How to put Scales on a Fish?

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  03 March 2013
How to put Scales on a Fish?

Hello Everyone!

I've modeled out a High Resolution fish (Freshwater Bleak to be precise) and I'm trying to model out every scale and attach them to the base model.

I was thinking about using Snap to Curves and sliding each scale into place along the base but the scales are all aligned to the World Axis. Is there a way to have the Scales orient themselves to the geometry that I'm snapping them to by any chance? Or another way to put on every scale to the model?

Thank you for your time!
  03 March 2013
Is there any reason you need to model each scale separately? The easiest way to handle it would be to use a displacement map with scales sculpted in.
  03 March 2013
You could try to do it using a insert multi mesh brush.

The scales will position themselves to the underlying surface in the orientation that the IMM brush was created in. Meaning, you need to first model one scale or several scales, then position the viewport camera facing in the negative direction of the normal of the surface you want the scale(s) aligned to (looking down at the surface). If you know what I mean...

I'm talking about ZBrush of course btw, which you might or might not fault.

Last edited by ezekiel66 : 03 March 2013 at 12:23 PM.
  03 March 2013
@ Meloncov - Hahahaaaaa, I know! Right? My teacher wants to have high poly models with EVERYTHING sculpted out so we can have modeling portfolios geared towards movies. Then we're using a transfer map to bake out the normal's for use on models for a videogame we're working on. Two birds with one stone!

@ Ezekiel66 - Thanks! Yes!! I have access to zBrush at my school! I'm doing some research on it today and it looks promising! If I understand this correctly, I'd create the brush, then wrap multiple loops around the model in a row like this? Offsetting the loop on every other one to create that fish scale pattern.

  03 March 2013
Hey man,

Are you using 3DS Max?

  03 March 2013
Instructions for Maya (I don't know Max, sorry). Apologies for crappy model. XD

First move the pivot point to where you want to rotate on your scale ('insert' to edit pivot and 'insert' again to get apply changes)

Snap your scale onto your curve.
Freeze Transformations and Delete your History.
Select your scale, then select your curve.

Go to the Animation Tab
Animate>Motion Path>Attach to Motion Path [option box]
For world type choose Normal. The End time will determine how many duplicates you will have.

Animate>Create Animation Snapshot [option box]
End time should be the same as previous
Increment should be 1. You can change increment if there are too many duplicates.

If you get this weird tapering issue where there's more duplicates in one area (like you can see here near the end) you can fix that in the Graph Editor.

First ctrl+z to undo the snapshot
Window>Animation Editors>Graph Editor

If you zoom out you can see a kind of curve on a graph.

Select the top point, then select the left bar on that point and middle mouse drag down so it looks like this.

This will fix that tapering issue. Now you can redo the snapshot.
Animate>Create Animation Snapshot [option box]
Duplicates will be evenly distributed.

Now you'll still have an animation to deal with. Simply select your original model and curve and delete! You can combine all your new scales (Polygon tab>Mesh>Combine) and make a new curve to do the same along a different direction.

Final results. Hope this helped!
  03 March 2013
Thanks for that walk through, serbus! Thats a nifty modelling technique.
  03 March 2013
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