Mianderers Critter Collection WIP

Hellow fellow Blender Users! This is a “side” small project I’m working on while I work on various other projects simultaneously. Meander spelled intentionally


I get demotivated very quickly, and this kind of working style makes me able to work on at least something out of the list of things (I get sidetracked so often it’s no longer amusing anymore).

[Critter #1, “Forager Bell”, currently in the garage!]

I’m aiming for a simplistic, but appealing in a retro-biomechanical/miniature/futuristic aesthetic, preferably recognizable by silhouette. “Vehicles” do not necessarily have an interior, as they’re more of a radio/wire-guided category.
Hopefully, by the end of it, I’ll have a collection of things (I’m still not sure what to call them; Kikkerland has a great one: Critters) that I can love and feel accomplishment from. Thanks for looking around! See you in the next update :crazy_face:

Inspiration & Motivation

Now I’ll try to be original in my own works. :person_shrugging:
Vangers [Game] | Gear Up! [Game] | These stuffs | The BD BigDog (Although not the legs :scream:) | First Robotics Comp (Wow, good memories watching games) | aand more if I add them :wink:


  1. TimeMe: https://b3d.interplanety.org/en/blender-timeme/

Thanks, everyone for being motivational to each other!
Now let’s see how far I can take this…


Man, Joseph how fast are you!?


Looking good, I like the concept and I think this has a lot of potential to be very unique


Thanks! I’ll do a daily post, preferably :yum:


I am getting a distinct beetle-like quality from this even though it is quite mechanical. Nice!


Thanks! Definitely went for that! :beetle: :yum:

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Looks like a cute bug. And retro-biomechanical? Sign me up.
Excited to see new critters! :partying_face:


Glad to hear :saluting_face: Feel free!

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ProgDay 02: Forager Bell gets “Pipe Storage”!

Added fluid storage for whatever purpose (hey how about fuel), I just felt like it looked cool. The metal clamps have antennae for signals.

Done for the morning, good night, people! :sleepy:


Apparently I cannot keep up with my daily schedule of posts I mentioned, sorry about that. I’ve been invested in GOT too much this week, I’ve come to S4E3, that’s 30H:14M run time already and I need to stop. My obsessions towards medieval/mythical are whole other thing rooted into my memory, and it’s been affecting me for a long time. It’s good stuff, anyone should try it; as with every other obsession one can have. Well, it revives my feelings to be honest to myself so that’s going well for mental stuff.
I’ll try to keep a steady update, a few per week perhaps, something realistic would be nice. But do keep in mind that this is a supportive project, one that will motivate me on the course of my main objective, which I hope to finish this year.


ProgDay 03: Forager Bell is Alive and “ready to see Action”!

Behold! I have given its blades, and defenses and blew some life into it.

Rotatable articulation blades, used for foraging, fighting, what have you. I think you can tell which way it rotates. It rotates in the same way the tires do, in order to "get over" things when needed. It's sharp! Oh, and the tires got spikes as well, maybe too violent for a cute critter...


It has some bio in it now, with some anemone infused antennae, for its senses. It can now scan the area, with multiple types of senses; although rest assured, it doesn't have eyes.

I’m off to coloring this thing now, I’m quite happy, although I planned to make the anemone bits mechanical arms, I’ve lost half my confidence to make it happen :person_facepalming: :+1:


Wow, this is a lot of progress, I really like the modular approach you’ve taken to adding detail. It really saves a lot of time to get the silhouette perfect, then add high-level detail, then mid, and so forth. I’m quite bad at doing that, I like to jump ahead, so this is very inspiring :slight_smile: I really like the antennae design- they’re very organic, but they also look very deliberate. Nice work!


Thanks, if only I had energy to continue adding mesh, but you do give me some, and I’m happy!
I’m actually quite bad at having the whole image from the start though. I always have the head in my mind, but it’s pretty hard to continue connecting a fitting body after that, especially with sketches. Blocking out the general final shape is very important, a thing I wish I have done over the years.
Thanks for the compliments! :smile:


:eyes: – it has turned from a cute little beetloid into a threatening menace! Stepwise refinement for the win.

Does it need arms/hands? You might instead have a companion who handles tasks that would require them – have a whole horde of specialized insectoids. :wink: (That wink is there for Robert A Heinlein who famously said “specialization is for insects”.)


Interesting… No one surely wants to live as a “farmer” or a “forager” (in this case a killer) for a life time, I’m very glad high-born isn’t a thing anymore :speak_no_evil:
Ants do it very well though, and they make it look very organized and beautiful at times :wink:
Thanks for the wisdom!


ProgDay 04,05,06: Bellanca dress up - “New Materials”!

I’ve been trying out many variants of the materials I’ve chosen to give this critter, and my lack of experience shines through. I had to watch a few tutorials to understand minor things and the concept of how material nodes function/affect each other. I’m still not total satisfaction, but progress is progress, and I feel like I’ve spent way too many days on this.

First, the base materials.
I have chosen, after a long pause in my brain, :thinking:… that a bio part must have bio-looking patterns! How genius!
All the other ones are just placeholders for now.
I spent about 4 hours (a day’s blend) adjusting and rendering at the viewport, and eventually, I came to the result you’ll see at the end. But much internal debate went into development. (Do I make it lighter>realistic, stronger>more pronounced, and aesthetically better)

Another thing that I spent a lot of time on was the metal mats. If I make it smooth, I can’t tell that it’s there anymore, since it reflects the empty void. So I need a better solution, and I was not about to make it rough and dull, as metal can be (man, I hate those metal-imitating plastics)
Rough metal needs anisotropic grains or some bump map to support it IMO.
Hmm, if only I could keep my shiny mats…
Oh, I know. I need more lights in an object-infested scene! Ah ha.
So I made one!

Boxy boxbox. I’m a fan of snap grid adjustments.
Box first, bridged between two of 'em, separate, viola. Every Sci-Fi platform ever. (Seriously, game devs need more creativity) I like it, better with high-quality renders with a clean luxurious white.
The metal plate resembles a clean scale of sorts, implying that we are in a lab of some sort, monitoring the mech yet to see the outer world.
I put sirens :rotating_light: on the corners. For the glass part, I had to mix the glass node with a transparent node to make the lights go through.
Light-Penetrating Glass

I initially intended to light the ones where the platform raised, but lighting them all up was aesthetically more pleasing IMO. Sorry scientists, I know it’s confusing :confused: :person_shrugging:

I felt like the occasional strip of metal made it more circuit-like so there.

Glass chamber. The cherry on top. No transparent node this time. IOR: 1.50

I wanted to make a sort of endless rows of containment platforms but that took my pc 21 hours to render with more than 700 platforms(28*28), and it didn’t reach the disappearing point so I gave up on it.

Instead, I now want to make it into a relatively small chamber with more details on the walls that will be high.
Here’s the progress so far:

:arrow_up_small: [The final result… For now…] :arrow_up_small:

Cloth Material Tutorial
Circular Brushed Metal Tutorial

I’ve had quite the quarrel in my head about this, but I’ve made up my mind. The first iteration of this critter’s size was that of a small insect. It was about 7cm in length, and that was good for me. Until it came to how Blender works with the lighting, atmosphere, and materials. Adjusting every parameter to fit the size inside an insect is tedious, and material-wise, it didn’t make sense. So, I’ve decided to upscale it. Now it’s 747mm in body length, and well, it’s maybe as big as the Meganeuropsis permiana, a dino-sized dragonfly that lived in its era. Being a dino enthusiast as well, I have no problem with it!

Seeing the final render myself
I’m not satisfied, seeing it with my eyes.
The scene’s too basic, although its only purpose was the feel and better reflections.
Will try to finish the scene, but I want to move to the next bug, so I don’t know where this is going right now. All I can say is, I’ll do something, just not sure if these materials are final. Do you think it looks good? Feedback is appreciated as always, but even more so for material-related stuff. I’m really bad at working with colors, and after like an hour of staring at them, I already need a fresh pair of eyes :sweat_smile:
Thanks for looking!

Bytheway, time:


You need an HDRI to make your reflections more interesting. I think that alone would make a huge difference :slight_smile:
I like the direction you’re going with this, it’s very organic and very funky!


Thanks! And while HDRIs work great, well, I should’ve done that :sweat_smile:
It’s just that sometimes I do want a scene, so it actually makes sense, but, come to think of it, it doesn’t have to. It’s only a mat showcase anyway, thanks for reminding me!
Scenes just for reflection purposes are just tedious, I have to re-think my work here…


HDRIs are quick and easy, I use nothing else at this point (well, plus a sun synced to the HDRI for shadows in Eevee). But if I made actual scenes, I think I would definitely sometimes forego HDRIs and make objects to reflect instead, like you did here. It can be hard to find an HDRI with the right setting and colours and rotate it appropriately so it gives exactly the right feeling.

I also think your reflection scene looks cool all on its own. Maybe you can reuse it for another purpose! Nothing really needs to be wasted.

I really enjoy how this is developing!


Thanks! Combinations… Yes.
I feel like I should refine the scene to put the other unforeseen creatures in them… We’ll see :thinking: