beginnings of the head model but I personally find it hard to go back and forth between a tutorial and my work. This made me think about what type of learning best suits me, I think that a textbook or a hard copy would be better for me and I will take this lesson and imply to my future projects and work.

Another lesson I learned was that my beard was not in fact my friend on this project. The idea of shaving made me want to cry so I left my beard as it was, this ended up causing some problems as soon I as began Maya. Not being able to see my chin and jawline caused some confusion for me so the model doesn’t have all the detail that should of been there. Next time I should probably model someone without a hairy  face haha

Below is then the final images of my head, just for showing purpose I added some small lighting to the scene.

Then this is the wire frame of the head model itself, showing off the typology.

Then finally these are some quick 360’s of the model.



Almost there…

Almost there, just a a quick update on the current state of the my model. As the face is becoming more complex and detailed, I’m running into some problems. If you can guess the beard isn’t being sound atm. Trying to find my chin and jaw line is harder tan it looks haha. Even though beard is causing some difficulties I’m still happy with how the model is coming along, it does look human which is all good in my eyes.





Simulation Techniques

Dynamics are an extremely powerful feature in any 3D application. Without them there would be no particle effects like smoke, fire, realistic fluid effects, or computer, or complex cloth simulation.

  • Utilising dynamics is a vital step in your 3D generalist skill set.
  • Dynamics are calculated from a complex physics engine inside your 3D application, dynamics describes how objects move using rules of physics to simulate real forces.

A Brief History

Examples of Dynamics

  • Fantasia (Experimental hand drawn and painted dynamic effects)

‘Abstract music and abstract symbols on the page’

‘The relationship between music and visuals.’

  • The Abyss (James Cameron) – First fluid effect used in a feature film.
  • The Prince of Egypt (2D and 3D visual effects).
  • MPC – Modern VFX studio (Simulation Effects).

FX Showreel 2012 – Lorenzo Lavatelli

Jerome Escobar FX Reel 2014

  • The Art of Blowing Stuff Up.

Maya Dynamics

When simulating anything in Maya, make sure to set your playback speed to ‘play every frame’. This forces each frame to be calculated without skipping a frame to match playback speed.

Dynamics in Maya

  • N’Cloth
  • N’Particles
  • N’Hair
  • Maya Fluids
  • Soft and Rigid Bodies
  • Bullet
  • Bifrost
  • Fur/Xgen

nDynamics  – Maya’s main dynamic system.

nParticles – Particle dynamics can be used for effects such as wind, fire, smoke and water.


Tutorials Galore

As I progress with the head model the original tutorial I was following, I then noticed it was broken down into three parts, I had posted part one but the other two are now below. With reference to the tutorials below I have learned that the head model is no whee near as simple as it sounds, the amount of detail that is put into the head in the tutorial is amazing. But that does scare me, already I am struggling on keeping up with it or working in the same order.

I find it hard to work and follow a tutorial at the same, switching between the two can confuse me and it can be hard to get back into the flow of work after taking a break from it for a bit. I have started to take more detailed notes don while watching a tutorial, I would watch the video first and take notes then when it came to modelling I would have the notes in front of me, having a hard copy to look at and scribble on helps me pick up on things and process them better. Once the semester ends I am considering getting some Maya textbooks so that I can always refer to a hard copy for help rather than a video.

Parts two and three of the head tutorial are below.


Another tutorial that I ended up using was a sculpting geometry video that was recommended to me by Lorna, which was awesome for her to show me, the link is below.


So I’m getting there with the head model, or well I’ve at least started. Probably from the images below you can see it’s not exactly like the tutorials. I am trying my best and i hope to make it far better by the time final hand in arrives.

The geometry starting to be brought around the face.

Starting to get a generalised shape of the face, looks more like a mask.

These are the same as the images above except they are smoothed out.

Parful Head Models

So getting into some research and inspiration for the head model.

Below is a few links to a 3d artist called Daniel Peteuil, he his a 3d artist based in Los Angles, America. His specialities are anatomy, character sculpting and sculpture. I had came across this artist on art station, a site  that I would use regularly. What initially led me to is profile was the head sculpt of Cillian Murphy. Although my task is too model my own face, looking at these amazing sculpts would make you want to get better. I thought the head models of Cillian Murphy were amazing and I would love to reach the level that they are.

Next are some sculpts of a sci-fi or game styled character, these were sculpted by Daniel when he was a beta tester zbrush 4R7. Again when I saw these I thought that they were awesome, the detail that went into them is incredible. The renders of the model turned out pretty good as well, the orange light coming through the skins really pushes the theme that was used while designing the model.

Finally some other head models that I thought were a good for inspiration and to look at for facial structure.

Another artist who I cam  across on art station is a 3d artist named Dan Bullock, his skills are in digital painting, UV mapping, rendering, retypology, 3D modelling, PBR texturing and finally digital sculpting.

Below is some images of a sculpt that Bullock made of Sir Ben Kingsley , like the Cillian Murphy sculpt mentioned before, I couldn’t help but look at his page, again these are an awesome source of inspiration.

A quick digital sculpt of a skull, i found to be helpful when trying to get a sense of the facial structure, this then combined with the typology facial maps would make the model less difficult.

Finally this was a series of quick tests for face shapes and portrait testers. I really liked how each of the sculpts are different from each  other but  you can see they came from the same starting point. Researching into facial modelling and digital sculpting makes me want to build my skills more in this area, I think once hand in is over I might look into zbrush more.



Some more links and research on facial typology and 3d modelling.

Below is then some more face models and typology references, I came across these on  word press blog, link is below. I really liked this post as it really showed you what different ways and what different types of face models there is. I found these all to be interestigng and helpful for the project.

Typology Photos

So below are the photographs that Conánn took of me for the head model, i’ll admit I asked him a bit later than I should of, originally I was using photos that Caitlin had taken of me but my mouth wasn’t open enough in them and my beard was even longer in them so I thought new photos would of been more helpful. But the photos Caitlin did take were pretty cool so thank you to Caitlin.


After I had gotten the photos of Conánn I went over and edited them, adding a facial typology map and line to show where features are placed on the head. These two methods will be extremely helpful when it comes to modelling the head.


By a happy accident when I was on photoshop adding the typology mapping over my face I ended up making these little graphic pieces. Although they don’t have overly much to o with the head model I thought there were nice little experiments that came from the project. When looking at the graphics afterwards I noticed that the images layered over each other did show how the side and front profiles match up, this ended up being a good help with my research.

Head Model Lecture

When 3d modelling, always have images to reference and research topology of similar objects. Try to use both the front and side profile images to work from.

As you research you should keep a folder of images that are useful references from other artists, their 3d head models.

Patch Modelling

Patch modelling involves building a model in pieces using the create polygon tool. Building the mouth, nose, ears then bringing them all together.

Box Modelling

Starting a model from a cube or another basic geometric shape. This is used as a starting block with details added by extrusions, adding edges or edge loops.


Sometimes it’s more beneficial to trace over your model and re-do the topology. There are various tools & methods to perform this. In maya the method involves making an object ‘live’ and then using the quad draw tool under the modeling tool kit.

Digital Sculpting

The modern workflow is to usually start an organic character by sculpting digital in software such as zbrush & mudbox. This allows the artist greater flexibility in design by moving the topology process after the.