Ambitious scene 2 The Eagle

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  11 November 2012
Ambitious scene 2 The Eagle

Placing these on top to show current progress faster.

(Older Post Below)
It has been some time since my last post the big ambitious elk scene if anybody remembers, I am finally back somewhat after life and work have slowed me down.
Anyway I have a new ambitious scene that I have been working on that involves this eagle. Right now I am just posting the eagle though I do have more scene made that will show soon. The reason I am just posting this for now is well bird anatomy is confusing and modeling one with feathers and somewhat pose-able/animate-able is a big challenge for me. So take a look tell me what you think.

I could use some ideas on feathers. should I model them in or just the key ones I have now? Should I use alphas? I am still debating on how this works out with birds.

This was all modeled in Maya 2010.

Last edited by Jackofkings : 10 October 2013 at 10:56 PM.
  11 November 2012
Not a bad start.

Have you seen this?

The guy who made it is on CGTalk. Maybe you can try to PM him, and see if he could offer you a bit of feedback.

Did you model your feathers with 2 sides?

  11 November 2012

The major feathers the primaries in purple and secondaries in light blue are double sided. the others are not.
But that is not set in stone. This is just a "Is this how its supposed to look?" and are their better/easier/more efficient ways of doing this.

Khalid's Eagle I can't really tell if the major feathers are part of the main body or are separate models attached. Also I have no idea what is going on with that wings anatomy. It looks right and the bone structure makes sense. But the flesh and the feathers I don't know what the anatomy is doing. I will have to ask him I guess.
  11 November 2012
Hey there, I can probably help. I have built a couple of bird models and have studied bird anatomy quite a lot. When I get the chance I can give you a paint over, but for now a few tips-

The back of the head is too large, the back of the skull should be farther forward

The shape of the eye is pretty good, but he needs a supra-orbital ridge, or eyebrow ridge, right above and in front of the eye

Do you intend to keep the mouth closed? I can see you have modeled the mouth all in one piece. If so, the line between upper and lower jaw should be more defined, and there should be a raised area, or lips, around the part of the mouth that extends onto the head behind the beak

There should be more of a bend at the ankle so the leg doesn't look so straight. By the way, the ankle is the part that a lot of people think is a "backwards knee" in birds. The real knee is actually higher up, hidden up near the chest of the bird.

From the above view, the flight feathers should be swept back a bit more, closer to being in line with the body. Basically, the tertials and secondaries closest to the body should be parallel to the body and they slowly fan out from there to where the outer primaries are about 45 degrees from the angle of the body

As for your question about alphas, I would say definitely use them. I have had good luck with it. As far as double sided, I had better luck with single sided as long as the pattern on the feathers is the same above and below. It is a tiny bit tricky to get both sides to line up.

Body feathers can be tough. I don't have too good a solution. You might want to check out "dodo master", a free plugin I used with some good results. It just has a tendency to slow things down a whole lot in the viewport and in rendering. Also can only be used on nurbs surfaces, so you must model nurbs under your model to attach the feathers to and then constrain them to the polygonal model with bind constraints if you are planning to pose or animate the model.

Anway, good start. I look forward to seeing how this progresses.
  11 November 2012
Thanks PerlinFalcon I have attempted to make all the changes you have suggested.

Also wireframes

  11 November 2012
Awesome! Looking much better! I'll try and post a paint over or drawing as far as what I was talking about for the flight feathers when I get home. It's a little tough to explain in words.
  11 November 2012
Ok, so here are a few paintovers. Let me know if you need clarification on any of them.

The yellow lines indicate the more correct angle of the flight feathers:

Some small corrections on the face:

The shoulder should be a little higher up on the body. Shoulder width is good, though.

Here is a quick render of the flight feathers off my latest wing model with some simple notes:

and a wireframe:

Another thing to keep in mind is that the feathers don't droop as much as you have them. The tailfeathers especially should be almost straight.

Alright, let me know if it helps. Hope I'm not being too much of a know-it-all. I just really get excited about bird anatomy!
  11 November 2012

It does and I thank you for it.

I think I will take my feathers off and build new ones that I don't have to fight to get in the right spot or straighten them out.
  11 November 2012
Nice work on that wing Catherine! I'd love to see some of your work. Any chance we could get a link?

It might also be a good idea to cut holes on the feet or toes where the talons fit in, and add some edge loops around them. I believe the feet are bald if I'm not mistaken, so you will want to add plenty of detail.

Can't wait to see your next update!


Last edited by AJ1 : 11 November 2012 at 04:05 AM.
  11 November 2012

I have completely redone all the feathers. They are no longer double sided and decided to make the wings a tad shorter.

Also small tweaks to the face.

  11 November 2012
Hey, looking really great! Much improved. Do you have plans for the body feathers? By the way, is this going to be a bald eagle or a golden eagle? Or even some other species of eagle?

AJ, thanks for the compliments on the wing. I am in the middle of working on my portfolio and don't really have any renders I'm happy with yet. But I hope to put something in my cg portfolio before too long.

Last edited by perlinfalcon : 11 November 2012 at 06:06 AM.
  11 November 2012
It will be whatever species that is at the beginning of this is As one day I would like to do a 3d version of the tapestry/song or something. I believe it is a golden Eagle.

As for the rest of the body feathers I might do as a did with my elk manes is just use alphas or alphas and normal maps. Experiment I guess.

As for now it is being put into a large scene that is going to have a little bit of everything. Hard surface/ organic the works and I will be posting what I have modeled on that so far here shortly now that I have the Eagle going in the general right direction.

Last edited by Jackofkings : 11 November 2012 at 07:27 AM.
  12 December 2012
Rigged and Hopefully Ready to Pose

Update time and I have been spending the last month rigging this and a mouse character of mine. Rigging isn't my forte and the eagle is the third rig I have ever done. But It will make posing it less of a chore in the future or so is the plan. I don't know how to post videos here or I would make a playback of the wings unfolding so here is some shots of the wings in various states of folding.

Mind you they are not perfect and I see some tweaking later on.

Also one question I have is my eagle is only around 13,000 poly's with the feathers it has currently and I have a mouse model that is also rigged at around 10,000 poly's. yet the eagle file is 8.5 mg in size while the mouse is only about 1.5 mg. I have deleted non deformer history. but the most annoying part is the eagle chunks/lags hardcore when moving or animating it if its in smooth preview mode

  08 August 2013
I have returned

I have returned to work on this after a long hiatus period. This is the first version and I plan on doing one of a different species. Probably a Golden Eagle for a different scene.
This is just a work in progress report as you can see I have no background yet. No Lights, this is just a basic render with the default lights in Maya. Mostly posting to get feed back on the general look of it.
Yes every single feather is it's own alpha poly plane, with approximately 35,000 poly's worth of feathers. All the textures are hand painted as I kinda want a somewhat painted look to it.

One question I have is should I do SSS and if so where and how. In truth I have never done SSS and not really sure what the textured process is for that.

Last edited by Jackofkings : 08 August 2013 at 04:36 PM.
  09 September 2013

I am going to try 2 different images and see how they each turn out. Here with the second image I have re-textured the Eagle to the appearance of a Golden Eagle. I will have them both have different poses as soon as I rig the feathers. (Something I should have done before but this has been a learning process). I don't know what I am going to do for the backgrounds quite yet. I am working on a serpent for one of the images however.

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