Student Project
Modeling, Texturing, Lighting & Compositing

Work for the 3D Basic Modeling Master with Maya at Lightbox Academy. Model a head with a topology as correct as possible. Modeled in Maya, detail in Zbrush and textured in Substance Painter. Hair with Xgen. If you want to see a short abstract of the work process, click here.

Modeling a head – Face 3D Model Breakdown

Job Model a head
Job time 2 weeks
Software Maya / Zbrush/ Substance Painter / Arnold / Nuke


One of the great challenges of the course, modeling a human head. So far we have only done hard modeling. This was our first organic model. At first, the head had to be cartoon, but I decided to lean more to make it realistic. I modeled the base of the head in Maya, I mapped it and I finished sculpting it in Zbrush. Another challenge for me, and that was the second job I was doing in this program.


The texturing was done entirely in Substance Painter. I used mesh base of Maya and made the bakes with the head sculpted in Zbrush. Another challenge that this work presented me was to use the subsurface scattering correctly in the materials.

Hair with XGen

It was also the first time I used Maya’s XGen. This process was much more complex for me. At first I started using the new interactive grooming that includes XGen. Seeing that the results were not what I wanted, I opted to make different hair layers with XGen guides. Along with Arnold’s hair material, the result was more realistic and closer to what he wanted.


To test the textures I made three light schemes. One with a frontal light imitating a photographic flash, another with a light at 45 degrees and rim light, and finally, a more natural with a HDRI of an exterior with direct light. With these schemes, I could check the behavior of the materials and especially the subsurface scattering.


Finally, I made a very simple composition in Nuke adjusting small details. At first the idea was to present the model and the textures, that’s why I did not make any complex composition with it.

I thank you for your time and patience. I hope I have helped in some way and if you liked it, please share!!