Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Retopology Hell

Since the blog is slowly turning into my diary of successes and failures of learning to animate in 3D, I might as well write an update so I can look back on this at some later date when I can feel superior to this current version of me who is utterly lost…

At the moment, I see triangles when I sleep. I’ve come to hate triangles. I despite their three-sided nature, their pointedness, and the fact that they’ve almost impossible to transform into one of those nice calming shapes with four sides.

The animation self-learner course continues with my making some major mistakes along the way. Yesterday, I modelled and textured a head and it looked pretty good. I then tried to animate the mouth and hit all kinds of trouble, which is pretty much where I’m now stuck. I’d ignored the advice of the professionals and hadn’t ‘retopologized’ my model.

Basically (if I have this right), when you model a character, it can have any number of polygons inside it. Some get up into the multiple millions, which look impressive in the modelling software but are completely impractical when it comes to trying to animate them on a home PC. So what you do is draw a very low resolution net of squares all over your original model, trying to avoid triangles when you can (though this is more difficult than it sounds) and following the general contours of your model.

Then using some magic (black cats, vole eardrums, a bottle of distilled spirit), you combine this low density model with your previous high density mesh and the result is something with polygons in the mere thousands, rather than the millions, you should be able to animate.

The reason I’m stuck is finding an easy way to do the retoplogy work. It isn’t helped by a PC which keeps crashing, losing my topology work…

It’s hell. Just hell. And if the version of me in the future could only get in touch and tell me where I’m going wrong, I (I say I but I suppose I mean we) will and would be very grateful.


  1. You seem to be missing a chunk of text...

    As for time travel, lets hope you invent it and you are now talking to yourself after you from 5 years in the future tapped on your window.

  2. LOL. Text fixed. My ability to handle technology grows worse with each day that passes. Now I can't even keep a blog.

    However, I have that time travel sorted a long time ago. You said 'hello', by the way, and suggests that you try the Euro Millions this week...

  3. Excellent. And when you win, your future self said you should split the winnings four ways: you, me, and our future selves. ;o)

  4. Suspect this far too basic for you, but Lifehacker are doing a 3D modelling school. I figured some of the links and resources might prove handy

  5. Honestly, nothing is too basic for me. I'm very grateful for the link. The current article is a bit basic but I've already found some interesting things from the list at the side. Cheers. ;)