Modeling a wing

Hello all!
I’m trying to model from this wing picture I have but I’m not really sure of the best way to go about it. I originally thought that making a displacement map on a mesh or nurbs shaped like the wing would be the best way to capture the details… maybe not? The reference picture I have was just plain vectors, now a png file. I went ahead and started filling in the feathers with gradients , in hopes that I could height-map with decent results. I honestly do not know what to do next or of I am even going about this the right way. So if one of you more knowledgeable people could walk me through this that would be a great help.

It wouldn’t upload my png for whatever reason so here is a link

Something similar:

For something organic you could block out the basic shapes of the feathers and use normal or bump maps.

there is also a free CGcookie video on how to make a fluffy wing
gives an idiea on the rig at least but no really how to make each feather look real
but it’s good for little fluffy feathers

happy 2.5

Thanks for the links guys!
I guess I should explain the application of this model a bit, so that you can understand why I thought a displacement map would be the best. The wing model is intended to be a piece of jewelry and obviously wont be animated, it will be machined on a cnc machine along with some other pieces. So I actually want the back face of the model to be flat and the front to have the wing relief displaced. I tryed tracing around the wing with a nurbs curve, but couldn’t figure out how to join the ends, ctrl+j diddnt seem to do anything. I then was going to extrude the curve down and displace the top surface. Does the surface need to be a mesh to displace or will it work with nurbs? how do I convert to mesh?

Sorry for sounding blender dumb, the truth is I haven’t really modeled anything in blender yet haha. I am amazed at some of the stuff people have generated with this software, and what amazes me more is that its free! Open source is sooo awesome!


Cool! I will probably use that method in the future to make a height-map from a model, but i already have a height-map and i just want to apply it to a nurbs surface created from the outline of the wing.

It will be great if u show how is going that wing :), i model a wing and it took me so long , just if u want to show us of course :smiley:

well there is a way to directly convert NURB surface to mesh but not the opposite

but you can retopo a NURBS also on a mesh

why do you need NURBS here?

did you make your wing with mesh or with NURBS.

happy 2.5

thought curves would be the best way to get the outline details.

Quick and dirty way of doing it is to just draw the feathers. Then Alpha map the feathers!

I think you are going to get a better result for your model (which will be used to cut a mold correct?) if you were to create a base shape for subdivision surface and then do some sculpting. I don’t think you are going to get satisfactory results by any form of displacement mapping that is not first based on a shape very close to what you want. You could create the a flat shape similar to your nurbs idea that is subdivided and modeled for subdivision surfaces that you then apply a displacement map (modifier) to. And if your gradients are correct you’ll get a decent result. Definitely give it a try and see how it works.

However I still think you get the best shape by simply using the feather image in the BG and sculpt it out. Either way this is going to require learning modeling for Subdivision Surfaces as well as how to sculpt (if you go that route). But I think that would get the best results down the road.

There is a link in my sig for Subdivision Surface Modeling. Sculpting, there are lots of tutorials around - just try google.

Also I forget I wrote this little thing up here:

Will give you an overview of uses for SDS.

Yeah I don’t think my gradients are correct but I kinda just guessed , it will take some trial and error I think or a good height-map tutorial. So do I just box model the entire wing, and around the edges? Seems like lots of work , cant I convert a curve surface to a mesh then subdivide and so on?

Me, I would not bother with the curve and I would not box model.

I would first trace out the outline of the wing making edges (point draw is ctrl LMB) with points in the places I need them. Then I would strategically build a quad mesh that was evenly subdivided in the center of the wing but that connected to the edges of the wing. The edges of the wing would be a clean edge loop. There is technique to this that I go into in my tutorial so there is a learning curve here for you with this technique. But this would give you a good start to then do the map. Or you could take this mesh and use it in sculpt mode to sculpt the feathers.

Making geometry for the rest of the feathers as a mesh with edge loops would be more of the same but much more tedious.