03 June 2012

www.montagestudio.org - Modeling The Female Head - Video Tutorial Review

Having done a review of a previous www.montagestudio.org product, I decided to review the other 2 products, so this the review of:
Hopefully I will get to review "Modeling the Female Body" sooner or later, but at the moment I am having problems downloading it so that will be another review

Anyway on to the review of "Modeling the Female Head". The first thing I have to mention is that I got the downloaded version of the video tutorial and here is where the first problem crops up.

The video file sizes in total were 2.1gig. Large files in themselves aren't so much of a problem if the place you are downloading the files from a reasonably fast AND the place your downloading from have good support for resuming file downloads. It's this last point that really caused problems for me. Here's how it works with me, when I'm downloading a big file which will take more than a few hours, I stick the download into a download manager over night and have it download. Then when I wake up I have a downloaded product. If in the middle of the night however the download gets interrupted and I wake up to find the product hadn't completely downloaded I click resume and in most cases it carries on where it left off. This was not the case with the place this product was stored in. As if you don't resume in a short time the download expires, meaning it has to start from the beginning, and with a 2.1gig file that doesn't download that fast to start with I was talking at least a 7 hour download. Very irksome. This isn't Montages fault as when I emailed them they were quick to send me another link which did work (if very very slowly).

Once I had got past all the download problems for the product, I opened it up and then another one of my pet peeves popped up again, and that was seeing that the videos were encoded in a proprietary format (.MP4), rather than being encoded in .OGG open sourced format. There really is no excuse for not encoding in OGG format, it's picture quality is excellent and it's compression features make it ideal for encoding video, not to mention that every platform has codecs for it.

There are numerous models and reference images for the vidoe tutorial and 9 video sections listed below:
  • Introduction
  • Part 1 - Eye
  • Part 2 - Nose
  • Part 3 - Mouth
  • Part 4 - Ear
  • Part 5 - Cheek, Chin & Forehead
  • Part 6 - Back of the Head
  • Part 7 - Neck
  • Part 8 - Final Touches
Each section obviously covers the different parts of the female head and how to model them. It's worth noting that this is not a Blender Newbie level tutorial, the speed with which it moves means that for it to be useful you really need to know the basics to start with. The videos do describe all the processes and keys they use but there is no key display on screen and the modeller moves very, very quickly. The clarity of the videos is very good however so everything is very easy to see (even if they are in a proprietary format!).

A lot of effort is made to show the importance of edge loops and their manipulations, as a good flow of edge loops is essential to good modelling when doing animations and applying various modifier such as subsurfacing. The individual steps in each of the videos are screen recorded very well so it will be possible to learn and follow all the processes to model your own head.

One slight annoying feature of the first video was that the person recording the video had a cold and was forever coughing and sniffing, it must be something about artistic Blender types that use MACS to not want to use editing techniques, maybe a video on the Blender Video Sequence Editor is in order?

Another minor problem that occasionally cropped up, was the video author would sometimes just add edge loops and vertices and say they will be needed later, rather than getting to the stage when they were needed and adding them then. A person modelling their own head wouldn't know they needed the extra rings so it would be good to know the tricks to modify a mesh to put it in the state you desire. Edge and Face Rotation techniques are covered but very briefly and it was difficult to track how they helped.

So all in all this is a good video tutorial, for those of you are wanting to learn how to model a female human head.. Though the use of the Poly Modelling method of modelling rather than Box Modelling my be a bit off putting to the box modellers out there.

Review Score 70%