Cello, hoping for some feedback

This cello is a 100% from scratch model, based on a lot of references and a moderate amount of research into how string instruments are constructed. To get better control over the wood grain, I’ve made my own wood shader based mostly on the tutorials on http://www.artifisizzler.com/

I do know I still need to add scuffs, dings, and other distressing to it to make it look as real as it can, but I’m not quite at that point yet.

I’m trying to use subdivision and mirroring to keep the actual model itself as simple as possible, which seems to be working fairly well so far.

I’m fairly happy with it so far, but it still has a cartoony feel to it, and I’m not sure what do do about it. I’d love feedback in general, and on that issue in particular.

Here is the blend file itself: https://mega.nz/#!MtZUhIyK!cmb5BRIn0og-HmcyKZQBUmh7bofsgTNoqIqB-uy7bAE

My wood node group is this:

Different parts of the cello have their own materials that are all slight variants on this:

Thanks for taking the time to look!

https://imgur.com/a/jwnG4Some more angles:

The wood surface is not reflective enough. I had a look at some images on google, and the coating appears to give it more shine.

(Grabbed the image from https://blog.oup.com/2016/08/cello-facts/)

The modeling is top, so far. My suggestions would be to break up the body into separate parts, especially the side walls and the top and bottom parts. And the edges of the soundholes should be sharper. Sorry, I don’t know the right technical terms for the construction of a cello.

The main reasons why this looks a bit cartoony are the materials and the lighting. The procedural wood isn’t detailed enough for closeup renders and it lacks the finer details that wood has and which make it such an interesting material. I also think the cello’s body should have a smoother clear coat with less roughness. Therefore the materials don’t play nicely with this kind of lighting. Normally, a light from the side (like you used) would bring out the structure and texture (in the sense of lumps and bumps and grain) of the material. And some highlights and more shadows would also add to it.

Yeah, I see what you mean. At some point I turned down the clearcoat for some reason, and I should not have. Thanks.

I get most of what you are saying, but one part I don’t quite follow. What would be the purpose of breaking the body into multiple parts? Just sharper delineation between the pieces of wood, or am I missing something?

Thanks for the feedback! :slight_smile:

Exactly that. In the closeup shots the rounded edges and the resulting highlights make it look more like casted plastic and not wood because this shape couldn’t be done with wood. Instead of breaking it apart, harder edges with edge crease could help also.

The wood texture seems to be very regular (parallel grains). Because string
instruments usually are lacquered the reflectivety needs some workover.

I’ve separated the front and back panels from the side walls, and added more glossy clearcoat. To try to simulate layers of varnish over wood combined the bump map from just the wood rings with a largeish scale noise texture, and used that for the clearcoat normal (God I love the new principled shader) and am mostly happy with the results.

It’s still far from perfect, and I’ll happily accept any other feedback anyone feels like giving, but you’ve already helped me to improve it a LOT. Thank you!

Very good progress. I hope you don’t mind some additional thoughts, though.

Overall, delightful model! Well done with the scroll (I just modeled one myself, and they are tricky!)

I agree with “texture too dense” but the rest I’d give a pass. I’d also add that the trim around the edge tends to stick out above the face sheets. It wraps around the joint, not butts up against it
The string holder (the black part) is also made of hardwood, so it will have a much finer grain than you showed.
The bridge is a tad on the spindly side, and the finger-board is too thin where it sticks out.
If you wanted to get really fancy, modern “strings” are generally spiral wound flat steel wire:

Oh, and the metal knobbly bit on the end of the bow would be knurled, as it is for adjusting the tension in the bow hairs.

Wow, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the extremely detailed feedback! It’s a given that nobody will be able to re-examine more than a few iterations of the same model without getting extremely bored of it, so I certainly don’t want to come off as if I am demanding more feedback and being generally ungrateful.

With regards to “I hope you don’t mind some additional thoughts”, of course I don’t. The point of posting something here is to have it ripped to shreds so I can improve. If I wanted to just hear “that’s nice” I’d email it to my mother :stuck_out_tongue:

That said, I may as well post the latest iteration, taking into account the feedback I’ve gotten. If anyone feels like offering more help that is just fine, but thing is expected.

Oh, thanks specifically for pointing out the wrongness on the rim. I had neglected to actually get good references for the edge trim, called “purfling”, which I really should have.

Very nice enhancements. It’s looking really good. All the modeling is great, but the sound holes fall apart. They are not as defined as the rest is. Some control loops for the rim could fix that maybe.