Birds` feathers???


what technic would you suggest to be used in Blender to simulate bird feathers? The similar ones as in Pixal short For the Birds

Would you use Softbody or curve guided particles emmiting objects (particular feathers)?

Maybe Blender is still really amateur and incapable of doing these kind of CG technics.

I don’t know about animating them, but see this thread for “feathers” with the particle system:

Fur is not the same thing as feathers like this ones:

According to the article linked below each bird had over 2800 individual feathers. Pixar wrote custom software macros to handle the feather animation and had to render the birds a couple at a time because they used so much memory. Some of the best people in the business worked very hard for weeks to accomplish this effect.

It is a poor craftsman who blames failure on his tools. Blender is a tool like a chisel or paintbrush; it is as professional or amature as the person who uses it.

Here’s a tut on how one group did feathers in Maya - they went so far as to get an actual bird and photograph its feathers to make color and transparency maps!

I have made some experiments. Using of particles and Duplivert seems like possible way how to create and mainly animate feathers.

Here are settings if someone would like to continue and test is further. The focus was on the technique so sorry for very simple bird.


There’s a short article here on how they modeled the birds in Plumiferos. Mostly, the feathers were mesh modeled individually. My guess is that the Pixar birds’ feathers are likewise modeled individually. Takes a bit of time, but if you really want the best possible results, which can be animated and deformed exactly how you want them to be, this is probably the solution.

Fur is not the same thing as feathers like this ones
A pretty convincing feather effect is possible with particles, as you can see in the picture, in the one marked “feathers”.

You could use a combination approach with different methods for different kinds of feathers on your character.

The dupliverts solution looks like it’s got some potential but I wonder how it will be to animate over an entire bird.

Maybe Blender is still really amateur and incapable of doing these kind of CG technics.

That’s probably not the problem here. In any case, to get professional results like this requires a lot of effort no matter what software you’re using.

I was doing this a while back, and started a thread on it, and got some pretty good looking results using beast. The only problem was that, although it looked really good, it was totally impractical due to the fact that there were soo many cards scattered accross a sphere I could barely even rotate the camera around to render something out, much less animate anything of any sort.
good job pioneering! Keep it up!