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Character Topology


Checkup list

before handing a model to animators

Head

  • Make sure the eye loops are correct for closing the eye without overlapping and the distance between faces is uniform 
  • Make sure the edge loops near the eyebrows allow for correct deformation.
Body
  • Always model your character with the arms at 45 degrees rather than 90. It allows for a better understanding of the shoulder area deformation. Also bend them slightly so there is less UV distortion (around 30 to 45 degrees too)
  • Always spread the fingers in the hand slightly and make them in a relaxed pose.
  • Make sure the eyes are aligned forward perfectly. Makes it much easier for animators to pose and keep it uniform between models. Later on they will change the angle that it looks at.
  • Make sure that hidden topology (ex. Wrists under a jacket) match the original bone shape so they can be skinned correctly.
  • Make sure that key loops aren't relaxed and too far away from the joints (ex.fingers)

Golden topics:


How many Polygons?

Dead or Alive series, Xbox, 2001-2004
Character – ~10,000-15,000

Gears of War, Xbox 360, 2006 (according to D’Artiste book)
Wretch – 10,000 polygons with diffuse, specular and normal maps
Boomer – 11,000 polygons with diffuse, specular and normal maps
Marcus – 15,000 polygons with diffuse, specular and normal maps

GTA San Andreas, PS2, 2004
Characters – 2,000 polygons with 1 256×256 8bit texture
NPCs – 1,200 polygons with 1 256×128 8bit texture

GTA IV, Xbox 360/PS3, 2008
Story Characters – 8-10,000 polygons with multiple 256×256/512×512 diffuse, specular and normal maps
NPCs – 3-4,000 polygons with multiple textures

Half-Life, PC, 1998
Zombie – 844 polygons
High Definition pack Zombie- 1700 polygons

Halflife 2, PC, 2004
Alyx Vance – 8323 polygons
Barney – 5922 polygons
Combine Soldier – 4682 polygons
Buggy (without mounted gun) – 5824 polygons
Classic Headcrab – 1690 polygons
SMG – 2854 polygons (with arms)
Pistol – 2268 polygons (with arms)

Halo, Xbox, 2001
Masterchief – 2,000 polygons

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, GC, 2002
Link – 2800 polygons

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, GC/Wii, 2006
Link – 6900 polygons

Lost planet, X360/PC, 2007
Wayne – 12392 polygons (but finally 17765 polygons for compatibility with motion blur effect)
VS robot – 30-40,000 polygons
Background – ~500,000 polygons

Mass Effect, X360, 2007
Sheppard + armor + weapons – ~20,000-25,000 polygons

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, PS2, 2005
Snake – 4,000 polygons

Project Gotham Racing 2, Xbox, 2003
Vehicles – 10,000 polygons

Project Gotham Racing 3, Xbox 360, 2006
Vehicles – 80,000-100,000 polygons

Quake, PC, 1996
200 polygons with 1 320×200 8bit texture using predefined palette.

Quake 4, PC, 2006
Player model – 2,500 polygons with multiple diffuse, specular and normal maps

Resident Evil 4, Gamecube, 2005
Leon – 10,000 polygons

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, PS3, 2007
Main characters – ~20,000-30,000 polygons
Drake – ~30,000 polygons
Pirates – ~12,000-15,000 polygons

Unreal Tournament, PC, 1999
Player model – 800 polygons

Unreal Tournament 2k3, PC, 2003
Player model – 3,000 polygons

Unreal Tournament 3, PC, 2007
Weapon models – 4,500 to 12,000 triangles for the first person view

Virtua Fighter 5, Arcade/PS3/X360, 2006
Character – ~40,000 with diffuse, specular and normal maps
Background – 100,000 – 300,000 polygons

T-Pose

Good discussion threads: