Course: Creating a Realistic Head in Blender

Hello and welcome to this complete Blender tutorial series on creating a realistic head in Blender 2.6 by Kent Trammell.

This is a in-depth tutorial series explaining the creation of a realistic human portrait with Blender. The entire process will be covered from base mesh modeling, detail sculptingtexture paintinghair growing and styling, sub-surface scatter shading, and compositing. Some of the more time-consuming tasks will be time-lapses with commentary like modeling, sculpting, and texture painting; the other parts will be mostly real-time.

Editors note: This series compliments well with the Citizen tutorial on Particle and FurFemale Head series and Compositing in Blender DVD by Bartek.

DISCLAIMER: We cannot redistribute the references used in this tutorial due to the license, but we can use them under Fair Use laws for educational purposes. They’re not available for commercial use, though.

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63 Responses to “Creating a Realistic Head in Blender”
  1. Posts: 2

    Hi Kent,
    First of all, thank you for all your amazing tutorials.

    I have a question about settings that give realistic perspective in the viewport, mainly the lens angle. In this tutorial you’ve increased it to 80mm from the default 35mm – what was the rationale behind that? Also, when you convert to metric system – or relabel the units, since 1 blender unit is 1 meter – your head sculpt is the height of a person, 1.7 meters. Does this have any connection to the lens angle?

    Also, on a tangential topic, if you had to create a head with realistic dimensions, would you aim at the right dimensions from the start or for some reason make it much bigger and scale it down after it was ready? And would it even matter which way it was done?

    Thanks in advance for the answer.

    • Posts: 1
      abject says:

      I can probably answer this, since I am a photographer by trade. An 80mm lens is quite often referred to as a portrait lens. Lenses with focal lengths around 35mm tend to distort your subject when used in close up portraiture (think fish-eye, only much less pronounced).

      Longer lenses like a 200mm may compress the contents of your photo so much that it may seem like your subject is sitting directly on top of the background. So, a lens around 80mm is good for a scene like the one that is being rendered in this tutorial. It’s gives good coverage without distorting, or compressing the frame too much in either direction.

  2. Posts: 5
    irishrose says:

    Normally a 35mm lens would not be an ideal portrait lens. You would have to get quite close to the subject in order to fill the viewfinder and provide good detail to the image. By getting too close to the subject you would introduce some distortion into the image. Normal portrait lens focal length is 80-about 105mm. I’m sure a professional photographer would be able to provide a better insight, but this is what I have found and read over the years in rl photography.

    • Posts: 61
      dolores 74 says:

      Thanks irishrose, I did the test. Always wondered why my character looks so weird in close up.
      I did the test. Posted the result in an image on my profile.

    • Posts: 1
      nbernardsen says:

      You have indeed avoided the widespread myth, that wide-angle lenses distort the image.
      The most common portrait focal lengths for 35mm film or sensor format range from 70 to 135 mm.
      70 being for the “american shot”, 135 for a close-up.

      The distorting effect when you get too close to the subject is caused by the fact, that the distance between the lens and the tip of the subject’s nose is significantly shorter than the distance from the lens to the ears. Thus, the nose appears to be comically large. With the right point of view a person can be made to look like a bobblehead doll in camera.

  3. Posts: 1
    doodyfed says:

    Guys..i got a problem with the course in sss part…in the video ..i saw when Kent add the back scatter. Epidermal . Subdermal ..but not the diffuse..
    How should I add the diffuse texture ..plz

  4. Posts: 72

    All your tutorials are so amazing. I admire a lot your knowledge on anatomy and your focus on knowledge about the subject matter as opposed to the software/technology. Thank you!

  5. Posts: 1
    lokifawkes says:

    Great tutorial, except the prerequisite is unreasonable and for even some of the most experienced and talented artists, unattainable.
    Generally, only someone already capable of everything the tutorial teaches would be able to do the first part at all, and only if they are “perfect” with the sculpt tool at low resolutions. In layman’s terms, kids, don’t try that first step at home.

  6. Posts: 44
    Rafael3D says:

    hi kent

    i really loved this tutorial as well as all your works…but i have one question, a “VERY NOOB” question that makes me go out of my head!!!how to use the knife tool as a lasso selection T_T ?just like u do at the beginning of the first lesson to do the nose of the base mesh.

    best regards and keep up the great work.

    • Posts: 97
      bonrw1 says:

      Hi there!

      It took me a while to figure this out too, but after studying this video for a month,Ive found the answer 😉
      It’s because he Is using blender 2.62. And that version of blender did not then have Bmesh, the new modelling system that has been in blender for a while now, but not in the version that kent uses in this video. Bmesh changed the knife settings and also allowed us to do thing like “F” to fill a face. You can still make cuts like Kent did though, I’ve done it myself! To read more about the new knife tool, and Bmesh, then these links might help :)

      • Posts: 44
        Rafael3D says:

        oh, now i understand a little more about bmesh.

        thank you so much but i didn’t figure it out yet(i mean the shurtcut to do that)….i’ll take a look at the wiki manual more accurately trying to figure it out.

        thanks for the explanation 😉

      • Posts: 97
        bonrw1 says:

        The shortcut for the knife tool? It’s “K”. 😉

      • Posts: 44
        Rafael3D says:

        nope, the shurtcut to make the lasso selection using the knife tool like kent use to do the nose cut in the base mesh in the first video…i didn’t figure it out yet.

      • Posts: 97
        bonrw1 says:

        @Kent Trammell: no problem, always happy to help 😉

    • Posts: 97
      bonrw1 says:

      Aah, that’s because they removed the lasso knife tool from blender when they got Bmesh! Although you can still use the lasso knife tool if you download 2.62 (the version in the video)!

      You can get it here:
      just select you’re operating system, and it will download! :) And it won’t change the version of blender you have at the moment! :)

      • Posts: 44
        Rafael3D says:

        Ouch D:


        pretty clear now…thanks man 😉

      • Posts: 97
        bonrw1 says:

        Yeah, Although you can use the other knife cut tool for creating the nose areas, I have done it myself 😉

        No problem! I’m glad I could help :)

        If you have any other questions, ask away 😉

        BTW, did you just get citizen??

      • Posts: 2028

        Couldn’t have said any of that better myself. Thanks, bonrw1 :)

        @Rafael3D: Thanks for watching!

  7. Posts: 44
    Rafael3D says:

    Hi guys

    To kent: man it’s a pleasure to learn from you, i really appreciate your tutorials!!!

    To bonrw1: i started learning blender a few months before the interface was completely changed(i dont remember the release), you know, i was really excited about this amazing software and learn how to use blender for me was just fun….but after this hard change i got stuck and this discouraged me so much that i left blender for about 2/3 years….then i discovered cgcookie about 4/5 months ago and i immediately became citizen ,but i don’t have all the time i would love to dedicate to blender, infact i finished only one tutorial so far T_T


    • Posts: 2028

      The CGC community is great about helping each other out! Please continue to ask questions, watch training, and try not to get discouraged. Happy blending, Rafael3D :)

  8. Posts: 97
    bonrw1 says:

    Yeah, CgC has really inspired me to do blender, I never really got into it until I found this place! :) It’s been really fun to have a citizen membership, and well worth the money! Thank you very very much for all you’re amazing tutorials you are providing us! As I am only 13, it’s nice to know I have a whole life of blender and CGC ahead of me!
    I cannot thank you enough for you’re amazing work.


  9. Posts: 1
    lauckstreet says:

    I began watching the first tutorial on sculpting hoping to learn something I desperately need to learn. Seeing the title to this tutorial and the description as being an in depth tutorial, I was excited. But after watching about 1 minute I stopped the video to write this.

    Question: How can you call this an “in depth tutorial” when all I’m seeing is you quickly do things and you don’t explain anything whatsoever as to what you are doing, how you are doing it, why you are doing.

  10. Posts: 3
    tarix1 says:

    I don’t see why this tutorial is needed, just slap 2 nodes together and you’ll be there :)

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