Create wings with particle objects

Hello All,

I’m using Blender 2.6

I am trying to create a set of wings using the particle hair system. What I am looking for is something to this effect:

In the picture above, I created the wing one feather at a time. It was very tedious and time consuming, and in some spots, I wasn’t able to get a very good feather blend. Especially near the wing bone. I would like to use the particle system to put the feathers on using objects. I would then use a couple systems with my objects at different lengths to create the different layers. However, I’m running into a snag.

I have gotten the particle system to plant the feathers onto the wing bone, but I can’t get the rotation/orientation of the feathers to lay right. I need them to lay on the wing bone, but the majority of the feathers lay perpendicular to the wing bone. Also, my other problem is that when I comb the feathers in an attempt to get them to lay correctly, they go through the wing bone. Here are some pictures to help explain (exaggerated for display purposes).

I have circled some of the feathers that won’t lay along the wing bone. The next picture shows the feathers going through the wing bone.

Here is what I have tried:
Changing the orientation of the base feather
Resetting the orientation (alt+r)
Messing around in the rotation section in the particle section.
Tried messing around with the physics tab (not really sure what I was doing tho)

All to no avail.

I originally got the idea to use this technique from the tutorial by David Ward:
But the end result with his technique didn’t work for me.

In the project I’m trying to work on, the wings are going to be a large focal point, so I want them to look very good.

Any thoughts?


Here’s one method to create a similar wing, may be worth playing around with. For what it’s worth the whole process only takes a couple minutes.

1 Like

Here’s a version that looks a bit more like yours. Made a couple minor changes.

  1. I rotated the base feather on z before applying the array, to make the feathers layer better. Overlapped them more with a smaller array offset (.7)
    2)Spent a little more time scaling , rotating and moving, at different points along the wing.
  2. When I had a wing layer I liked I duplicated the object, scaled it down a little (regular scaling), moved it, and rotated the tip feather on each layer (proportional).
    Also, when I scaled all the feathers (step 3 in image above) I changed to proportional linear, instead of smooth.
    Here’s about 30 minutes of work:

Thanks, that looks really good and a lot faster than what I was doing. I’ll give it a try.

The only thing I don’t like about it (which I wasn’t able to figure out how to easily fix) is that the wing bone it very obvious. I would like to have it blend into the rest of the wing. Would this be accomplished by placing feathers on it as well and blending them into the rest of the wing? Or would I just use some sort of texture on it? I would think that I would need to place feathers along the bone, bit I’m not sure if there is a fast, easy way to go about doing it. My original thought was to use the particle system.

Thank you so much for your help already.

I agree that the “wingbone” is an eyesore. I’m running out for a few hours and won’t have time to mess around until later tonight. Here’s a real hawk wing and a couple of things I notice.

  1. The 2 largest layers of feathers are very similar, same number of feathers, same feather shape, only the smaller one is a scaled down version.
  2. The smaller upper layers have less of a pattern and the feather shape is much rounder. You might have to do a little feather by feather work there.
    There are so many directions you could go with this, using curve modifiers will give you a bit more control to the wing shape I just like the speed and flexibility (literally) of arrays and proportional editing. And as always adding a good texture will bring it to life. Let me know if you have any questions, and post a quick render here or in WIP if you get any good results.