Jason Pook's Games Design Blog

Topology- 3D Realisation.

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This 3d Realisation lesson we looked into topology.


The word topology refers to the geometric surface characteristics of a 3D object. Modelers strive for “clean” topology, typically illustrated by a 3D mesh with efficient polygon distribution, proper placement of polygonal edge-loops, few or no triangular faces (as opposed to 4-sided “quads”), and clean precise creases that minimize stretching and distortion.

A second aspect of good topology, and an important concept when modeling for animation is increased polygonal resolution in areas of a 3D model that will undergo the most deformation during animation (joints, facial features, moving parts)-

Topolgy is the key for us beginner modellers to have a better understanding of how to model as the topolgy of a shape cuts it into segments (lots of little depending on how detailed) so you can see how that object or thing looks in a wireframe. Understanding topology will be useful to us so to get us to terms better with topolgy we was set a small task to create topological images of 3 different topics.

These were:

  • A car family saloon pre 1980
  • A famous person (head and bust)
  • An old worn leather couch

To do this all we had to do would be to import an image of each topic into Photoshop having the image as the layer 1 then creating a second layer for the topology, turning the opacity slightly down on the image and then giving it a go. The reason for the sepearated layers was that you wouldnt rub out the image if you segmented it wrong, and when you finish the topology you can hide the image and save the jpeg so its just the wireframe.

So heres how mine went, for the car specified family saloon pre 1980 i chose the ford cortina 4door.

ford cortina ford cortina wireframeThis is my topolgy of the car, i felt it went really well for my first effort, i tried to keep everything in quad polys as thats what we model with in 3ds max and then in game engines they convert them into their own tri polys. The idea was to make the car look the same in the topolgy mode, obviously this is a lower standard than what would be in a game engine and it would need to be ironed out but for a first go i was pleased. No curved lines either all straight which is how modelling is done which is quite hard with the circular tires etc. The feature i felt i handled the best would be the bonnet with the hood raised.

Then i gathered my worn leather sofa.

worn leather sofaworn leather sofa wireframeSo the worn leather sofa i did second out of the group, there was lots of natural curves in this object so it is fairly difficult to keep the lines straight but the segmenting i did seemed to do it effectively. Best feature would be how i handled the continuous lines looping the shape i felt. It is quite low poly but it would be texturable to go into a game engine like this.

Finally the famous person:

vin-dieselvin-diesel wireframeThe famous person i chose was vin diesel in light of the recent vin diesel approach we did in a recent lesson for character design. Also because he is bald it saved the hair and stuck to the main shape of a head. I found this slightly more difficult than the rest due to the multiple different curvatures of the human face and structure of how it is. But the overall layout of the topology i felt it did work out to the level of detail i decided to take it to. I had no main idea of how to really go about this and felt it went a bit wrong in areas, i left out the detailing for the clothes as it could be texterured on. I would like to improve the facial topology so i will revisit this.


This task really made me think about how real life objects can be modelled if you understand topology and maybe if the topology was drawn on before like a blueprint the actual model would be easier as you would have a sort of model reference to work from. It also made me see how this could be encorporated into my drawing as the use of contour lines like in a drawing 101 session is very similar to topology and the curvature of objects expect topology is straight lines but to the same effect.


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Author: Jason Pook 3D

Current student at Hull School of Art and Design studying Games Design.

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