I have never retopologised anything, but I felt the need to assist Katie who was swamped trying to get the dog Normal Maps to work. As a matter of making progress and keeping the work afloat, I offered to sideline my editing in order to take a task and balance the work load. I knew I’d get the edit done with a few late nights, but this was important.
Katie guided me through the process and effectively I got to work turning her high-poly mesh into something more condensed for the purposes of rendering and rigging.
I basically had to follow a ton of reference and research in order to understand the anatomy of a dog because my first major learning curve was understanding the same biology that Katie and Jess understood.
Despite my constant frustrations to get its right, I continually sought feedback and as the week progressed, I got into the folow of the task and gradually understood the way the topology needed to curve.
It was actually this forum post on animal topology that best describes exactly how I got the final form. I realised that following topology was not enough to understand the curvature, and Katie and Jess encouraged me to look closer at real animals. As a result, I ended up examining dog muscle and movement to understand where the joints existed and thus could modify the topology accordingly.
I followed this site to get a broad idea, and despite it being a bull dog, it still had the relevant info needed.
I noticed the seperation of the legs, two curvatures in the torso, and then the neck. As a result, I build the edge loops and connections around these muscle fragments because ultimately this would influence rigging.
The ears were an interesting one where I encountered a significant problem. Katie had modeled the original mesh with the ears pinned down, meaning I had to maneuver around the side of the head and the inner ear to get the new topology on. In reality, I needed to find a more suitable and practical method because I realized this would ultimately impact the ear rig later down the line. Instead, while I continued to adjust the body to my feedback, Jess remodelled the ears and I simply attached them to the final mesh, resulting the images you see above. Effectively, with this cross collaboration between the three of us, progress wasn’t halted because of misunderstanding, instead the 3 of us played to our strengths and passed information back and forth when an obstacle got in our way.
Entirely a new experience for me, but with this task completed, it relieved Katie’s stress to focus on getting the normal maps down, and thus, we remain on track without any blockage in our path!