Course: Learning Mesh Topology Collection

Hello and welcome to this collection of videos on understanding mesh topology for modeling!

Mesh topology is arguably the single most important aspect to a high-quality model in many different areas. No matter whether you’re preparing a model for animation, modeling clean hard surfaces, making an organic model with smooth curves, or simply modeling something that is easy for other artists to work with, topology is key to each of these.

What is topology?

Topology refers to the structure of your mesh and the way the mesh flows around the surface and details of your model. Due to the complex nature of the subject, truly understanding it and grasping how to create clean, effective topology for your models, of all subjects, can not only be daunting but also very challenging. Historically there have been only a few tutorials scattered across the web that really delve into understanding it. We wish to change that.

Starting a while ago, Jonathan Williamson began producing Topology Overview videos here on Blender Cookie that attempted to demystify topology for everyone. Each of the videos have been very well received and so we have gathered each of those videos, along with our other various videos here on a single page; giving you a one-stop place to learn topology.

Jonathan is a self-professed topology snob and has made it a strong focus for everything he does. He has given many lectures on it and constantly works to help make topology easier to understand and learn.

Additional Reading

For further resources be sure to check out the Polycount Wiki:

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28 Responses to “Learning Mesh Topology Collection”
  1. Posts: 1
    Dennis says:

    Your link is broken for downloading the files.

  2. Posts: 8
    pharm says:

    The link’s not broken. You can watch them for free but you have to log in to download them.

  3. Posts: 3
    raybot says:

    The link for downloading the .blend file does seem to be empty. (and yes, I am logged in as a citizen :)

    I’m really enjoying this walk-through of topology, and I would love to have the mesh file, so that I can study the model(s) to get a good handle on where the edgeloops & faceloops typically go.

    • Posts: 4218

      Oops that was a mistake. Since this is a collection of partially unrelated tutorials, the downloads on each lesson, rather than the overview.

      I have removed the empty link.

      • Posts: 5
        xgkkp says:

        This appears to have gotten lost in some reorganisation again, I’m logged in as a citizen but the central course page has no links, and each individual video only has “HD Video” download?

  4. Posts: 11

    Hi, I am just beginning to study animation after being a painter for 35 years ( I would like to start retopologizing ,now that I
    have practised sculpting several models, but when I switch to edit mode the sculpted image does not appear. What am I missing, I have looked at yours and Kent Trammells tutorials over and over , but cannot figure out what I am doing wrong. Also, the object mode sculpture is
    not the same as the sculpt mode. I just got a new computer, so it does have the memory, – Windows 8, but I am concerned that it may be my
    computer. Any help would be most appreciated. With kindest regards- Linda

  5. Posts: 11

    Hi again, This is Linda again- forgot to tell you I was using 2.70a and then 2.71 and was not successful on either program

  6. Posts: 11

    Hello again
    Linda here. Sorry to be so dense, but I still get a mesh profile in edit mode. Object mode is the same as sculpt mode, but the original mesh
    shows up in edit mode – how do I change that. I am enjoying your remesh tutorials, sure hope I get that far!
    One little hint from a former art teacher , measuring should be as important in this medium as any and I notice that a common error is to
    put the eyes too far up on the head- believe it or not the eyes are in the middle of the head horizontally, measure your own in the mirror. l
    also I noticed Kent was having problems at the end of his male torso tutology – again- measuring- the muscles in the torso and the torso
    itself are too long. I hope I am not offending anyone by pointing out these errors. With kindest regards Linda

    • Posts: 4218

      Measuring truly cannot be beat :)

      Based on what you’ve said, I’m guessing you are sculpting with a Multi-resolution modifier? If so this is why you only see the basic mesh in Edit Mode. Multiresolution is a modifier, and so it does not actually modify the underlying mesh data. Instead the Multires Modifier applies the changes as a layer on top of the initial mesh, thus allowing you to make dynamic changes to the object, but retaining the original data.

      To modify the true sculpt data within Edit Mode you simply need to apply the multiresolution modifier. However, you really ought to only do this if you really need to. For retopology there is no need to apply the multires as the retopology should be done as a second, new object.

      Does that help?

  7. Posts: 11

    Hi Jonathan- Thanks so much for all your patience. I am sorry, but I have been all over this thing and I am still stalled. I have tried both with and without applying the multi-res. and all I get in edit mode is mesh- base mesh or multi-res. mesh. I am not clear what you mean by –
    “the retopology should be done as a second, new object.” I will keep trying by watching tutorials again.- Thanks again, I appreciate hearing
    from you. With kindest regards, Linda

  8. Posts: 3
    ezekiel77 says:

    Can this be done with a Daz Studio model that’s imported into blender as well????

    • Posts: 633
      richard w says:

      They seem to have started a new wiki, but reused the domain wiki.polycount; which is causing the problem. The old wiki still exists, but is now called oldwiki.polycount instead of wiki.polycount.

      I’ll update the link now, but you can find the page here:

  9. Posts: 4
    vinslider says:

    Thank you for the link but I thought richard w find topology Jonathan Williamson, and you can download it from the mesh Jonathan Williamson ?

    • Posts: 4
      vinslider says:

      Oops Thanks for the link richard w, but I expected to find the topology of Jonathan Williamson, and it can download the mesh topology face Jonathan Williamson you?

  10. Posts: 5
    xgkkp says:

    Perhaps I am being dense; When I go to the individual lesson pages, there is no download link for the source files, only the “HD Video” link, and I cannot see one on this page.

    This has been the case for at least a month (the first time I checked), even though “richard w” seemed to state that it was working yesterday? Is there something wrong with my citizen subscription if I cannot see them?

    • Posts: 633
      richard w says:

      For older lessons like this one, the source files and the HD video are often in the same download. I’ll make a note to rename the downloads for these lessons to make it clearer that the file contains the source files and the video.

      Sorry for the confusion.

  11. Posts: 4
    vinslider says:

    I found a website or I download the mesh Jonathan Williamson, but when I want dezzip , w7 refuses because the file is a 64 and I have a 32 ‘ (

  12. Posts: 3
    olie0land says:

    Hi, Jonathan (or anyone else who might know).

    Do you have any recommendations for sites/resources that deal with edge loops and edge flow and mastering them? I’ve been using Blender off and on for a few years now, but still have a lot of trouble with controlling edge flow. I’ve watched all of your tutorials on the subject and it all makes sense while I’m watching, but when it comes to my own modeling, I always get stuck at some point. Would appreciate a push in the right direction.
    Thanks so much.

  13. Posts: 4
    pur1n says:

    i am really confused by all the comments. are the files available for download now or not?
    because if they are i am going to buy citizen-membership. i could really use those right now!

    • Posts: 4218

      Hey there, all source files are available to download for Citizen members :) This includes the files and videos for all of our complete courses.

  14. Posts: 1
    ranimax says:

    Hi Jonathan hi, this is so good tutorials , I hope you release more tutorials,I worked on my character as a test,I want to share this next.

  15. Posts: 2

    Hey Jonathan, just wanted to drop by and say: Thanks for another immensely helpful course! A few months ago I came to a bit of a standstill with my work, and found myself briefly pondering the question “Why isn’t the mesh of my model animating properly?!” Then it clicked: My topology was messy! *facepalm*. Turning to you here was by far the quickest and easiest decision when it came to learning topology. Thanks for being a great teacher, once again! (:

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