I will also point out that like Rebecca, doing organic modeling isn’t close to my area. I only modeled a couple in school as well, as Rebecca and I were in the same class. Out of the three characters I modeled for the class, only two were rigged. Only one of those two was animated for a project.
I would like to point out I will be using Maya 2011 as the version to model this in. I would also like to point out that this Maya is something I am learning as well, so I might be a little slow with progress with this head as I try to figure out where the buttons are and such that are needed.
Couple of Pointers
First thing I will point out here is if you haven’t modeled before in any 3d program, then know that is isn’t best to start with the human body in any form until you have grown used to the program’s tools, and modeled things before hand to gain a handle on things. Doing the human body is considered more advanced as other tutorials have pointed out in comparison to doing inorganic objects.
I would also like to point out that finding multiple tutorials can also be advised. When you follow a tutorial, you want to follow the work of one as the work could vary depending on how person who wrote it went about it. The advantage of having multiple tutorials is that the basics of each if they aim to model the same idea is that they will generally have similar steps. Say for example, you are following one tutorial and realize the author didn’t explain how to find the tool, or how to do something. Sometimes a second tutorial could have explained the step better, or had a better picture of where the changes were made.
Grabbing a Reference Image
Looking up Reference Images for the project or task of any sort is a must. Without the reference images, your model could become off in shape. Your model of a human head could have the shape of a fruit instead, or something alien. My instructor in class would always point this out, but he generally had to tell me to move past the reference images. When I was modeling the HMS Victory in 3ds Max, when he asked for us to turn in reference images, I gave him around fifty images of different angles, viewports, and what not of the ship itself, cannons, and everything I hoped to model on it.
You may ask where to find said reference images. The answer is quite easy actually. Sometimes the tutorial will offer you links to where they found their images so can grab one they used. Sometimes it is good to look for a similar image setup just incase you would like yours to be a little different.
As Rebecca pointed out, one place you can find excellent reference images is http://www.3d.sk/. Be WARNED before you go, the site is an artist reference site and most of the photos contain nudity. If you are offended by this, then please don’t click the link. This site here is actually pointed to in a couple tutorials I have been looking at. They also have textures there as well.
If you are doing inorganic models, then http://www.3dreference.org/ is also a nice place to look as well. They have their own tutorials as well, but they have a nice selection of blueprints. They have aircraft, ships, cars, and tracked vehicles.
I have also seen some people point to http://www.turbosquid.com/ as well. They have a nice range of textures that you can pick from for a price.
The reference image I found was from Gothax, and his work can be found here http://gothax.deviantart.com/. I have always had a love for Dragonball Z, and my favorite character of all time is Goku. I will attempt this as my first head in Maya.
Preparing Reference Images
Your next step should be simple, getting the images ready to be brought into the program. The very first thing should do is getting them lined up correctly in proportions so that the front of the head isn’t smaller than the side angle. We have Gimp at work which is somewhat similar to Photoshop which learned in school. You can move both images onto the same picture, just be sure you have them lined up and divided easily so they don’t overlap. Don’t try to scale the image unless you do it overall. Doing otherwise might throw off the proportions for the head. Be sure to save your work when you are finished once are satisfied with it enough to bring it into the 3d software.
Setting up the Reference Image in Maya
As I said I am not fully familiar with Maya, I don’t know at moment how to set up reference images into Maya enough to explain it. I am learning this as I blog about my experience. I have noticed a couple “How to set up reference images in Maya” on youtube, so I will be looking at those. Next week, I will pick up from here with explaining how to import images into Maya and setting them up in the software.