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Table of Contents

Modeling a human head

This tutorial is for advanced users and shows how to model a human head with JPatch. Click on the thumbnails to enlarge them.


You should know how to use JPatch’s viewports and tools, especially how to:

  • Create curves, append and attach controlpoints
  • Insert, remove and delete controlpoints
  • use the extrude and lathe tools
  • use the auto-mirror tool
  • create hooks and five-point patches

Step by step instructions

Setp 1

Start with the shilouette. Note that the curve isn’t closed at the mouth. Don’t worry about the exact number of controlpoints, you can always add or remove points later. To insert a point, click on a point, select the curve segment using TAB and press the INSERT key. To remove a point (without breaking the spline), select it and press BACKSPACE.

Setp 2

Add one loop for the mouth and one for the eye. Then use the extrude tool to create patches for the lips, the mouth and around the eye: Select the loop by selecting one curve segment and pressing ENTER (JPatch0.4) or + (JPatch 0.5.3). Then click on the extrude button, and scale the extruded curves using the scale handles on the default tool.

Setp 3

Select the eye loop again and use extrude to make the lids complete. Then model the nose: You can start with extruding some points from the nose’s shilouette one or two times. Then add the nostrils (you’ll need five-point patches there), and connect the nose with the eyes and the mouth.

Setp 4

Add more curves to finish the face, then use the auto-mirror tool to make it complete: For the auto-mirror tool to work it is important that the points on the mirror plane (the Y/Z plane) are exactly aligned to that plane (their x coordinate must be 0). To achieve this, select all the points that should be on the mirror plane and use align controlpoints from the popup menu.

Step 5

Model the ear (this is quite difficult). You can start with lathing a curve, then deform it as desired and add curves where necessary. Keep a loop outside the ear, this is where you can connect it to the head later.

Another way is to create one curve for the outline of the ear and then extrude it multiple times to create the backside and the inside of the ear.

Step 6

Model the backside of the head, connect the ear, then model the neck. Use hooks and five-point patches where necessary. You just need to make one side of the head: If you’ve added new details e.g. to the right side, delete all points on the left side and use the auto-mirror tool again.

Step 7

The finished head in front- and bird’s eye-view. You can download the model file here.


  • It’s often useful to work in two or four viewport mode.
  • You can use the ALT key to move a point forward and backward (i.e. perpendicular to the viewports screen-plane).
  • You can use the ENTER (JPatch 0.4) or + (JPatch 0.5.3’s default) key to expand a selection. The selection will expand to the entire curve if a curve segment was selected, or to all connected points if one or more controlpoint was selected.
  • The viewports can be synchronized (it’s an option in the main menu).
  • Use “hide unselected parts” (a button in the main toolbar) to hide away the parts of the model you’re currently not working on.
  • You can “lock” a viewport to the current selection (an item in the popup menu). When rotating the viewport, it will rotate around the object it’s locked to. When locked, dragging with the middle mousebutton will rotate the view.
  • You can use the middle mousebutton to move the view (or hold down CTRL to rotate it) and the mousewheel to zoom.
  • You can place a background image to trace into a viewport by using the rotoscope option (set the image-file via the popup menu and place it using the rotoscope tool from the modeling toolbar)
  • Use four-sided patches whenever possible. Perfer hooks over five-point patches. Avoid using three-point patches, unless there is no other way.
  tutorials/headmodelling1.txt · Last modified: 2006/06/10 10:37 by (sascha)