Creative Futures

A Guide to Topology and UV Unwrapping Research

The research that was conducted into topology and UV unwrapping was not material that I had located of my own accord, but recommended to me by others who had felt that they had been useful for them – and hoped that I may benefit from them, too.

I talk about implementing the techniques covered by this research in this post.

Face Topology [Breakdown Guide] by Del

01-3(E.1 – Shown above, a still image taken from the Face Topology Breakdown Guide) 

The Face Topology guide was recommended to me by Conann Fitzpatrick during the personal tutorial session in mid-November. I had expressed concern about being delegated such a significant task of creating the boy character when all previous attempts at character modelling had gone poorly for me in the past. In response, Conann reassured me that there were many in the room that were doing something that was new for them, too – that was comforting to hear.

The guideline was vital for me when it came to retopologising the boy’s head for Scott to rig, and for the UV unwrapping. I followed it religiously, taking the process slowly as I followed the patterns that the guide. I understood the reason why the guide had been laid out in such a way – for rigging, the vertices would need to be manipulated in order to create expressions and facial movement. The patterns are markers for the muscles and contour of the human face – by achieving clean topology patterns around these areas, the model would be able to move in such a way that emulates realistic facial articulation.

UV unwrapping tutorial for Maya 2015 by James Taylor 

The tutorial featured above was recommended to me by Katie, after I had commented on how poorly my previous attempt at UV unwrapping had gone during our first semester of our second year. I had seen this tutorial during that time, but I lacked the technical comprehension at the time to really utilise the guidance contained within the tutorial to full potential.

My confidence in Maya has increased since that time, and reviewing the tutorial this time around made me somewhat concerned as to why I had found following the process so difficult previously. The only difficulty that I faced with this tutorial is that I could not get the automatic unwrap feature to work with my own copy of Maya, and therefore, had to follow the process of mapping and unwrapping the UVs manually.  Whilst I was frustrated at the time, with some oversight I now see that unless the automatic feature had not worked, I would not have gained a new technical ability and would have had to rely on that feature again in future, rather than having the knowledge to implement the technique myself.

I am seeing a vast improvement in my technical abilities throughout this semester. Despite the apprehension of being delegated with such vital elements of the project, I feel that by being forced out of my comfort zone I am tackling my insecurities which have prevented me from achieving the standard that I have wished to have using three-dimensional software packages. In addition, I feel that with increased confidence and database of knowledge, I am noticing that my comprehension has improved whilst watching tutorials and conducting research. I hope that this is a pattern that continues in future.


Face Topology [Breakdown Guide]. (2011). [Blog] Polycount. Available at: [Accessed 20 Nov. 2016].

Taylor, J. (2014). UV unwrapping tutorial for Maya 2015. Available at: [Accessed 29 Nov. 2016].


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